Forums

Want suggestion for a microcontroller for capstone univ. project

Started by Peter Q. September 25, 2007
Hi All,
    I would like to hear your input for the selection of a
microcontroller used on a vehicle gudiance/navigation system. The
vehicle is required to track a long range signal beacon (~30meters
away). The requirement of the microcontroller is: 1) low cost 2)
programmable in C and 3) easy to debug.
    I would appreciate any suggestions that you can bring.

    Regards,

PQ


Peter Q. wrote:

> Hi All, > I would like to hear your input for the selection of a > microcontroller used on a vehicle gudiance/navigation system. The > vehicle is required to track a long range signal beacon (~30meters > away). The requirement of the microcontroller is: 1) low cost 2) > programmable in C and 3) easy to debug. > I would appreciate any suggestions that you can bring.
Get an old PC; it has all of that. If you want to look like a real engineer, you may open the cover of the system block. Vladimir Vassilevsky DSP and Mixed Signal Design Consultant http://www.abvolt.com
as much as I enjoy dissemabling old PCs (not really), we are very
short on time, and need something that is readily available. We are
investigating PICs as an option, but heard that it is very hard to
debug them. Hence I came here to ask you guys for some suggestions.

Regards,

PQ


Peter Q. wrote:

> as much as I enjoy dissemabling old PCs (not really), we are very > short on time, and need something that is readily available.
That's why you need a PC. This is absolutely the quickest, the cheapest and the simplest way to get the things up and running.
> We are > investigating PICs as an option, but heard that it is very hard to > debug them. Hence I came here to ask you guys for some suggestions.
With PIC, AVR, ARM or anything else you will have to do a lot of tedious stuff on the low level hardware initializations. Unless you are experienced with this type of work, it will be months before you get anything useful. Vladimir Vassilevsky DSP and Mixed Signal Design Consultant http://www.abvolt.com

"Peter Q." wrote:

> as much as I enjoy dissemabling old PCs (not really), we are very > short on time, and need something that is readily available. We are > investigating PICs as an option, but heard that it is very hard to > debug them. Hence I came here to ask you guys for some suggestions.
Vladimir gave you good advice. Assume it will take you a few weeks to understand the tools and the mindset necessary to use a small processor in an application. Add that to the project unknowns and short term a disaster awaits. For a prototype a PC is a good choice. At the very least prototype the software on a PC especially so you have a means of regression testing the the navigation software. w..
On Sep 25, 4:22 pm, Walter Banks <wal...@bytecraft.com> wrote:
> "Peter Q." wrote: > > as much as I enjoy dissemabling old PCs (not really), we are very > > short on time, and need something that is readily available. We are > > investigating PICs as an option, but heard that it is very hard to > > debug them. Hence I came here to ask you guys for some suggestions. > > Vladimir gave you good advice. Assume it will take you a few weeks > to understand the tools and the mindset necessary to use a small > processor in an application. Add that to the project unknowns > and short term a disaster awaits. > > For a prototype a PC is a good choice. At the very least prototype > the software on a PC especially so you have a means of regression > testing the the navigation software. > > w..
Cost and energy spent is also an issue with this project. A high cost/ high power consumption solution is not acceptable. I am willing to investigate the platform even if it takes weeks. Right now I'm considering PICs and Motorola 68HC12 series. Regards, PQ

s.p.qian@gmail.com wrote:

> On Sep 25, 4:22 pm, Walter Banks <wal...@bytecraft.com> wrote: > > "Peter Q." wrote: > > > as much as I enjoy dissemabling old PCs (not really), we are very > > > short on time, and need something that is readily available. We are > > > investigating PICs as an option, but heard that it is very hard to > > > debug them. Hence I came here to ask you guys for some suggestions. > > > > Vladimir gave you good advice. Assume it will take you a few weeks > > to understand the tools and the mindset necessary to use a small > > processor in an application. Add that to the project unknowns > > and short term a disaster awaits. > > > > For a prototype a PC is a good choice. At the very least prototype > > the software on a PC especially so you have a means of regression > > testing the the navigation software. > > > > w.. > > Cost and energy spent is also an issue with this project. A high cost/ > high power consumption solution is not acceptable. I am willing to > investigate the platform even if it takes weeks. Right now I'm > considering PICs and Motorola 68HC12 series. > > Regards,
Consider a handheld PC for the prototype, low cost and low power requirements. Have a good idea of your system requirements before selecting one. w..
On Tue, 25 Sep 2007 07:58:23 -0700, "Peter Q." <pmouseca@gmail.com>
wrote:

