Author Topic: Beginner microcontroller  (Read 3130 times)

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Offline gorner5Topic starter

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Beginner microcontroller
« on: December 14, 2008, 08:48:14 PM »
I want to know If this would be a good beginning microcontroller.    http://www.hacktronics.com/Arduino/Arduino-Starter-Kit/flypage.tpl.html

Offline airman00

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Re: Beginner microcontroller
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2008, 07:23:40 PM »
Arduinos are  not the best because you need to buy a shield in order to connect it to servos and sensors.

[advertise :P ]
My Roboduino microcontroller board - http://curiousinventor.com/kits/roboduino - is basically a modified arduino that accepts servos and sensors right away , no need for any shield .


For example here is how you would connect a servo to an Arduino ( notice the extra board that is needed)


And heres how you would connect it to a Roboduino ( notice that no extra boards are needed)


[/advertise]
Check out the Roboduino, Arduino-compatible board!


Link: http://curiousinventor.com/kits/roboduino

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Offline cyclopediatechtilon

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Re: Beginner microcontroller
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2008, 08:45:23 AM »
Airman, why is the other board needed<like you could just connect a 3-pin header and fix it on the board>
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Offline Trumpkin

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Re: Beginner microcontroller
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2008, 09:15:53 AM »
Quote
Airman, why is the other board needed<like you could just connect a 3-pin header and fix it on the board>
Because the pins on the Arduino that you need to connect to the servo are spaced too far apart to use a three pin header.
Robots are awesome!

Offline airman00

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Re: Beginner microcontroller
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2008, 09:29:36 AM »
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Airman, why is the other board needed<like you could just connect a 3-pin header and fix it on the board>
Because the pins on the Arduino that you need to connect to the servo are spaced too far apart to use a three pin header.

and because the arduino does not have a power bus ( power and ground) by each pin. The Roboduino has power busses by every pin
Check out the Roboduino, Arduino-compatible board!


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Offline HyperNerd

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Re: Beginner microcontroller
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2008, 01:10:32 PM »
Hi guys,

The Arduino/Roboduino is a pretty awesome controller, but for an ABSOLUTE beginner, I would recommend something like a BASIC Stamp 2 from Parallax, or their Boe-Bot Kit. The BS2 was the first uC I had, and I found it quite easy to use/program. The only problem is the lack of analog inputs, which meant that when I bought my first Sharp IR rangefinder, I had to invest in an Arduino.

IMO, the programming language for the BS2 (BASIC) is much easier to learn than that of the Arduino (C). Just my personal opinion though ;). The Boe-Bot kit is great, as the board comes pre-assembled, and it has some servo connectors already wired up. It also has all the stuff you need to get the robot going, including the BS2 chip, the Board Of Education (Boe), servos, the robot chassis, battery pack etc. Plus you get some basic IR sensors, which are not as good as Sharp rangefinders, but are good enough for a beginner.

Hope this helps! ;D

 -HyperNerd
There are 10 types of people in the world - those who understand binary, and those who don't.

Offline jamort

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Re: Beginner microcontroller
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2008, 06:25:03 PM »
your probably better off to build one youll learn a lot and it may take you a couple tries but it wil be worth it
my english teacher once said, "dont talk about what you dont know in public...."

so I replied the truth, " Exactly why I dont ever talk about English."

Offline HDL_CinC_Dragon

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Re: Beginner microcontroller
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2008, 06:28:15 PM »
I think im going to have to disagree with you on this one Jamort and agree with HyperNerd
I used the BS2 and found it extremely useful. You can do a lot of neat things with it. You can send pulses to servos with a simple one line syntax command "PULSOUT peram,peram,peram" and stuff and outputting frequencies is just as simple! I think the BS2 is a great way to get a handle on MCUs and mostly programming them and hooking devices up to them.

IMO, BS2 is the way to go
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Offline cyclopediatechtilon

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Re: Beginner microcontroller
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2008, 05:22:29 AM »
Another question to airman
What are the things on the robodino which are yellow in color? :-[
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Offline airman00

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Re: Beginner microcontroller
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2008, 06:07:30 AM »
Another question to airman
What are the things on the robodino which are yellow in color? :-[
Capacitors. they reduce any electrical noise on the microcontroller board so everything is running correctly
Check out the Roboduino, Arduino-compatible board!


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Offline cyclopediatechtilon

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Re: Beginner microcontroller
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2008, 09:51:11 AM »
Okkk
thks
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Offline 0deuce0

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Re: Beginner microcontroller
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2008, 09:08:14 PM »
Interesting thread but the one thing that I noticed about the Roboduino ( First time I have seen it as well, so please be gentle!)  Looking at the Roboduino, the three pins, is one of the positive, another negative? and the third signal?  If so that breaks one of the major design flaws of electronics... you should never have positive exposed like that.  It is just begging to be hit on accident and short...  Male connectors should not have voltage, or at least be protected from accidents.

