Re: OT w/ Disclaimer: Hobby Microcontrollers
> > The Arduino is best suited for beginners. As it has many supportThat is a very useful resource. I found a useful article there
> features built-in to let you get started right away.
> I recently saw an alternative, which is Freeduino
instantly. I admit that the Atmel AVR series of microcontrollers
seems to be a great choice for learning: great user communities, open
source tools and low cost kits (such as the AVR Butterfly) that don't
require a JTAG or proprietory programmer.
The Basic Stamp MIGHT be nice but it's rather expensive and there's
the recurring cost per unit for the ROM.
I learned the Microchip PIC-18 during a course for interfacing
sensors, so I started with a kit with a boot-load pre-programmed into
the flash (programmed via rs232). I bought it from Al Williams
http://www.awce.com/ and used Microchip's free "C" compiler. I will
eventually "graduate" to using the In Circuit Emulator for debugging
and to program the (cheaper) totally blank chips without any boot loader.
I can't find an active PIC community. All the Yahoo groups are dead.
But the PIC is found in many devices, such as the PicAXE (apparently
popular in the UK).
To bring this back to the RETROComputing topic, you could re-discover
the joys of the Z80 or the eZ80 (50 MHz embedded version). The
software is sure "mature enough" but the enthusiasm is lacking. I'm
yet to find more than a few posts about the eZ80 anywhere despite
Circuit Cellar's contest and articles.
- I use AVR's. The attiny2313, in particular, as it includes a UART,
enough flash and I/O to handle most of what I need to do. I did have
one project where I needed more I/O pins, but I simply split the
project into two logical parts and connected the UARTs together in
order to link the two parts. I could have easily gone to an AVR with
more pins, but will be able to reuse one half of this project in the
future. A serial interface is also handy to have available, if you
need to send or receive data from a PC.
The AVR instruction set, is easier to use, in my opinion, than the
PICs and 8051s. Compiled C code will often not fit in a micro-
controller's limited flash space, depending upon your application, so
this is an important consideration. Atmel provides both in-circuit
debugger capabilities and a simulator. Atmel's in-circuit debugger
costs around $300. The simulator has allowed for me to debug most
everything I've done, so I never purchased the interface for in-
circuit debugging. The AVR software tools are free, so the cost of
startup has been a flash programmer for around $29.00 and some AVR
chips. The interface from the chip to the flash programmer is simple
enough to slap together on a breadboard in a few minutes. There are
plans on the web for building your own flash programmer, but I think
that it is hardly worth the trouble.
>>> Regards, Mike WillegalHi Mike. Are you new here? If so, please send a "hello world" message to our list to introduce yourself ... Background, location, how you found us, etc.