Forums

Advice on switching microntrollers

Started by Unknown October 21, 2005
Ok, flamewar time I guess.

I am looking to explore new microcontrollers because the ones I have
under my belt are coming up short for what I need.  I have a lot of
experience with the 16 series of PICs from Microchip, I have played
with basic Stamps (I, II, SX), some experience with Motorola's HC11,
HC12 and HC16 series.  Currently I use Atmel's AVR (Atmega128) at work.
 But in trying to branch out and find a better or at least alternate
choice I turn to the advice of those who already have experience with
something else.

My requirements are:
*External interrupts
*PWM outputs (everything I've used so far has done these with hardware
timers.  seems nice)
*ADC inputs 8 bit resolution minimum, 10 or 12 bits nice.
*I2C or whatever that manufacturer likes to call it.  Atmel calls it
TWI so they don't have to pay license fees to Philips or something.
*UART(s)
*hardware SPI
*JTAG nice but not required
*CAN support would be VERY nice but not absolutely required
*In circuit serially programmable
*Support for a secondary external crystal (32KHz for timekeeping)
*C friendly (and no, PICs do NOT fit this...)  As a side note, GCC
compatible is a BIG plus.  Paying out the nose for 3rd party compilers
is a killer.
*SMALL!!!  I'd like to keep it smaller than an Atmega128 which is
64TQFP at 16x16mm.
*Low power (sleep modes are good).  We're trying to stay below 10-20 mA
for full speed execution and <1mA for a sleep or low power mode.

My coworker would also like a cheap/free set of programming and debug
IDEs for it.  I have experience with MPLab from Microchip and AVRStudio
from Atmel so anything that good or better would be fine.  Just
something graphical to step through code, set breakpoints, simulate,
etc.

So anything not made of unobtanium that you guys would recommend?
Thanks!
-Will

larkmore@aol.com wrote:

> Ok, flamewar time I guess. > > I am looking to explore new microcontrollers because the ones I have > under my belt are coming up short for what I need. I have a lot of > experience with the 16 series of PICs from Microchip, I have played > with basic Stamps (I, II, SX), some experience with Motorola's HC11, > HC12 and HC16 series. Currently I use Atmel's AVR (Atmega128) at work. > But in trying to branch out and find a better or at least alternate > choice I turn to the advice of those who already have experience with > something else. > > My requirements are: > *External interrupts > *PWM outputs (everything I've used so far has done these with hardware > timers. seems nice) > *ADC inputs 8 bit resolution minimum, 10 or 12 bits nice. > *I2C or whatever that manufacturer likes to call it. Atmel calls it > TWI so they don't have to pay license fees to Philips or something. > *UART(s) > *hardware SPI > *JTAG nice but not required > *CAN support would be VERY nice but not absolutely required > *In circuit serially programmable > *Support for a secondary external crystal (32KHz for timekeeping) > *C friendly (and no, PICs do NOT fit this...) As a side note, GCC > compatible is a BIG plus. Paying out the nose for 3rd party compilers > is a killer. > *SMALL!!! I'd like to keep it smaller than an Atmega128 which is > 64TQFP at 16x16mm. > *Low power (sleep modes are good). We're trying to stay below 10-20 mA > for full speed execution and <1mA for a sleep or low power mode. > > My coworker would also like a cheap/free set of programming and debug > IDEs for it. I have experience with MPLab from Microchip and AVRStudio > from Atmel so anything that good or better would be fine. Just > something graphical to step through code, set breakpoints, simulate, > etc. > > So anything not made of unobtanium that you guys would recommend? > Thanks! > -Will
I don't see what you have against unobtainium. It is a wonderful material. It's just a shame it's so expensive. ;> Have you looked at the MSP430 series from TI? Quite a bit of your requirements list covered (although I think not all). 14 bit ADC's on some processors in the family 12 bit on others. -- ******************************************************************** Paul E. Bennett ....................<email://peb@amleth.demon.co.uk> Forth based HIDECS Consultancy .....<http://www.amleth.demon.co.uk/> Mob: +44 (0)7811-639972 Tel: +44 (0)1235-811095 Going Forth Safely ....EBA. http://www.electric-boat-association.org.uk/ ********************************************************************
larkmore@aol.com wrote:
> Ok, flamewar time I guess. > > I am looking to explore new microcontrollers because the ones I have > under my belt are coming up short for what I need. I have a lot of > experience with the 16 series of PICs from Microchip, I have played > with basic Stamps (I, II, SX), some experience with Motorola's HC11, > HC12 and HC16 series. Currently I use Atmel's AVR (Atmega128) at work. > But in trying to branch out and find a better or at least alternate > choice I turn to the advice of those who already have experience with > something else. > > My requirements are: > *External interrupts > *PWM outputs (everything I've used so far has done these with hardware > timers. seems nice) > *ADC inputs 8 bit resolution minimum, 10 or 12 bits nice. > *I2C or whatever that manufacturer likes to call it. Atmel calls it > TWI so they don't have to pay license fees to Philips or something. > *UART(s) > *hardware SPI > *JTAG nice but not required > *CAN support would be VERY nice but not absolutely required > *In circuit serially programmable > *Support for a secondary external crystal (32KHz for timekeeping) > *C friendly (and no, PICs do NOT fit this...) As a side note, GCC > compatible is a BIG plus. Paying out the nose for 3rd party compilers > is a killer. > *SMALL!!! I'd like to keep it smaller than an Atmega128 which is > 64TQFP at 16x16mm. > *Low power (sleep modes are good). We're trying to stay below 10-20 mA > for full speed execution and <1mA for a sleep or low power mode. > > My coworker would also like a cheap/free set of programming and debug > IDEs for it. I have experience with MPLab from Microchip and AVRStudio > from Atmel so anything that good or better would be fine. Just > something graphical to step through code, set breakpoints, simulate, > etc. > > So anything not made of unobtanium that you guys would recommend? > Thanks! > -Will
Since you already have a reasonable range of 8 bit uC's, there would seem little point adding another one. just to get a learnng curve.... I'd look at the ARM families, Philips presently have the cheapest/smallest start at $1.50, and Atmel have ones with Ethernet. Pretty much everyone makes some ARMxx variant, including Freescale and TI. -jg
Hello Will,

