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Microcontroller kit beyond beginner

  1. Apr 22, 2012 #1
    I'd just like to apologize in advance for asking this, I understand that it's probably been asked many times but I couldn't find an answer exactly applicable to me. Anyway, I want to buy a microcontroller kit, and am unsure which one to buy. I am going for my masters in computer science so the programming aspect of it doesn't bother me (ie. I'm willing to program in assembly). Also, I borrowed my friends basic stamp to see what it's like and I finished all the projects in about two weeks. It was way to simplistic. Additionally, I hated their "P-basic". I've been looking at buying the arduino but I've heard similar complaints about it (that's it's overly simplistic). Is there a good microcontroller kit that I can buy, that isn't catering to people with no background at all? I would really like to understand circuits and electronics at a deeper level, but these kits don't seem to allow that. Also, I am on a budget, so it would be great if I would be able to use the microcontroller in the future as I get more advanced (although, I am willing to spend money for a short term kit, if necessary). Does something like that exist, or am I being too picky?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 22, 2012 #2


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    You are right. It is very easy to copy other people's circuits and programming and get the same results that they did.

    The point about programmable micros, whichever one you are comfortable with, is that you should be able to develop your own projects using them.

    I use a few Picaxe chips because they are cheap, they come as a single chip, not a module, and they are programmable in Basic which I learned many years ago. This Basic has a lot of special commands to suit the various techniques used to interface to input output devices, though.

    They are very much like CMOS chips and they can just be soldered into a circuit after programming, like any other chip. Or, more usually, they can be inserted in a socket, so that you can remove them easily.

    The advanced features of some of the Picaxe range would keep you amused, if not challenged, for quite a while.
  4. Apr 23, 2012 #3
    I designed quite a few hardware using micro controllers. I don't do any of the programming. So I am by no means an expert in this.

    The last one I did, I use the Analog Devices ADuC831. It is a 8051 based controller with MUX ADC and multiple DACs. I remember Analog Devices sell evaluation boards with the controller on it. It has enough EEPROM and RAM so you don't need that either. We program it using serial bus.

    Since you are more advanced than beginners, you might want to consider this, as this is the real thing, not a kit. It's been a few years, you need to find out which processor base is the most popular. In my days, Intel 8051 was being used a lot, Cypress had a whole family of USB controllers based on 8051. You want to work with a popular controller so it will directly apply to your future job.

    I don't even know exactly the procedure of loading the program as I had a contractor wrote the program and my technician loaded the program for me. But it is just a connector from the laptop or desktop connecting to the board. They used C++ as the programming language.

    Sorry I can't help you more as I only did it because no one else can design the circuit and I am stuck with it. So I did the minimum it took to get the job done.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2012
  5. Apr 23, 2012 #4
    What was involved in doing the project?
    Was it just copying some-ones work or You needed to start from scratch?
  6. Apr 23, 2012 #5
    http://www.mikroe.com/eng/categories/view/1/development-tools/ [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  7. Apr 23, 2012 #6
    As a next step Id go for the Parallax Propeller. Its a multi-core platform designed for parallel computing (8x 32-bit RISC cores). Its programmed in Assembly or with an interpreter running a Modified C++ called Spin. Definitely a more advanced chip than the Stamp,
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