I have a project were I need to make a circuit, and I want to make a circuit that I can put into my computer, maybe in the PCI-E slot. I was thinking of maybe building a capture card or sound card, something that wouldn't need an extreme amount of soldering or small parts to be soldered on. Would any of this be possible? Or ideas for any other circuits that are more likely possible to build for my computer? thanks

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    \$\begingroup\$ Simple(r) ideas: Circuit which plugs into USB and is used to do RGB lighting inside CPU case. USB pcb which has a temperature sensor and microcontroller and controls fan speed depending upon internal temperature of CPU case. You also need to wire the fan to the same PCB. \$\endgroup\$ – Whiskeyjack Mar 22 '16 at 7:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your ideas, I have made something similar to your RGB idea before, and wanted to challenge myself a bit more. But those ideas are great, keep any more coming if you think of them! :D \$\endgroup\$ – Baibro Mar 22 '16 at 7:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ One button HDD backup. It's quite simple to do and useful as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Whiskeyjack Mar 22 '16 at 7:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ A USB sound card is quite feasible. USB input devices as well: rotary encoder knob, MIDI controllers, fancy simulation control panels. PCI-E really isn't accessible to amateur building. \$\endgroup\$ – pjc50 Mar 22 '16 at 12:05

The idea of building your own plugin board for a PC died about 20 years ago when mainstream motherboards stopped supporting the ISA bus. PCI, let alone PCI-E, is simply far too fast to be used as a starter project. Likewise, modern ICs such as A/D converters are increasingly supplied only in very small packages.

If you really want to roll your own circuits and communicate with your PC, I'd advise getting a USB to parallel converter, and get some older parts such as an A/D converter in a DIP package. The USB line will be able to communicate more than fast enough for your purposes.

Alternatively, use the USB interface to drive LEDs, as has been suggested. You seem to have made an LED project of some sort, but revisiting it with a USB link will be an excellent transition project. After all, you know how to drive the LEDs, and any problems you have you can be fairly sure it's the link that needs fixing (hardware or software). This will reduce the frustration factor when it doesn't work the first time. Unless you're an adrenaline junkie (and some are) it's best to increment your skills one skill at a time.

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