questions about motorola microcontrollers and MCUs in general

Started by panfilero February 21, 2007
Hello, I had a few real basic question about microcontrollers.  I've
been learning the motorola HC12 at school, but whenever I pick up
magazines or any kind of hobby related embedded type of reading
material, the microcontrollers I see most often mentioned are the PIC
and the STAMP and now something by Parallax called the Propeller chip.

Here's what I'm wondering:  Are the HCS12 more powerful in general
than STAMP and PIC MCUs?  and are STAMP and PICs something geared
towards people who maybe don't need to be familiar with details of the
structure of the microcontollers and programming languages like
assmebly and C?

Do the HC12 MCUs have too much extra stuff to make them good purchases
for hobbyist in simple robotics?

When you buy a microcontoller like an HC12 do you always have to buy
it attached to some kind of development board?

I was going to buy one of these http://www.axman.com/?q=node/50 which
is called the CSM-12C32 it has a MC9S12C32 on it, but they run at $59,
and if I want to dabble in having several different micrcontoller
driven projects going on and have to buy one of these things everytime
for each project, well, seems expensive.... is this just the way
things are in the world of microcontrollers?

Thank you
Joshua

panfilero wrote:

> Hello, I had a few real basic question about microcontrollers. I've > been learning the motorola
Freescale. Sorry to pick nits, but Motorola doesn't make chips any more.
> HC12 at school, but whenever I pick up > magazines or any kind of hobby related embedded type of reading > material, the microcontrollers I see most often mentioned are the PIC > and the STAMP and now something by Parallax called the Propeller chip. > > Here's what I'm wondering: Are the HCS12 more powerful in general > than STAMP and PIC MCUs?
Dunno - hit the data sheets, & take a look.
> and are STAMP and PICs something geared > towards people who maybe don't need to be familiar with details of the > structure of the microcontollers and programming languages like > assmebly and C?
The Stamps are -- you can program them in BASIC. _Anything_ will require programming, and a programming language. I don't think that a PIC would be any easier to write assembly code for than any other processor.
> > Do the HC12 MCUs have too much extra stuff to make them good purchases > for hobbyist in simple robotics?
You can never have too much stuff.
> > When you buy a microcontoller like an HC12 do you always have to buy > it attached to some kind of development board?
No, you can buy bare chips. Getting a development board means you have something that works right off, though.
> > I was going to buy one of these http://www.axman.com/?q=node/50 which > is called the CSM-12C32 it has a MC9S12C32 on it, but they run at $59, > and if I want to dabble in having several different micrcontoller > driven projects going on and have to buy one of these things everytime > for each project, well, seems expensive.... is this just the way > things are in the world of microcontrollers?
$59 is a good price. Some chips, PIC and AVR among them, are available in DIP packages and have on-board oscillators. These chips can be made to work just fine on a proto-board from Radio Shack. For all I know, the Freescale chip is the same. -- Tim Wescott Wescott Design Services http://www.wescottdesign.com Posting from Google? See http://cfaj.freeshell.org/google/ "Applied Control Theory for Embedded Systems" came out in April. See details at http://www.wescottdesign.com/actfes/actfes.html
On Feb 21, 8:29 pm, "panfilero" <panfil...@gmail.com> wrote:
>.... > I was going to buy one of thesehttp://www.axman.com/?q=node/50which > is called the CSM-12C32 it has a MC9S12C32 on it, but they run at $59, > and if I want to dabble in having several different micrcontoller > driven projects going on and have to buy one of these things everytime > for each project, well, seems expensive.... is this just the way > things are in the world of microcontrollers?
HCS12 is a nice family for hobby stuff, and I think the CANbus port would be useful in a lot of projects. But if you wanted something cheaper ($29), this board is intriguing, and you can't really go wrong by getting into the ARM universe: http://www.newmicros.com/index2.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newmicros.com%2Fcgi-bin%2Fstore%2Forder.cgi%3Fform%3Dprod%26cat%3Darms
On Feb 21, 11:14 pm, "Mike Silva" <snarflem...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> > http://www.newmicros.com/index2.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newmicros.co...
OK, well that link is no good. Just go to http://www.newmicros.com -> TiniARM -> Tini2131
Hi Joshua,

