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Author Topic: New Member and Beginner to Electronics and Robotics  (Read 1509 times)

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Offline IloveEasterntigersTopic starter

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New Member and Beginner to Electronics and Robotics
« on: May 03, 2010, 05:16:51 AM »
Hello everyone, firstly I want to say thank you to the maker of this website forum and the related youtube videos. Im 24 years old and recently found myself into electronics and learning, I do the odd electronic device repair and breadboard learning, Im still learning about 555 flashers and how to make them on breadboards. I was told however skip 555 as this is old technology and simply move to Microcontrollers. As I have been reading a lot on Microcontrollers and the Basics of Arduino I know a little about them. I want to do fun things like control a motor or servo motor to a usb port and make it do fun stuff like move it when I type in codes or anything on my computer keyboard. So what and how is the best approach? Do I just go straight into the Microcontrollers and if so where is the best place to start? bearing in mind I dont have a lot of money. I just downloaded the Software Yenka so I will see what that also has to offer.

Many thanks

-John

Offline z.s.tar.gz

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Re: New Member and Beginner to Electronics and Robotics
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2010, 08:22:24 AM »
I'd say start with an arduino as they are easy on beginners and expandable so you won't outgrow it really quick. They're also pretty cheap too for what you get.

Don't give up on more basic IC though. You'll be using them for the rest of your electronic adventures.

Save yourself the typing. Just call me Zach.

Offline IloveEasterntigersTopic starter

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Re: New Member and Beginner to Electronics and Robotics
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2010, 10:27:14 AM »
I'd say start with an arduino as they are easy on beginners and expandable so you won't outgrow it really quick. They're also pretty cheap too for what you get.

Don't give up on more basic IC though. You'll be using them for the rest of your electronic adventures.



Hi, you are my first comment, thanks for the advice, I live in the UK can you tell me is the Arduino Dumelonove a good start? So with that I can attach servo motors and control it from my computer via USB connection?

Offline z.s.tar.gz

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Re: New Member and Beginner to Electronics and Robotics
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2010, 11:07:17 AM »
I've heard about there being a short supply of certain microcontrollers in the UK but I'm not sure being over in the states in all.

All the arduinos can control servos and the one you mentioned can control 6.
You can control it via a computer with UART (there's a tutorial on the main SoR site)
Whether or not the usb can be used I do not know, although if I had to guess I'd say it could.
Save yourself the typing. Just call me Zach.

Offline Soeren

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Re: New Member and Beginner to Electronics and Robotics
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2010, 12:26:15 PM »
Hi,

In lieu of the recent (and ongoing) AVR scams, perhaps it wouldn't be a bad idea to go the PIC route.
A soft start would be to use either a BASIC Stamp or a PIC Axe, to get acquainted with microcontrollers and then move onwards when they don't provide you enough of a challenge (should be at least a year or two).
Regards,
Søren

A rather fast and fairly heavy robot with quite large wheels needs what? A lot of power?
Please remember...
Engineering is based on numbers - not adjectives

Offline z.s.tar.gz

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Re: New Member and Beginner to Electronics and Robotics
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2010, 01:40:09 PM »
I don't think there is a major problem with avr scams at all if you buy from a legitamate source (any website on the parts list?)
But take a look into the other archetectures as well! Also remember that software for PIC controllers is not free as opposed to AVR.
Save yourself the typing. Just call me Zach.

Offline waltr

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Re: New Member and Beginner to Electronics and Robotics
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2010, 01:44:23 PM »
Quote
that software for PIC controllers is not free as opposed to AVR.

Really?
http://www.microchip.com/stellent/idcplg?IdcService=SS_GET_PAGE&nodeId=1406&dDocName=en019469&part=SW007002

Offline z.s.tar.gz

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Re: New Member and Beginner to Electronics and Robotics
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2010, 02:22:26 PM »
"MPLAB C Compilers (free student editions available for download) "
Free with limitations, excuse me.
Save yourself the typing. Just call me Zach.

Offline Soeren

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Re: New Member and Beginner to Electronics and Robotics
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2010, 07:40:32 PM »
Hi,

"MPLAB C Compilers (free student editions available for download) "
Free with limitations, excuse me.
I think you'd find a bit, if you cared to look, but I don't really understand the "hey, I want the tools for free" mentality - try that when you buy timber, or even just a piece of meat at the butcher  ;)

However, I think that a great part of this conservatism is based in a fear of having to learn something new/different and that is sad, as it only gets your knowledge obsolete or marginalized in a short time.