If your a beginner, I would stick with http://www.hacktronics.com/Arduino/Arduino-Starter-Kit/flypage.tpl.html




Offline airman00

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Re: Beginner microcontroller
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2008, 09:31:43 PM »
If so that breaks one of the major design flaws of electronics... you should never have positive exposed like that.  It is just begging to be hit on accident and short...  Male connectors should not have voltage, or at least be protected from accidents.

Thats why these connectors exist - http://www.societyofrobots.com/electronics_wire_connector.shtml

you should ALWAYS use connectors - makes everything modular, which is good.

In my long experience with the Roboduino and other microcontrollers that have exposed male connectors, like the Axon, I have never broken the board because of a short. I've always used connectors. Truthfully, most sensors and servos come with connectors, so not much opportunity to screw up.

and if somehow the user shorts it out , thats why fuses exist. I've also noticed that even if you short it out for a little bit - less than 30 seconds - the board and pin is still fine.
Check out the Roboduino, Arduino-compatible board!


Link: http://curiousinventor.com/kits/roboduino

www.Narobo.com

Offline Razor Concepts

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Re: Beginner microcontroller
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2008, 11:09:04 PM »
Interesting thread but the one thing that I noticed about the Roboduino ( First time I have seen it as well, so please be gentle!)  Looking at the Roboduino, the three pins, is one of the positive, another negative? and the third signal?  If so that breaks one of the major design flaws of electronics... you should never have positive exposed like that.  It is just begging to be hit on accident and short...  Male connectors should not have voltage, or at least be protected from accidents.

If your a beginner, I would stick with http://www.hacktronics.com/Arduino/Arduino-Starter-Kit/flypage.tpl.html

I would not worry about this. Header pins are very durable, they can be bent and unbent a number of times before then snap off. Also RC receivers have had exposed pins for decades, none have had female sockets. You probably have a better chance of shorting them while trying to wire a servo with normal female sockets.

Offline TrickyNekro

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Re: Beginner microcontroller
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2008, 11:19:16 PM »
Ok, It comes to a point you have to take a decision....

What I'll suggest is the best for learning and understanding electronics....
Get a development kit!!!! It will solve your hands!!!

I've been through BS2 for 1 year.... What I did understand in the end.... It's a little bit useless....
Just a toy!!! Ardruino and robordruino differ, cause they are of a different concept...
This is cause behind the compiler there is machine, whereas behind the BS2 compiler is software again....
Now.... which is the most easy to use.... Both are equal... You see guys here real had in mind
only C when it comes to Atmel but I still program in BASIC...

For me, the first language one should learn first is basic because:
It offers a lot easily (you don't really need precision here, you are learning) and
it get you to learn how to flowchart programs quite quickly.
C does the same... but introduces you to hardware too soon, and you don't really like this...
Then, if you learn basic well (constructing big nice fat programs) then, it comes to learning the machine...
Best way to do this, although it may seem like a mountain in the beginning is Assembly.... period....
But in order to write big fat programs in Assembly you must really really be an idiot (yes, cause 400 Basic lines are 10000 Assembly)
You use C....

So the logic order is Basic, Assembly, C...... for me!!! I do note that, for me...

Now what you should buy....
Basic Stamp offers you only the first option so I consider it useless.... (And by the way I have 3 BS2)
Ardruino ,or Eric's version, offers the whole package but you get involved with only one microcontroller (and it's family, which is ATMEGA XX8)
They are the best solution for a hobbyist...
But what, I really really recommend is a Atmel development kit...
STK500 is very very good, and you will get a lot....
Best if you buy a STK600, but it's far more expensive both to buy and get it working with DIP package controllers
( though with the big nice hole though pins!!!)
An STK500 will cost you about 100Euro or ~110$ - 120$
An STK600 will cost you about 170Euro or ~200$ but you will also need some routine cards (the add on we were talking)
Each routine card is about 80Euro or ~100$
You will need only one don't worry.... but it comes that you need 300$ which is a real sum for a beginner....


Now in real life... what I did....
I started with a BS2!!! Then I got my second one to start playing with communications!!!
Then I built a JDM programmer for AT90S2313 (ha, most here haven't even heard :P) nothing special
and not much of a micro compared to Eric's (airman00) ATMEGA168...
Then I got my ATTINY2313... But with a JDM programmer setting fuses is rather hard... so I did broke micros back then....
But I have revived them :P :P :P :P
How??? I got my STK500, which has HVPP (or High Voltage Parallel Programming) which is the only way "reviving" a microcontroller.....
Now... Reviving means fixing the fuses, (for you changing clothes) it can't repair burned cloths  :P :P :P
With STK500, I learned programming in BASIC well enough...
What an STK500 offers over Ardruino is, helping you with the set up of the device... (these fuses)
Fuses, are very important and for a beginner who can do errors it's very important to have a program which prevents you from destroying :P literally.....
It also offers full range on Vref and not fixed values, which well, it's important but not very....... it's needed later on....
To continue, I bough a STK600 some months ago... Which is a hell of a development kit... It really has everything on it...
USB powered, RS232 communication, CAN bus, two Vref voltages, an extra USB port for your projects and so on....
But guess want.... you are a beginner, you won't need all these goodies... no way....


