Wind Turbine Microcontroller Help!

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by jaypooner, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. jaypooner

    Thread Starter New Member

    Oct 20, 2010
    Hey guys, I'm a senior at a University of California, and I'm working on a wind turbine control system for my Senior Design Project. I'm pretty <snip> new to microcontrollers, which is what we'll be using, so I'm asking for some help here.

    Our team only has to worry about the microcontroller and the chip board. We will need a microcontroller with at least 20 inputs (digital, probably), and some outputs for actuators. It needs internet access.

    Now, here is where you guys come in. I have no idea where to start looking. When can I go to learn about microcontrollers, and where do I look for them? Thanks a lot!
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2010
  2. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
    316 is a good start.

    You can shop for uC's that have your desired inputs and outputs, and that have on-board ethernet.

    There are appnotes and forums that will show you the way.

    Choosing a coding language and learning that language will be the most challenging part of the project.
  3. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
    Have you not taken any course related to microcontrollers before you decide to use it in a Senior Design Project. Or your professor told you to do so. That sounds very unlikely to me. Anyway your University must have some development tools. So my advice is to use the same microcontroller brand.
  4. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
    If most everyone is new to the world of micro controllers as a group I would suggest using a BasicSTAMP then. It is equal to the other micros but uses a basic compiler, so, even in your group at least ONE person should have some familiarity with the basic programing lang.

    The one drawback I see with the "STAMP" brand is the large price per chip, but in your case I think the programming lang being basic will help your project along
  5. wannaBinventor

    Active Member

    Apr 8, 2010
    I'd be interested to hear just what all you are controlling with the micro.

    I use Microchip's PIC microcontrollers in assembly language, but it is tedious at times. A lot of beginners seem to talk about how much they like Arduinos, though I have not used them. They seem targeted torwards beginners/hobbyists and there is a lot of stuff openly available for it. I think it is programmed in C.
  6. John P

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2008
    Needs Internet access? If you want a microcontroller to do that, you're out of the student-project area. You could consider having a laptop computer attached to the system to do the Internet part, and have the controller talk to it. But if it all has to be done by one microcontroller, I don't think it's realistic.
  7. blueroomelectronics

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jul 22, 2007
    The PIC18F67J60 seems it would fit the bill.
  8. jaypooner

    Thread Starter New Member

    Oct 20, 2010
    Sorry for the late reply. My group has found two candidates:

    -TI MSP430
    -Siemens C501

    No, we have not taken any courses involving microcontrollers. I am familiar with C, however, so we will make sure whatever we choose in the end will be programmable in that.

    wannaBinventor, we will need to be able to sense the wind direction, wind speed, rotor angle, etc. and then be able to control the nacel yaw, blade direction etc. Very basic turbine functions.

    John P, that is actually something that we want to do. For testing, we might need to connect to a laptop or PC to feed in dummy numbers, to see if the turbine would react correctly, as we are aiming to run the turbine autonomously.

    blueroom, I will look into that MC, thanks.
  9. GetDeviceInfo

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 7, 2009