Personally, I prefer PICs now, for most of the general work I do (out of an intermittenly ongoing deterministic evaluation of the market), but I'm not married to Microchip and will abandon them the very minute I find something I consider better.
Nothing really beats paying as little as $0.37 for a tiny controller that replaces lots of logic devices (and then some), as is the present price for their meekest 10F200.

Back when they were named "Arizona Microchip", I just saw more and more reasons to use them, even though I was a bit worried back then, about the lack of second sourcing, but that has never been a problem so far and they come out with new controllers with more features very often.

A bit over a decade ago, I liked the Fairchild ACE controllers (but sadly, they went out), before that time, I used a lot of Atmels controllers etc. etc. going back to the 8080, the COSMAC and the likes, which took separate RAM, ROM etc. to even work.

My advice is to be flexible and be ready to change core when something better turns up. It might seem daunting at first, but in time, it becomes second nature to switch, as the different cores are more similar than the opposite - from a programming perspective.

If you want to make this your career and if you're still clinging to AVRs (or any other single core) in 10 to 20 years from now, you might know that one intimately, but you won't be the employers first pic (no pun intended ;)) if you can't or won't switch cores.
Regards,
Søren

A rather fast and fairly heavy robot with quite large wheels needs what? A lot of power?
Please remember...
Engineering is based on numbers - not adjectives

Offline waltr

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Re: New Member and Beginner to Electronics and Robotics
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2010, 08:35:26 PM »
Quote
"MPLAB C Compilers (free student editions available for download) "
Free with limitations, excuse me.

Skip C until you learn assembler. Assembler will teach you much more about how uController really do work.
MASM is included with the free MPLAB and has no limitations for any of Microchips processors.

Offline Ro-Bot-X

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Re: New Member and Beginner to Electronics and Robotics
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2010, 09:02:19 PM »
Skip C until you learn assembler. Assembler will teach you much more about how uController really do work.
...

True, but hard to do. If you want to make a career to build robots (or anything microcontroller related), take his advice, learn assembler, then C. And learn about both PIC and AVR microcontrollers. If not, for just hobby use, you can do fine with Basic or C, pick whatever you feel more comfortable with.
Check out the uBotino robot controller!

Offline z.s.tar.gz

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Re: New Member and Beginner to Electronics and Robotics
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2010, 05:41:22 AM »
Skip C until you learn assembler. Assembler will teach you much more about how uController really do work.

That's what I did (am doing?) and I must say that it isn't super hard to do.
Assembly just takes a different mindset than higher level languages such as C.

@Soeren: Personally it's about needs vs costs. PICs could be better but the cost of buying new programmers and adapters and whatnot is not an imediate option. Not to mention that AVRs
already meet my requirements.

So it's not a matter of fear of the unknown, it's a matter of time and money. (for me at least)
Save yourself the typing. Just call me Zach.

Offline GearMotion

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Re: New Member and Beginner to Electronics and Robotics
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2010, 07:11:18 AM »
A bit over a decade ago, I liked the Fairchild ACE controllers (but sadly, they went out),

I liked those, too. It was funny, though, at the time there was such a push by Fairchild and my local distributor to find every PIC application known and re-do it with an ACE. Basically show everyone that the ACE is the new PIC. I joked at the time that had I jammed a PIC into my eye and walked up to my Fairchild guy, he would have jammed two ACE chips into his eye just to one-up Microchip.


Offline Soeren

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Re: New Member and Beginner to Electronics and Robotics
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2010, 07:08:50 PM »
Hi,

I liked those, too. It was funny, though, at the time there was such a push by Fairchild and my local distributor to find every PIC application known and re-do it with an ACE. Basically show everyone that the ACE is the new PIC.

Around that time, PIC controllers were kicking the competition right where it matters and probably was the one to try and outdo.
I think that ACE was better than the PIC at that time and if it had evolved with the same speed as the competitors, I think that it would have been a real tough cookie for the competitors.


I joked at the time that had I jammed a PIC into my eye and walked up to my Fairchild guy, he would have jammed two ACE chips into his eye just to one-up Microchip.

Hehe, might be while they decided to pull it... All those blind employees would amount to a serious reimbursement law suit.

I bet this company is saddened by the demise of the ACE as well... I have but one ACEICE, they have close to 7k of them and they used to be extremely expensive. I wouldn't be surprised if they had a good supply of starter kits (ripped for the included ACEs of course) and prog.adapters as well - nice stock - dead money.
Regards,
Søren

A rather fast and fairly heavy robot with quite large wheels needs what? A lot of power?
Please remember...
Engineering is based on numbers - not adjectives

 


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