Author Topic: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer  (Read 12562 times)

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Offline ceamiclover

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Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« on: October 10, 2014, 12:49:49 am »
I am looking for cheap, programmable micro-controllers and a programmer to embed in simple hobby circuits.  Examples motion-triggered light, etc.

pic10f200 are less than a dollar.

PICkit3 PIC KIT3 debugger is on ebay for $27

Are these reasonable for simple projects and learning?
 

Offline Scrts

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2014, 01:12:50 am »
You should really look at ARM options. E.g. STM32 Discovery boards, which have the debugger on-board already.
 

Offline Sebastian

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2014, 02:22:59 am »
Take a look at TIs Tiva C series. They have a very inexpensive evaluation board with on-board debugger. (http://www.ti.com/tool/ek-tm4c123gxl)
Their IDE CCS6 and compiler are free with unlimited code size as long as you are using the lowest end debugger (XDS-100).
Those MCUs are ARM Cortex-M4 based and come in many different versions with peripherals like USB, CAN, ADC, PWM, ...
 

exapod

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2014, 02:40:33 am »
In my opinion you can't go wrong with the microchip parts for hobby use.
With the same programmer/debugger and IDE you have a big range of chips, from the dirty cheap PIC10 to the PIC32 and most of them are avaible in DIP package that is great for hobby use.
You should buy the original pickit3, on mouser is "only" 50 bucks.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2014, 02:45:33 am »
Arduino pro mini, $2.50 shipped

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Pro-Mini-atmega328-5V-16M-Replace-ATmega128-for-Arduino-Compatible-Nano-/131261720809?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e8fcee8e9

You will need a USB/Serial adapter like the one below and the free Arduino IDE. It gives you a 16Mhz 32k FLASH MCU, a word c/c++ compiler and tons of libraries and people that will help you along the way.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/FTDI-BASIC-BREAKOUT-5V-USB-TO-TTL-6-PIN-MODULE-FOR-MWC-MULTIWII-LITE-SE-EM-01-/310938444698?pt=Radio_Control_Parts_Accessories&hash=item486560239a
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Offline Seekonk

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2014, 03:20:07 am »
I have a stack of knock off UNO's that I've picked up for $8-10.  All you need is a laptop with a USB port and to download the FREE development system. You can't get cheaper than that.  Easy to use and quite powerful.  I've used the serial port to drive opto-22 magic type cards for more outputs.  Micro controllers are like children, everyones different but they are all the same.  That's my pick.
 

Offline suicidaleggroll

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2014, 03:54:46 am »
TI's launchpads are pretty good for this.  I'm a fan of the MSP-EXP430G2

For $10 you get a programmer, debugger, and two DIP MCUs (MSP430G2553 and MSP430G2452).  You can use the programmer to flash DIPs, or you can air-wire the test, reset, and ground lines to a 3-pin header on a PCB and flash nearly any MSP430G series MCU that is made, in any package.  It comes with the USB cable, all you need to do is download the free (restricted) version of CCS or IAR, or use the free Linux mspgcc toolchain to build/flash/debug.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2014, 03:57:18 am by suicidaleggroll »
 

Offline Flenser

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2014, 11:58:46 am »
+1 for either Microchip/PIC or Atmel/AVR

There is an active forum for Atmel/AVR at avrfreaks.net where you can get help. You have the option of using Arduino boards and IDE, if you would like to. You can get a USBASP programmer on ebay for $2.50 to program the chips that use the ISP protocol (attiny and atmega chips only I think) http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/New-1pc-USB-ISP-Programmer-For-ATMEL-AVR-ATMega-ATTiny-51-Development-Board-/400596661681?pt=AU_B_I_Electrical_Test_Equipment&hash=item5d456bf5b1. You can also load a sketch into an Arduino board to program raw chips using ISP.

Microchip/PIC seem to have a wider range of chips and chips that are cheaper than Atmel. Their entry level PICKIT programmer/debugger is cheaper than the Atmel entry level programmer/debugger, the Dragon. Microchip to produce a couple of boards in the Arduino format so that you can take advantage of the Arduino shields. Not sure about the IDE for these.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2014, 12:00:42 pm by Flenser »
 

Offline Scrts

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2014, 07:25:20 pm »
Forget that AVR stuff. Real developer needs a debugger. Go step by step in the source code and check the register values instead of doing bunch of prints to the console or even worse - play the try&fail game.
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2014, 07:38:15 pm »
Forget that AVR stuff. Real developer needs a debugger. Go step by step in the source code and check the register values instead of doing bunch of prints to the console or even worse - play the try&fail game.

