Intro to Microcontrollers HELP

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baddog
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Intro to Microcontrollers HELP

Post by baddog » Tue Feb 10, 2004 8:36 am

Hello, I am interested in learning about microcontrollers but need help finding a place to start. I have some minimal prior electronics experience, and some programming experience (various). At any rate, I see books etc... on PIC, Basic Stamp, CMOS, TTL, etc... etc... but I am unsure which direction to go. So, I am looking for a primer that will allow me to choose which which way to go. There are probably more choices than I have listed, and some of the ones I have listed are probably obsolete, or not even microcontrollers. I am just starting out so I would like to focus on the latest technology. Is there any source that discusses the options out there, or anything like that. I see tons of information on specific ones, but nothing discussing the pros and cons amongst the choices. Any help is appreciated. I have some knowledge of Basic, so I am wondering if the Basic stamp is the way to go. Or..... Thanks.

Lin Farquhar
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Re: Intro to Microcontrollers HELP

Post by Lin Farquhar » Tue Feb 10, 2004 8:41 am

I'm probably starting to sound like a scratched record here (remember em?) but I suggest you check out rev-ed.co.uk for their picaxe uConts. They are pic based, with a BASIC bootstrap loader. The programming suite is a free download and the only hardware you need is a D9 plug and two resistors. Couple that with a breadboard and you're off and running for a few bucks. They range from the 8 pin picaxe-08 up to 40 pin with some serious power and memory.
Rgds Lin.

baddog
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Re: Intro to Microcontrollers HELP

Post by baddog » Tue Feb 10, 2004 8:42 am

PS. Is there any microcontroller option where I can use Visual Basic as the programming langauge?

baddog
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Re: Intro to Microcontrollers HELP

Post by baddog » Tue Feb 10, 2004 8:45 am

Lin, thanks for the reply. I was hoping for something a little more introductory so that I could read about the various options before jumping right in. I will check out the site you suggested though. Thanks.

cato
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Re: Intro to Microcontrollers HELP

Post by cato » Tue Feb 10, 2004 3:17 pm

The problem is that by the time some expert sat down and wrote the book you want to read, it would be outdated. <p>This link<p>http://www.embedded.com/<p>Is for the web page of an industry magazine for engineers that use microcontrollers to build smart toasters, cell phones battery chargers and the like. Its probably going to be over your head....but maybe if you root around in their you'll find something that will help you.

skrallman
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Re: Intro to Microcontrollers HELP

Post by skrallman » Wed Feb 11, 2004 12:00 am

This maybe of some help. This link has a comparison between the oopic and basic stamps.<p>I'm a beginner, too. I've got an oopic and I've played with the pic16F84. I found the object oriented programming of the oopic easy to use, but it's expensive. I'm always afraid I'll smoke it.
The oopic can be programmed in a basic syntax that they say is modeled after Microsoft's™ visual basic language. The oopic also has a very active egroup at yahoo which I've found helpful.<p>I use the pic's more often just because they are so much cheaper and because there's lots more example information, and some free online tutorials. <p>Hope that helps some.
Scott

L. Daniel Rosa
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Re: Intro to Microcontrollers HELP

Post by L. Daniel Rosa » Wed Feb 11, 2004 5:42 am

I guess I'm a bit reckless. I chose PICs and dove right in. My first _working_ program blinks LEDs (typical). I do have grand hopes of making something genuinely useful, and I will be splicing in pieces of other people's code.<p>Why PICs? Because I found more hobbyists using these than any other uC, and they are well priced. As for Oopic, I gave that some thought and figured that there is probably scads of code already written that can be spliced. Mind you, it is slow but not having a dedicated platform allows a project to stay together instead of being sacked for it's core.

Lin Farquhar
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Re: Intro to Microcontrollers HELP

Post by Lin Farquhar » Thu Feb 12, 2004 9:48 am

Yup, me again. Yes I did it the hard way first, PIC assembler etc. When I came across the picaxe system I damn near wept! It is cheap, not much more than the original PIC chips. It is so easy for the beginner (and pro). The software is free and well supported. The programming "hardware" is about $5 worth from your local lolly shop.
I have to add here, that I have no connection with revolution education (UK), either personal, professional or monetary. When a system that good appears (and saves me a whole lot of time and money) I've just gotta tell people about it. novice or pro, it's gonna save you a lot of time and money.

Lin Farquhar
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Re: Intro to Microcontrollers HELP

Post by Lin Farquhar » Thu Feb 12, 2004 9:54 am

PS, I've just googled "picaxe code" and come up with 429 hits :)

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