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Single Board Microcontroller/Computer Codidact Site (Arduinos, RPi, etc.)

3

Introduction:

Having some sort of website where we can talk about single board microcontrollers/computers could be very beneficial for engineers, hobbyists, students, enthusiasts, and people who wish to know more about the topic. My idea would be to create a website on Codidact where people can talk about embedded system design, similar to that of the Arduino StackExchange and Raspberry Pi StackExchange.

Purpose:

Creating a website such as this could inspire a lot of creativity and invention to make neat projects such as, but not limited to, usages of artificial intelligence and automated processes for people of all age groups. This could be an educational opportunity to help our global society become more technologically adept.

Categories:

The following is what I believe are current technologies, toolkits, and frameworks that promote open source solutions that will be around for a long time:

  • Raspberry Pi
  • Arduino
  • NVidia Jetson boards
  • Beaglebone
  • Other various devices

Feedback:

What do you all think? Is this something that would fit the scope for what Codidact has in mind? Does anyone see any potential harm in having a website like this? We can discuss what the user would be allowed to ask because I do see a lot of potential redundancy where people would have the same projects. I also think there would need to be a way to provide protection for the user's work.

Edit 1: After feedback from @manassehkatz, it would be wise to tone down the amount of topics. Henceforth, I am now proposing a website purely for "single board microcontrollers/computer".

This focus should be dedicated towards automation projects.

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5 comments

Hmm... Can't seem to answer my own question. Says Tags must contain at least one required tag (proposal, idea) even though I clearly have the idea tag... KingDuken 18 days ago

Should be fixed now, @KingDuken ArtOfCode 18 days ago

Much better - more focused. Effectively "Pi/Arduino/etc." Which is a broad enough topic to draw in (hopefully) enough experts & enthusiasts, but small enough to not become overly broad. I might mention other aspects (e.g., besides AI, etc.): robotics; sensors; interfacing between computers and other devices. manassehkatz 18 days ago

Good job on focusing this! It sounds like a well-defined and rich-enough area to support lots of Q&A. Now we'll need to identify enough of a community to get it going (people who will be active here asking and answering questions). Monica Cellio 18 days ago

For what my small reach is worth, I gave this proposal a bit of a nudge on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MonicaCellio/status/1264688391419035652. If you know people who might be interested (or people who might know people who...), please let them know about the proposal (without being spammy of course :-) ). Monica Cellio 13 days ago

3 answers

3

What would be considered on-topic?

These are the questions that a user could be allowed to ask:

  • Troubleshooting code and/or hardware, provided that the user provides enough information of issues that they have seen and what output they desire.
  • Proper design and usage for electronic parts layouts for their configuration.
  • Schematic and layout review to make sure users don't wire anything improperly.
  • Advanced topics like optimization or behavior of code for hardware configuration.

What would be considered off-topic?

There are the questions that a user should avoid asking:

  • General electronic part functionality, i.e. "How does this part work?" or "Will this work for what I'm doing?" or "What if I do XYZ?"
  • General coding questions, i.e. "How do I write my code to do XYZ?" or "Will this work for what I'm doing?" or "What does this keyword mean?"
  • Recommendations for products, i.e. "Is there an alternative/a newer product that provides the same functionality?" or "Is there a product that does XYZ?" This includes software recommendations for hardware design.
  • Ideas for projects to work on.
  • Shopping websites or stores, i.e. "Where can I go to purchase XYZ?" or "What website do you recommend for people in [a specific country]?" or "Have you all had experience with Company A?"
  • Homework/Work/Assignment/General curiosity questions, i.e. "I'm trying to solve for XYZ." or "I've been assigned to do XYZ." or "I'm trying to learn how to do XYZ so that I can understand it better."
  • Questions with little to no effort. This can be seen as too broad of a question.
  • Repairing questions, i.e. "I broke XYZ, how can I put it back on there?" or "Where can I find a replacement?" or "Is there an alternative solution to this broken part?" ... But this may be different from something like, "I'm seeing this behavior, how can I compensate for that?"
  • Part identification, i.e. "I found this in my old computer, what is it?" or "What does this marking mean on my circuit board?"
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to do something. This website should help to improve or teach people how to do something, not provide a solution.
  • Providing troubleshooting from external reference resources such as websites, textbooks, videos, etc. To clarify, users should not ask how to do something they saw elsewhere. This is different from asking questions about a datasheet or application note from the official manufacturer of that product.
  • Educational resources where they can learn to do XYZ or "get started" or learn more about a particular topic.
  • Usage of software tools, i.e. "Where can I find the option to do XYZ?" All software has online resources on what the user wishes to do.
  • Anything else that is blatantly not about electrical, electronics, computer, or embedded system topics.

