# Good entry level uC?

J

#### Jacobe Hazzard

Jan 1, 1970
0
I am looking for a good uC to use in some autonomous robot projects I have.
The last time I looked into the scene, PICs were very popular, and the 16F84
especially so for hobby use. The impression I get now is that people find
PICs lacking in power, quircky in architecture, and this particular chip
expensive/obsolete. Is this wrong?

In order of priority, I am looking for a re-usable flash uC, *inexpensive*
and easy to find (IE Digikey or similar), preferably with free development
tools and the possibility of my building a simple, inexpensive programmer.
Development tools ideally would let me code in C or even basic, but ASM is
tolerable. I don't anticipate needing any features like super-high clock
speed, ultra-low power or sleep mode, ADCs or DACs, zillions of IO lines,
huge EEPROM or program memory or RAM, DSP or anything like that. Basically
I have in mind tasks that could be performed by discrete logic, but I want
to simplify the hardware and make it easier to upgrade/make changes. If the
development environment and programmer also worked for a family of parts,
some of which have these features, thats a bonus.

Yeah, inexpensive is the most important thing (no BASIC stamps for me). Any
suggestions to help me narrow the search would be really appreciated, I
guess I'll be looking at PICs, AVR, maybe motorola?

G

#### Garrett Mace

Jan 1, 1970
0
speed, ultra-low power or sleep mode, ADCs or DACs, zillions of IO lines,
huge EEPROM or program memory or RAM, DSP or anything like that. Basically
I have in mind tasks that could be performed by discrete logic, but I want
to simplify the hardware and make it easier to upgrade/make changes. If the
development environment and programmer also worked for a family of parts,
some of which have these features, thats a bonus.

I like the 8-bit Motorola 68HC08 and HC05 families. They are nice to code
for, programmable in-circuit, and have a really wide range of features. You
can get them as small as an 8-pin DIP, up to a QFP with lots of I/O, PWMs
and interface options like USB. The tools are free as long you you can code
in assembly. It's not that scary.

Since you mention reducing discrete logic functions to a single, upgradable
package, I can't let you go without mentioning PLDs. That's what they do,
and they're quite useful. Read up on Lattice Semi's website, look for the
ispGAL series, which is a good place to start. Basically they throw you a
part with a bunch of I/O pins on it, you write a description of the logic
behavior you want from input to output, and there you go. In a simple 22V10
you can replace half a board full of logic chips, sometimes. Make a PWM,
oddly-configured dual counter, serial-to-parallel with a decode output when
a certain pattern is present, etc. When you outgrow one of those, there is
always a more powerful one to use.

J

#### Jan-Erik Söderholm

Jan 1, 1970
0
Jacobe said:
I am looking for a good uC to use in some autonomous robot projects I have.
The last time I looked into the scene, PICs were very popular, and the 16F84
especially so for hobby use.

Don't use the 16F84 ! It's old, cost a lot and don't have the features
of
the later PICs. The 16F628 is a nice replacement, runs the F84 code with
minor adjustments, sheeper and has more peripherials.
The impression I get now is that people find
PICs lacking in power,

Not generaly.
quircky in architecture,
and this particular chip
expensive/obsolete. Is this wrong?

Correct, don't use *that* [16F84] one.
In order of priority, I am looking for a re-usable flash uC, *inexpensive*
and easy to find (IE Digikey or similar),

PIC ?
preferably with free development
tools

They are free from Microchip
and the possibility of my building a simple, inexpensive programmer.

There are many, I use the Wisp628 :
http://www.voti.nl/wisp628/index.html.

If the
development environment and programmer also worked for a family of parts,
some of which have these features, thats a bonus.

OK for both the free Microchipo tools and the Wips628.

Jan-Erik.

H

#### happyhobit

Jan 1, 1970
0

Well I like the AVR 8-Bit RISC microcontrollers. Free assemblers,
C-compilers, simulators and IDE

Fast, one instruction per clock cycle. Over 30 different processors from 8
pin to 40 pin. Flash, Ram, EEprom

