# What's a good, clean, cheap MCU for a hobbyist?

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#### Costas Vlachos

Jan 1, 1970
0
A friend of mine is looking to get into MCU projects as a hobby. I'd say
he's at an intermediate level in electronics (and has a Ph.D. in control
systems!). He has used MCUs in the past, I think it was the Motorola
68HCsomething. That was about 10 years ago, he hasn't touched electronics
since then. What he's after is something with a *clean* architecture and
affordable development tools (something under 100 Euros for a starter kit).

I have very good knowledge of the PIC16 series, and although I think they're
good MCUs, I'm worried that their messy architecture (memory paging, messy
look-up tables, etc., etc.) may scare him off. Any recommendations? An 8051?
An AVR? He told me of a cheap development kit he found, for something called
DSP56F800. Is this a DSP/MCU hybrid?

Any suggestions are appreciated (and apologies for starting yet another

Thanks,
Costas

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#### Rich Webb

Jan 1, 1970
0
A friend of mine is looking to get into MCU projects as a hobby. I'd say
he's at an intermediate level in electronics (and has a Ph.D. in control
systems!). He has used MCUs in the past, I think it was the Motorola
68HCsomething. That was about 10 years ago, he hasn't touched electronics
since then. What he's after is something with a *clean* architecture and
affordable development tools (something under 100 Euros for a starter kit).

I have very good knowledge of the PIC16 series, and although I think they're
good MCUs, I'm worried that their messy architecture (memory paging, messy
look-up tables, etc., etc.) may scare him off. Any recommendations? An 8051?
An AVR? He told me of a cheap development kit he found, for something called
DSP56F800. Is this a DSP/MCU hybrid?

In the 8-bitters, I really like the AVR architecture.

ImageCraft has some nice starter kits in the 100-ish Euro range. Go to
AFAIK, the "Butterfly" hasn't shipped yet.

Also in that same price range is Atmel's STK500 -- which has the
advantage of being useable as a programmer for any of the AVR family.
The disadvantage is a lack of a handy LCD display built in. On the other
hand, it does have a "user side" serial port and RS232 drivers for it.

O

#### onestone

Jan 1, 1970
0
The 56F800 is a DSP with some microcontroller attributes. A bit power
hungry, and not the best endowed peripherally, but quite a nice looking
part, and the EVK was only around US$30 when I bought mine. Other than that I like the MSP430Fxxxx from Ti. Low power, good peripheral mix, flash based, built in JTAG for debugging, and US$99 for the tools.

Al

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#### happyhobit

Jan 1, 1970
0
If you want go on the cheep and can do a bit of soldering, I'm retired too,
checkout the AVR.

http://www.avrfreaks.net/index.php

Al

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#### Costas Vlachos

Jan 1, 1970
0
Rich Webb said:
In the 8-bitters, I really like the AVR architecture.

ImageCraft has some nice starter kits in the 100-ish Euro range. Go to
AFAIK, the "Butterfly" hasn't shipped yet.

Also in that same price range is Atmel's STK500 -- which has the
advantage of being useable as a programmer for any of the AVR family.
The disadvantage is a lack of a handy LCD display built in. On the other
hand, it does have a "user side" serial port and RS232 drivers for it.

Thanks Rich and everyone who replied. It seems the AVR is a good choice. I'm
a PIC guy myself, used to the PIC architecture and like it. But it would be
a good idea to try the AVR. Had a quick look at the data sheets, lots of
nice 1- and 2-cycle instructions. The 17 and 18 series or PICs may be worth
a look too.

Thanks again people.

Costas

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