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Summer microcontroller project

  1. Apr 29, 2014 #1
    Hey guys.

    I'm completing my Year 2 in E&E engineering next month, and due to some logistic reasons, I won't be able to do any internships this summer, instead I'll be doing it next summer. I've decided to work on some project during the summer. I could get something productive on my CV and can get a feel for my FYP.

    My area of interest would be microcontrollers. I have used PIC18(w/Starter kit) for school assignments. But I'm not against getting to know other microcontrollers like Ardruino. I would have to purchase the microcontroller, and possibly other components to implement some hardware to the project.

    I would like to get your opinions on what microcontroller should I get and some suggestions on what projects I could take on. I'm looking forward to have a good discussion going. :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 29, 2014 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Check out the thread stickied at the top of the EE forum... :smile:
  4. Apr 30, 2014 #3
    I would also point out that while on a microcontroller level, Microchip or other manufacturers single chip solution is a fantastic platform (I personally love Microchip and all their support available on the site in the form of app notes and app specific code.); if this is just for your knowledge expansion, you might want to consider things like Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black, or Cubieboard. These are single board virtually complete computers that run some flavor of Linus or Android. I like these as opposed to the Ardruino as these have clock frequencies near 1Ghz with full ethernet, USB, onboard flash and SD and or HD suport as well as video outputs.

    The Ardruino provides a lower level of program interaction with hardware, which it seems you have been exposed to already with your PIC18 experience. The other boards I mention offer the option of working with hardware level connections (specifically true with the BeagleBoard or Cubieboard) while using API's in the context of operating system. Many mature companies look for engineers that have experience with software that communicates with hardware through an OS.

    I love the concept of the Ardruino, but for me it is just too slow and has too little mem to provide much processing power for really fun stuff, like sound processing, Software Defined Radio, ethernet (it might have a connection, but bandwidth is limited by processor speed).

    Lots of direction choices; consider what area you would like to work in after college and choose one that will reinforce that direction.
  5. May 1, 2014 #4
    a branch of microchip is also basic micro. Uses the same chips and also supports pic code. However the basic micro allows you to program in basic. The pins are also assignable as discrete input/output or analog input/output. They also have single pin communication support.
    If your clever enough you can even cascade the microchips, to perform individual operations then communicate the results to a master chip. Also inexpensive.
  6. May 6, 2014 #5

    Do you know of any compilers for the boards you mentioned? It seems like the speed advantage is partially offset by the apparent need to use interpreters with them.
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