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I opened an old RC car controller up with some anticipation. I hoped to control the RC car by computer, by smart phone, embed a camera, send data to computer for processing it and make the RC car drive by it self!

But, I don't understand how it works at all. What kind of thing should I learn to do that? I know it is long way to go, but I want to understand circuits and how computer works in very low level.

Could somebody suggest to me a series of books or documents for my education?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You previously included "Also, is there any alternative way to connect wire to soldered PCB other than dangerous soldering?" in your question. That's almost completely unrelated, so I removed it in my edit. Unfortunately, that invalidates part of Joe's answer. Sorry, Joe. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 20, 2011 at 19:10

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Soldering is a pretty essential skill to have if you intend to do projects like these, and it isn't so dangerous when you get the hang of it. Unless you mean the lead fumes you're likely to inhale, in which case you can get lead-free solder.

But yes, you probably will have to do some soldering, and possibly some scratching-off of PCB traces as well.

In terms of a path of learning to do these things, I recommend getting started with an Arduino. With an Arduino, it's fairly easy for a beginner to either load a program on the microcontroller to do the controlling or send data to or from a computer over USB (or Wifi, but that's extra hardware you have to buy). You can do these things without an Arduino, obviously, but it's very convenient for a beginner because it does a lot of the work for you (handling the microcontroller's needs, data communication to and from a computer, getting the program written to the microcontroller).

There are plenty of beginner and advanced Arduino tutorials floating around the internet, and they'll probably all be beneficial to you if you're just getting started.

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