> Ok, flamewar time I guess. >
Nah. Just different opinions. I'd side with Paul. The MSP430 series is really nice and their ALU runs at 16 bits. Almost feels like getting into that new V8, including the financial pain that comes with that. Don't expect them to be much under a Dollar for the bar bones versions, no matter what TI marketeers claim. Once you want ADC and some other niceties expect to pay over $2. So, right now they can't play in the Atmel price range.
> *PWM outputs (everything I've used so far has done these with hardware > timers. seems nice)
All uC I have seen so far do it in hardware timers, or not at all. The MSP is geared nicely here but again it uses the timer. For truly dedicated PWM you need to look at DSP.
> *Low power (sleep modes are good). We're trying to stay below 10-20 mA > for full speed execution and <1mA for a sleep or low power mode. >
This is where the MSP430 truly excels. I don't know if any other uC can go that low in power. They even have a mode where you can keep a RTC running yet it sips only a couple uA or so. Regards, Joerg http://www.analogconsultants.com
<larkmore@aol.com> wrote in message 
news:1129920901.570443.220600@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> Ok, flamewar time I guess. > > I am looking to explore new microcontrollers because the ones I have > under my belt are coming up short for what I need. I have a lot of > experience with the 16 series of PICs from Microchip, I have played > with basic Stamps (I, II, SX), some experience with Motorola's HC11, > HC12 and HC16 series. Currently I use Atmel's AVR (Atmega128) at work. > But in trying to branch out and find a better or at least alternate > choice I turn to the advice of those who already have experience with > something else. > > My requirements are: > *External interrupts > *PWM outputs (everything I've used so far has done these with hardware > timers. seems nice) > *ADC inputs 8 bit resolution minimum, 10 or 12 bits nice. > *I2C or whatever that manufacturer likes to call it. Atmel calls it > TWI so they don't have to pay license fees to Philips or something. > *UART(s) > *hardware SPI > *JTAG nice but not required > *CAN support would be VERY nice but not absolutely required > *In circuit serially programmable > *Support for a secondary external crystal (32KHz for timekeeping) > *C friendly (and no, PICs do NOT fit this...) As a side note, GCC > compatible is a BIG plus. Paying out the nose for 3rd party compilers > is a killer. > *SMALL!!! I'd like to keep it smaller than an Atmega128 which is > 64TQFP at 16x16mm. > *Low power (sleep modes are good). We're trying to stay below 10-20 mA > for full speed execution and <1mA for a sleep or low power mode. > > My coworker would also like a cheap/free set of programming and debug > IDEs for it. I have experience with MPLab from Microchip and AVRStudio > from Atmel so anything that good or better would be fine. Just > something graphical to step through code, set breakpoints, simulate, > etc. > > So anything not made of unobtanium that you guys would recommend? > Thanks! > -Will >
NEC V850 series. Unfortunately the tools I used were Greenhills. Expensive crap, but V850 might be supported by GCC now. John
Somewhere on usenet Fri, 21 Oct 2005 22:41:51 +0100, John B wrote:

