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First AMX Controller for programming newbe...

Ok, So I'm an AMX newbe. Just getting started with programming. I start the AMX programmer I course on Monday. I want to purchase a controller and build a small set-up. Anyone have any recommendations? I'm looking into purchasing a second hand NI-3100, but I've found an old AXCENT3 for really cheap. Would I be missing a lot of opportunity if I went with the AXCENT3. Any advice either way would be appreciated any advice in general. Thanks.

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    AuserAuser Posts: 506
    NThinnes wrote: »
    I'm looking into purchasing a second hand NI-3100, but I've found an old AXCENT3 for really cheap. Would I be missing a lot of opportunity if I went with the AXCENT3.

    Yes, a huge amount. Learning to program for an Axcent will teach you a lot of things that will work in NetLinx but that are bad programming habits to get into in the NetLinx world.

    I would personally hold out for a cheap NI-x00 or NI-x000 series to pop up on ebay. These run about 1/3 as fast as the current NI-x100 series, but support all the same functionality and seem to have reached an age where they are being decommissioned at an increasing rate (and hence are becoming cheap on ebay).
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    Thanks for the response. Laughably, I wasn't even considering the difference between Axcess and Netlinx. Thank you for making the choice really easy. The NI-3100 is at a decent enough price that I'll go with that.
    Thanks again.
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    John NagyJohn Nagy Posts: 1,735
    I'd argue against a x000 series most because the are dropping like flies as they age. The serial ports fail, and although repairable with simple board-level soldering, they just aren't worth the bother considering the cost of the far faster and larger memory x100 series.

    At this time, we've had to replace more than half of the x000 units we've had in installations. And guess which half are more likely to show up on eBay.
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    the8thstthe8thst Posts: 470
    An Axcent3 is a great CHEAP way to add ports to a netlinx master, but they are an absolute waste for learning to program because they do not run Netlinx (the current AMX programming language).

    I think the cheapest way to go is wait on an NI-700 or NI-900 and then add an Axcent3 to it. All of the programming is done on the NI and then you setup the Axcent3 in slave mode so it is just a dumb port expander. That is assuming that the NI-x00 does not have enough ports for the system you are learning on.

    The NI-x000 will not be upgraded to the current firmware, but I wouldn't rule them out for a learning tool. They have had a lot of capacitor failures, but so have the NI-x100 controllers. It is an easy fix with a part you can order online for a few cents or pick up at radioshack for a couple dollars. They do have less memory and are slower, but I don't see that being a big factor for someone that is trying to jump in the ring and learn AMX programming. You simply won't work your way up to programs big enough where the NI-x000 won't be able to handle it for quite a while. I'd even venture that over half of the new systems out there would run just fine on an x000 or an x100.
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    AuserAuser Posts: 506
    John Nagy wrote: »
    I'd argue against a x000 series most because the are dropping like flies as they age. The serial ports fail, and although repairable with simple board-level soldering, they just aren't worth the bother considering the cost of the far faster and larger memory x100 series.

    But $x0 vs $x00 is a big difference when simply looking for a training resource where serial ports may not even be required. And where they cost 25c plus an hour's enjoyment pulling the thing apart to fix, they're still pretty attractive to me at least.

    The major benefit of the x100 series as a development and training tool is that while learning the tools you compile and trial code a lot and they reboot in about half the time of the x000's when a new program is sent.
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