Discussion in 'Electronics & Electrics' started by rommel22, Dec 11, 2010.
I have a few of these and totally recommend them:
They have lots of the basics on board and it is easy to plug things like servos in, once you get the code working reasonably you can make a pcb or proto board to put your project on so you can get your dev board back and just use it to program the chip in or out of circuit. I like having an lcd / pots / switches etc on board when you need them so your prototype looks something like this:
and not so much like this:
Look up Arduino, best and most widely supported microcontroller project out there based off the AVR's. Easy tutorials for beginners but will let you have full control of the micro to do anything once you get the basics down. They have their own IDE made for them, but I've got no personal experience with that as I program them in straight C and compile with gcc, which if you got lots of C experience may want to do. While you can compile C++ with gcc for the AVR, it is really not recommended for micro's as they have very limited memory and no built in hardware memory management, which once you get around those limitations, you C++ starts to just look like C in the end.
Definitely start with an Arduino - so much support, examples, tutorials, compatible hardware modules etc. it's a bit of a no-brainer for starting out in micros.
From there you might choose to move on to coding in C and programming AVRs or PICs directly (I code in C and use MikroC compiler to program PICs) but given how damn cheap micros are, you could just stay with the Arduino environment, particularly if you're just doing one-offs.
I agree with using the Arduino. You can still program them in plain C - you just write the code in AVR Studio and then load it onto the board using the Arduino bootloader rather than ISP. There's plenty of support, both for hardware and software, and of course they're very affordable.
I'm so glad I came across this thread! I was looking at getting into microcontrollers a little while ago but forgot about it.
Just had a look at a website in Aus (not sure if we can link sites here?) that sells a heap of Arduino parts and placed an order
Another vote for arduinos, they are the best thing to happen for hobby microcontrollers.
You can get cut-down arduino compatible clones if you want to save space and weight on the car. The official Pro Mini would be pretty good too.