microprocessor reccomendation - learner_highlevel language, LCD, keypad

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G'Day,

I've been out of the loop on this stuff now for about 8 years... I used to
play around with PIC16F84s but haven't for too long.

What's the best "L/P plate" processor packages these days? I see references
to PICAXE, Ardunio, and other packages on the web and in sites like
"instructables",
but have no idea what's best suited to people who aren't so worried about
web integration

The first 2 projects I need to get done are going to be standalone devices
using character LCD screens for output, and a simple Hex keypad for data
entry - other I/o counts outside of those devices will be in the 5-8 pin
range.

Ideally i'd like a highlevel language like C, or BASIC if possible as part
of the package (similar to the AVR_GCC package offered for AVR) whereas  
in my PIC days there wasn't much in the way of free/included high level
languages
suitable for cheap startup learning.

So what's the reccomended packages for people starting up into the embedded
processor scene these days?
What would you reccomend for the projects listed above?

thanks,
Des



Re: microprocessor reccomendation - learner_highlevel language, LCD, keypad



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This is a bit of a stretch from the embedded micro world, but you might find
it interesting to at least check out, as it meets some of your requirements
quite well. It also offers an excellent range of I/O interfacing, something
that many native microsystems require you to create yourself.

They're 100% Australian devised, owned and managed. All their software is
free downloads. And they're happy to sell one-offs to hobbyists.

www.splatco.com



Re: microprocessor reccomendation - learner_highlevel language, LCD, keypad



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You might like to check this out:

http://www.picaxeforum.co.uk /

jerd



Re: microprocessor reccomendation - learner_highlevel language, LCD, keypad



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I'd like to add my hearty endorsement to this.
The Picaxe I.C.s have some astonishing features, have a simple BASIC-like
language and good documentation.
One of the best things about them, in my view, is the forum that jerd
mentions.
Helpful, knowledgeable, and the last time I looked, not an irritating
knowall in residence.
Available from Altronics (and other suppliers). The starter kit for the 08M
is less than $40, I think.



Re: microprocessor reccomendation - learner_highlevel language, LCD, keypad



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Olimex sell boards for a few different brands of uC.

http://www.olimex.com/dev /

I've purchased from them in the past (into Australia), prices & service are
good. Have a look and see what Don McKenzie has as well.




Re: microprocessor reccomendation - learner_highlevel language, LCD, keypad



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Have a look at
http://gcbasic.sourceforge.net/
Its a basic for Microchip pics.
Also check
http://www.etc.ugal.ro/cchiculita/software/picbootloader.htm
This allows you to program Microchip pics via their serial ports.
Makes development easy.


Re: microprocessor reccomendation - learner_highlevel language, LCD, keypad



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I bought PICkit2 and a couple 'demo' boards for development.  The
28pin Demo Board is better than the smaller Low Pin Count model as
it includes 32768Hx crystal for real time clock, and can directly
drive the common 2 line by 16 or 4 line by 20 LCD modules.  

I'm programming in assembler at the moment, only because I spent
more than a decade doing embedded controllers in assembler back in
the '80s with different 8bit microcontrollers.  

The larger PIC chips have dsp and C language support from Microchip
and others.  I'm down at the baby PIC area, the chips are cheap, and
I wanted to start somewhere simple.

If you're running windows there's a free development 'MPLAB' software
from Microchip, goes fine for starters.  I've not yet done a lot with
the PIC, just starting.

The PICkit powers and programs the PIC chip, a development cycle of
compiling, downloading and testing is very fast.  A lot better than
the old burn & crash testing with UV erasable uC chips I used to work
with.

The 28pin PICkit board CPU has on-chip debugging support for single
step and breakpoints.  

Grant.

Re: microprocessor reccomendation - learner_highlevel language, LCD, keypad


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"instructables",
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Arduino is an open platform consting of an Atmel AVR processor and
come standardised hardware, 8K (or more) rom, 2K (or more) ram,
programmable in C or assembler etc  (programming software is free)
Arduinos are available from a number of suppliers in different shapes
and sizes. or you can buy an AVR chip and build your own.

PicAxe is a PIC running a proprietry basic, I'm not sure if compiled or
interpreted or how well processor feature like input capture, timer
interrupts, and PWM are supported.

both are programmed by just hooking them up to a PC, no extra hardware is
needed.



Re: microprocessor reccomendation - learner_highlevel language, LCD, keypad


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play around with PIC16F84s but haven't for
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PICAXE, Ardunio, and other packages on
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to people who aren't so worried about web
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Have a look at:
http://www.dontronics-shop.com/dontronics-newbies-start-here.htmlhttp://www.dontronics-shop.com/dontronics-newbies-start-here.html

although possibly a little dated now, it may give you some leads.

For a 15 year old beginner, I would have to agree with a lot of the previous
posters. The Picaxe is a good place to
start, however I have never moved into this product. I was the first offered
this product in Australia, but my
enthusiasm for a new project of this magnitude was lacking, and Picaxe deserved
a lot more than I could offer at my age.

Have a look at: http://www.microzed.com.au /
David has put in a lot of time and energy into Pixace.
Tell him Don sent you, and good luck with it.

Cheers Don...



--
Don McKenzie

Site Map:            http://www.dontronics.com/sitemap
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Update ...Re: microprocessor reccomendation - learner_highlevel language, LCD, keypad


Thanks All!!!!

I've grabbed some PICAXE 28x1 to get started and deal with the immediate
projects and will see what projects demand/ dictate after that.

I "rescued" a Microchip ICD 2 and M18 c compiler from a big toss out, but
apparently it will only work with 18 series chips, not the 16's I'm used
to. I haven't tossed it yet, but if there's value in it for someone else
I'm sure we can work out a swap. (there's some chips with it but since they're
TQFP I can't use them in my designs (vero board)). I don't know what this
lot is worth, but currently I'd rather something I could use, and hand this
off to people who can use it.

The immediate project is a small standalone stepper pulse generator which
will deliver a calculated number of pulses (once configured) each time an
input is triggered - the purpose is to remove some errors from a manual process,
and overcome common human error caused by failing eyesight. There are commercial
products which do this, but at a price I can't afford.. plus if I build it
myself, I can add a few features unique to the application. I've ordered
a 20x4 LCD from e-bay and buying a hex keypad next week - hopefully it'll
be running in a few months.

Thanks all, and if you're interested in the MPLAB -C-18 Software kit (with
ICD 2) and a tube of 9 pic18f452-i/l chips in TQFP, contact me off list.

Thanks,
Des




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