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Author Topic: Learning about Microcontrollers  (Read 1848 times)

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Offline BigKLaxerTopic starter

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Learning about Microcontrollers
« on: August 27, 2008, 08:50:37 AM »
Well I'm brand new to robotics but I've spent the past few weeks reading up on the subject and exploring this site and others like it.  I would like to get started and begin building my own robot but the thing is I'd rather build my own augmented microcontroller than buy one to start with.  I read the $50 robot tutorial and I saw how to build one but I'm more interested in understanding how they work so I can apply the knowledge in the future to build more complex MCU's later on.

So I was wondering if any of you vets or experienced electrical engineers out there could help me out by explaining the workings of an MCU or pointing me to sites that fully explain their functioning.
Experimental Mobile Robotics Platform: http://www.udrobot.blogspot.com

Offline sotu

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Re: Learning about Microcontrollers
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2008, 10:32:00 AM »
Heres another, very usefull tutorial on how to make a microcontroller. http://www.societyofrobots.com/member_tutorials/node/63
You could perhaps read information on each component on the circuit board, so you know every task they have. For example why you need to attach an capacitor to the board: If your servos/motors suddenly need a stronger power pulse.
If you know the task of each component, it should be easier to start knowing what you need to build one of theese boards.

To learn about components: wikipedia - enough said ;)
How to build a biped bot:

Offline ArcMan

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Re: Learning about Microcontrollers
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2008, 10:47:19 AM »
I use Microchip PICs, so that's what I'm familiar with.  The Microchip site has the "data sheets" for all of their PIC models which contain detailed chip architecture drawings, explainations, etc.

When you come to understand just how amazing these little $4 microcontrollers are, you may decide not to build your own afterall  ;)

Offline pomprocker

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Re: Learning about Microcontrollers
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2008, 12:32:49 PM »
Basically a microchip has pins, and to access the functionality of those pins you need to break them out by  adding a connector or header to it. but things that plug into these pins also need a power source and a common ground. that it why you see the three row header pins. In theory you're allowed to breakout every single pin on the chip, just make sure you know what your doing before doing that.

thats pretty much it, the rest is just making sure that everything is given the proper voltage, and all grounds are common/shared.

the programming pins/header pins  can either be included or excluded on your board. if you exclude them, you have to rig up a special separate device that you can seat the chip in and program it. then move it to your board.

Offline BigKLaxerTopic starter

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Re: Learning about Microcontrollers
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2008, 07:49:47 PM »
Thanks you guys have helped a lot.  I know most of the basic electric components and how they work, but I'm having a little trouble identifying some of the do-hickies on the MCU's like the Axon and Arduino.  I can identify what's a capacitor, microcontroller, ADC or digital pins, and voltage regulator but I can't tell what any of the other things are.  I'm also unsure about what some of the pins on the microcontroller do, like the Miso, mosi, sck, reset, and the different names and numbers for the digital and analog pins.
Experimental Mobile Robotics Platform: http://www.udrobot.blogspot.com

Offline pomprocker

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Re: Learning about Microcontrollers
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2008, 08:18:29 PM »
datasheets explain all that ;)

Offline kotentie

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Re: Learning about Microcontrollers
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2008, 08:24:10 PM »

To learn about components: wikipedia - enough said ;)

so true ;D

 


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