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recommendation of microcontroller please

Started by johnstokes30 November 20, 2007
hi 
i am new here.  i would like to learn embedded programming on a very well
established microcontoller.  I know that PICs are becoming more popular
but can someone tell me of a controller that is popular in industry for
several years (8 or 16 bit) and also has products available that i can use
to learn such as demo kits. motorola 68XX? Atmel? 8051?

many thanks
john


On 2007-11-20, johnstokes30 <johnstokes30@gmail.com> wrote:

> i am new here. i would like to learn embedded programming on > a very well established microcontoller. I know that PICs are > becoming more popular but can someone tell me of a controller > that is popular in industry for several years (8 or 16 bit) > and also has products available that i can use to learn such > as demo kits. motorola 68XX? Atmel? 8051?
First I'd recommend the TI MSP430: http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/categories.php?cPath=2_11 They're very easy to program and understand (in C or assembly) and have a nice set of peripherals. They're especially good for low-power, battery operated things. You can get a small devlopment board/system for as little as $20, and some pretty powerful eval boards for not much more than that: http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/categories.php?cPath=2_11 If you want to solder some extra stuff on, the proto boards towards the bottom of the above page work nicely. The MSP430 port of GCC works quite well: http://mspgcc.sourceforge.net/ The tools from Rowley are highly regarded and very reasonably priced (personal licenses are only &#2013266083;75): http://www.rowley.co.uk/msp430/ My second recommendation would probably be The AVR Atmega family: http://www.atmel.com/products/AVR/ Eval/proto boards seem to be harder to find, but there are some available: http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/categories.php?cPath=2_10 Like the MSP430, the gcc port works well (here's a windows package): http://winavr.sourceforge.net/ Rowley also supports the AVR: http://www.rowley.co.uk/avr/ A lot of people use IAR tools for both these platforms but they're way down on my list because of: 1) Price. 2) Dongle and license-server hassles. 3) No Linux support. If you can stomach those issues, IAR tools are solid and their support seems good (IIRC, there are crippled and/or time-limited eval versions of IAR tools available for both platforms). Both the AVR and the MSP are popular for both hobby and commercial use. IMO, the 8-bit PIC is a very nasty little architecture and is difficult to work with. It's not a part I recommend to somebody just learning embedded programming. There are C compilers for it, but it's not well suited for C-language projects. I've heard that some of the newer PIC arcitetures don't suck as badly, but that isn't saying much. -- Grant Edwards grante Yow! I'm having an at EMOTIONAL OUTBURST!! But, visi.com uh, WHY is there a WAFFLE in my PAJAMA POCKET??
On 2007-11-20, Grant Edwards <grante@visi.com> wrote:
> On 2007-11-20, johnstokes30 <johnstokes30@gmail.com> wrote: > >> i am new here. i would like to learn embedded programming on >> a very well established microcontoller. > > First I'd recommend the TI MSP430: > > http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/categories.php?cPath=2_11
Oops. That was suppplosed to be this link http://www.msp430.com/ -- Grant Edwards grante Yow! Let's send the at Russians defective visi.com lifestyle accessories!
"johnstokes30" <johnstokes30@gmail.com> skrev i meddelandet 
news:iYednf73dqkqdd_anZ2dnUVZ_t2inZ2d@giganews.com...
> hi > i am new here. i would like to learn embedded programming on a very well > established microcontoller. I know that PICs are becoming more popular > but can someone tell me of a controller that is popular in industry for > several years (8 or 16 bit) and also has products available that i can use > to learn such as demo kits. motorola 68XX? Atmel? 8051? > > many thanks > john >
With the AVR, you need (want) the following tools. 1) gcc C compiler - or IAR. Some like Imagecraft. 2) AVR Studio 3) STK500 development board 4) JTAG-ICE Mk II. If you want a real cheap environment, then you can try out the AVR Dragon which is a low cost, low featur combination of STK500 + JTAGICE Mk II but only works for chips with 32 kB flash or less. You can get IAR, Imagecraft etc compilers which are limited to about 4 kB code for free. www.avrfreaks.net will be your friend. -- Best Regards, Ulf Samuelsson This is intended to be my personal opinion which may, or may not be shared by my employer Atmel Nordic AB
On Nov 20, 9:01 am, "johnstokes30" <johnstoke...@gmail.com> wrote:

