Suggestions for Microcontroller Starter Kits

Thread Starter

mghg13

Joined Jul 17, 2013
62
Hello Guys,

I'm new to microprocessors and microcontrollers. I am willing to learn using a microcontroller and develop projects on my own. However I don't know with what microcontroller kit to start. Can you guys please help me by suggesting some ideas?

I searched a bit about starter kits for beginners and found that many people recommend the arduino development kit. I found a very interesting one on ebay. Here is the link:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/UNO-R3-Star...411?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2342fb10a3

The kit comes with many components ready for use in projects. The seller also provides many learning lessons and schematics of simple projects. What do you guys think about it? I would like to get some of your opinions befor buying.

Thanks
 

Thread Starter

mghg13

Joined Jul 17, 2013
62
You have to decide which type of processors etc, Arduino, Picmicro, Atmel AVR etc.
What language exposure you have.
Pic http://www.winpicprog.co.uk/pic_tutorial.htm
Max.
I am currently learning about microprocessors at university. I use the 8085 uP.
I am learning how to program in assembly language.

However I don't have any microcontroller programming background. That's why I'm requesting some suggestions.
 

ScottWang

Joined Aug 23, 2012
7,237
What's the purpose, for yourself, for school, just for fun?
Do you just want to learn asm language or including c?
For some deeper and good start in asm and hardware, you can choose 8051, for fun and general applications can be choose arduino, it also can be study more deeper in AVR.
 

ErnieM

Joined Apr 24, 2011
8,308
I'm partial to the Microchip PICkit 3 and dev board but then I'm a Microchip user. This has the advantage of a wired tested board and programmer (which also works as an in-circuit debugger) along with tutorials in both assembly and C. (The Microchip compilers all have free versions.)

This will teach you the basic things: read a button, light a LED, read a voltage, and comes with a prototype area so you can solder down other parts if you wish to one day.

The Basic Stamp has something similar in a kit called something like "So what's a microcontroller?" Radio Shack once sold it.

I am not an Arduino user but hear good things about them. The kit sure comes with lots of parts to tinker with. Of course, one cannot comment about the lessons as they are not for download, but one could hope they are not in Chinengligh. It would appear to have good value for the cost.
 
Last edited:

yuanan00157

Joined Oct 20, 2014
4
Usually, learn 80C51 is the base .It is 8 bits microprocessor.
Then,you can change AVRs or PICs.They series involve 8 bits microprocessor ,16 bits microprocessor and 32 bits microprocessor .they have more high running speed and more function hardware to 80C51.They usually used for industry .
And,you can study STM32,ARM,and soon .
Asm language is important ,if you want use advanced microprocessor for big program .c language is essential .
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
8,389
I am not an Arduino user but hear good things about them. The kit sure comes with lots of parts to tinker with. Of course, one cannot comment about the lessons as they are not for download, nut one could hope they are not in Chinengligh. It would appear to have good value for the cost.
First, I did not use the Arduino kit. But I am an Arduino user. I decided to comment, because I know the documentation is not in Chinglish. It is very clear. And there is great support online. Http://www.arduino.cc/
 

takao21203

Joined Apr 28, 2012
3,702
such a kit can be useful for beginners, while they are usually expensive, buying the parts on their own would take you quite a long while to find good deals. So just in order to save time, its not bad advice just to buy the parts as a kit.

most LEDs actually cost between less than one cent and about 3 cents, but if you buy kits or smaller amounts, you must also consider the efforts it takes to count them, advertise them, store them, to test them and to wrap them.

That's why smaller amounts of LEDs are more expensive. The bulk price for these LEDs is probably just 30 cents they arent even high intensity LEDs.

It's amazing how much money people are paying for electric parts (I do sell on ebay actually), but after all, considering the efforts for instance to pack such a kit and to stockpile the parts, margins are thin, believe me, and the prices charged are often appropiate.

It's just kindof, from a bulk stockpile of LEDs, I could get much more LEDs, better ones, and cheaper too.

Simply the reason to use superbright LEDs is they can live with much smaller currents, so batteries last longer.
 

shteii01

Joined Feb 19, 2010
4,644
Usually, learn 80C51 is the base .It is 8 bits microprocessor.
Then,you can change AVRs or PICs.They series involve 8 bits microprocessor ,16 bits microprocessor and 32 bits microprocessor .they have more high running speed and more function hardware to 80C51.They usually used for industry .
I respectfully disagree. My uC class used 8051, in dev board form, so I did not have to provide any parts, programmer. My senior design project I used Arduino board because it came with free programming environment and free "programmer". If I tried to setup 8051 on my own, I would have spent a lot more money and time.
 

Thread Starter

mghg13

Joined Jul 17, 2013
62
What's the purpose, for yourself, for school, just for fun?
Do you just want to learn asm language or including c?
For some deeper and good start in asm and hardware, you can choose 8051, for fun and general applications can be choose arduino, it also can be study more deeper in AVR.
I am currently learning assembly language to program the 8085 uP. But the course does not include microcontrollers.
So I want to complement my knowledge on microprocessors with some basics of microcontrollers. And for some fun also.

BTW I already have a background in C and C++ programming.
 

