How to start - PIC / Microcontroller

Electronics Computer Programming Q&A
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MrAl
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Post by MrAl » Fri Sep 07, 2007 5:02 am

Hi again,

Oh ok, maybe i'll have to take another look.

Im not exactly ready to migrate to the new chips just yet, but
i definitely see this as a good possibility down the road a bit.
They certainly seem to outfeature the smaller PIC chips.
LEDs vs Bulbs, LEDs are winning.

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philba
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Post by philba » Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:38 am

the nice thing about PICs is there is an incredible variety to choose from.

One thing about 430 line is that you can build an incredibly low power system with them. Far better than a PIC. For example, you can create a real time clock with an MSP430 and it will run for about 10 years off of a button cell.

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MrAl
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Post by MrAl » Sun Sep 09, 2007 9:12 am

philba wrote:the nice thing about PICs is there is an incredible variety to choose from.

One thing about 430 line is that you can build an incredibly low power system with them. Far better than a PIC. For example, you can create a real time clock with an MSP430 and it will run for about 10 years off of a button cell.
Hi again,

Oh yeah, that is pretty nice. I do like their small size packages too
but working with them is a bit harder, that's why i was after the
dip packages. The low power is really nice too, and that's really
important for battery operated devices...if you can afford the battery
power (and you can with super low power devices like that) then
that means you dont have to disconnect power so the uC can
do offline functions like monitor battery power even when the main
device is turned off, monitor input switches, etc. The low power is
one of the features i like about those chips.

Have you worked with the code yet? How does it compare to
the PIC's code base? The PIC only has 35 instructions, are these
chips similar or not?
LEDs vs Bulbs, LEDs are winning.

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philba
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Post by philba » Mon Sep 10, 2007 11:34 am

I have done minimal assembly on the 430, having mostly used C with it. In terms of C, the 430 is hands down better because you don't have all the restrictions that PIC brings.

My thinking about the 430 is that 16 bits makes for a lot easier assembler code. things like jumps and tests are much more straight forward.

rhchadwick
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Post by rhchadwick » Wed Dec 12, 2007 6:03 pm

Another alternative is the Comfile Cubloc line of microcontrollers (http://www.cubloc.com). They are based on an Atmel uC chip and their prices are good. Just check out the website for all the peripheral stuff they have available. I have used them for a few projects and really like them.

Another great thing about these is that they are stuffed with not one, but TWO programming languages. They can be programmed in BASIC, Ladder, or a combination of the two. I hadn't heard of Ladder before using a Cubloc module, but I found it very easy to pick up. Ladder is mainly for process automation programming. My last project project just used BASIC, but a previous one used both.

zapped
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Post by zapped » Wed Dec 19, 2007 11:25 am

philba wrote:Actually, the cheapest way to get into microcontrollers is to go with the TI MSP430. They have a complete set up for $20 including programmer, debugger, tools and target.
Even cheaper you can buy a "one time use" digital camera from CVS drugstore or other places for about $10. Not only does it include batteries and a color TFT display, but you can program it via USB. You will need to make or buy a cable or solder on a USB connector or USB pigtail.

While it doesn't have a gcc port yet, I like to program it in assembly using the free assembler included in the open source pv2devkit. You can also get a demo of Hi-Tech's C for the Arclite to compile for it.

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