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Author Topic: Small DSL computer to run my hobby projects.  (Read 1914 times)
mkarcz
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« on: May 07, 2013, 05:02:50 AM »

Hello,

I am a programmer during the day and digital electronics/retro-computing hobbyist at night.
My first contact with DSL happened some 10 years ago. I did not think of it much then.
It impressed me that it could be booted up from 2 3.5" disks (even from one when squeezed), which I used to resurrect an old 386-SX PC. Flash memory sticks weren't that popular and reliable back then.
Long years passed, 2 children were born and I am back to my tinkering with anything CPU, 8-bit retro or just old.
One of my 1st projects after resurrecting my sentiments toward 8-bit microprocessors was a LED Matrix Scrolling Board with 8052 microcontroller:

   http://6502cpu.blogspot.com/2012/01/8051-based-led-matrix-scrolling-message.html

Not yet a DSL, but getting there, so bear with me.
When I tried to invent some practical use for my contraption, I decided it would be a News Headlines Prompter in my geek cave.
But my contraption did not have a network interface (just RS232) nor advanced scripting capabilities. I was thinking Arduino (but learning curve too wide - at the time I did not play with Arduino yet) or another contraption. Then I decided I would cheat and came up with this:

   http://6502cpu.blogspot.com/2012/03/damn-small-linux-led-matrix-scrolling.html

Now this thing is also my backup and file server as well. I love it. Very reliable and almost maintenance free (sometimes I need to fix stuff I myself break).
Maybe this is not much by the  Linux world standards, nevertheless I am impressed and proud of these stats:

dsl@box:/opt$ uptime
 00:26:33 up 207 days,  3:02, load average: 0.04, 0.01, 0.00

I hope I will reach a year without stopping this thing. I must login to it from time to time just to remind myself how to use it :-), since it is just a configure, run and forget type of system. My DSL runs without any keyboard or display, no X-windows/GUI. Just bare minimum. I login to it via network or RS232 port.
It boots from a USB flash drive. Has another USB flash drive as a temporary storage and two 2TB hard drives connected: one on the SATA running with the computer (file server, temporary backup) and one via USB turned on only for a permanent backup that runs every 3 months.
---
Marek
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 05:08:10 AM by mkarcz » Logged
AE7XQ
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« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2014, 04:31:33 AM »

mkarcz,

You started this topic over a year ago. I don't feel comfortable bumping an old thread like this, but I would like to ask how this project worked out. Were you able to keep your system running non-stop for a year without having to shutdown? I am curious as I am setting up a system for use in controlling a 440 MHz repeater. I would like to know how long I can run my system unattended before I have to log in and do anything administrative. I thank you for your time and consideration.

To other members, I would like to say "I'm sorry" for bumping this. However, my question was in regards to the original post and thus most appropriate here.
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fatmac
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« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2014, 09:32:40 AM »

The OP only has one post recorded, so I wouldn't hold your breath. :lol:

Regarding the 'up time' of Linux, you can count it in years, but it would be advisable to check it occasionally.
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Linux since 1999
A good general beginners book for Linux :- http://rute.2038bug.com/index.html.gz (http://rute.2038bug.com/index.html.gz)
A good Debian read :- http://debian-handbook.info/get/now/ (http://debian-handbook.info/get/now/)
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