Which MCU to start with??

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by tubeguy, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. tubeguy

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Nov 3, 2012
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    Hello everyone.

    My background:

    I've recently returned to electronics as a hobby after a (long) while.
    Had nothing like this great forum...
    My last experience with MCU's were the original 8051's.
    I'm comfortable with machine language programming on '51s and a bit of Turbo C programming and Basic, but only on PC's.

    I've done enough research to become somewhat overwhelmed at the choices available.

    I'm interested in robotics, so I would like recommendations on devices that have good multi-channel PWM capabilities, and are easily/inexpensively programmed.

    I enjoy building things from scratch, so are there any particular benefits/pitfalls for instance in using something like the Arduino (which seems to be very popular recently) over using PIC chips for example.

    I'm assuming something like the Arduino is programmed in a higher level language only, so does that affect processing speed a great deal?

    And, I'd like a device/family that also has good mathematics capability also.
    A device with a good free/shareware IDE would be a big benefit.

    Hopefully some of you can "Bring me up to speed"
    Thanks in advance for your advice.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2012
  2. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    For $4.30 you can't go wrong with the MSP430 Launchpad.
     
    mkbutan and Sparky49 like this.
  3. Sparky49

    Active Member

    Jul 16, 2011
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    I was going to suggest that too.

    I got a couple, with the touchpad for me and my dad.

    Aside from a few hiccups, they work really great!
     
  4. tubeguy

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Nov 3, 2012
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    Wow - and of course never heard of it.

    What language(s) for programming ??
     
  5. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    You can program in both asm and C, simultaneously.
     
  6. tubeguy

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Nov 3, 2012
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    Yes, it looks great. Got some on the way.

    Thanks for the tip!
     
  7. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Download the IAR Embedded Workbench (code size limited Kickstart version). It's free.
     
  8. JMac3108

    Active Member

    Aug 16, 2010
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    I got started with embedded programming using the MSP430 Launchpad and found it easy to use. Also TI has a forum thats great for getting questions answered on MSP430's. Have fun!
     
  9. JMac3108

    Active Member

    Aug 16, 2010
    349
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    Oh, and another option for an IDE is TI's Code Composer Studio. The code limited version is free.
     
  10. vortmax

    Member

    Oct 10, 2012
    103
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    I'll vote for the launchpad as well. It's very easy to learn on and it tends to force you to learn the guts of programming an mcu which is often overlooked with the 'other' popular option (although there is a port of that code base for the 430's). There is also firmware floating around that will let you program AVR chips (using AVRdude) and I believe some that will work with PIC chips as well.
     
    absf likes this.
  11. mkbutan

    Senior Member

    Sep 30, 2008
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  12. tubeguy

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Nov 3, 2012
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    I just met Grace... Kinda cute !

    Much to learn, but it appears it will be much quicker to get something up and running than it used to be....(Where are the big chips with the windows on top?)

    Thanks all for pointing the way !
     
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