You can be programming for $11, for everything. You can solder, yes? Check out AVR Freaks, http://www.avrfreaks.net/ The Atmel homepage, http://www.atmel.com/ Jay J #### Jacobe Hazzard Jan 1, 1970 0 Jan-Erik Söderholm said: Jacobe said: I am looking for a good uC to use in some autonomous robot projects I have. The last time I looked into the scene, PICs were very popular, and the 16F84 especially so for hobby use. Don't use the 16F84 ! It's old, cost a lot and don't have the features of the later PICs. The 16F628 is a nice replacement, runs the F84 code with minor adjustments, sheeper and has more peripherials. The impression I get now is that people find PICs lacking in power, Not generaly. quircky in architecture, and this particular chip expensive/obsolete. Is this wrong? Correct, don't use *that* [16F84] one. In order of priority, I am looking for a re-usable flash uC, *inexpensive* and easy to find (IE Digikey or similar), PIC ? preferably with free development tools They are free from Microchip and the possibility of my building a simple, inexpensive programmer. There are many, I use the Wisp628 : http://www.voti.nl/wisp628/index.html. If the development environment and programmer also worked for a family of parts, some of which have these features, thats a bonus. OK for both the free Microchipo tools and the Wips628. Jan-Erik. Thanks for the tips. It looks like I can modify my old discrete 16F84 programmer to work with the 16F628, and best of all Microchip is sending me three sample chips! I also like the look of the JAL assembler on the page you linked, and since all of these things are free, I am leaning heavily towards a PIC solution. Will definately check out some other product lines before investing too much time, but free is hard to beat. Adam J #### Jacobe Hazzard Jan 1, 1970 0 happyhobit said: Hi Adam, Well I like the AVR 8-Bit RISC microcontrollers. Free assemblers, C-compilers, simulators and IDE Fast, one instruction per clock cycle. Over 30 different processors from 8 pin to 40 pin. Flash, Ram, EEprom You can be programming for$11, for everything. You can solder, yes?

Check out AVR Freaks, http://www.avrfreaks.net/

The Atmel homepage, http://www.atmel.com/

Jay

First the programmer. Cost $4.11 USD The simplest programmer to build would be the ‘Jesper’s Original’ parallel port programmer. I soldered a 25 pin d-shell plug to a ½ a Rat Shack protoboard with 4 100-ohm resisters and a ribbon-cable to a 10 pin header for ISP. http://www.myplace.nu/avr/yaap/if_jesper.gif ‘Jesper’s Original’ parallel port programmer Is STK200+ compatible. Not parallel port programmers are equal. Different parallel port programmers use different I/O lines and will not work with all programming software or hardware. I use the CodeVisionAVR chip programmer Kanda STK200+/300. I don’t use CodeVision for developing the program, just for burning the chip. Jay R #### Rileyesi Jan 1, 1970 0 I like the Atmel AVR micros. Also, I would suggest you look at www.mcselec.com for a BASIC compiler called BASCOM. Free demo software and the liscensed software is only like$60 US. The demo only limits the size of the program you
can write, I think. Tons of support.

J

#### [email protected]

Jan 1, 1970
0
Jacobe Hazzard said:
I am looking for a good uC to use in some autonomous robot projects I have.
The last time I looked into the scene, PICs were very popular, and the 16F84
especially so for hobby use. The impression I get now is that people find
PICs lacking in power, quircky in architecture, and this particular chip
expensive/obsolete. Is this wrong?

In order of priority, I am looking for a re-usable flash uC, *inexpensive*
and easy to find (IE Digikey or similar), preferably with free development
tools and the possibility of my building a simple, inexpensive programmer.
Development tools ideally would let me code in C or even basic, but ASM is
tolerable. I don't anticipate needing any features like super-high clock
speed, ultra-low power or sleep mode, ADCs or DACs, zillions of IO lines,
huge EEPROM or program memory or RAM, DSP or anything like that. Basically
I have in mind tasks that could be performed by discrete logic, but I want
to simplify the hardware and make it easier to upgrade/make changes. If the
development environment and programmer also worked for a family of parts,
some of which have these features, thats a bonus.

Yeah, inexpensive is the most important thing (no BASIC stamps for me). Any
suggestions to help me narrow the search would be really appreciated, I
guess I'll be looking at PICs, AVR, maybe motorola?

I would stick with either the AVR or the PIC, primarily because the
number of enthusiasts using these devices is enormous, and the general
support for all of the ranges is immense, including free tools and
code snippets etc. Programmers for any of the ranges are easily home
built for very little money and most of the code you write can be
ported to a higher range when the need arises without too much
trouble. Device cost isn't bad either, and there are free samples
available for all of them, so getting started with either type will be
easy as well. There are devices from loads of other manufacturers
available too, for example, Zilog, Texas Instruments and Hitachi to
name a couple. All with various features etc, so some of them may be
worth looking at as well.

regards
Alastair

O

#### onestone

Jan 1, 1970
0
My part of preference right now is the MSP430F149 from Ti. A programmer
costs US$9.95 from Olimex. The rst of the tools, including limited 94k) C compiler can be downloaded from thre Ti website. It costs around$7.
It has the following features:-

48 I/O
8 x 12 bit A/D
very low power consumption
2 x UART/SPI
60k Flash
2K RAM
On chip JTAG debugger
Two separate crystals if required
built in DCO oscillator
one 16 bit timer with 3 captrue/compare/PWM
one 16 bit timer with 7 of the above
built in hardware multiplier

Overkill for what you say you want, but why on earth wouldn't you want
A/D in a robot? PWM for positional and motor control, other timers for
digital sensors, A/D for thermal, IR, other optical, moisture, motion,
etc sensors, straight digital sensing is little more than the old bump
'n go toys.

Al

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