> Here's what I'm wondering: Are the HCS12 more powerful in general > than STAMP and PIC MCUs? and are STAMP and PICs something geared > towards people who maybe don't need to be familiar with details of the > structure of the microcontollers and programming languages like > assmebly and C?
It is more powerfull than the PICs I have used before. I think every MCU is different. For each MCUs you need to know the details of the architecture. Also I think ASM and C are required.
> Do the HC12 MCUs have too much extra stuff to make them good purchases > for hobbyist in simple robotics?
Yes I think it is quite common for robotic applications. It also has fuzzy logic.
> When you buy a microcontoller like an HC12 do you always have to buy > it attached to some kind of development board?
Yes, if you want to make your life easy. I think trying to make your own dev board for such a processor using breadboard will be hard. First problem is going to be how to hook up the package to a bread board which is probably PBGA (Plastic Ball Grid Array) or something similar.
> I was going to buy one of these http://www.axman.com/?q=node/50 which > is called the CSM-12C32 it has a MC9S12C32 on it, but they run at $59, > and if I want to dabble in having several different micrcontoller > driven projects going on and have to buy one of these things everytime > for each project, well, seems expensive.... is this just the way > things are in the world of microcontrollers?
No you dont need to buy the new board for every project as you can see this board has a 40 pin connector which provides access to most MCU I/O signals. So what you need is a connector to hook up to these pins with a wiring harness that connects to your bread board. You need some disapline to keep your wiring harness the same for every project and it will just work. board pins -> connector -> wiring harness -> connector -> breadboard -> patch wires from connector area to development area on breadboard Maybe you would like to consider some board like these ones if you are learning: http://elmicro.com/en/hcs12tb.html http://www.evbplus.com/dragon12_hc12_68hc12_9s12_hcs12.html also consider S12X it is new and has some co-processing capability. Maybe consider TI C2000 also. Thanks, Adam.
panfilero wrote:
> Hello, I had a few real basic question about microcontrollers. I've > been learning the motorola HC12 at school, but whenever I pick up > magazines or any kind of hobby related embedded type of reading > material, the microcontrollers I see most often mentioned are the PIC > and the STAMP and now something by Parallax called the Propeller chip.
Don't confuse advertising with reality. Suggest you concentrate less on "learning HC12" and more on learning how to solve problems with a microcontroller. Then in the future you will be prepared for the toughest and riskiest part of the design process: defining your requirements and shopping for solutions. If every problem looks like an HC12 solution, or PIC, or AVR, then you are not really giving others a fair shake. The HC12 family are very good microcontrollers. Often I find they cost more than others but not always. AVR is pretty darn good all around with excellent free avr-gcc and very inexpensive in-circuit debuggers. Microchip PIC deserves being congratulated for being willing to be different, they basically rescued this market from Motorola's 6805 neglect. The 8051 variants deserve mention. If there is anything harder to code or more convoluted than a PIC, its an 8051. With hundreds of manufacturers and thousands of variants, if you can make an 8051 do your task then its probably the lowest cost in mass production.
1. In our days, there is no real difference which microcontroller to 
use. The choice is determined by preference;  all vendors have similar 
offerings in the similar classes for the similar price.

2. Due to the old tradition, HC12 is big in the automotive applications. 
  If your goal is working in that area, the knowledge of HCS12 is a plus.

3. HCS12 is not very simple, and the documentation is not very 
convenient either.

4. To start working with HCS12, you need a BDM programmer from PE micro. 
This is somewhat $500 of the initial investment.

Vladimir Vassilevsky

DSP and Mixed Signal Design Consultant

http://www.abvolt.com



panfilero wrote:
> Hello, I had a few real basic question about microcontrollers. I've > been learning the motorola HC12 at school, but whenever I pick up > magazines or any kind of hobby related embedded type of reading > material, the microcontrollers I see most often mentioned are the PIC > and the STAMP and now something by Parallax called the Propeller chip. > > Here's what I'm wondering: Are the HCS12 more powerful in general > than STAMP and PIC MCUs? and are STAMP and PICs something geared > towards people who maybe don't need to be familiar with details of the > structure of the microcontollers and programming languages like > assmebly and C? > > Do the HC12 MCUs have too much extra stuff to make them good purchases > for hobbyist in simple robotics? > > When you buy a microcontoller like an HC12 do you always have to buy > it attached to some kind of development board? > > I was going to buy one of these http://www.axman.com/?q=node/50 which > is called the CSM-12C32 it has a MC9S12C32 on it, but they run at $59, > and if I want to dabble in having several different micrcontoller > driven projects going on and have to buy one of these things everytime > for each project, well, seems expensive.... is this just the way > things are in the world of microcontrollers? > > Thank you > Joshua >
> 4. To start working with HCS12, you need a BDM programmer from PE micro. > This is somewhat $500 of the initial investment.
You can use the serial port and the onboard monitor program DBug-12 which is on most development boards. No need for BDM programmers initially. Thanks, Adam.
On Feb 22, 10:08 am, "Adam Craggs" <Adam.Cra...@mathworks.co.uk>
wrote:
> > 4. To start working with HCS12, you need a BDM programmer from PE micro. > > This is somewhat $500 of the initial investment. > > You can use the serial port and the onboard monitor program DBug-12 which is > on most development boards. No need for BDM programmers initially.
Or, you can use the Serial Monitor on the C32 chip with the free uBug12, or my Pluto debugger. http://www.EricEngler.com/Pluto.aspx By the way, the 9s12 chips are far stronger than any PIC or Basic Stamp. And the Arm is far stronger than the 9s12. PIC = 8 bit data paths hc12/9s12 = 16 bit data paths Arm = 32 bit data paths How much strength do you need as a hobbiest? I'd suggest looking at a very low priced chip called a Picaxe. These are similar to a Basic Stamp, but much cheaper. These are extremely easy to use and there's a free IDE for them. Eric
Vladimir Vassilevsky wrote:
> > 4. To start working with HCS12, you need a BDM programmer from PE micro. > This is somewhat $500 of the initial investment.
USB-ML-12 is $99.00 at http://www.pemicro.com/ That and free Metrowerks CodeWarrior is all one needs to get started coding, debugging, and programing devices. Can throw another $500 at P&E pretty easily but the most bang for the buck is in that first $99. Microchip and Freescale parts are pretty hard to deal with unless one is using the manufacturer's IDE. AVR and ARM are much easier to use with independent tools. Was very unhappy at the multitude of binary files CodeWarrior sprinkled in my directory hierarchy. Didn't like the way options were scattered all over the place in the IDE without one concise summary somewhere. MPLab has similar faults. I really like having a plain text Makefile where all the compiler options, memory particulars, etc, are kept together where one can find it in an instant.