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What are development boards for?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by Constan7ine, Jan 16, 2014.

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  1. Constan7ine

    Constan7ine

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    Jan 15, 2014
    This post is just another post to clarify things for me in my beginner confusion.

    I don't understand the point of development boards like the EasyPIC. With things like the arduino you can program and develop your electronics on the arduino board and then use it in the final project. Any other additions to your circuit can just be plugged into the Arduino and tested and then used, right?

    But with a development board (the EasyPIC in particular) you need to purchase and plug in the click boards and test your system on the development board, and then transfer the microcontroller to another board where it will be used along with the actual components which you then need to purchase and design into the circuit on the main board that the microcontroller will be used in. What if the component's differ slightly to the click boards on the EasyPIC? Will problems will occur? And you need the pay for the expensive development board as well as all the click boards to extend its functionality.

    Since I was given an EasyPIC as a present can someone tell me why you would ever want such a device these days? What is its point?
     
  2. BobK

    BobK

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    1,688
    Jan 5, 2010
    They are mainly for learning. You can program the chip and interact with whatever peripherals the development board has without having to build any hardware yourself. I started PICs with the low-pin-count development board from Microchip. And I used it to program the chip for my first project. Thereafter, each project I built had it's own programming header and was programmed in place. I will use the development board now if I want to try out some code for hardware that I have not built yet. For example. I wanted to play with a flickering candle effect, and I used my development board to try out algorithms (actually only one, because the first thing I tried worked just fine)

    Bob
     
  3. dashy1981

    dashy1981

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    Jun 19, 2013
    As Bob pointed out they are mainly for learning. I started with 8051, so I bought a PCB for 8051 programmer and since it was an open HW, I bought parts and placed them myself... just to save money ... I was in college then around 2003. But I never purchased a development board for 8051.

    Later I moved on to ARM7, then ARM9 now on cortex. The basic circuitry to make the chip work becomes complex and complex... and its not feasible to make these ckts yourself. However there some open source hardware available to satisfy the geek inside us.

    Additionally, development boards play as a quick evaluation platform for a SW company to test their application performance on the SOC.
    I have used development boards from SOC(system on chip) vendor as part of some driver development at my firm before the actual hardware(with the SOC) was being designed to save time to market.

    dashy
     
  4. Constan7ine

    Constan7ine

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    Jan 15, 2014
    Oh ok, I like the sound of this, I should look at it more as a prototyping system for software more than hardware?

    I suppose the software development stuff (compilers and debuggers) on a development board are going to be better than say the development tools for an Arduino.

    What would happen if I uploaded a program onto a microcontroller on a development board and then removed the microcontroller and placed it in a circuit by itself. Provided the circuit works would the microcontroller then just work, simple as?

    I still question it's use for me personally since I know the in's and out's of programming more than I do the hardware. This is as a result of a background in software development.
     
  5. BobK

    BobK

    7,682
    1,688
    Jan 5, 2010
    Assuming the hardware around the chip is correct, the program will run in the new circuit. This is how I did my first PIC project, but after breaking a pin off by plugging it back and forth between the development board for programming and the final circuit board about a hundred time, I started putting the programming header on all of my boards and programming them in place, skipping the development board.

    Bob
     
  6. dashy1981

    dashy1981

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    Jun 19, 2013
    Not exactly... it helps in designing both. SW as I mentioned earlier, it gives with a test bed to test your application. On HW front, most of the times schematic for the board is made available, this serves as a good point to start your hardware design with(basic startup circuitry as well as circuitry for various HW blocks supported by your SOC).
     
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