(This is practically from all of my experience from StackExchange... Feel free to comment to add anything else.)

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2 comments

This sounds much more general. So the key I see is deciding whether this is "tiny systems" (Arduino, Pi, etc.)-centric (as the initial proposal seems to imply) or "any electronic projects" as this answer seems to indicate. manassehkatz 18 days ago

Yes. You're right. Perhaps I should tone down the amount of potential topics. Maybe we can have a separate website for more general engineering. Good idea :) I'll edit the question and topics. KingDuken 18 days ago

2

Intended demographic:

To capture intended users for this website and get a scope of who will utilize and benefit from this website the most, it is important to identify target demographics:

  • People who have basic coding skills and understanding how the embedded device works
  • Students, engineers, scientists, any profession, hobbyists, enthusiasts, or those who are genuinely curious
  • People of all ages
  • People who have a basic understanding of wiring, reading schematics and/or diagrams

Ensuring proper responses:

In order to provide a proper solution or explanation, there is some criteria under which projects need to be characterized:

  • Projects that are materialistic and not conceptual.
  • Projects need to be feasible.
  • Projects need to demonstrate an understanding of how particular items work with the embedded device, its code, and how it may interact with another item. No magic allowed!
  • Projects need to have a clear goal and methods of completing that goal, i.e. using algorithms, schematics, diagrams, etc. Nosediving into a project is almost always a bad idea.
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0 comments

1

This does sound like an interesting idea. But it seems that the common theme may be much more of a "tiny computer systems that can be used to build stuff" than "open source" per se. And it also doesn't quite cover the same as Electronics StackEchange.

  • Electronics StackExchange overlaps with this some, but also gets into very advanced topics explaining everything from components (like transistors or capacitors) to power supplies to radio frequency communications, circuit analysis, printed circuit board design, etc.
  • I suspect many people who build stuff with Arduino, RaspberryPi, etc. don't really care (or possibly even know!) that the core devices are Open Source. What they care about is that they are priced (admittedly, open source designs are part of why they are affordable) and have a wide variety of available add-ons and resources.
  • I think this would need to cover as much software as hardware - but not all Open Source Software (that would be huge) - rather all programming issues associated with these devices.
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4 comments

Thanks for the feedback. I would like to see this website focus more on hardware and "do it yourself" projects, things that could move with software. I wouldn't mind people asking about things they need help with their Arduino script, etc. (See my answer about what could be on topic). I'd just rather not have people copy and paste code without allowing a learning opportunity (though some may not care about the code). KingDuken 18 days ago

@KingDuken do you agree with this answer's suggestion that it's more about hardware and less about open-source specifically? Or do you see open-source as a key factor? (You can edit your proposal if you want to adjust that.) Monica Cellio 18 days ago

@Monica Cellio, yes, I would agree that I would make this more hardware oriented and less about open source. I removed the part in the OP about "open source". And thanks, I just edited to include the proposal tag. KingDuken 18 days ago

"open source" gets a bit confusing here. As I understand it, the whole Arduino design is itself "open source", whereas in some other systems the hardware and/or software may be open source or may be proprietary or may be freely distributed but not "open source". A lot of variations. It sounds like "open source" was thrown out originally as a buzzword but not intended to apply here (at least not to the hardware). manassehkatz 18 days ago