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Microcontrollers in the UK

Discussion in 'Microcontrollers, Programming and IoT' started by lapistola, Nov 22, 2011.

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  1. lapistola

    lapistola

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    Nov 22, 2011
    I did search first and found very little in form of helpfulness on google and searching for Uk or England in this forum came up will no results.

    Anyhow, as per introduction im reading the book Electronics for dummies. I am at the part about microcontrollers and wish to play.

    Im very interested in the BASIC stamp 2 chip but can't find any in england. Im after a chip that has an interrupter installed that can be reprogrammed and I wish to use the BASIC programing language (ill use others if required). In fact ill be after a starter kit with a way to plug the chips to the computer via USB.

    Can anyone recommend a kit or brand and point to a place where I can obtain such things within the UK please. I would be very grateful and promise not to post a thread about my flashing LED circuit I made with the MC that I bet you get all the time.

    Also I don't wish to spend loads on a chip thats reprogrammable for each circuit, so I would be interested in a development kit that comes with a reprogramable chip for use of testing before, if I can, load the code to the one time chip. So could anyone also recommend a chip of this nature that will work with the above request.

    Many thanks.

    EDIT: I have just found the BS2 at RS-Online but at £30 a chip, its a bit much for more basic circuits like controlling the sequence of LEDS for eyes in an array of bats. (I plan more elaborate props)
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011
  2. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    Amazing. I expect this from Americans, but the British had an empire and know that there are countries outside their own!

    Partially kidding :)

    I believe you should acquaint yourself with rev-ed (they do PICAxe -- programmable in BASIC and much cheaper than Basic Stamp).

    There must be *many* places in the UK selling Arduino stuff. This isn't programmable in BASIC, but uses C. But again, a cheap and easy way in.
     
  3. lapistola

    lapistola

    37
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    Nov 22, 2011
    I was going to buy from USA but then thought, what if I only needed one small cheap chip for a project or its two days before an event my circuit will be used on and it blows and need a replacement fast. Which is why I was looking for UK or English suppliers.

    Anyhow have been looking at the PICAxe stuff and im impressed, thank you.

    My next question, will the developer kit do all I need? I have read half of there document and im 90% sure it will.
     
  4. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,411
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    Jan 21, 2010
    I'd start with this.

    The 08M chips are very versatile. If you need more I/O you can simply purchase one of the chips (or starter kits containing a chip) with more pins.

    There are plenty of tricks that will allow you to do more than you think with 5 pins!

    It's always worth having a couple of the chips as you don't want to be left sitting on your hands if you kill one.
     
  5. lapistola

    lapistola

    37
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    Nov 22, 2011
    Thank you.

    Wouldn't that limit me straight away though? as to which chips I can program. Ok £15 isn't a lot but it will be useless once I then want access to larger chips?

    The kind of person I am will play with the 8 chip for an hour, ok a day then ill want to play with bigger chips and nothing else will be good enough hehe.

    Plus my first project (after successfully not burning out an 8 chip) is an array of 20ish bats all blinking at different times. So wouldn't I need a chip with 20ish outputs?

    Good idea on stocking up, these chips aren't even the price of a choco bar.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  6. kelvinmead

    kelvinmead

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    Nov 22, 2011
    id rate rs components, order online and next day delivery, but not so much on the development board side of things. i liked the arduino, but found that i had to rip projects apart to reuse the £30 board.

    so i went for the PIC way of things, theres millions of chips, and can be found in rs, maplins, local electronic stores.

    oh, and most are a £1 OR 2!
     
  7. lapistola

    lapistola

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    Nov 22, 2011
    Cheers. I have been using RS for more than 10 years but I find there website so hard (well long winded) to find anything. Couldn't find any on maplins, will have another look now I know a brand name.
     
  8. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    The same programming cable and software is used for all PICAxe chips.

    edit: most people use a breadboard for their programming and experimentation. Setting up the programming components (2 resistors) is trivial and is arguably better than purchasing a board for each chip type.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  9. lapistola

    lapistola

    37
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    Nov 22, 2011
    So what your saying is its better to "make" a programing board that connects to the PC which you just temp wire into your circuit with the chip already in place?? as you say its only 2 resistors and sometimes 3 on the larger chips. Makes sense, even a dedicated breadboard and 3 resistors is far cheaper then £50. In fact would it even cost £5.

    What drawn me to the developer board was that it had carriers for each chip size all on the one board, so I could just set the thing up with its own laptop, plug what ever chip size im using into the board, run the program, extract chip and insert into circuit.

    I reckon, after thought that I could use the longest carrier in a small breadboard and just "ad-hoc" resisters/jumpers around after all any chip would fit even if it don't fill the whole carrier.

    EDIT: Just looked through the whole techsupplies site and although a few things are more most is way cheaper then I have seen or paid. Postage is a little high when you spend over £10 but still im impressed.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  10. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,411
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    Jan 21, 2010
    It all comes down to cost vs benefit.

    For initial and very occasional use, I'd go cheap.

    For extremely frequent use I might even go an option which included ZIF sockets.

    Given that lots of people do development on breadboards it's sensible to be able to program the chips there (if only so you don't have to remove and replace them all the time as you fix your bugs - and this will happen an *awful lot*)
     
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