Best microcontroller for hobby use?

Thread Starter

Rohit31

Joined Jan 1, 2021
1
I've been watching YouTube channels such as Applied Science: guys who are pushing the boundaries of what can be accomplished in a garage shop. It really wants to make me step up my hacker game. My "day job" is industrial mechanic in a chemical plant.
I kind of want to put Arduino on the shelf and learn one microcontroller really well.
When I was school we programmed PICs, so maybe that's the natural choice. I was kind of thinking of the SAMD21, though. Adafruit has the Feather boards, and if I really want to whip up something quick I can still use Arduino or even MicroPython. I think I like the idea of that flexibility: a high level language for a non-critical application, and C for something timing sensitive or resource intensive. It has been a couple years since I have written any C code, but no doubt it's like riding a bike, hahaha.
I have maybe 100 hours of experience with the ESP32 and didn't find a way that I liked to program it. Eventually I started to learn RTOS and came to the conclusion that I didn't like it.
There are so, so many microcontrollers and dev boards out there. What do you suggest?
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
23,515
You need to look at the IDE software required to program the chip. Of course, everyone wants the sw to be free.

For that reason, my recommendation would be STM32.
Look at getting a Nucleo board or a Discovery board.
 

KeithWalker

Joined Jul 10, 2017
1,778
It depends on what you want to do with the microprocessor. If you are just interested in programming, then one of the development boards or a Raspberry-pi would be ideal. If you want to build gadgets incorporating microprocessors, then ATmel or PIC microcontrollers are a better choice. I personally use whatever fits my requirements at the time, learning whatever I need to make it work. They are all well documented.
 

BobaMosfet

Joined Jul 1, 2009
1,768
I've been watching YouTube channels such as Applied Science: guys who are pushing the boundaries of what can be accomplished in a garage shop. It really wants to make me step up my hacker game. My "day job" is industrial mechanic in a chemical plant.
I kind of want to put Arduino on the shelf and learn one microcontroller really well.
When I was school we programmed PICs, so maybe that's the natural choice. I was kind of thinking of the SAMD21, though. Adafruit has the Feather boards, and if I really want to whip up something quick I can still use Arduino or even MicroPython. I think I like the idea of that flexibility: a high level language for a non-critical application, and C for something timing sensitive or resource intensive. It has been a couple years since I have written any C code, but no doubt it's like riding a bike, hahaha.
I have maybe 100 hours of experience with the ESP32 and didn't find a way that I liked to program it. Eventually I started to learn RTOS and came to the conclusion that I didn't like it.
There are so, so many microcontrollers and dev boards out there. What do you suggest?
Pick the one that makes sense to you, and you can afford.
 

John P

Joined Oct 14, 2008
1,897
This is like asking "Which car should I buy?" Even if you had lots of money there wouldn't be a clear answer to that. It depends on what you want it for. Accomplishing huge tasks at blinding speed? Being ready to face a wide variety of future applications, or want to specialize? Want to favor simplicity of use, or ease of programming, or keep the cost absolutely minimal? You just have to decide what's important and make a choice.
 
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