Where to start without a development board?

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by Manmeet Singh, Nov 6, 2010.

  1. Manmeet Singh

    Thread Starter Active Member

    May 21, 2008
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    I have decided to design an automated fish feeder in which a user can preset certain times through a pushbutton and LCD interface which would then rotate a compartment and feed his/her fish.

    Todo this my original intention was to use a development board (Arduino UNO) along with some premade drivers for the peripherals I mentioned above.

    However since the idea is pretty simple I would like to fabricate my own board todo all of this. I want to take out all the extra stuff a development board would have since my application is simple and I think I would learn more in the end by doing it this way. I want to make it so its as if its a real product without a USB connector sticking out etc.

    Does anyone have a good resource on putting together a board with a microcontroller and other peripherals after the code has been finalized and loaded onto the microprocessor itself?

    Thanks!
     
  2. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
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    What other microcontroller projects have you completed?

    hgmjr
     
  3. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    1st select the chip. Until then we just don't know. Each chip and each thing you make it do requires more hardware.
     
  4. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
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    Have you laid out, etched (or sent to a board house), and used a PCB before?

    What will power the unit?

    Is this a one/some build, or something for mass production?
     
  5. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    Heres one I have for a pic24 someone else made a while back. I think this is what your looking for.
     
  6. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
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    If this is your first microcontroller project you may want to take things easy. The Arduino certainly allows you to sidestep the pain of building up the hardware and lets you get more quickly to the programming phase of your project.

    On the other hand, if you are in no great rush to get your project completed then dabbling in the details is the way to go.

    hgmjr
     
  7. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    If he goes arduino costs really aren't bad if you go with the arduino pro DYI boards 25 and 50 at a time. Then just buy your own chips and program them. That will drop your cost down to $6-$12 a unit, if not cheaper.
     
  8. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
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    I did not pick up on the fact that this project is intended for mass production. I thought it was a one off project.

    If a commercial product is the end goal then the OP can do at you suggest.

    hgmjr
     
  9. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    I don't know what its intended for, I'm just brainstorming thinking of options. If he went my route buying the boards and components somewhere else not only would he save money, he'd learn some stuff and get way betting on the old soldering gatt.But if time is a factor over money a fully assembled board would proabably the best option, you can still get em for cheap in lots of 5 - 10 out of china. I think around $15-$25.
     
  10. Manmeet Singh

    Thread Starter Active Member

    May 21, 2008
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    In the end my intention is to use all of the components listed for another application (not a fish feeder) which I want to mass produce.

    My only experience is through labs at school which provide all the hardware setup and we concentrate on the coding/debugging. So in terms of putting hardware together my experience is low.

    I do have a time constraint on this project so I can see why the easier route of completing hardware with the development board would be better since I would be able to meet my time constraint and could verify that my code works sooner.

    I guess I am getting to ahead of myself. Taking the development board route will be a step in the direction of learning the hardware aspect of things even if it is much more reduced then full out PCB design. I will revive this thread when my prototype is complete and I have a better idea of things I do and dont need!
     
  11. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
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    Since you mentioned AVR/Arduino in your other thread, try a demo board. They are kind of in between a dev board and an actual production board.

    Demo Board for AVR, several switches, LCD display, and a relay.

    May let you know what you would want to have in the end, but not priced for mass production.
     
  12. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
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    Your choice of an Arduino is a good one since the high level language development software can be downloaded free from the website www.arduino.com. You may want to download it now for evaluation. The other nice thing is the extensive library of functions that are available. There are LCD functions already written that you can use to get up and running on your LCD display. There are also function calls for servos which could be used to dispense the fish food. Then there is the real-time clock functions for the DS1307 rtc with which you are already familiar.

    With all of these tools at your fingertips you could have your prototype up and running in a matter a hours.

    hgmjr
     
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