> i am new here. i would like to learn embedded programming on a very well > established microcontoller. I know that PICs are becoming more popular > but can someone tell me of a controller that is popular in industry for > several years (8 or 16 bit) and also has products available that i can use > to learn such as demo kits. motorola 68XX? Atmel? 8051?
I agree with Grant that the msp430 is terrific but I'd recommend the AVR family for beginners. Although I've used 68hc12 for years I have some concerns about this for new people. The 68hc08 is not friendly to newbies. PICs are easy to use with BASIC Stamps, but there are no decent free C compilers for the 16F devices and their performance with C compiled code is not very good. I'm still working on my tools document but you can see my family selection document here: http://www.ericengler.com/downloads/microcontroller%20family%20selection%20guide.pdf You may need help selecting tools because it's more compilated that it should be. Eric
On 2007-11-20, Eric <englere_geo@yahoo.com> wrote:

> I'm still working on my tools document but you can see my > family selection document here: > http://www.ericengler.com/downloads/microcontroller%20family%20selection%20guide.pdf
I love your comments about MSP430 marketing's use of the "RISC" and "emulated instruction" terms. Everytime I attend something where there's a TI FAE, he begins by apolgizing those terms in order to pre-empt the inevitable questions/complaints. TI's brain-dead mar-com stuff also frequenty talks about having a "single-cycle instruction set" or something equally bogus (some of the instructions take up to 5 clock cycles). -- Grant Edwards grante Yow! LBJ, LBJ, how many at JOKES did you tell today??! visi.com
On 2007-11-20, Ulf Samuelsson <ulf@a-t-m-e-l.com> wrote:
> "johnstokes30" <johnstokes30@gmail.com> skrev i meddelandet > news:iYednf73dqkqdd_anZ2dnUVZ_t2inZ2d@giganews.com... >> hi >> i am new here. i would like to learn embedded programming on a very well >> established microcontoller. I know that PICs are becoming more popular >> but can someone tell me of a controller that is popular in industry for >> several years (8 or 16 bit) and also has products available that i can use >> to learn such as demo kits. motorola 68XX? Atmel? 8051? >> >> many thanks >> john >> > > With the AVR, you need (want) the following tools. > > 1) gcc C compiler - or IAR. Some like Imagecraft. > 2) AVR Studio
If you're a linux person: avrdude.
> 3) STK500 development board > 4) JTAG-ICE Mk II.
-- Grant Edwards grante@visi.com
Ulf Samuelsson wrote:

> "johnstokes30" <johnstokes30@gmail.com> skrev i meddelandet > news:iYednf73dqkqdd_anZ2dnUVZ_t2inZ2d@giganews.com... > >>hi >>i am new here. i would like to learn embedded programming on a very well >>established microcontoller. I know that PICs are becoming more popular >>but can someone tell me of a controller that is popular in industry for >>several years (8 or 16 bit) and also has products available that i can use >>to learn such as demo kits. motorola 68XX? Atmel? 8051? >> >>many thanks >>john >> > > > With the AVR, you need (want) the following tools. > > 1) gcc C compiler - or IAR. Some like Imagecraft. > 2) AVR Studio > 3) STK500 development board > 4) JTAG-ICE Mk II. > > If you want a real cheap environment, then you can try out the AVR Dragon > which is a low cost, low featur combination of STK500 + JTAGICE Mk II > but only works for chips with 32 kB flash or less.
Can you clarify "only works for chips with 32 kB flash or less" ? - so that means the JTAG-ICE Mk II therein, is not going to also work with an AVR32, for example ? Then what - you buy another JTAG-ICE Mk II ? How do you then tell them appart ? 'Low feature' means what ? - just that 32K ceiling, or do other things not work either ? Seems a little strange having a ceiling on an ICE. ST don't mention any on their STM32 Ice ? -jg
On Nov 20, 12:43 pm, Grant Edwards <gra...@visi.com> wrote:

> TI's brain-dead mar-com stuff also frequenty talks about having > a "single-cycle instruction set" or something equally bogus > (some of the instructions take up to 5 clock cycles).
yea but everyone's guilty of that one (AVR too)
On Nov 20, 6:01 am, "johnstokes30" <johnstoke...@gmail.com> wrote:
> hi > i am new here. i would like to learn embedded programming on a very well > established microcontoller. I know that PICs are becoming more popular > but can someone tell me of a controller that is popular in industry for > several years (8 or 16 bit) and also has products available that i can use > to learn such as demo kits. motorola 68XX? Atmel? 8051? > > many thanks > john
I would suggest a 32 bit ARM, for $20 you can be up and running with a C complier and eval board in a few hours (Analog devices in my case)