microcontroller - which to pick?

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microcontroller - which to pick?

Post by zotdoc » Fri Sep 01, 2006 7:12 pm

I am interested in learning about and using microcontrollers in my electronics hobby. I am sure that there is no one "best", of course, but since it will take considerable time and money to learn how to program and use each chip, I'd like some help on which chip to start with, Basic stamp, PIC, AVR, or some other. Can anyone point me to an article or book that explains the relative merits of the different microcontrollers out there? Thanks in advance.[/quote]

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Post by ku7485 » Fri Sep 01, 2006 8:16 pm

I guess you could look here: PICs versus AVR on comp.arch.embedded.

For a beginner who wants to start fast, I would suggest a Basic Stamp (such as a Stamp II with BOE). Also there is a lot of support for the Stamp. :smile:

For a similar route, you could try a PIC. Offers simplicity (lots of BASIC compilers, simulators, support from fans, losing popularity to AVR, etc.), but not efficient in speed (4 clocks per instruction). :???:

If you want some that offers a combine of both, you could try an AVR. Offers somewhat simplicity (C compilers, simulators, also support from fans, getting very popular now, etc.), and also has 1 clock per instruction. The fastest 8 bit AVR goes 20MIPS(million instructions per sec.) :grin:

Some people use 8051 compatibles from manufactures such as Atmel or Dallas Semiconductor. 8051 architecture is easy to learn (well, I thought it was). The Ultra-Fast 8051s (DS89CXX) from Dallas Semiconductors (now Maxim Semi.) offers a whoppin 33MIPS, DIP package, and complete instruction compatibility with the original 8052. However, there is not that much support for the DS89CXX (can't find schematics for a programmer on the web). :sad:

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Post by stevech » Fri Sep 01, 2006 10:57 pm

If you like Visual Basic 6 and similar, with structures and advanced language features, and built-in multitasking check out zbasic.net.

I have no affiliation but think it is by far the best VM based low cost "stamp". They just announced a newer one with more RAM.

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Post by Michael J » Fri Sep 08, 2006 5:44 pm

The simplest way would be something like a PICAXE.
They are a PIC micro re-marketed as a picaxe, have their own
bootstrap loader built in, software is a free D/L and they only
need a simple D/L circuit using 2 resistors.

There are trade-offs e.g. less program memory, but the
Picaxe Basic was designed for students as young as 10 or 12
to get something working in half an hour or so.

Die hard Micro users may clasify them as a toy but i'll leave
that up to you. (search the web to see what can be achieved with them)

Sizes available 8-pin, 18-pin, 28-pin, and 40-pin.

Try www.picaxe.co.uk/

I bought my first 8 pin chip an (08M) almost 12 months ago to the day
and not a single day has gone by without doing something with it.
They are a barrel of fun.


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