Electronics > Microcontrollers

Yeah.. which micro?

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I'm in the process of designing and coding my first product that uses a micro. It's not large scale, just a cottage business.

I am prototyping with an Arduino Uno, it's that simple, just drive an OLED and send I2C commands to a dedicated DSP that does the heavy lifting. I've started to run out of SRAM but PROGMEM seems to take care of that.

So, before I get to board layout I wondered what might be a good MC choice in this time where parts are like gold dust? Is the ATMEL328 a good choice?

I'm tempted to make the MC on a daughter board so I can change it easily. Is this a good idea or is there a range of MC that are pin compatible anyway?

You're already familiar with the M328 and it does the job, so it is reasonable to use that if you can get it. There is a whole family of AVRs with the same pinout but the M328 is the top of that range IIRC so there is nowhere else to go with that. The world seems to be going toward ARM but I've found those to be a LOT more complicated to work with so I've stuck with 8 bit AVRs for most of my projects. Putting the uC on a daughter board sounds like a kludge, I would not bother with doing that, you can always spin a new board sometime down the road if the part you're using gets discontinued but I don't see the M328 vanishing any time soon.

I agree with james_s here.

If the ATMEGA328 does the job for you there is hardly any reason to use another uC, especially if you expect to sell low to medium quantities. If you sell multiple hundreds of PCB's then the price of the uC becomes a significant factor.

Adding a daughterboard for the uC is silly. It would mean extra costs for that PCB and a more complicated assembly. Unless PCB area is really important, it makes sense to reserve some room on your PCB around possibly difficult parts, so you can localize modifications if you have to respin the PCB because of parts shortage.

Use what you are comfotable with.

If you do find out that the 328 isnt cutting it, then finding another processor that is highly arduino compatible might be the best way forward.
So either you could go for a bigger arudino board, maybe something based on a Mega like the arduino nano every (48K flash 6k ram).
Or an newer arduino board that has an ARM processor, but still has the full support of the arduino ecosystem, eg something like the nano 33.

First check the suppliers and the availability, then decide your options :-DD
With the fab crysis, you'll definitely want a company that runs its own, Microchip should be a good option (Although I'm not  up to date onthis), hopefully you'll be able to source any pic/atmega mcus easily.


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