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When to use Microcontrollers


I'm really interested in building Microcontrollers to do various things around my base, but I've been struggling to find appropriate uses of them with how specific their utility is. After trying to use one for a very specific task just recently, I've been having a hard time thinking up when it makes sense to use them, and if there's maybe something I'm missing.

For some clarity, that last specific task I tried to use a Microcontroller for was running a very simple script to that controls a Nuclearcraft Fission Reactor's heat. It deactivates it when it passes a threshold, and eventually reactivates it when it gets low enough. After getting the script working on a normal Computer, I began to simplify it so that it could run off an EEPROM (refactoring the require calls and external library usage was the main thing here). It all came to a halt when I realized it wasn't able to "see" (and therefore, interact with) the Fission Reactor beside it.

Re-reading the Microcontrollers page, I was aware it explicitly stated that it cannot interact with exterior components, but I was sure that meant additional peripherals like Screens / Keyboards. It appears that Microcontrollers cannot interact with any exterior blocks at all in this fashion, though (please correct me if I'm wrong). At this point I was unable to think of a way that a Microcontroller could help with this task, as even if I simplified it to only emit a redstone signal to toggle the reactor, it has no way of reading the heat levels, unless something else were to pass it that information. And at that point, just using a normal Computer obviously  makes more sense, which is what I ended up going with.


Can anyone provide some insight on this situation? Was I doing something wrong and misunderstanding, or are Microcontrollers the wrong choice for this kind of task?

What are some examples of uses for Microcontrollers if they effectively can't interact with anything, other than via a Piston upgrade or emitting redstone signals? Is there some way of reading redstone signals with Microcontrollers from things in the world?


Hope I got this in the right section, I'm new here :)

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A thing microcontrollers are better at than a normal computer (built with a case) is they can house upgrades and run on very low power. World interaction upgrades, such as the tank controller, require a robot or drone. Computer cases do not have an "upgrade" slot


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Thanks for the suggestions! Especially regarding upgrades, that's very true - I haven't gotten into using upgrades much yet. It sounds like I wasn't incorrect about not using a microcontroller for my scenario.

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I'm glad I found this thread, as I was trying to do the exact same thing as @sab0t.

I'm kind of wondering the same thing now, and the answers above don't really satisfy me. Other than a low powered / solar powered GPS beacon, or maybe a wireless relay, what are micro-controllers good for? in RL their job is to control devices and machines, hence the name. Why is this functionality removed from micro-controllers in OC? I don't get it.

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