> > <larkmore@aol.com> wrote in message > news:1129920901.570443.220600@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com... >> Ok, flamewar time I guess. >> >> I am looking to explore new microcontrollers because the ones I have >> under my belt are coming up short for what I need. I have a lot of >> experience with the 16 series of PICs from Microchip, I have played >> with basic Stamps (I, II, SX), some experience with Motorola's HC11, >> HC12 and HC16 series. Currently I use Atmel's AVR (Atmega128) at work. >> But in trying to branch out and find a better or at least alternate >> choice I turn to the advice of those who already have experience with >> something else. >> >> My requirements are: >> *External interrupts >> *PWM outputs (everything I've used so far has done these with hardware >> timers. seems nice) >> *ADC inputs 8 bit resolution minimum, 10 or 12 bits nice. >> *I2C or whatever that manufacturer likes to call it. Atmel calls it >> TWI so they don't have to pay license fees to Philips or something. >> *UART(s) >> *hardware SPI >> *JTAG nice but not required >> *CAN support would be VERY nice but not absolutely required >> *In circuit serially programmable >> *Support for a secondary external crystal (32KHz for timekeeping) >> *C friendly (and no, PICs do NOT fit this...) As a side note, GCC >> compatible is a BIG plus. Paying out the nose for 3rd party compilers >> is a killer. >> *SMALL!!! I'd like to keep it smaller than an Atmega128 which is >> 64TQFP at 16x16mm. >> *Low power (sleep modes are good). We're trying to stay below 10-20 mA >> for full speed execution and <1mA for a sleep or low power mode. >> >> My coworker would also like a cheap/free set of programming and debug >> IDEs for it. I have experience with MPLab from Microchip and AVRStudio >> from Atmel so anything that good or better would be fine. Just >> something graphical to step through code, set breakpoints, simulate, >> etc. >> >> So anything not made of unobtanium that you guys would recommend? >> Thanks! >> -Will >> > > NEC V850 series. Unfortunately the tools I used were Greenhills. Expensive > crap, but V850 might be supported by GCC now.
a list of current targets for gnu/gcc http://gcc.gnu.org/install/specific.html
On Fri, 21 Oct 2005 11:55:01 -0700, larkmore wrote:
> Ok, flamewar time I guess. > > I am looking to explore new microcontrollers because the ones I have > under my belt are coming up short for what I need. I have a lot of > experience with the 16 series of PICs from Microchip, I have played > with basic Stamps (I, II, SX), some experience with Motorola's HC11, > HC12 and HC16 series. Currently I use Atmel's AVR (Atmega128) at work. > But in trying to branch out and find a better or at least alternate > choice I turn to the advice of those who already have experience with > something else. > > My requirements are:
[shopping list snipped] Get the biggest FPGA or CPLD you can, and write the one of your dreams. ;-P Personally, I rather like microprogramming, albeit I'm kind of a solution in search of a problem in that respect. For example, my first real computer was a "Scelbi 8-H", which had an intel 8008 and 256 bytes of RAM. Eight toggle switches and three pushbuttons on the front panel, and three rows of 8 LEDs: H, L, and M. The buttons were, "Interrupt", "Step", and "Run". They weren't debounced, which was a very powerful learning experience! ;-) I guess the point is, the 8008 "assembly language" mapped almost character for character onto the machine instructions, which, when I saw the diagram of the architecture of the 8008 <googles> Ah, rats. Most of the google hits are about history and crap - I was hoping for a diagram. But it's so freaking simple that the program is the equivalent of a microprogram. Like, the instructions are in octal, two bits of op code, and three bits each for usually the destination register (A,B,C,D,E,H,L,M) and three for the source register (see above.) "3" was the opcode for "move". And when you look at the architecture diagram of the 8008, you can see that when the instruction enters the black box, it's split up into opcode, destination, and source - which go directly to the data selectors on the inputs or outputs, as designated! Oh, of course, there are other opcodes, but they had sub-codes, which still only needed one more level of decoding - my point being, that the program for an 8008 was, essentially, a microprogram. :-) Cheers! Richh Cheers! Rich
On Sat, 22 Oct 2005 09:28:57 +1300, Jim Granville wrote:
> larkmore@aol.com wrote: >> Ok, flamewar time I guess.
...
>> My coworker would also like a cheap/free set of programming and debug >> IDEs for it. I have experience with MPLab from Microchip and AVRStudio >> from Atmel so anything that good or better would be fine. Just >> something graphical to step through code, set breakpoints, simulate, >> etc. >> >> So anything not made of unobtanium that you guys would recommend? >> Thanks! >> -Will > Since you already have a reasonable range of 8 bit uC's, there would > seem little point adding another one. just to get a learnng curve.... > > I'd look at the ARM families, Philips presently have the > cheapest/smallest start at $1.50, and Atmel have ones with Ethernet. > Pretty much everyone makes some ARMxx variant, including Freescale and > TI. >
Or, work on new approaches to task sharing. What ever happened to The Connection Machine? I remember reading a thing in some mag, where some guy said, (I paraphrase) "Well, the only problem we have now is how to program the thing!" "Ah, but we have an endless supply of programmer flesh - undergrads!" But nothing ever seems to have come of it. Thanks, Rich

