As you can probably tell I am relatively new to the electronics scene and I'm rather stuck on a project I'm doing for school.

I am on my second year of an Electrical engineering degree, tasked to do a project. I chose to make a calculator as it seemed like a fun and doable challenge, but I'm stuck at square one with not much of an idea of where to go from here.

A few questions I have are:

  1. Which language should I use for such a project for someone with minimal experience?(mainly python)

  2. How would I go about coding such a program that could be implemented into a physical build?

  3. Where is a good place to purchase the necessary components for the build.

Any thing to help a gal out would be greatly appreciated <3

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    \$\begingroup\$ What hardware are you thinking of using? \$\endgroup\$ – HandyHowie Apr 8 '19 at 10:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Building from scratch" does not match using a programming language, imho. What do you want to do? Plug three modules together and write a program? Build functions out of logic gates or transistors? Or something in between? \$\endgroup\$ – JimmyB Apr 8 '19 at 11:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm agreeing with @JimmyB - you're in an EE program, posting on an EE site, but then talking about the project as though it is a software project. Which is it? Do you want to use programmable hardware to write a software calculator, or do you want to use logic hardware to design a calculator circuit? \$\endgroup\$ – J... Apr 8 '19 at 13:01

A good beginners platform would be arduino. For language you will need to know some C / C++

Hardware you could either use a plastic matrix keyboard or for more of a challenge use some micro switches on perfboard

Good places to purchase from are farnell, digikey, arrow, or RS to name a few (just google them they should be top of the results) Ebay and amazon can be good for small quantities

Here is an example project you could draw inspiration from Arduino Calculator

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks a bunch for that example! Super helpful stuff there, man I should have come here earlier... \$\endgroup\$ – calccharlie Apr 8 '19 at 11:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ No problem, if ive answered your question id appreciate if you could accept it with the tick :) \$\endgroup\$ – LazyMoggy Apr 8 '19 at 12:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ ...keeping in mind that calculators were never made with micro controllers. This really makes a terrible EE project, to be honest. It's more a programmers solution to the problem. This is conceptually no different from writing a basic calculator app in any programming language, then using some wire to attach a handful of number keys other than the ones on your keyboard to the thing. For an EE project I'd rather see something done with a bit of memory, registers, an ALU - something to demonstrate an understanding of the electronics involved. \$\endgroup\$ – J... Apr 8 '19 at 12:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not that there's anything wrong with a programming project, mind you, but as far as programming projects go, this is pretty weak. Shouldn't take more than an afternoon, even for a beginner. \$\endgroup\$ – J... Apr 8 '19 at 12:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ I see what you mean @J... and youre right honestly, but I have discussed it with my teacher and he said that ill be fine to get the grade. Bearing in mind that its not just the making but all the pre work that needs to be done as well. According to him, it's rare for people to finish the actual build but people still get the marks for the prep work they've done. \$\endgroup\$ – calccharlie Apr 8 '19 at 14:20

Maybe you can also try MicroPython, there are mutiple microcontrollers/development boards supported, and you should feel right at home with your previous knowledge of snake power.

That said, Arduino's probably a better choice, with all the libraries and tutorials and projects available. Also, it's using C/C++ with some baked-in libraries, which means you can still gain some reusable knowledge shall you go deeper in the field (most of which still runs on C and sometimes a touch of C++)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is somewhat the route my lecturer advised me to take. Ive never heard of MicroPython but ill have a look. Thanks a million! \$\endgroup\$ – calccharlie Apr 8 '19 at 11:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ People who know Forth know the tremendous advantage of an on-chip REPL like MicroPython has, and that one aspect is a game-changer. I was waiting forever for my blinky script to compile and upload and wishing for Forth and went searching for a microcontroller REPL. I found "Brief" which I couldn't make work, and then I found MicroPython. Watch some of the videos. There is NO compilation, and virtually no delay in trying code out, and it speeds up development incredibly. Because it's such a great on-chip IDE, the Libraries are quickly becoming available. What a prototyping platform! \$\endgroup\$ – MicroservicesOnDDD Aug 31 at 14:32

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