I'm new to the whole Electronics scene, and was hoping to find a good place to start.
I already have an idea for a project, but I think it'll be a little complicated for a first project. I'm thinking of making a modded computer case, which has an two dimensional array of LEDs on one side (or wrapped around the top and on both sides) which can be controlled by a microcontroller that is programmed by the computer its on.
I can do the programming no problem, its the hardware I'm not sure about. I don't even know where to get the hardware.
I'm thinking that for an interface to the LEDs, I'll need a timer chip (for 50x50 leds with 8 levels of intensity, I'll need about 3MHz), three counters (two going 0 to 49, and one going 0-7) On the other side of things, I think I'll need some RAM (not sure what type, but it needs to store the intensity values of the leds, and be updated at least 30 times a second, with the possibility of multiple read/writes for the whole "screen") some flash (for the software that creates the LED designs) and, of course, the CPU. Something fast enough to handle updating the memory with moderate math capabilities. Floating point is a bonus, but most things I want to do can use precalculated integer tables if necessary (increasing the memory requirement, not a big deal though) Oh, and a way to easily program the flash (via USB or Rs232 maybe?) from the master computer.
I'm not opposed to getting a SoC solution of some sort that allows me to install Linux, or NetBSD, or something like that, but I don't really need something that sophisticated, and would like to keep the price down if possible.
I'm also just looking to create this for myself, not planing on reselling or mass producing them :-)
I wouldn't even mind paying someone to help me out, but I don't have a large amount of spare cash.
Any idea's where I can start? Is this even the right group? :-) Thanks for reading, Daniel.