Suitable microcontroller for wireless project?

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by SethK, Jun 8, 2013.

  1. SethK

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 8, 2013
    4
    0
    As I'm new to microcontrollers, I am looking for the cheapest one to put in a wireless transmitter/receiver for a few kB of information at a time. (small microcontroller!)

    Also, could I get an explanation of how a microcontroller is able to connect to computer via USB? (Using a program memory uploader bootloader as well)
     
  2. OoglieBooglie

    New Member

    Jun 3, 2013
    21
    2
    If you want cheap, try the MSP430 Launchpad by Texas Instruments. You can get a normal development board thingie for ~$11. I don't know how much a wireless transmitter/receiver addition would cost, though, nor do I know if there's even a wireless accessory made for it.

    If you want something with a very large community of users and is inexpensive (but not the cheapest), try an Arduino. If you assemble an Arduino from separate parts and stick it on a breadboard, I've heard you could make one for as little as $8 (not including any required accessories, this is just the individual microcontroller circuit. You would still need a power supply, programmer, and all that stuff). You should be able to get a complete starter kit for an Arduino for about $50 to $120 (depending on the amount of stuff in it). I'm quite sure there is a wireless accessory available for this, but you'll have to purchase that separately.

    Personally, I'd go with the Arduino. It's inexpensive, open source, and has a much larger community than the MSP430. Besides, you should be able to pick up an Arduino at any Radioshack; I've never seen an MSP430 in there.

    No, I've never actually used a microcontroller myself. I am interested in getting started (like you), though, so I figured I'd pass on the information I've found.
     
  3. bance

    Member

    Aug 11, 2012
    315
    34
    Roman Black wrote a good article on just this subject try here....

    HTH Steve
     
  4. SethK

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 8, 2013
    4
    0
    bance,

    would these transmitters be able to communicate with computers? or are they only to each other?

    what wireless component would be able to communicate with computers? (I know about bluetooth but I am looking for cheap and small chips)
     
  5. bance

    Member

    Aug 11, 2012
    315
    34
    You can get usb -ttl converters which should allow communication between PC and micro-controller......

    I haven't tried to get a PIC (the MC of choice for me) to communicate with a PC yet. but there are plenty of tutorials and code out there on the internet, so it shouldn't be too difficult.

    I suppose it depends on how much work you want to put into the project, and what your current skill levels are. The learning curve for MCU's can be pretty steep, on the other hand there are plenty of 12 year old's out there working magic. I think the easiest way to do it would be with an Arduino or (clone), mostly because this is exactly the type of project that youngsters are interested in, and the code will probably be available in the Arduino forums.

    If the aim is simply to "make your gadget" easy and relatively cheaply go Arduino or similar,
    if you are trying to improve your skill set and "make your gadget" try a PIC or Atmel.

    HTH Steve.

    PS don't forget RASBERRY PI
     
  6. SethK

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 8, 2013
    4
    0
    Thanks for the advice - what about wireless communication? And how to convert Arduino program/setups into actual portable gadgets?
     
  7. bance

    Member

    Aug 11, 2012
    315
    34
    Well Arduino, is a development platform, so once you have your code/hardware working in the Arduino environment, the next stage is to translate that into a prototype, then test, and progress to the final stage, which is simply the atmel chip, programmed along with what-ever hardware is required. You can incorporate whatever wireless technology that works into the design.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013
  8. SethK

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 8, 2013
    4
    0
    So RF 315 MHz could be integrated into a circuit then? I have an arduino uno already, so should I now obtain the RF 315 circuits and link them up to the design I want on the breadboard, and then test it with an atmel chip? (Arduino acts as a prototyping board)

    PS In the final stage, how would I program the atmel chips before soldering them into the circuits? Bear in mind that I plan on having microUSB compatibility with bootloader.
     
  9. bance

    Member

    Aug 11, 2012
    315
    34
    Yes, test, see if it works, (how can it be improved) then incorporate.

    The Arduino platform relies on a boot-loader as far as I know, you can buy the ICs with the boot-loader pre-installed or you must be able to programme directly through avrdude or some other such programmer.... As I said I prefer PIC's so I'm afraid I'm at the limit of how I can help.

    The Arduino forums will be able to help with the bootloader/programming requirements, I'm sure.
     
Loading...