Which Microcontroller to use? Confused!

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by moderns, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. moderns

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    41
    0
    Dear Respected Mates,

    Kindly note that I am going to make a project of robotics aircraft that will include:

    A) 4 DC / Brush less motors
    B) 5 Servo motors
    C) Gyroscope system
    D) Camera system
    E) Some sensors like GPS sensor etc..

    I heard that the interactive C is better than C to program it because we can make more than one request at same time.

    Also the microcontroller should be small in size and light in weight.

    I wish to find a type of controllers to control it using wireless adapter from laptop, like to install USB and access the control panel on laptop to control it instead of using wires.

    Please advise me which microcontroller is the best for my application? Do you advise going with interactive C?


    Note: I am computer engineer and worked before on 68K micro processor kit, but never worked on interactive C and never tried such microcontroller I have asked about, so hope to get good performance one and clear to use in such applications.

    Your advice is highly appreciated.

    Thanks a lot and awaiting your kind feedback.
     
  2. TierOne

    New Member

    Feb 5, 2011
    16
    2
    Arduino Mega 2560

    possibly computer processor as well
     
  3. moderns

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    41
    0
    Thanks a lot, but you think it has big size? Any idea about the weight? And can I do more than one request together? For example I want to change the angle of the 5 servo motors at same time, is it possible?

    Also, how can I use computer processor? Which one and how to connect it to PC?

    Appreciate your advice.
     
  4. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
    4,887
    1,014
    You could use something from microchip and build your own. They have a great parametric search.

    I would stick with the 8bit 18F family which is optimized for C.

    http://www.microchip.com/ParamChartSearch/chart.aspx?branchID=1004&mid=10&lang=en&pageId=74

    I just built a little test board for LCD panels. It's has a few tactile switches and LEDs on it because it doubles as a prototype board. It uses a 20 pin dip and only measures 2x2 inches and an ounce or so w/o the LCD. Leave out the LCD connector, switches and LEDs and it would be much smaller an lighter.

    And a I am just a newb at PCB design.

    If you can do surface mount and / or dual sided, you could get even smaller and lighter.
     
  5. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
    9,030
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    A crucial question I would put to you is how much time do you have to complete your project?

    hgmjr
     
  6. moderns

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    41
    0
    Hi Spinnakar, thanks for your reply :) Actually I need something very fast to start, I do not have enough time to build, I need ready microcontroller and I just need to program my application and not to do too much hardware circuits. So what do you advise? I am really NEWB and would appreciate your kind advice. Thanks.
     
  7. moderns

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    41
    0
    Thanks Hgmjr for your answer, actually I would like to finish it as soon as possible, let us say 1 month part time work for connecting my aircraft motors and sensors to the microcontroller circuit and the programming job only, I am not considering building aircraft body cuz it's a different job.

    So what do you think an simple and high performance one that I can execute changing of angel for 5 servo motors at same time without waiting?

    Thanks a lot.
     
  8. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
    9,030
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    So this is an RC airplane project which explains the concern over weight.

    What is the practical limit of your payload?

    hgmjr
     
  9. moderns

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    41
    0
    Yes the weight is very important, and prefer the microcontroller to be light and small in size, I can't expect the weight before installing everything, then I can use suitable motors to give power according to the weight I have. But would prefer small microcontrollers.

    I would appreciate if there is any tutorial or video to show how to connect the microcontroller to any application after you suggest me good microcontroller.

    Thanks.
     
  10. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
    9,030
    214
    Have you had any experience designing electronics and breadboarding the design?

    What dimensions of the mechanical envelope are you planning to cram the micrcontroller board into?

    hgmjr
     
  11. moderns

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    41
    0
    Actually I remember that worked in Motorolla 68K on assembly language and took microprocessor lab in university and we did some experiments like leds, reset, etc.., but if I have the sheet of the microcontroller I can read and I am learning very fast.

    Regarding dimensions, as I told you, just suggest me small good microcontroller, let us see 10 cm x 10 cm is OK 7cm X 7cm also ok, let us talk roughly measurements because I can adjust the weight with more power motors.

    Thanks.
     
  12. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
    9,030
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    I think that you would come out much better if you take the route of suggestion of tierone. The ArduinoMega2560 has the dimensions 10cm by 5cm by 5cm. Its weight is 0.04 Kg.

    The advantage of this choice are:

    - Free development software C-language
    - No special programmer needed
    - Software functions for driving servos is already available.
    - Other library functions are out there.

    Lot of other useful hardware is available.

    hgmjr
     
  13. moderns

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    41
    0
    Really I do not know how to thank you!! So does it have wireless output? Can I control this microcontroller using wireless adapter in my laptop? I would appreciate if you refer me to a tutorial with graphs on how to use it. Thanks.
     
  14. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
    9,030
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    Here is a link to the board on the Arduino website.

    To develop software, all you need to do is download the arduino software onto your PC, plug in the USB cable to the PC and your off and running.

    hgmjr
     
  15. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
    9,030
    214
    Pretty much everything you need is available at the Arduino website. www.arduino.cc

    The Arduino MEGA2560 can be purchased from many different sources. Shop around for the best price. $60 USD is the average price.


    hgmjr
     
  16. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
    9,030
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    You asked about wireless. You can purchase transmitter/receiver modules that can be interfaced to the Arduino MEGA2560.

    Be sure to avoid the mistake a friend of mine made. He used the Arduino Uno board to provide auto assist to landing his RC plane. Everything worked great with the ultrasonic sensor detection of the distance to the ground. It landed flawlessly but he realised he forgot to provide an engine shutdown function as he watched it land and then head straight for the wall.

    hgmjr
     
  17. moderns

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    41
    0
    Thanks man really! So how can I know that the transmitter/receiver is compatible with the Arduino MEGA2560? They do not mention on them :(

    Thanks for the advice about your friend, you think the board he used better than the MEGA2560? Does the MEGA provide the landing auto assist?

    appreciate your efforts helping me :)
     
  18. moderns

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    41
    0
    Thanks a lot, very useful and you saved my time as I was confused because there are thousand of microcontrollers and hard to decide!
     
  19. moderns

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    41
    0
    I think the difference between the MEGA and UNO is that MEGA has got more pins? Any difference in functionality? The UNO can't work out with me? Thanks.
     
  20. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
    9,030
    214
    The Arduino Uno does not contain enough IO lines to handle all of the things that you want to support.

    The Arduino MEGA2560 has a lot more IO than the Arduino Uno. I have played with servos connected to the Arduino Uno and I happen to know that the servo software utility that is available for free can support a maximum of 8 servos at the same time.

    My friend wrote the auto landing software himself. It was his first effort so he learned the hard way that you have to pay close attention to details. There is a lot of $$$ at stake so the maximum in due dilligence is called for.

    hgmjr
     
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