Help choosing a microcontroller

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by rock94, Jun 9, 2013.

  1. rock94

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 12, 2013
    I'm going to learn microcontroller programming and I'm confused as to which controller/board to buy.I would like something that's good for beginners and easy to learn without sacrificing on functionality.I've worked a lot with analog electronics before and but this is the first time I'm going to work with this.There are many boards available and I really do not know the pros or cons of any of them.I've been looking at the Arduino boards and there are a few options among them as well(duemilanove,leonardo,R3). Also there are the AVR ones.Are there any other good ones too? So any help here would be greatly appreciated. ​
  2. LDC3

    Active Member

    Apr 27, 2013
    I think the best question to start with is "What do you want to do with the MCU?"
    If you just want to learn about the use of the MCUs, as a hobby or exploring what they are capable of, then any of the MCUs that have a large user community would do. Which means that if the MCU has a development board for it, there is likely a user group that can help you when you have problems.
    If you have a specific project that needs a MCU, then you need to look at the needs of the project and the specification of the MCUs to find out if the MCU can handle your situation. I don't think anyone would use an 8-pin PIC for monitoring 20 digital signals.
    Actually the MCU doesn't need to do all the requirements for the project since there are support ICs that can do the tasks.
  3. MrChips


    Oct 2, 2009
  4. rkrutz


    Dec 2, 2009
    If you are just looking at playing around with something to get your feet wet the Arduino family is a good place to start because of the wealth of info you can find online. That said deciding which version to get really depends on what you want to do as others have said. In my lab I start everyone off with the Arduino Uno or Duemilanove since for most basic projects they have enough pins and are around $30. If you are looking at needing something with more I/O then move up to the Mega.

    As MrChips suggested the MSP430 Launchpad is another option, which is very reasonable and pretty good to use. However if you are a beginner to microcontrollers I could see some of it being a little more difficult to grasp.

    I have used both in the past as well as PICs from Microchip and from what I have found is that Arduino provides the most support.
    sq-aristo likes this.