Author Topic: What Is A Good Microcontroller To Start With?  (Read 1304 times)

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Offline davidthefatTopic starter

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What Is A Good Microcontroller To Start With?
« on: March 27, 2010, 10:33:22 PM »
Ok first of all, I consider myself a noob when it comes to robotics. I am in my highschool robotics club as a programmer (I did at least 80% - 90% of our coding) and I have been using C++ since I was 12... (Im 16) so I am pretty fluent in C++. So what if I know how to program a robot? I don't know how to solder and stuff. A bit lacking on the hardware knowledge, so I came here. I want a cheap microprocessor to start with. Has to be programmed in C/C++, I am doing it for my own pleasure and practice, I didn't want to get Arduino because its coded in pseudo C/C++ like Arduino language... My robotics team is a FIRST team, so I had to program in Java, which I don't like. but I tried Edubot, which I like, just plug in the PWMs and Digital I/O where its labeled, and upload code and have fun... I want something like that, but I can't find Edubot anywhere... My first robot project will probably will be an omni drive bot. about 2 x 2 feet using 4 motors (now what kind of motors are controlled by PWMs? LOL I am a noob. Is it servos?) using an aluminum frame that I dont have to weld or anything, the kinds with holes in them that you just bolt together.


The axon look like it has all I need, but Its on the pricey side for me... any cheaper alternatives?
« Last Edit: March 27, 2010, 11:00:08 PM by davidthefat »

Offline Abdulla M.A.

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Re: What Is A Good Microcontroller To Start With?
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2010, 12:22:27 AM »
what about the PIC MCU, I used it in my Robots, it's good and cheap,
but here, just a little folks use it.
PWM you can use it with servo or D.C motor.

Abdulla
"A scientist can discover a new star, but he cannot make one. He would have to ask an engineer to do that."
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Offline Razor Concepts

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Re: What Is A Good Microcontroller To Start With?
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2010, 09:50:22 AM »
Arduino
arduino.cc

Offline davidthefatTopic starter

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Re: What Is A Good Microcontroller To Start With?
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2010, 10:00:10 AM »
what about the PIC MCU, I used it in my Robots, it's good and cheap,
but here, just a little folks use it.
PWM you can use it with servo or D.C motor.

Abdulla

http://www.microchip.com/wwwproducts/Devices.aspx?dDocName=en545660#2
This looks like a good one, is assembly necessary ? Do I have to assemble the board that has all the connectors? I want to use 3 pin connectors

Offline waltr

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Re: What Is A Good Microcontroller To Start With?
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2010, 10:32:08 AM »
That is just the uController chip. You would need to design and build a board to use it. However, for starting out there are a number of boards available with a PIC and all the circuits installed. Here is one source:
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/categories.php?c=9

Microchip has a free IDE called MPLAB that works very well for writing assembler code for PICs. It is a very good idea to learn some assembler as a way to learn how the internals of a uController work. Microchip also has free versions of the C compilers for the different PIC families and the compilers integrate with MPLAB. These are ANSI C compilers and the K&R book is the best reference.

I would recommend a mid-range PIC to start out with, like the 16F88 or the 16F887, before going to a PIC32F. There is much to learn and the more powerful PICs are a lot more complicated to write code for as they have many more features to get set-up.

Quote
My first robot project will probably will be an omni drive bot. about 2 x 2 feet using 4 motors (now what kind of motors are controlled by PWMs?


DC brushed motor are the common one controller by PWM. The best and easiest way to to control these is through a motor driver IC. For small motors this driver has been working very well for me. http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/713
The other Pololu drivers look good and other places sell motor drivers. There are also motor controller boards that take care of the PWM part so that the uContoller does have to time the PWM pulses.

Offline davidthefatTopic starter

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Re: What Is A Good Microcontroller To Start With?
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2010, 05:33:03 PM »
Oh so, the Axon microprocessors are just a really neat and professional looking version than just getting all the stuff together myself? I used MPLAB before in my robotics club, I liked it better than the java crap we used... I think I will pick up soldering and making my own board

Offline waltr

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Re: What Is A Good Microcontroller To Start With?
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2010, 07:00:08 PM »
Quote
I think I will pick up soldering and making my own board
That works to get exactly what you need but did you look at the Sparkfun boards with PICs that I linked to? These may save you some time.

Offline davidthefatTopic starter

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Re: What Is A Good Microcontroller To Start With?
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2010, 07:44:03 PM »
So they are essentially the boards with only the processor and the power and connector? Can you solder on the other stuff? I don;t see copper though

Offline waltr

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Re: What Is A Good Microcontroller To Start With?
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2010, 08:15:16 PM »
There could also have a MAX232 chip for RS232 interface to a PC com port, an ICSP header as well as a prototype area.
Check this one for most of the 28 pin PICs (the PIC is not included).
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=18

Others are just breakout boards that may have a voltage reg and maybe a UBS connector then a pad for each IO pin.
Example:http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=762

Microchip also has development boards for many of their chips:
http://search.microchip.com/searchapp/searchparts.aspx?q=development%20bds&resperpage=10&id=4

I hope you are not getting the processors from different manufacturers mixed up. Since you mentioned liking MPLAB I assume you want to go with PICs.
Axon is a board with all pins out to connectors and uses an ATmega640 processor. See:
http://www.trossenrobotics.com/p/axon-microntroller.aspx
This is a good board for robots and someone who doesn't want to build the processor bd but does want to program.

You may want to learn how to program both PICs and the Axon.

Offline cyberfish

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Re: What Is A Good Microcontroller To Start With?
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2010, 09:54:01 PM »
Arduino language IS C. They just give you a nice library to work with.

The "aruduino preprocessor" basically just adds a

Code: [Select]
int main() {
     setup();
     for (;;) loop();
}

For you, as well as include files for the arduino library.

 


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