Microcontrollers for Beginners #2; Books and Pictures

Well, a lot of views for my first post, and I'm very grateful and happy some people have found it useful! Even rated 5 stars!

What I'll do is address any questions I recieve, by PM, email, on the forums or even as a comment at the beginning and then add the new post.

Questions from #1:

1. Is LFEBS12UB backwards compatible - ie, with XP or Vista?

The important thing to remember is that the board itself should be compatible with any computer with a port. It's the compiler, the program you install on your computer to program the microcontroller which may or may not work with your operating system. I got in touch with Freescale, and they say that the earliest version of Codewarrior (the software needed to program Freescale microcontrollers) which works with HCS12 (the type of microcontroller on the board) is V4.1. This does work with XP, so I presume that later versions of Codewarrior will work on Vista too. As I said in post #1, Freescale support is fantastic.

2. What made you choose LFEBS12UB over more popular demo boards and companies?

A combination of several things. The first is Freescale's support. As far as I'm aware, no other manufacturer provides live technical support for free - microchip, Arduino, AVR, etc, it's only Freescale which does this. For a beginner like me, I need someone who knows what to do to be able to help me quickly and this is what Freescale offers.

Second, is that Freescale seems to have a smaller selection of microcontrollers than, for example, microchip. To have a quick look at what PICs microchip offers, I just see a massive list of part numbers and this (for me) was quite daunting. There is literally no place to start, and I wasn't prepared to spend hours upon hours doing research when I wanted to start doing some programing!

Third, I wanted to try something different. There's alot of stuff of the internet about AVR, PIC, etc, but that's more geared towards people who already have some experience. But I want to learn how to fend for myself. :) I worried that if I got over the initial hurdle, then it would be too easy for me to find code, which would allow me to think less. If I stick with something a bit more 'obscure', then I'll need to think and program for myself!


#2, Books and Pictures

Well my first book arrived today - "Microcontroller Theory and Applications, HC12 & S12" 2nd edition by Daniel J Pack and Steven F Barrett. Obviously, I can't give a complete review of the whole book yet, but I think it should be a good start. It's geared towards students learning microcontroller theory and applications (durrr ;)), so I presume it will be great for me!

It even comes with its own compiler, which I've been told only works with 32bit computers - so if you have XP or 32bit Vista, then you've got a choice of Codewarrior or the software which comes with the book! Lucky you!

I have 64bit Windows 7, so I only have the one choice of Codewarrior. Ah well, but I might give the book's software a try, and see if it does work. I'll let you know next post.

I'll probably stick with Codewarrior, because it has way more support, but the book appears to not be reliant on its own software, which is good.

Now, onto some pictures to show you what you get for your cash. First picture here shows what you get in the LFEBS12UB kit:

Contents are clockwise from top left; Codewarrior compiler, education guides and documentation CD, documentation, power supply and various plug sockets, RS323 cable, pre-cut wires for the breadboard, and the demo board itself.

Here's a close up of the board;

What you get in the LFEBS12UBLAB kit;

Contents clockwise from top left; Documentation, lamp, relay, motor, rotary encoder, LCD, keypad, potentiometer.

And finally, the book with CD;

Well, I'm off to read through the start of the book now! I'll post again as soon as there's some information which is worth posting!

Any more questions, about this post or any previous, send them to me in a pm or as a comment here and I'll do my best to help you! Please let me know what post you are asking about.

Thanks for reading,


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