ATmega168 Beginner MCU Help

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by sidjakes, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. sidjakes

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 9, 2011
    3
    0
    Hey,

    I was planning on getting an ATmega168 and starting MCU coding - i've done quite a bit of coding but i have no real hardware experience - so I'm kinda a newbie.

    I had a couple of questions :

    Firstly, if i get an ATmega168 - can existing circuits be integrated with it ? I mean, can i for example hook up my TV remote ( which incidentally DOES have a PIC in it ) and use my AVR to put the TV on/off ? Can i hook up the remote circuit to the MCU and have it control it - based on some code that i write ? Also, if i get additional sensors - a GPS sensor, an accelerometer - can these be hooked up or is there a special kind of sensor i need to connect to my MCU ? I'm new to circuit design so any help would be appreciated.


    Thanks :)
     
  2. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
    1,571
    230
    micro general I/O ports, your Atmega included, have pretty comparable capabilities. Some devices have specialized I/O ports that drive specific loads. Atmel offers an LED capable port with programmable current drive for instance. Add to that onboard peripherals such as timers/comm/etc. Device support in regards to compilers/download tools/etc should be considered. Atmel provides all of these. Ease of attachment should be considered as well. USB bootloaders for example require little overhead for attachment in regards to programming.

    Your best bet is to evaluate your load requirements, then confirm your device has the capability to service those loads by reviewing the devices technical documents.
     
  3. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
    9,030
    214
    Visit www.parallax.com and visit their sensor section. There you will find a sensor almost anything you wish to detect. All of these sensors have been designed to interface any of the microcontrollers that are available.

    I take it that you have not had much experience with microcontroller hardware design. I suspect that your coding experience has involved some C-language programming. If that is the case and you have a computer with a USB port then you may want to start out by working with the Arduino Uno or Arduino MEGA256. Visit www.arduino.cc for the details. You can now buy either of these two arduino boards at your nearest RadioShack store. For the price of the Arduino Uno board and a USB cable (aprox $40) you can be up and running on your own microcontroller design very quickly. The software is available for download at no cost (free). There are tons of libraries that interface to some very powerful things. The Arduino boards can be interfaced to the sensors that are available form parallax.com.

    hgmjr
     
  4. sidjakes

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 9, 2011
    3
    0
    Thank you so much GetDeviceInfo and hgmjr. I was planning on buying a NerdKit http://nerdkits.com/. I preferred this over the Arduino as i thought it lets you deal at a lower level and teaches you to. Are the capabilities of this as good ?


    Thank You
    Sidjakes

    P.S - Yes, i have coded in C/C++
     
  5. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
    1,571
    230
    For the price, I wouldn't bother, unless you are specifically interested in the LCD interfacing, which, if your not, is going to add a bunch of frustrating overhead. I support hgmjr's recommendations.
     
  6. sidjakes

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 9, 2011
    3
    0
    Thanks,Arduino it is.
    Can you give me a starting point ? From there i'll follow where it leads me - i mean a website/things to get me started once i buy my board(next couple of days tops). Also, If i am using Arduino, and using much higher level code - is it possible for me to still use the Arduino but code it low level. ?


    Thanks,
    Sid
     
  7. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
    1,571
    230
    The simple answer is to head over to thier website and start getting to know the system.
     
  8. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
    12,449
    3,365
    Atmel has a development kit ATSTK500 for about US$80.
     
  9. BillO

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    985
    136
    For all its shortcomings, I'd recommend the Arduino too. That and a little proto-board shield and a sensor shield.

    Actually, I love the IDE (software)...

    Oh, forgot, but go to www.arduino.cc and www.freeduino.org. As well, search ebay for Arduino...
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
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