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Recommendation on embedded systems

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Maxwell, Jan 24, 2007.

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  1. Maxwell

    Maxwell Guest

    I am considering buying a development system for chip level programming and
    wonder what most experts recommend to someone in my position.

    I have very little electronics experience other that understanding what the
    basic components are <supposed> to do. But I have spent a little time
    programming in C, as well as a entry level college coarse a few years ago,
    and wrote a few custom Dos utilities with it. I have done a lot of
    programming in dBase, and simply chose C for those few times when I needed
    to get a little closer to the metal.

    I don't plan to do enough projects for chip cost to become much of a factor,
    just hobby stuff that will be used in my own manufacturing business. So I
    have drifted away from the thought of something as complex as AVG, and am
    considering the C-stamp, guessing it is superior to the Basic Stamp, and
    more suitable to my past experience. It also seems future experience with
    something like the C-stamp might be more useful to graduating up to
    something like the AVG someday, than experience with the Basic stamp would,
    but just a wag.

    Just wondering about suggestions of the group, on these products, or any
    others. At this point I'm not locked in to anything.

    Thanks for you thoughts and taking time to write,

  2. BobG

    BobG Guest

    Visit and look in the 'tools' area under 'dev boards' for
    inexpensive boards with atmel AVR cpu.
  3. maxfoo

    maxfoo Guest

    If you know C programming then I'd go with the TI msp430. I have the $20 usb
    programmer eZ430-F2013 Development Tool in a USB Stick
  4. BobG

    BobG Guest

    You want to make a living working with these things? Then maybe you
    need to know which processor has most designs... not necessarily most
    copies shipped (like washing machines, coffee pots). The nominees
    are... Microchip PIC, Atmel AVR, Freescale HC12, Intel 8051s, TI MSP,
    please complete the list. These are not DSPs or 32 bit desktop class
    CPUs like ARMs and Power PCs. "The envelope please.... And the winner
    is..... Atmel AVR! On behalf of all the AVR programmers in the world,
    I'd like to accept this award and thank the embedded engineers of the
    world for voting for AVR as the best and fastest embedded
    microcontroller. Goodnight! Drive home safely!" I invite rebuttals
    and anecdotal evidence to the contrary.
  5. Guest

  6. Maxwell

    Maxwell Guest

    What do you feel the strengths of the TI MSP430 are when compared to one of
    the stamps, or something like the AVR family of chips?
  7. Maxwell

    Maxwell Guest

    I won't be making my living with these things, my interest is just for a
    hobby. That's why I was considering the C-stamp. Considering the number of
    projects I intend, which will be few, I was hoping the stamp would shorten
    the learing curve. Would it not? And would it not be easy to tranition to
    AVR later if I felt inclined?
  8. BobG

    BobG Guest

    MSP430 has 16 bit regs, so it might do certain apps needing 16 bit ops
    better than an AVR, which has 8 bit regs. I guess some artificial
    benchmark that added up lots of 8 bit numbers would run at 20 mips on a
    20 mhz avr, but the same app adding up 16 bit numbers would slow down
    by half, and the MSP430 might actually beat it. Does the MSP430 run at
    20 mhz?
  9. Wim Lewis

    Wim Lewis Guest

    Another thing you might look at is the Arduino. Like the Stamp, it's a
    common microcontroller (in this case an Atmel ATmega8) on a carrier board,
    plus a development environment. The Arduino's language is C with some
    preprocessing to make some tasks easier.
  10. maxfoo

    maxfoo Guest

    Can't compare cuz I never used a stamp.
    For $20 the Ez430 development kit is well worth it. It comes with a limited
    IAR-C compiler. If $20 is too much, then go to one of TI's free seminars. They
    give the development kits free to all the attendees.
  11. Maxwell

    Maxwell Guest

    Sounds like an excellent deal from a cost stand point, but if investing $100
    to $200 for an education package will get me in to something with a shorter
    learing curve, I probably have to consider it worth it. So within reason,
    cost really isn't part of my selection criteria.
  12. jasen

    jasen Guest

    It has 3 16-bit regs. (in addition to stack poinnter and PC)
    but yeah 16 bit operations take 2 cycles (vs 1 for 8 bit.)
    some will do 16.
  13. The PIC-AXE is by far the easiest introduction, and the easiest way to
    get a "no-fuss" project working. You don't even need to write code if
    you don't want to, you can use flowcharts.
    PICAXE killed the BASIC Stamp's market.

    Dave :)
  14. Maxwell

    Maxwell Guest

    Do they have a US distributor for their products, or would I have to order
    from the UK or NZ? And if so, how much expense and lead time does that add
    to most UPS orders?
  15. BobG

    BobG Guest

    Get the mega32 development board from for $32
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