Author Topic: Buying a Microprocessor VS Requesting Advice  (Read 934 times)

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Offline MaztorShakeTopic starter

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Buying a Microprocessor VS Requesting Advice
« on: June 12, 2011, 02:32:29 AM »
Alirght. I am new to robotics but I plan on jumping in the deep end when it comes to my first project. I know alil bit of C already so I am looking for a microprocessor that can be programmed in C. Also I have up $500 to spend on one. So... Any ideas?

Offline WaterPig Master

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Re: Buying a Microprocessor VS Requesting Advice
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2011, 03:58:18 AM »
Hello!

If you want to jump in at the deep end, go for it but go carefully and slowly. Trying to do too much too quickly without understanding any of it will only lead to frustration and a waste of your $500 (which is enough to put together some pretty impressive robots if you're willing to shop around and become familiar with development environments!).

I would not personally recommend that you do jump in at the deep end, I think it is best to start with a few small, simple projects. But, whatever floats your boat… :)

You say you know a bit of C, that will help greatly, I think. I do not currently program embedded controllers in C, so cannot help you with selection.

What is your electronics knowledge like? Do you have access to common parts, a multimeter, a breadboard, soldering iron? You will certainly be able to put together a robot with prebuilt, shop bought parts (especially on a budget like yours) but it helps greatly when things go wrong to have a working knowledge of what's happening 'underneath'.

Thanks,
Barnaby

Offline waltr

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Re: Buying a Microprocessor VS Requesting Advice
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2011, 09:07:17 AM »
Almost all the current micro-processors and micro-controller have C available in the development tools. It is the tools and not the processor that supports using C. Any idea which processor family you will start with?

I use PICs from Microchip and use Microchips free IDE and C compilers (see their web site). The other manufactures also have free tools. Atmegas and AVRs are also popular processors in with hobbyists as you'll see by reading through the posts on this forum.

Offline MaztorShakeTopic starter

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Re: Buying a Microprocessor VS Requesting Advice
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2011, 02:01:21 PM »
Here is my background:

I'm 19. Young and ambitious. Willing to do whatever it takes to climb my personal ladder to success.

I'm currently in the Air Force. This is where alot of my funding comes from. I have other very small sources of income to help purchase whatever is needed.

During tech school I had to undergo a 2 month course in Electronic Principles before I started my real schooling. There we learned everything from how radio circuits work. (I'm a RF guy. Pretty much anything and everything wireless communications technician.) So I have a basic idea of how circuits work. We also worked with several testing equipment from the Fluke Multimeter, signal generators, oscilloscopes and so on and so forth.

After I complete my 5 level upgrade training (which should be in 4 months), I'm going even deeper with my desires to create the robot of my dream. When I get deployed, sometime in the near future, I plan on using any spare time reading more on the subject and even perfecting my design. I also have 5 years left in the military and plan on using each second of that to progress toward the finishing design. So when I get out I can make an offer to the US government and possibly start my own company.

Dare to stop me? Well I guess you could by not telling me anything. But you wouldnt do that...   =)
Lol

Offline WaterPig Master

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Re: Buying a Microprocessor VS Requesting Advice
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2011, 03:25:06 PM »
Wow! I'm 16. I have no intention of making EE or robotics my career, but I find them fascinating and a great source of enjoyment. Good to hear you have everything planned out! You talk about starting a company — do you have commercial robot ideas?

Good to hear you have a solid grounding in electronics. My grandfather is an RF engineer, it's a branch of electronics that I have yet to really study and try to understand.

So, where to start… I would recommend you try making a small robot with wheels and some basic sensors — line following or obstacle avoiding. Use this as a warm up to become comfortable with motor drivers, MCUs (as waltr says, most can be programmed in C. Microchip will send you free MCUs, and they have very affordable dev. tools) and sensor arrays, as well as keeping everything working on a moving platform. As a warm up ;)

What is this 'dream robot' you aspire to constructing? It would help to know what direction you want to head in.

Thanks,
Barnaby

Offline MaztorShakeTopic starter

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Re: Buying a Microprocessor VS Requesting Advice
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2011, 05:12:11 PM »
I been into robotics my entire life. It's just I never had the money. I grew up poor, so yuh. But now that I have some money to spare I'm trying to catch up to my childhood dream. And as for RF, I enjoy the theory behind it all, I just hate the actual application of it.

As for my "dream robot"... It's going to sound weird, but Halo really nailed it when it came to my dream bot. I had the idea for awhile of a hovering robot that has the same sarcastic attitude as myself. But since I joined the military, I have quite a few ideas for military applications. Maybe a reconnaissance bot to monitor enemy terrain. I want it to be about the size of a basketball.

And besides DigiKey, where else can I order the parts I need such as the microprocessor and other parts.

Offline garrettg84

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Re: Buying a Microprocessor VS Requesting Advice
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2011, 07:08:47 AM »
I buy most of my supplies from Home Depot/Lowes, hobbyking.com, ebay, mouser.com, and digikey.com. I also jump around to some of the thrift stores in my area as well as pawn shops and garage sales from time to time. It all depends on what you are interested in doing.

Since you are interested in a 'hovering' bot, what aspect of hovering is it that grabs your attention? Why not actually join the quad-copter (tri, quad, hex, etc.) craze. I have most of the supplies at home to go ahead and build up a quad copter, I just haven't found the time or motivation to get it done lately. I will eventually get around to it.

Some links for your interest:
HexaKopter - MikroKopter

http://www.mikrokopter.de/ucwiki/en/Mikrokopter-Get-started
http://diydrones.com/
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=16583
-garrett

Offline MaztorShakeTopic starter

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Re: Buying a Microprocessor VS Requesting Advice
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2011, 04:08:49 PM »
Hey, thanks for that video. That was pretty legit. Not exactly what I had in mind, but was still entertaining.

As for the links. Thanks.

Offline Billy

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Re: Buying a Microprocessor VS Requesting Advice
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2011, 07:24:39 PM »
To your original question, you should look at the LPC Xpresso line of products.
The development environment is a tuned version of Eclipse with everything built into a coherent environment. You can program, compile, downoad and debug all from the same screen.

The boards for the LPC1343 come with the JTAG debugger built in.

The code base comes with a ton of prepackaged functions for configuring the peripherals (interrupt priorities, SPI format, etc). Their on-line forum is very active so you'll have nearly 24/7 free support.

Best part - $29US for the base boards. I've never bought any of the additional addable cards but those exist if you want a PCB that has extra electronics on it.

All software is free at http://ics.nxp.com/lpcxpresso/

Once you have a few small programs built up, you'll want to put these boards in everything and at $29, you'll be able to afford to. Use the extra $471 to buy the other stuff you'll need like motors, drivers, and encoders.

They run ARM Cortex processors. ARM is taking over the world and experience with these processors will pay you back later.

Offline MaztorShakeTopic starter

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Re: Buying a Microprocessor VS Requesting Advice
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2011, 03:21:52 AM »
At Billy,

Thanks for going into detail with your answer. I was literally expecting something like (Click this, buy that, and download this). But you went even further I appreciate that. And I appreciate all the help I been getting on this forum. Maybe Ill mention everyone here when I showcase my final product to DoD or DARPA.

 


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