Forums

Rabbit micros - any good ?

Started by Colin MacDougall March 2, 2004
Hi,

I was thinking of buying a Rabbit Semiconductor evaluation
kit for either the Rabbit 2000 or 3000 range. Has anyone
here had any experience using these micros, and any comments
good, bad or indifferent. The large amount of serial ports
looks quite good and the instruction set doesn't look too
far removed from the Z80. This is not an attempt to canvas
the usual 'micro x is better than micro y' - just interested in
seeing if anyone uses these devices, and what they think and
is the supplied C compiler 'Dynamic C' any use ?

Thanks,

Colin


Colin MacDougall wrote:
> I was thinking of buying a Rabbit Semiconductor > evaluation kit for either the Rabbit 2000 or 3000 > range. Has anyone here had any experience using > these micros, and any comments good, bad or > indifferent.
May I suggest: http://groups.google.com/groups?q=Rabbit+group%3Acomp.arch.embedded.* or http://groups.google.com/groups?q=Dynamic+C+group%3Acomp.arch.embedded.* It's a topic that comes up here regularly. In short... nice product; great value; you will get up & running quickly. It nicely fills the gap for serious hobby-grade stuff short-run production volumes, for a lot less than you could do your own low-volume run. Dynamic C is not ANSI-compliant, so don't be surprised when stuff needs effort to port - this gets a lot of people worked up. If ANSI is important, you can buy a 3rd-party ANSI compiler. There's a Yahoo discussion group you should check out. That'll give you a good feel for the issues real-world users are encountering.
As you surmise, the Rabbit is a Z80 with an embedded Ethernet controller and
a lot of serial ports.  It also comes with a fairly complete development
kit, including "out-of-the-box" networking which is perhaps its biggest
advantage.

The only weakness in my opinion is the Z80.  This was a new chip when I was
in high school, and it's a tough case for high-level language support.
Other possible network chip alternatives are the Motorola Coldfire CF5282
and the accompanying NetBurner development kit, and the various ARM
offerings from NetSilicon.  Both of these come up fast, and they have a
processor core with some real umph.

But if what you need is a quick solution for network connectivity, and you
don't have a requirement for a fast CPU, Rabbit is a good choice.  Everyone
I know who has used one has been very positive.



"Ian McBride" <ianmcbride2003@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:Tvb1c.30890$hm4.12054@newsread3.news.atl.earthlink.net...
> As you surmise, the Rabbit is a Z80 with an embedded Ethernet
controller and
> a lot of serial ports. It also comes with a fairly complete
development
> kit, including "out-of-the-box" networking which is perhaps its
biggest
> advantage.
The Rabbit is more of a Z180 derivative than a Z80 derivative, and the current models (R2000 and R3000) do not have a builtin Ethernet MAC - they use external 8-bit Ethernet controller chips. The CPU does have a bunch of serial channels onboard, but no FIFOs so serial performance is somewhat less that you might expect. The Rabbit hardware is pretty nifty, although the Dynamic C software has traditionally been less pleasant to deal with. Lots of available libraries, and an active discussion forum make this product pretty well supported. Don't plan on using ANSI C external libraries on the Rabbit without spending time (for Dynamic C) or money (for Softools C). Kelly
"Colin MacDougall" <colin |D0T| macdougall@btinternet.com> wrote in message
news:3d71c.1079$Db4.399@news-binary.blueyonder.co.uk...
> Hi, > > I was thinking of buying a Rabbit Semiconductor evaluation > kit for either the Rabbit 2000 or 3000 range. Has anyone > here had any experience using these micros, and any comments > good, bad or indifferent. The large amount of serial ports > looks quite good and the instruction set doesn't look too > far removed from the Z80. This is not an attempt to canvas > the usual 'micro x is better than micro y' - just interested in > seeing if anyone uses these devices, and what they think and > is the supplied C compiler 'Dynamic C' any use ? >
Ya, I've used the Rabbit stuff (both 2000 and 3000 series models.) The google group is solid for technical help. - I started with the 2000 and went up to the 3000 when I needed more serial ports. I've got ethernet, 6 serial ports running, some external 8bit i/o, ppp running via sync serial at 56kbps. - The DC environment is a bit difficult sometimes. Takes some getting used to regarding library inclusion and "include" files. They aren't standard stuff as has been mentioned here. - Tech support from zworld was sketchy. They've been working on it, and it's getting better. - They've recently started charging money for "add ons" like SNMP and PPP. It was free with the premier package prior to 8.x, now it's additional dollars. Not a lot mind you, but some. - Dealing with xmem is a bit tedious. There is only a small amount of root code and data space, and you have to do some funky stuff to use the rest of the address space. There is another toolchain offering from softools that helps that problem a great deal. - For getting to market quick, it's a winner. Good luck. -- Dave
Ian McBride wrote:
> > As you surmise, the Rabbit is a Z80 with an embedded Ethernet > controller and a lot of serial ports. It also comes with a > fairly complete development kit, including "out-of-the-box" > networking which is perhaps its biggest advantage.
Also don't plan on reusing any Z80 or Z180 code. The Rabbit is NOT binary compatible, so you can't use generic CP/M software. -- Chuck F (cbfalconer@yahoo.com) (cbfalconer@worldnet.att.net) Available for consulting/temporary embedded and systems. <http://cbfalconer.home.att.net> USE worldnet address!
> I was thinking of buying a Rabbit Semiconductor evaluation > kit for either the Rabbit 2000 or 3000 range. Has anyone > here had any experience using these micros, and any comments > good, bad or indifferent.
The Rabbit development kits are really good value for money - you can get a system up and working in no time at all. But without wanting to sound contradictory, you get what you pay for - if you don't spend much you cannot expect miracles. Big things in its favour - networking capability + get up and running quickly. Big things not in its favour - Dynamic C. Parts of it look like C, granted. The IDE is particularly difficult if your project contains more than one source file. A "project" is not what you might expect it to be. Expect to spend time learning the peculiarities of the environment in addition to the time normally spent learning a new processor. Have a look at http://www.FreeRTOS.org/PC for a comparison of the Rabbit performance with other low end processors. Richard.
Hi

In the past i did have a look to at the rabbit stuff ,
But i decided to use a Beck IPC (see
http://www.beck-ipc.com/ipc/products/category/index.asp?cat=1&sp=en )

It has a RTOS onboard and you can program it with the old Borland C5.02
You can transfer your exe's over tcpip or serial to the device , its real
16bits with a 512Kbyte flash disk.
Command line (via telnet ) looks like DOS (its not ,its a real RTOS )
Price is affordable i think around 90 ? / piece.

The nice stuff is that you almost don't need any external components to get
it running. !

Johan


"Colin MacDougall" <colin |D0T| macdougall@btinternet.com> wrote in message
news:3d71c.1079$Db4.399@news-binary.blueyonder.co.uk...
> Hi, > > I was thinking of buying a Rabbit Semiconductor evaluation > kit for either the Rabbit 2000 or 3000 range. Has anyone > here had any experience using these micros, and any comments > good, bad or indifferent. The large amount of serial ports > looks quite good and the instruction set doesn't look too > far removed from the Z80. This is not an attempt to canvas > the usual 'micro x is better than micro y' - just interested in > seeing if anyone uses these devices, and what they think and > is the supplied C compiler 'Dynamic C' any use ? > > Thanks, > > Colin > >