Which uC (Microcontroller)? - discussion

millwood

Joined Dec 31, 1969
0
PICs have better resistance to interference, and longer history than other mcus.

I do think the 8/16-bit market is going to see a sea change in the next few years, primarily on the new design front, as more capable 32-bit chips get cheaper.
 

horsedorf

Joined Jul 15, 2009
5
My only real complaint about the pic processor is the instruction set. I hve programmed allll kinds of mcu's over the years. Some have been really nice to work with, meaning, it's easy to implement what you want in assembler, other's have been.. difficult. Pic falls into the difficult class since there are certain things it will do that you have to be careful about when programming in assembler, mostly in the area of being aware of page boundaries in the code.

Other than that, i have found them easy to use, relatively trouble free and easy to interface to.

I do, however, really REALLY like arm processors. But then, it's because I am familiar with them.
 

russ_hensel

Joined Jan 11, 2009
825
I have been mulling this over for awhile and have deciced that all thing considered a beginner should use a simple system with fairly limited choices that includes a development board and an IDE with a high level language. This comes out to be the Arduino.

I have written this up at

http://www.opencircuits.com/Microcontrollers_for_Beginners

You can read the position as it now stands there. It is a wiki so you can add support or discuss other options.

I have also added some external links including a link back to this thread.
 

russ_hensel

Joined Jan 11, 2009
825
Yes but -- user would have to pick the PIC, pick a particular one.... deicide to use the compiler.... get and use a programmer.

My point is not which is best but what is best for a beginner.

Because it is more flexible there are a lot of decisions that have to be made which can be overload for a beginner.

I wrote this because so many beginners with a tiny amount of electronics background want to try microcontrollers.

My processor of choice is the PIC 18F family, programming in C.
 

Thread Starter

thatoneguy

Joined Feb 19, 2009
6,359
I have been mulling this over for awhile and have deciced that all thing considered a beginner should use a simple system with fairly limited choices that includes a development board and an IDE with a high level language. This comes out to be the Arduino.

I have written this up at

http://www.opencircuits.com/Microcontrollers_for_Beginners

You can read the position as it now stands there. It is a wiki so you can add support or discuss other options.

I have also added some external links including a link back to this thread.
It looks good. If you have the time/energy, you might want to do a compre/contrast with Arduino, PicAxe, and a Basic Stamp kit, covering price, features, and "program-ability" for beginners. Lots of people ask "which one", which is the reason I started this topic, and even when you get to the dev boards, the same question remains.
 

RiJoRI

Joined Aug 15, 2007
536
I find another factor for those just starting with a micro board is the "Newbie-Friendliness" of forums that support the micro. There is a world of difference between "Use the freakin' SEARCH command" and "Using the SEARCH command, I found the following. These are just a few references to get you started."

--Rich
 

dhimullai

Joined Apr 29, 2010
1
Hi To all;

The main difference between PIC and AVR is the operating speed, comparing ATMega32 and PIC16f877A, Mega32 is 20MIPS while 18F877 is 5MIPS, but they all same none is a real time processing so, its better to use of these. For a good embedded programmer they need to keep their options open regarding microcontroller.

necessity is mother of invention.,
Select the microcontroller based on the specification you need.
 

dsp_redux

Joined Apr 11, 2009
182
I agree that many project using uCs are using them as state machines, where GAL/PAL/FPGA would be a better choices. To problem with FPGAs for a hobbyist is that you absolutely need to build your hardware first, then, depending of the FPGA used (but more often than not), you are stuck paying a professional boardhouse to make your PCB and even then, FPGAs have many pins (too much for a simple project). But then, the state machine can be created SO easily with VHDL/Verilog.
 

hgmjr

Joined Jan 28, 2005
9,029
Yes but -- user would have to pick the PIC, pick a particular one.... deicide to use the compiler.... get and use a programmer.

My point is not which is best but what is best for a beginner.

Because it is more flexible there are a lot of decisions that have to be made which can be overload for a beginner.

I wrote this because so many beginners with a tiny amount of electronics background want to try microcontrollers.

My processor of choice is the PIC 18F family, programming in C.
Kudos Russ,

I reviewed your wiki presentation on Arduino. I completely agree with your recommendation of the Arduino as the ideal entry point into the world of microcontrollers for beginners. I have used the Arduino Duemilanove and found it to be very user friendly. The "Help" utility included with the software development tool is reasonably helpful. I really like the availability of the Arduino Software Library. I like that the Arduino Duemilanove is designed to be powered off the USB port or a user-provided DC power supply. It even auto-switches from the USB over to the user-provided power supply when the power supply is connected.

hgmjr
 

Potato Pudding

Joined Jun 11, 2010
688
I agree that many project using uCs are using them as state machines, where GAL/PAL/FPGA would be a better choices. To problem with FPGAs for a hobbyist is that you absolutely need to build your hardware first, then, depending of the FPGA used (but more often than not), you are stuck paying a professional boardhouse to make your PCB and even then, FPGAs have many pins (too much for a simple project). But then, the state machine can be created SO easily with VHDL/Verilog.

I am worried that I going at it from the wrong direction but in looking at options for getting started with μCs I am stumbling towards Actel FPGA's. It is just a flukey choice.

I have no particular reason to choose these over more standard μC's. I have no experience in VHDL or Libero but I would say the same about any other languages. While I have programmed in Basic, Assembly(Debug bitbashing), PASCAL, some batch files and macro languages, I am not really a programmer. I am starting out.

I like whole technology of the FPGA, being able to say I have several thousand devices and I get to program how they are connected and what types of logic gates I need.

Looking at the major chip fabs with market share, Xilinx and Altmera seem to be more at the high end so that Actel has a solid Niche in the low end - and the low end has been catching up to the high end so that I would have a hard time creating a project that I couldn't do with Actel chips. By the time I get to that point I think their chips will have advanced again to stay ahead of me.

I am starting to look ahead at the Fusion technology. The ability to program for mixed signals seems interesting, but this is something that DAC ADC equipped μC can do too?

Anyways, thanks everyone for this discussion because I am looking for this type of guidance.
 

KMoffett

Joined Dec 19, 2007
2,799
No wonder I'm confuse most of the time. I don't go back to other threads people have posted in. ;)

Ken

Looks like someone deleted the post I was responding to.
 
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