>Hi All, > I would like to hear your input for the selection of a >microcontroller used on a vehicle gudiance/navigation system. The >vehicle is required to track a long range signal beacon (~30meters >away). The requirement of the microcontroller is: 1) low cost 2) >programmable in C and 3) easy to debug. > I would appreciate any suggestions that you can bring.
Get ye to Sparkfun http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/categories.php and take a look at their goodies. I'm lately fond of the NXP ARM7 dev boards (LPC2000-series) that they offer. Most (many? all?) of them are sourced from Olimex and are aimed at prototypes & small runs. Lots of I/O, lots of memory. I there's a GCC toolchain for the ARM7, as well as some expensive-ware from the usual suspects. My personal preference is for the not-so-expensive-ware from Imagecraft (trial and free-but-limited versions at http://www.imagecraft.com). For programming/debugging you'll probably want/need a JTAG setup. The Segger J-Link is good but a bit $$. A low-cost option may be H-JTAG software http://www.hjtag.com/ which works with the Olimex parallel port JTAG adapter (see the Olimex site for a tweaked version); only slightly higher is the USB Scarab dongle + software, also available at Sparkfun. While you're at Sparkfun, you're likely to find other gizmos that may be useful, like 6 DOF IMUs (you supply the Kalman) and various RF widgets. Fun place.
s.p.qian@gmail.com wrote:
> Cost and energy spent is also an issue with this project. A high cost/ > high power consumption solution is not acceptable. I am willing to > investigate the platform even if it takes weeks. Right now I'm > considering PICs and Motorola 68HC12 series.
Do you know how much code, and what numeric data types you will work with ? That should help narrow the choices. At the smaller end, focus on the Debug pathway - a good example here, are the SiLabs Low cost ToolStick series - USB debug, and a small daughter card, with the target on it. You can use these cards in low volume production. Very good analog performance, and low powers, with fast wakeups. Moving up CPU power, I'd skip the HC12 (unless you have code-leverage reasons for looking at this ). Again focus on Simulation and Debug. With a HLL, the core is more 'don't care' these days. We found the Zilog Zneo Z16F good : USB debug, one shop supply advantages, Tools are mature and Non-Crippled Compiler is free, and include a Simulator, and the Z16F has some 64 bit operand opcodes, includes divide. sub $100, includes EvalPCB _and_ USB-debug Also Rabbit ? - Not single chip, and higher start price, but they do have attractive modules for low-med volumes The 32 bit core market is expanding : Again look for good Debug, and non-crippled tools. ( The USB debug prices can creep a little here. ) Freescale have a new V1 coldfire they are pushing. Atmel have AVR32, and also ARM7 and ARM9 ST have ARM7, ARM9 and M3 cores. NXP have ARM7, ARM9 uC, and some new ARM9 Flash devices -etc- -jg
On Sep 25, 6:51 pm, Jim Granville <no.s...@designtools.maps.co.nz>
wrote:
> s.p.q...@gmail.com wrote: > > Cost and energy spent is also an issue with this project. A high cost/ > > high power consumption solution is not acceptable. I am willing to > > investigate the platform even if it takes weeks. Right now I'm > > considering PICs and Motorola 68HC12 series. > > Do you know how much code, and what numeric data types you will work > with ? > That should help narrow the choices. > > At the smaller end, focus on the Debug pathway - a good example here, > are the SiLabs Low cost ToolStick series - USB debug, and a small > daughter card, with the target on it. > You can use these cards in low volume production. > Very good analog performance, and low powers, with fast wakeups. > > Moving up CPU power, I'd skip the HC12 (unless you have code-leverage > reasons for looking at this ). > > Again focus on Simulation and Debug. With a HLL, the core is more > 'don't care' these days. > > We found the Zilog Zneo Z16F good : USB debug, one shop supply > advantages, Tools are mature and Non-Crippled Compiler is free, and > include a Simulator, and the Z16F has some 64 bit operand opcodes, > includes divide. sub $100, includes EvalPCB _and_ USB-debug > > Also Rabbit ? - Not single chip, and higher start price, but they > do have attractive modules for low-med volumes > > The 32 bit core market is expanding : > Again look for good Debug, and non-crippled tools. > ( The USB debug prices can creep a little here. ) > > Freescale have a new V1 coldfire they are pushing. > Atmel have AVR32, and also ARM7 and ARM9 > ST have ARM7, ARM9 and M3 cores. > NXP have ARM7, ARM9 uC, and some new ARM9 Flash devices > -etc- > > -jg
Hi, I would hope to do most of the signal processing by means of circuitry, instead of DSP, since I've heard these chips may be limited in processing capabilities. My budget for the chip is < $10 unit cost bulk order, I don't care about the programmers and software cost. In terms of data input, eventually I will need to process two or three sensory inputs, and control two motors (differential drive for steering). Nothing complicated like image processing. Thanks to all of you who offered suggested, I'm looking into each one of them now. Regards, PQ