True, even if in the old days we used a couple of LEDs to do different blinking patterns to let us know what was going on.

What a PITA that was.
 

Offline 22swg

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2014, 01:04:07 am »
I found the MicroChip  DM240013-2  part a good starting place for getting into C mcu and debug etc.  Its 5v ( there is 3v version) includes a PIC24FV16KM202 and is upgradeable  and it plugs into a standard bread board, no xtals or psu (USB powered) truly plug and play... connects to MPLABX  ( win7 ) no problems. and reasonable cost.
Check your tongue, your belly and your lust. Better to enjoy someone else’s madness.
 

Offline os40la

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2014, 02:42:34 am »
+1 for either Microchip/PIC or Atmel/AVR

There is an active forum for Atmel/AVR at avrfreaks.net where you can get help. You have the option of using Arduino boards and IDE, if you would like to. You can get a USBASP programmer on ebay for $2.50 to program the chips that use the ISP protocol (attiny and atmega chips only I think) http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/New-1pc-USB-ISP-Programmer-For-ATMEL-AVR-ATMega-ATTiny-51-Development-Board-/400596661681?pt=AU_B_I_Electrical_Test_Equipment&hash=item5d456bf5b1. You can also load a sketch into an Arduino board to program raw chips using ISP.

Microchip/PIC seem to have a wider range of chips and chips that are cheaper than Atmel. Their entry level PICKIT programmer/debugger is cheaper than the Atmel entry level programmer/debugger, the Dragon. Microchip to produce a couple of boards in the Arduino format so that you can take advantage of the Arduino shields. Not sure about the IDE for these.

+2 for Microchip

I have ordered some 32 bit PIC's. (PIC32MX250F128B) 28 pin dip's. They are easy to work with. You can even dab into the Arduino world with this chip by downloading an IDE from chipkit and loading a boot rom. The IDE looks and functions just like the Adruino IDE. I was very impressed on how close it was. You can pratically copy and paste your code between the two IDE's.

I still perfer the Microchip IDE. Debugging is much easier. With this chip you can have both worlds that can be breadboarded.

For a test I have done this on a 2013 Macbook Pro (running VMWARE with WIN7), pickit3 and a breadboard. The IDE's are available for both Windows and OSX. I have run both IDE's on a MAC and in Windows on the mac. The pickit3 programmer works on the MAC and in a VM on the MAC.
"No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express"
 

Offline tylernt

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2014, 06:16:16 am »
Forget that AVR stuff. Real developer needs a debugger.

Atmel sells an AVR Dragon that can be used to debug ATmega/ATtiny AVRs.
 

Offline Flanbix

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2014, 06:51:00 am »
There is the Nucelo boards from ST which include a built-in programmer/debugger.
Arduino like footprint and not expensive at all.
 

Offline ceamiclover

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2014, 12:10:58 am »
Arduino pro mini, $2.50 shipped

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Pro-Mini-atmega328-5V-16M-Replace-ATmega128-for-Arduino-Compatible-Nano-/131261720809?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e8fcee8e9

You will need a USB/Serial adapter like the one below and the free Arduino IDE. It gives you a 16Mhz 32k FLASH MCU, a word c/c++ compiler and tons of libraries and people that will help you along the way.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/FTDI-BASIC-BREAKOUT-5V-USB-TO-TTL-6-PIN-MODULE-FOR-MWC-MULTIWII-LITE-SE-EM-01-/310938444698?pt=Radio_Control_Parts_Accessories&hash=item486560239a

I have used arduino some and am otherwise very green at programming, so the $2.50 mini arduino is appealing.  However, the programmer in that post was $100.

Will the $3 programmer be ok?
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/New-1pc-USB-ISP-Programmer-For-ATMEL-AVR-ATMega-ATTiny-51-Development-Board-/400596661681?pt=AU_B_I_Electrical_Test_Equipment&hash=item5d456bf5b1

I don't expect to do anything particularly sensitive or complicated any time soon.  I also like the idea of having all of the arduino examples already available.
 

Offline Flenser

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2014, 12:34:17 am »
I don't own one of these boards but I think that you should be OK.

Your link is a Funduino Pro Mini. This site http://arduino-board.com/boards/funduino-pro-mini describes the Funduino Pro Mini as a copy of the Arduino Pro Mini. The Arduino Pro Mini schematic http://arduino.cc/en/uploads/Main/Arduino-Pro-Mini-schematic.pdf shows that the pins marked 9, 10 and 11 are SCK, MISO and MOSI so you will be able to program it using the ISP programmer.
 

