Can you suggest a path for getting started building your own flight computer?
-- Where is a good place to get components?
-- Source for design?
-- Things to watch out for?
I have had a little (very little) training in electronics, but would like to start. I would eventually like to build a FC that senses max altitude or apogee.
-- What would you recommend for sensors?
-- What kind of microprocesser to control the sensor and servo?
-- Where would you buy these components?
Thanks ahead of time for any help you can provide to help me get started!
A good place to get started would be to check out one of the hobby electronics sites like sparkfun.com. They have a lot of nice kits for various robotics projects that use motors and sensors and servomotors. Since you say you do not have a lot of experience with electronics, one of their kits would be a good way to start. There are a lot of skills that you need to be able to create a flight controller, and so with a starter kit you will be exposed to the core principals and concepts you will need to start creating your own designs.
If you begin with a nice kit, you will get the foundations you need, such as how to set up your programming environment and it should come with any devices you will need to load software into the processor chip you choose to learn.
There are a lot of different processors out there which you will have to decide upon. It depends on your personality which chip you want to go with. There are a lot of people who program on the Ardurino platform which uses the AVR processors from Atmel. There's a strong community of supporters for this platform and you should be able to find something with this processor pretty easily. There's also a lot pf people who use a processor family from Microchip called PIC, which have a lot of supporters because they've been around for going on 30 years and were the only option for hobby users for so long that they became a defacto "standard" due to there being no other choice. The line has been produced all these years largely unchanged in spite of their quirky backwards architecture and their primitve tools. You can find a lot of die-hard supporters for the PIC who defend it religiously in spite of the fact that it was designed by engineers who learned electronics from vacuum tubes. There are newer contenders in the market from STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments, but being newcomers there are far fewer fans and less support out there for these platforms. Your best bet is to find a kit that appeals to you and do a little looking around on the forums and communities that support the processor of choice and look to see which one looks like you would fit in with the people and get the most help.
Once you have the core skills to program a ready made kit and make it do new things then you can start to get into designing your own controller based on the same platofrm you are familiar with. By then you will know whether this is something that appeals to you.