So you either buy a roborduino which offer much help on wiring, or you buy an STK500, which is lite and for me it can help you a little more...

BUT!!! If you buy a development kit (STK500, STK600) it is sure that you WILL NOT use it on a robot... Just for plain programming and
development....


So what is the BEST solution, you buy a roborduino which works right out of the box, and then you buy a STK500
Which STK500 can program a roboduino, but it's no necessary cause roboduino has a program in it and you can just plug in and play...



Hehehehe, what was an answer... I'll use it for other too :P :P :P :P
It got me 1 hour to think and write ;D ;D ;D :D :D ;D :P :P :P ::) ::) ;D ;D :D :D


Well,
Best of regards,
Lefteris, Greece
« Last Edit: December 28, 2008, 11:29:06 PM by TrickyNekro »
For whom the interrupts toll...


P.S. I've been inactive for almost a year... Don't give promises but I'll try to complete my tutorials. I'll let you know when..

Cheers!

Offline Webbot

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Re: Beginner microcontroller
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2008, 11:23:39 PM »
Interesting thread but the one thing that I noticed about the Roboduino ( First time I have seen it as well, so please be gentle!)  Looking at the Roboduino, the three pins, is one of the positive, another negative? and the third signal?  If so that breaks one of the major design flaws of electronics... you should never have positive exposed like that.  It is just begging to be hit on accident and short...  Male connectors should not have voltage, or at least be protected from accidents.

If your a beginner, I would stick with http://www.hacktronics.com/Arduino/Arduino-Starter-Kit/flypage.tpl.html


First: the Roboduino, Axon, most microcontroller boards etc are designed in the same way as most commercial things - you only have to look at a servo lead to see that this is the case. But I do have some (small  :o ) sympathy with what you are saying. Maybe our connectors should be polarized so that they can only be plugged in one way. However: polarization requires some extra space and so most hardware designers take the pragmatic decision that the person plugging in an external piece of kit has a vague idea of what they are doing and, if not, then the pluggable device has diodes etc in order to protect itself against improper use.

Equally we should use fuses etc - but we normally dont - we take shortcuts which, 98% of the time: work fine, give neater and simpler boards, etc etc.

So whats the worse that can happen? We blow a mcu. It's not like we are plugging anything into a wall socket  :o
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Offline Webbot

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Re: Beginner microcontroller
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2008, 11:54:48 PM »
I think im going to have to disagree with you on this one Jamort and agree with HyperNerd
I used the BS2 and found it extremely useful. You can do a lot of neat things with it. You can send pulses to servos with a simple one line syntax command "PULSOUT peram,peram,peram" and stuff and outputting frequencies is just as simple! I think the BS2 is a great way to get a handle on MCUs and mostly programming them and hooking devices up to them.

IMO, BS2 is the way to go

There seem to be 2 threads going on here : one about connectors and another about languages. I think languages have pretty good coverage over other forum posts (disagree - then start a new one).

At the end of the day: languages are all about choice. Assembler lets you do anything but you need a good understanding of the electronics and takes a while to learn, BASIC gives a very abstract representation and is easy to learn but allows you to do MOST stuff, C sits somewhere between the two and so is easy but has power. But one language is NO BETTER than any other language - it just depends on what you want to write, your short-comings, and the short-comings of your selected language. Try writing a multi-tasking kernel in Basic and you're stuffed.

@TrickyNero But in order to write big fat programs in Assembly you must really really be an idiot Not really - it depends on what you are familiar with. I spent 12 years creating an MS-DOS system that had its own multi-tasking, multi-user kernel so could drive dumb terminals from MS-DOS (and 15 years later is still used by more than 1000 businesses world wide). Eg a 6 user system running an entire business system in only 64kb of RAM. This was before Windows existed, and Unix only ran on mainframes. Why assembly? Well: 1) try doing that in Basic and 2) it ran like a bat out of hell. I'm proud to be 'an idiot'.


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Offline TrickyNekro

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Re: Beginner microcontroller
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2008, 01:58:22 AM »
I didn't meant exactly idiot... don't have it like that.... I meant a little bit... I don't have the word sorry....
Ok...  So here is what I do...
Whenever comes to time critical things I use Assembly...
And when general coding I use Basic....

Then, I must be happy my Basic compiler (BASCOM) allows me to write in ASM and I can even modify the libraries written in Assembly...

Thus, I keep my 400 lines and I do changes whenever it is needed....

Tell me what's better....

Thing is that you do exactly the same with C....
And C is all the way to go nowadays...

I'm not a strong supporter of Basic... for sure... I'm against it... But..... it helps....

Sorry, if I was offensive.... didn't meant to do this....
For whom the interrupts toll...


P.S. I've been inactive for almost a year... Don't give promises but I'll try to complete my tutorials. I'll let you know when..

Cheers!

Offline Webbot

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Re: Beginner microcontroller
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2008, 02:59:14 AM »
No worries - no offense taken.

I wasn't being rude about Basic. All languages let you do most things - so whatever is familiar or suitable for a given problem is fine. IE if it works - then don't knock it
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