Offline ceamiclover

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2014, 12:47:46 am »
Good.  Thank you.  I ordered 2 of them from China, so they will get here in 1-100 business days.
 

Offline macboy

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2014, 04:48:51 am »
If you get something like this one:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/usb-nano-v3-0-atmega328-16m-5v-micro-controller-ch340g-board-for-arduino/311064700128?hash=item486ce6a4e0
(only as example) then you can use USB to download your sketches to the micro without needing any additional programmer; it uses the standard Arduino bootloader. It also has pads for an ICSP header.
 

Offline mazurov

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #18 on: October 17, 2014, 06:38:30 am »
Forget that AVR stuff. Real developer needs a debugger. Go step by step in the source code and check the register values instead of doing bunch of prints to the console or even worse - play the try&fail game.

Define "real". I (as well as main contributors) wrote this in Arduino IDE -> https://github.com/felis/USB_Host_Shield_2.0   , using mainly prints for debug. I have an AVR Dragon which provides step debugging but c++ code gets so mangled by the compiler that this feature has very little value, at least for ppl fitting my definition of "real developers".  I've been coding for about 40 years and today I mostly need direct register access when I'm discussing an undocumented bug in some PIC peripheral with their support; for all other cases of developing for micros making less mistakes is the best approach since finding them afterward will be difficult, with or without a debugger. In my experience, this is especially true for real-time stuff which you simply can't stop. So no, real developers don't "need" a debugger - it's nice to have one for the platform but a lot can still be done without it, if you are a good coder.

AVR, which comes with bootloader and therefore won't require a programmer is very good for newbies; most of them lose interest soon after encountering their first missing semicolon. If a newbie wants to continue, an AVR debugger is not out of reach either. On the other hand, unless you're willing to deal with gdb ARM development becomes very expensive as soon as one grows out of demo boards.

One bad thing about Atmel is that they don't have any good parts except entry level 8-bitters so there is nowhere to grow. PICs are much better in this respect, their 16-bitters are very nice micros and from what I see Microchip actively develops this line.

 

Offline diyaudio

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2014, 06:58:02 am »
+1 :-+

Nucelo boards from ST, Discovery boards

 

Offline ceamiclover

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2015, 04:11:42 am »

Your link is a Funduino Pro Mini. This site http://arduino-board.com/boards/funduino-pro-mini describes the Funduino Pro Mini as a copy of the Arduino Pro Mini. The Arduino Pro Mini schematic http://arduino.cc/en/uploads/Main/Arduino-Pro-Mini-schematic.pdf shows that the pins marked 9, 10 and 11 are SCK, MISO and MOSI so you will be able to program it using the ISP programmer.

I have spent a decent amount of time trying to get this to work without results.
Does anyone have a link to a decent tutorial on how to use the USB ISP to program Pro Mini atmega328?
 

Offline mayor

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #21 on: January 30, 2015, 12:18:45 pm »
TI's launchpads are pretty good for this.  I'm a fan of the MSP-EXP430G2

For $10 you get a programmer, debugger, and two DIP MCUs (MSP430G2553 and MSP430G2452).  You can use the programmer to flash DIPs, or you can air-wire the test, reset, and ground lines to a 3-pin header on a PCB and flash nearly any MSP430G series MCU that is made, in any package.  It comes with the USB cable, all you need to do is download the free (restricted) version of CCS or IAR, or use the free Linux mspgcc toolchain to build/flash/debug.

+1
 

Offline aeberbach

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #22 on: January 30, 2015, 01:32:14 pm »
I like this one - Teensy 3.1 is a Cortex M4 core, Arduino compatible, no special programmer required, under $20. Yes you can save maybe $5 by buying a Chinese clone but you might consider supporting the designers.
 

Offline f5r5e5d

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2015, 03:38:14 pm »
not sure why this thread was restarted but https://www.edx.org/course/embedded-systems-shape-world-utaustinx-ut-6-02x is just in its 2nd week most could probably catch up
 

Offline rickselectricalprojects

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Re: Affordable Microcontroller and Programmer
« Reply #24 on: January 30, 2015, 11:38:25 pm »
hi!
i am a big fan of arduino and for a beginner like me get an arduino board. a fake one on eBay is under $10 and a real one from rs components is about $30. it is very easy to do and there is alot of support and countless projects to do. and there is also a heap of modules and Shields for the arduino and the software is easy to use and free!
and if you don't want an arduino should get a cheap avr programmer and a couple of atmel chips of eBay for about $15 (programmer and chips) :-+ :)
 


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