Thread Starter

mghg13

Joined Jul 17, 2013
62
Did you check the link in post#2?
Max.
yeah I checked it Max. But the problem is that I'll have to construct all the circuits by myself. I won't be able to get these components locally.
There are no local sellers of such electronics components in my country. I'll have to order from ebay each time I need some thing.
That's why I wanted to get a starter kit that is shipped with some components ready for making simple projects.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
25,459
There are ready made prototype/programming boards by Microchip are Picdem2 Plus, they have 18, 28, 40 pin sockets connected to several peripherals.
And provide sample programs in assy and C for the boards.
You can pick them up on ebay.
Also Olimex make some.
Max.
 

ScottWang

Joined Aug 23, 2012
7,237
I am currently learning assembly language to program the 8085 uP. But the course does not include microcontrollers.
So I want to complement my knowledge on microprocessors with some basics of microcontrollers. And for some fun also.

BTW I already have a background in C and C++ programming.
Whatever the 8085 uP or 8051 uC, their conception to me are the same, 8085 just a part of uC and the uC is the chip with completed functions for the applications.

You can easily to using c to get into the arduino to play with many applications directly, and in another way to study 8051 to build your asm and the background of hardware, you may study 74HC181 first, it's a ALU to let you know more about how the uP works in math.
 

takao21203

Joined Apr 28, 2012
3,702
Whatever the 8085 uP or 8051 uC, their conception to me are the same, 8085 just a part of uC and the uC is the chip with completed functions for the applications.

You can easily to using c to get into the arduino to play with many applications directly, and in another way to study 8051 to build your asm and the background of hardware, you may study 74HC181 first, it's a ALU to let you know more about how the uP works in math.
8085 and 8051 dont have much in common.

Arduino is nice but indeed, there is not so much on the PCB, besides a voltage regulator (which in most cases you dont need), a USB bootloader (which you dont need either if you have a programmer module), and some LEDs (normally you dont need them too).

You get some libraries but they arent special, just change a few register names and includes, and you can use them for PICs.

However, a beginner doesnt know how to port C, does use 9v batteries, considers a bootloader more comfortable, and likes blinking LEDs.

As a seller, I consider this as interesting, I have already sold Arduinos and Atmel FLASH writers, breadboards, 7805 regulators, NE555 ICs, and stuff like that.

I mean my viewpoint is I dont criticize the way of using breadboards, flywires and 9v batteries, if I can sell these, its just fine for me.

Got some 6502, 8080, and parallel FLASH ICs, they have their customers too.

From a sellers viewpoint, you are just interested in components that sell, or even better sell fast, the others arent interesting at all.

Recently I have researched 8051 actually, it is a MCU which has multiply instructions, and a high number of assembly instructions, so its quite powerful, you need much less instructions amount than on a RISC controller.
 

ScottWang

Joined Aug 23, 2012
7,237
8085 and 8051 dont have much in common.
Indeed, but I already mentioned their difference.

Arduino is nice but indeed, there is not so much on the PCB, besides a voltage regulator (which in most cases you dont need), a USB bootloader (which you dont need either if you have a programmer module), and some LEDs (normally you dont need them too).

However, a beginner doesnt know how to port C, does use 9v batteries, considers a bootloader more comfortable, and likes blinking LEDs.
Arduino is a good stuff for some applications, and the resource are more and more during the internet age, so don't worry the problem of I/O ports even the new starter, I didn't buy the arduino, but I borrowed one from a friend(he went to Italy to met the Arduino designer) to know how it works, and I found it really nice, so I decided to study about it some more, and trying to teach some new starters in a group.

Students build smart devices and scientific instruments with Arduino.

You get some libraries but they arent special, just change a few register names and includes, and you can use them for PICs.
I haven't start to use pic, but I envy it has a small chip as 8 dips, in 8051 series that I can't find it, and it has usb interface that it's easy to communicate with computer, I had a kit made from pic, the size as arduino, it was designed by a Engineer in Taiwan who spent his plenty time to design the lab tools for the other engineers.

As a seller, I consider this as interesting, I have already sold Arduinos and Atmel FLASH writers, breadboards, 7805 regulators, NE555 ICs, and stuff like that.

I mean my viewpoint is I dont criticize the way of using breadboards, flywires and 9v batteries, if I can sell these, its just fine for me.

Got some 6502, 8080, and parallel FLASH ICs, they have their customers too.
I got some 6802 from my previous boss long time ago, 6502 and 8080 that i already abandoned them, I also got some parallel FLASH ICs from old pc mainboard, but they seem damaged.

From a sellers viewpoint, you are just interested in components that sell, or even better sell fast, the others arent interesting at all.
I sold the ee prats before, but now i'm selling the completed products to the schools and companies, but I'm not the designer at this part.

Recently I have researched 8051 actually, it is a MCU which has multiply instructions, and a high number of assembly instructions, so its quite powerful, you need much less instructions amount than on a RISC controller.
8051 series still very papular in Taiwan, specially in the school they teach this chip, but in some other applications that the MicroChip company they doing the training for kits and sell they more cheap to attractive the people who has interested in that to study.
 
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