larkmore@aol.com wrote:

> Ok, flamewar time I guess. > > I am looking to explore new microcontrollers because the ones I have > under my belt are coming up short for what I need. I have a lot of > experience with the 16 series of PICs from Microchip, I have played > with basic Stamps (I, II, SX), some experience with Motorola's HC11, > HC12 and HC16 series. Currently I use Atmel's AVR (Atmega128) at work. > But in trying to branch out and find a better or at least alternate > choice I turn to the advice of those who already have experience with > something else. > > My requirements are: > *External interrupts > *PWM outputs (everything I've used so far has done these with hardware > timers. seems nice) > *ADC inputs 8 bit resolution minimum, 10 or 12 bits nice. > *I2C or whatever that manufacturer likes to call it. Atmel calls it > TWI so they don't have to pay license fees to Philips or something. > *UART(s) > *hardware SPI
You do of coursde realise that I2C and SPI just need a couple of port pins. There's nothing special about the hardware. Simply write your own device handler. Graham
Danny Hillis is having more fun building crazy 10000 year clocks, and big
ole robots, out of Glendale CA, at a place called Applied Minds.




"Rich Grise, Plainclothes Hippie" <fff@example.com> wrote in message
news:pan.2005.10.21.22.48.10.217348@example.com...
> On Sat, 22 Oct 2005 09:28:57 +1300, Jim Granville wrote: > > larkmore@aol.com wrote: > >> Ok, flamewar time I guess. > ... > >> My coworker would also like a cheap/free set of programming and debug > >> IDEs for it. I have experience with MPLab from Microchip and AVRStudio > >> from Atmel so anything that good or better would be fine. Just > >> something graphical to step through code, set breakpoints, simulate, > >> etc. > >> > >> So anything not made of unobtanium that you guys would recommend? > >> Thanks! > >> -Will > > Since you already have a reasonable range of 8 bit uC's, there would > > seem little point adding another one. just to get a learnng curve.... > > > > I'd look at the ARM families, Philips presently have the > > cheapest/smallest start at $1.50, and Atmel have ones with Ethernet. > > Pretty much everyone makes some ARMxx variant, including Freescale and > > TI. > > > > Or, work on new approaches to task sharing. What ever happened to > The Connection Machine? I remember reading a thing in some mag, where > some guy said, (I paraphrase) "Well, the only problem we have now is > how to program the thing!" "Ah, but we have an endless supply of > programmer flesh - undergrads!" > > But nothing ever seems to have come of it. > > Thanks, > Rich >