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complain about my tutorials here =)

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Admin:
if there are any complaints about any tutorials, such as something is confusing, overcomplicated, or my grammar just sucks, this is the post to make suggestions.

do your worst!  :P

trigger:
I am a first time poster but long time reader. :) Your tutorials are excellent. I have yet to build a robot using your tutorials, but they are informative and well-written. 

My only suggestions are for the Microcontrollers tutorial. You might consider fleshing out the details a bit. Personally, I am interested in using a PIC, but I do not want to buy a programmer or a compiler. You mention that you can build a programmer but provide no instructions or links to instructions. This would be helpful (admittedly, I haven't googled it yet, but I bet others would like to see a link). Also, you state that you dislike the free compilers out there but don't explain why. Are they buggy? Write bloated code? Have you tried them all?

One other thing that isn't clear to me is the purpose of a development board. What functions does a development board have that an augmented controller doesn't?

Any links to sites that talk about augmenting uCs would be greatly appreciated. I'd like to figure out how to add a few ADCs and digital I/O ports and thereby start with a very inexpensive uC setup. To be honest, I know I could read some datasheets and figure it out myself (I did EE as an undergrad), but if you ever find such links, they would sure simplify things. A related interesting project would be to start with a uC and write a small C compiler for it, but that's another story.

Anyway, these are just a few suggestions. Keep up the great work!

JesseWelling:

--- Quote from: trigger on December 09, 2006, 01:11:34 AM --- A related interesting project would be to start with a uC and write a small C compiler for it


--- End quote ---

I'm not sure you fully understand what this entails but as a graduating CS major who has written a compiler for a kiddy
language(micro-pascal), I'm going to tell you this is very non-trivial and really doesn't have much to do with 'robots'
besides the fact that you would be learning your uC really well (probably more than you'd want to know, or need to
know for a beginner bot).

JonHylands:
I wrote a compiler for the PIC a bunch of years ago, because I hated the assembler so much. It was 1998, and the 16F84 was the only FLASH-based PIC available. I tried all the free compilers that were available then, and they all sucked (were very limited, or just didn't work).

You can see what I did here, and download it:

http://www.huv.com/uSeeker/smalltalk/pic.html

I wouldn't advise anyone to try and use it though - the 16F84 is way outdated, and there are far better PIC chips available.

For someone starting off now, I would strongly advise, unless you have $250 to spend on micro-controller tools, that you go AVR. There is an excellent quality C compiler available for free (gcc), a decent (although demo-limited) free BASIC compiler (Bascom), and you can build a programmer for the things for under $10.

PICs are temperamental little beasts, which is why in the end I decided I wanted to be in the robot-building business rather than the compiler-writing business, so I stopped working on PIC/Smalltalk and bought a commercial C compiler (CCS) and a good programmer (Warp-13).

- Jon

trigger:

--- Quote from: JesseWelling on December 09, 2006, 03:08:31 AM ---
--- Quote from: trigger on December 09, 2006, 01:11:34 AM --- A related interesting project would be to start with a uC and write a small C compiler for it


--- End quote ---

I'm not sure you fully understand what this entails but as a graduating CS major who has written a compiler for a kiddy
language(micro-pascal), I'm going to tell you this is very non-trivial and really doesn't have much to do with 'robots'
besides the fact that you would be learning your uC really well (probably more than you'd want to know, or need to
know for a beginner bot).

--- End quote ---

Yes, I can see that is non-trivial. I've done quite a lot of programming, though I've never written a compiler. My motivation for playing with robots is basically to learn more about hardware and software, so to me this would be an interesting project.

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