Hi there,

I have been programming asm for a while and have always found microcontroller programming extemely interesting. I was wondering if any of you have any advice for the beginner regarding which microcontroller to buy and which kit works best. I normally programme MASM on Intel.

I look forward to hearing from you!
best,
sharpe
Posted on 2006-12-13 09:38:23 by sharpe
8051 is nice, the instruction set is similar to x86.
The PIC16F84 is a completely different little monster, many try it first.
Posted on 2006-12-13 09:47:11 by Ultrano
I agree, the 8051 was pretty easy to work with. I personally hate anything PIC though :p
Posted on 2006-12-13 12:58:55 by Synfire
Thanks for the information. I better have a look. Do you have any specific specifications so I know what to buy?

How many bit is the 8051? When you buy a microcontroller do you get some kind of package with software/cables that can be used to interface with the MC? Is it COM/printer port stuff or USB?

Thanks in advance for the information.
Posted on 2006-12-13 13:00:12 by sharpe
You either buy the microcontroller chip separately and build up your own circuit, or else you buy a "development board" that contains the microcontroller and a number of other components that you can play with (switches, lights, and various other components). The board will typically come with some means of programming nonvolatile memory, which is usually the on-chip EEPROM or Flash.

Most (if not all) microcontrollers are capable of communication with the COM port, although some require you to generate the waveform directly with software. The "dev" boards typically have the needed voltage level shifters and the DB9 connector hooked up for communicating with the COM port.

If the microcontroller has USB capabilities, its dev board will have a USB connector. You will be able to talk to a PC, but NOT to a USB device (e.g., USB memory stick, mouse, or keyboard).
Posted on 2006-12-13 14:01:52 by tenkey
Hi there,
I think PIC are nice to play with assembly, basic instructions.. no memory stack, the difference from the lowest model to the highest its just the more memory or more I/O available... (no big differences) :)
The problem is you have to (as tenkey said) make some board to program them (and its a mess since there are many of them.. and depends on your PIC model..) or buy some dev board. Actually I use the RCD programmer, works fine.

A few weeks ago I started playing with ATMEL ones, which I found to be very easy to program and get working,
also it suports C very well, which for my case was important (too few time to learn about all architecture of ATMEL microprocs heh).
Posted on 2006-12-13 14:46:48 by coder

Hi there,

I have been programming asm for a while and have always found microcontroller programming extemely interesting. I was wondering if any of you have any advice for the beginner regarding which microcontroller to buy and which kit works best. I normally programme MASM on Intel.

I look forward to hearing from you!
best,
sharpe

Make your life easy: dsPIC. You can ignore the DSP section at the begin, but after you get experienced with it, you will appreciate this new part to learn.
If you start with 16F, 18F or Atmel, you will want to migrate to dsPIC anyway sooner or later. So do yourself a favour and start with the end. It's much easier to program than any 8bit microcontroller anyway, and it's 16bit, a nice architecture BTW.
Posted on 2006-12-14 01:55:08 by Maverick
Where would I get this dsPIC? I'm very new to them but fascinated.
Posted on 2006-12-14 09:53:34 by Jeronimo0d0a

http://sample.microchip.com

register, and get many for free ;)

Also, if you don't wanna solder, they sell (those are not for free, sorry) "demo" development boards and programmers (most notably the MPLAB ICD 2).
Posted on 2006-12-15 04:51:19 by Maverick
Thanks forr the info Maverick, that's exactly what I was looking for.
Posted on 2006-12-15 09:48:34 by Jeronimo0d0a

You're wellcome.
Posted on 2006-12-16 01:04:00 by Maverick