Electronics > Microcontrollers

[arduino] what µCU can a newbie program with/through Arduino?

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Watth:
Hey there.

I (like others) would like to program SoC because:
* it takes less space and power than an arduino board so can be integrated in small projects, especially since these µCU exist with different IO pins count
* some can have better performances (brain speed, RAM and prog storage, etc.)
* is less expensive
But I don't know much about µCU architecture aspects of Arduino.
All I know is that programs compiled on the Arduino IDE can be loaded in chips (such as the ATtiny series) using an Arduino board.
I already did that, in a "cargo cult" fashion, as I am not knowledgeable in what is at stake. I just follow the tutorials I found. I know: lame, but that's the burden of the hobbyist.
Well lets say it's more a maker than a hacker approach.

So, in the end, my question is : is there a solid information source listing the chips that can be used this way, dealing with wiring, programmer parameters, things to download, and such, for all the compatible chips?

Ian.M:
There are very few Arduino boards with a SoC - if it isn't capable of running a full OS, the processor is an ordinary MCU not a SoC.  (Some high end MCUs can be SoCs.)

You are unlikely to find a comprehensive and authoritative reference for which MCUs can be programmed using an Arduino as the programmer, as there are several forks of the Arduino IDE and core libraries for MCU architectures that aren't officially supported by Arduino AG, and lots of 3rd party board support packages for MCUs that aren't supported but which have the same architecture as a supported chip.

Arduino AG have no incentive to centralize and organize reference material for MCUs that aren't used on any official Arduino board or board from an official partner.

Then there are various open source programmer projects on Github and elsewhere, that run on Arduinos or Arduino compatible MCUs and range from half-assed abandonware to near professional grade, currently maintained projects with responsive support forums.

Correlating that lot and maintain a central index would be a full-time career for several professional technical writers.

lucazader:
A good series of small, and more capable but that are still widely compatible with arduino is the teensy boards - https://www.pjrc.com/teensy/
These go from small arm cortex processors and boards with low power requirements. All the way up to 600Mhz+ with USB 2.0 Host/device

Another decent and really capable processor/board that is widely compatible is the ESP32. This processor is dual core 240Mhz, and include WiFi and Bluetooth.

You could also look into the arudino Pro linup eg the portentia H7. It has lots of bells and whistles.

But there are lots more than just these!

PCB.Wiz:

--- Quote from: Watth on November 29, 2021, 05:49:39 pm ---
I (like others) would like to program SoC because:
* it takes less space and power than an arduino board so can be integrated in small projects, especially since these µCU exist with different IO pins count
* some can have better performances (brain speed, RAM and prog storage, etc.)
* is less expensive
--- End quote ---
I think your SoC here means single-chip-microcontroller as you mention different io pin counts, less expensive and less space ?

If you want to head into the smaller, single chip microcontroller space, then download the AVR tools and get a low cost eval board and have a play.
AVR128DB48 CURIOSITY NANO  or AVR128DA48 CURIOSITY NANO  are their newest AVR offerings.


Ardunio is a wrapper and library that tends to start on the medium sizes single chip MCUs, simply because on a board of that size/cost, it makes little sense to 'under power it for a few cents'.
https://www.engineersgarage.com/articles-arduino-arduino-pro-microcontroller-boards/

If you do not want to do your own PCB designs, but want smaller  modules, then look at something like the teensy series - a wide range of horsepower and compact modules.

https://www.pjrc.com/teensy/techspecs.html
https://www.pjrc.com/teensy/teensyduino.html

Watth:
@Ian.M @PCB.Wiz
Thanks for the clarification. I think indeed I mistook SoC with µCU.
Writing this post made me understand a few things, in addition to your feedback.
I finally came to realize a few very obvious things!
Some Arduino compatible boards are built on more powerful µCU, so that simply means that as the IDE can be set-up for this, I could program a µCU of the same model to work on a another project without needing the whole Arduino-like board. For (a little extreme) example, one could simply de-solder it and put it on a PCB they made, provide proper power and it would work, right?

Does this also mean that Arduino IDE will only work with ARM 8 bits µCU? Or can it be setup for other architectures and bus sizes?

Is an alternative to program with a different IDE, and most importantly without basic Arduino librairies? (by this I mean the basic functions that, e.g., allow to manage IO pins with simpler functions)

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