Beginner to microcontrollers

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by Mike24, May 6, 2009.

  1. Mike24

    Thread Starter New Member

    May 6, 2009

    I would like to purchase a good development board to practice micro controller programming.

    I'm not exactly sure which one is the best, but I would like to have the ability to program with C and/or Assembly. Size and power consumption is not an issue.

    I'm not concerned about the price as long as it has good features. I would be interested in a board that offers PWM, USB, I/O expansion capabilities, LCD output, analog/digital conversion. In the future, I would like to connect servo motors, sensors, GPS unit and perhaps another microcontroller.

    It would be good if the board is shipped with all the necessary software so that it's ready to be programmed in both Assembly or C.

    I have been looking at the Microchip PIC32 starter kit and the 68HC12 Wytec development boards. But I'm not sure which one to choose.
  2. Arm_n_Legs

    AAC Fanatic!

    Mar 7, 2007
    You may like to try the Silicon Lab 8051 development kits ( The package contains all you need to start off.
  3. XtremeelectroniX

    New Member

    Nov 6, 2008
    If I were you I would strongly recommend you take a look at the following site before you make any decisions!

    I have tried many boards from MICROCHIP but find them only OK....
    I have the EASYPIC 5 and find it brilliant! I got MIKROC C-compiler with it too and find this top class! It comes with examples to do prety much anything you can think of doing with a PIC! You can also get loads of addons to plug into the board too.
    Its realy worth your while checking it out!
    Let me know what you think!
  4. DonQ

    Active Member

    May 6, 2009
    I also have the EASYPIC 5 and although it is very useful, it is far from brilliant.

    Things like mapping the reset of one of the LCDs to the Enable of the other makes using both of them at the same time impossible. Other similar design choices caused me to cut several traces and rewire it to be more useful.

    And how about a plain old schematic?

    The "C" compiler is also not a "C" compiler. Last version I checked did not differentiate between upper and lower case in identifiers. There are a number of other diversions from C that are not in a list anywhere I can find. If you find that normal C things don't work, you may find a note about it in a help file somewhere, but you can not search for differences from normal C.

    Technical help was completely useless. After documenting and sending pictures of several problems, I was told, basically, that none of these problems existed. One, where the drop-down menus were really messed up, on two different computers, and I sent pictures, I was told that they never heard of it before and couldn't recreate it. Somewhat later, someone else sent in the same problem. They said they never heard of it, and couldn't recreate it. When I tried to find my old post, they had deleted it!

    So, as I say, it is useful, but brilliant means something very different to me.
  5. John Luciani

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 3, 2007
    Have you looked at boards based on the ATmega168? There is
    a lot of software and application information for the ATmega168 boards.
    Most people burn an "Arduino" bootloader onto the '168 and use the
    Arduino tools to program the '168 but you just as easily do straight C and Assembler
    using AVR studio (free) from Atmel.

    The ATmega168 has I/O expansion through I2C or SPI, UART (which is
    usually converted to USB through an FTDI chip), A/D converters and PWM
    channels. A character LCD can be easily added using seven digital lines.

    The development boards that I make are at I have
    a '168 board, LCD board and a prototyping board. The schematics for the boards are in the datasheets. The software examples are in the application hints

    (* jcl *)
  6. nanovate

    Distinguished Member

    May 7, 2007
    ---So if you have a problem/question then you know where to get the answer ;)
  7. eblc1388

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 28, 2008

    I'm impressed by the datasheet of your kit. It is done to such a professional level that are rarely seen today.

    The PDF content is bookmarked , with clickable links and hints/explanation in place to help the builder along.

    I would recommend anyone interested in kit building to take a look here to see for yourself how it is presented.

    datasheet is located here

    Here is a clip:

  8. John Luciani

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 3, 2007

    Thanks for the kind words. I am glad you liked the datasheet.

    I use LaTeX and a series of scripts to produce the datasheets.
    A Makefile calls scripts to generate the schematic and layout
    prints as well as the BOM.

    (* jcl *)
  9. rajbex

    New Member

    Nov 2, 2009
  10. BMorse

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 26, 2009
  11. fabelizer

    New Member

    Mar 7, 2009
    Quick, simple serial programming, supported by AVR Studio4. I have found it to be a great learning tool. and for ~$20 USD how can you go wrong! 100 segment LCD, on board temp and light sensing (with additional CDR), a speaker, and simple output interfaces by adding headers.

    It is the quick and cheap way to go IMHO.:)