Microprocessor recomendations

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Johnny Nelson, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. Johnny Nelson

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    5
    1
    What microprocessor would you recommend for beginners wanting to learn about programming and using these? What programming language and programming software is easiest to learn?
     
  2. DumboFixer

    Active Member

    Feb 10, 2009
    219
    34
    c, c++, Basic are all easy ones to learn.
     
  3. AllVol

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 22, 2005
    55
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    If you are totally new to microprocessors and programming, I would suggest the PICAXE system. For the cost only of the chip (around $5 depending on supplier) you can get started. All programming is done on your pc, so there is no development board or programmer to buy. The language is Basic, easily learned.

    The chips are very capable of teaching all aspects of microprocessor use, and the step up to more complex work is easily made.
     
  4. elec_mech

    Senior Member

    Nov 12, 2008
    1,513
    193
    Hi Johnny,

    There are a handful of languages and many more platforms by which to choose. The question is how much do you want to invest in it in both time and money?

    I have zero experience with it, but many people are turning to Arduino which uses C programming and has tons of ready-made modules for testing different things from LEDs to accelerometers.

    http://www.arduino.cc/

    Sparkfun offers several versions and modules:

    http://www.sparkfun.com/search/results?term=arduino&what=products

    If you're planning to make a career out of it, I'd look at PICs from Microchip. You can program these with C, Basic, or, gasp, assembly. I can provide more info with books, websites, etc. if you let me know you're interested.

    Personally, and only because I started with them, I'd recommend the Basic Stamp II from Parallax. You program these in Basic which is a great, relatively simple programming language. RadioShack sells a good starter kit:

    http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2117994

    or go to Parallax directly:

    http://www.parallax.com/Store/Micro...ortField/0/Level/a/ProductID/313/Default.aspx

    They offer tons of free support including a forum like this one, documentation is all free and downloadable, and they do a great job explaining electronics along the way.

    Basic is easier to learn than C, at least in my opinion. You'll be up and running quicker. I only know what I've experienced and I haven't seen it all by a long shot, so read and look into everything people post here and decide what will work best for you.

    Good luck!
     
  5. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
    1,571
    230
    To each thier own, but I'd recommend going the 8051 and variant route. Good choice of development an emmulation software available.
     
  6. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
    9,030
    214
    I agree with elec-mech's recommendation of the Arduino. An Arduino Uno board will get you up and running quickly. You will only need a PC that has a USB port to program the Arduino. There are also tons of application libraries ready for you to use.

    Having the hardware ready to go means you can focus on learning to write programs. The language is C which is pretty easy and powerful and there are lots of examples to draw on.

    Once you get comfortable with Arduino, then you can explore the other micros out there like PICs and AVRs.

    hgmjr
     
  7. kubeek

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 20, 2005
    4,670
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    I would recommend learning assembler first, my favourit being ATmega series from Atmel. When you are able to flash a simple led through the use of assembler is the time to move on to C. I never tried C++ in a microcontroller, but I think it would use much more resources than a nice C code would, especially RAM.
     
  8. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
    3,869
    1,393
    I like the PICAXE. The microcontrollers are relatively inexpensive, the programming software is free and fairly easy to learn, and there's an active forum.

    http://www.picaxeforum.co.uk/forum.php
     
  9. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
    12,421
    3,356
    By now you would have found it totally bewildering and confusing. There is no single perfect recommendation. If you are planning on becoming a computer engineer, my choice would be Freescale MC9S08QG8, Freescale HC11 or Atmel ATtiny2313 and assembler programming.

    If you wish to explore as a hobby, Parallex BASIC STAMP is a good place to begin.
     
  10. Jaguarjoe

    Active Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    770
    90
    I don't code on a steady basis. Whenever I picked up my Arduino, I had to relearn C all over again. That was a real PITA. OTOH, With Picaxe and its semi easy Basic, I'm up and running very quickly. With their new range of 40Mhz X2 parts, there's more than enough horsepower for my needs.
    The last time I looked, an Arduino is $35, a Paralax BS even more, and a little but powerful Picaxe 08M is $2.95. You'll feel much better blowing up a $3 part as opposed to a $35 part.
    If you want an Arduino, I'll sell you mine for $20 plus shipping. Its been used for about 6 hours. PM me if you're interested.
     
  11. Crispin

    Member

    Jul 4, 2011
    88
    2
    Netduino an Fez Panda are both like Arduino but both use Microsoft C#. For mist things, I prefer them over Arduino due to language.
     
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