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Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 2:42 pm
Does anyone have any experience with the Basic Stamp Kit from Radio Shack? I was thinking about purchasing it and I wanted to know if anyone had any good or bad experiences with it before I buy it.
Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 3:37 pm
I never bought the kit, but i think pics and stamps are awesome. If your a newby, the stamp is
a great way to get started.
Posted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 5:34 pm
Have not bought the kit from RS, bought mine from Parallax web site and was very happy with it. I have bought Stamps from RS because my son worked there and he could get a discount. I have programed 3 BS1 using this kit then went to the BS2. Personaly I think they are great except for the cost, so now I am going to try the PIC. Parallax kit you can jump right in and have controller up and running in no time, the PIC route has been a little tuffer but I think it will be more then worth while. Want more info on the Parallax kit email me. Good Luck.
Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 6:17 am
Depends on what your time is worth. The BS2 is a well thought out device with excellent programming support and a right-now code modify-test cycle. You pay for this with the cost of the chips. You don't really need the development boards; no external active devices are needed; power, ground, a DB9 for the serial port and you have a working system with 16 or 32 I-O bits.<p>Parallax has covered a lot of ground with their OS:
one-wire, I^2C, X-10, serial, pulse in/out etc. They even make it possible to build an interrupt structure. The quirks are few and minor; one that comes to mind is that the "<" and ">" operators don't yield correct results on negative 2s complement numbers. Arithmetic is 16-bit signed integer. You have R/W access to both volitale RAM and the program EEPROM, which makes nonvolitale datalogging dirt simple. You get the idea.<p>I've been talking about the BS-2P, the top of the line and the fastest (~83 usec instruction time), which I've used. <p>Parallax has done two remarkabile things: They have stayed alive for a long time, and they have immproved and developed their products with no small intelligence. This sounds like a paid testimonial, but I'm just a designer who appreciates a well-done and useful tool. I hope Parallax keeps going with new and better products, and doesn't get swallowed up by some conglomerate full of beancounters.
Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 9:38 am
I think the BStamps have their place. The problem is that while they are fine for one-off projects, the cost adds up pretty fast. At $80 for the 2p, that's pretty pricey. If you can learn to build and program bare uCs, the cost comes way way down. <p>Also, 83 uS cycle time is pretty slow. A 20 mhz PIC runs at 200 nS instruction clock and is thus 40 times faster. Though I suspect its not quite apples - apples its still a LOT faster. AVRs are even faster. Often, you need that speed.<p>I see the BSs as being more of a microcontroller trainer. <p>It looks to me like parallax recognizes this - they need to broaden their line to be successful. A walk through their home page has a lot more products than just the Stamps. Notice their latest foray into robotics with "Ping)))" - cute name, if nothing else. Good price, too. Wonder what the other guys are going to do about their prices.
Posted: Wed Mar 02, 2005 8:42 am
isomk:<p>be carefull when you buy stamp kits, many of the kits out there are very incomplete and very expensive, often they dont even have the stamp itself but only the project board with a bagfull of components for earth experiments or some other specifc use. I believe a complete kit (BS2 and board) is available on line for about $59.
Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 6:10 am
What's AVR stand for??
Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 7:49 am
3Phase:<p>AVR is the name of a company that produces microcontroller systems.
Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 7:58 am
Actually, Atmel is the name of the company. AVR doesn't really stand for anything - I think its the initials of the founders or designers of the 8 bit uC line called AVR.<p>Interesting product line - while its easier to program for than the PICs, it has some silly gotchas that make it a little more error prone than PICs.
Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 8:36 am
Philba:<p>thanks for the correction, I shot from the hip with my reply
Posted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:25 am
I decided to abandon the Basic Stamp and go the route of the Atmel. One of the factors was that with Basic Stamps you can only go so far, while if I stick with the AVR RISC architecture I can move ahead (if that makes sense). I ended up buying the Butterfly Eval kit to cut my teeth on, then I plan on going the STK500 route. I have had experience with PIC controllers - I am the programmer and electrical system lead for my FIRST robotics team that uses the Microchip PIC18F8520. I guess I wanted to check out something different.<p>[ March 03, 2005: Message edited by: isomk ]</p>