Author Topic: Which microcontroller to start?( for beginner with my needs)?  (Read 19882 times)

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Offline EExtrom

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Re: Which microcontroller to start?( for beginner with my needs)?
« Reply #75 on: March 11, 2013, 06:40:22 pm »
MSP430 launchpad ... you can get it for only 5€!!!
Its NOT worth NOT trying it  :P
 

Offline Frollard

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Re: Which microcontroller to start?( for beginner with my needs)?
« Reply #76 on: March 11, 2013, 10:32:03 pm »
AS recently posted on hackaday:  I'm with Atmel/arduino camp simply for the reason there are scads of example circuits and programs that (in my experience) make learning new stuff easier.  For a book to teach me the constructs of the C without showing a full example is much less helpful for me than just pulling up an example program and working out (well commented) code from there.

The tradeoff with affordability of dev boards vs the raw processors is getting a lot better - I'm even a big fan of the teensy series being able to cram a 32 bit 96mhz arm processor into a 19 dollar breadboard package.
 

Offline MikeK

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Re: Which microcontroller to start?( for beginner with my needs)?
« Reply #77 on: March 11, 2013, 10:52:39 pm »
I always recommend PICAXE for beginners.

It's very cheap.
Huge archive of posts and projects.
Good support forum.
If you grow out of it or toast the bootloader you then have a PIC to use.
 

Offline melonstorm

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Re: Which microcontroller to start?( for beginner with my needs)?
« Reply #78 on: March 13, 2013, 09:20:59 pm »
MSP430 launchpad ... you can get it for only 5€!!!
Its NOT worth NOT trying it  :P

It's really cheap and neat. However, in my opinion, it might just be too complex for somebody new to µC programming.

Developing for it works really well cross-platform, by the way. To set a development envionment up on Linux, you just need to get a msp430 GCC toolchain along with mspdebug (the Ubuntu repos carry both), and then install the CDT version of Eclipse. Finally, install the Eclipse addon available here. Once you've restarted Eclipse, you can make a C project with the type "MSP430 Cross Target Application". Select the MSP430G2553 in the setup wizard (if that's what's on your Launchpad). Once you've clicked "Finish", open up the Project Properties dialog, click on "MSP430" in the left menu list, select the "rf2500" MSPdebug driver, click "USB" and you're good to go.

The process is almost the same on Windows, but I recommend to get the toolchain from the site you get the Eclipse addon from.
 

Offline daijo

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Re: Which microcontroller to start?( for beginner with my needs)?
« Reply #79 on: March 14, 2013, 02:36:52 pm »
I would get a Arduino and play around with the environment they supply. After a while you probably will want to leave the Arduino IDE and use a makefile like http://ed.am/dev/make/arduino-mk. This will expose you to the open AVR toolchain. Then write your own makefile and write some programs in C. Order and build a USBtinyISP and program the board without the bootloader. Then learn to stick an AVR on a board with some caps and a crystal and program that.
 

Offline gautamdamodar

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Re: Which microcontroller to start?( for beginner with my needs)?
« Reply #80 on: March 19, 2013, 11:57:41 am »
Yeah, them MSP430 launchpad is a nice start. Code Composer Studio is easy to use, and when just getting used to things the Grail configuration plugin is nice. No substitute for actually reading datasheets and such, but to I found it useful to get started quickly. So if you want cheap and easy enough, MSP430 would be a good one.
I love MSP430 ;D but I think it is because I migrated from PIC and C51 platforms. Since you are having knowledge of C, architectures doesn't bother much(I think so). As MSP430 got much great user control and associated user configurations I dont know how it will affect a beginner. Considering the initial cost, MSP430 can be justified.
 

Offline andyturk

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Re: Which microcontroller to start?( for beginner with my needs)?
« Reply #81 on: March 21, 2013, 02:25:42 am »
It's really cheap and neat. However, in my opinion, [the MSP430] might just be too complex for somebody new to µC programming.
Yep. But if you're up for climbing a learning curve, figuring out the ARM Cortex-M architecture is probably a better use of your time. MSP430 and ARM are equivalently complex from a programming standpoint, but ARM has a future while the '430 mostly has a past.

If you ever get to the point where you're trying to put a lot of code on an mcu, the MSP430 will make you jump through various hoops because it's fundamentally a 16-bit design. TI has hacked it to work with 20 bits, but the toolchains are fiddly and the new instructions lead to code bloat (e.g., a 2-byte extension opcode to use the new addressing modes).

With ARM, the same architecture can take you from an 8-pin $0.50 part all the way up to a 180MHz monster.
 

Offline amspire

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Re: Which microcontroller to start?( for beginner with my needs)?
« Reply #82 on: March 21, 2013, 02:52:24 am »
The most important thing is to get started, and I think that you have more chance to get started with an Arduino or PICAXE quickly then any other alternative.

I know that once you have your programming environment organized, programming on ARM or TI processors can be as efficient as an Arduino or probably even better. I remember developing a multitasking real time operating system for 8051 type processors, and once the operating system was set up and debugged, the rest of the programming was very easy. But it took a lot of time and effort to reach that point.

I also remember with the 8051 project how long it took from the start of programming to the point the hardware could start to do something useful. It was months, and a beginner wants to see results on the first day.

If you are new to programming, I think you are going to go from idea to something that works far quicker with something like an Arduino then a MSP430 or ARM system.

Sure, you will outgrow the Arduino or PICAXE and that is good. You will probably realize that microcontroller code you develop from scratch can be far more reliable then code that uses libraries from unknown contributors and of unknown quality. That is good too.

If you start with an ARM development system, there is probably a 99% probability that it will sit on a shelf for the next 5 years. Then it will be out of date.

If you start with PICAXE or Arduino, there is a good chance you will be getting results in the first day without having to install development environments that are gigabytes in size, without needing to learn an IDE with thousands of features, without having to make sense of datasheets hundreds of pages long, and without having to make your way through language references thousands of pages long.
 

Offline brainwash

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Re: Which microcontroller to start?( for beginner with my needs)?
« Reply #83 on: March 22, 2013, 05:49:42 pm »
Well, the Arduino style coding (Wiring) is now running on MSP430 and the M4F TI processors, so on both the Launchpads. It also runs on the ChipKit which is PIC-based. I think that's the fastest way to get into embedded stuff since you just copy and paste sketches from the web and maybe change the pins
Two recent stories: I was able to code a complete system on an MSP430 Launchpad without having any knowledge of the MSP430 (didn't want to read a lot of datasheets) in a few hours instead of what would have taken a few days. The other one is having bought an AD9850 DDS module and just took a sketch found somewhere, pasted it into the Energia frontend and hit upload on the Stellaris Launchpad. It worked immediately.

So yeah, if you want to go cheaper than the Arduino and have a bit more power, I would definitely suggest the Stellaris Launchpad. I think is one third of the price of the Arduino Uno and has some nice extras as well.
 


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