I would like to

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Enter the embedded worold but where do I start?
Wich hardware is best for a beginer, (I am retired, so it's only for fun??)
which tools are best ( with same remarcs )
where to buy them, cost?
BTW: I live in Belgium
Maybe other questions, answers??
Many thanks
André

Re: I would like to

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Buy one of the development kits with lcd/switches/pots etc. They are cheap,
readily available and ready to go, usually with lots of online assistance
available.

The main advantage of this approach is you can get up and going easily and
not get disheartened.

My personal favorite is the Microchip Pic but others have their favorites!

Microchip have heaps of online support, they're inexpensive, good support
forums, a free & pretty striaght forward development environment......



Re: I would like to


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and one of the worst achitecture ever (wella actually was good 30 years
ago)...

Bye Jack
--
Yoda of Borg am I! Assimilated shall you be! Futile resistance is, hmm?

Re: I would like to
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It depends. The PIC32 family is pretty good, some medium ones are
decent. But I agree that the smaller devices are pretty bad.

Re: I would like to
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True.  For the 1970's.  Even in the 1990's they were the fastest things we
could get for the money.

But if you're working through a C compiler you don't have to care.  A design
called for an Internet-controlled device driver.  I prototyped in C for
ATMega128 and a Wiznet module.  The client didn't use AVR, so they ported
the program to PIC16 (I think it was, could have been PIC18.)  Before
production they had re-ported to PIC32 with its own TCP/IP stack.  The C app
went through it all unchanged, except for a few lines in specific device
routines.  I guess the last port was helped by the Wiznet emulating software
sockets as well as it did.

    Mel.


Re: I would like to

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Microchip is so interesting that way.  The core sucks, but the
peripherals are good, the current-drive capability of the I/O can't be
beat, and the company seems to be as reliable as can be for dependable
delivery and decent price.

I know that when I have my hardware-guy hat or my purchasing-guy hat on,
Microchip usually wins hands down.  It's only when I put on my software-
guy hat that I start bitching.

(50MHz, specified to operate at 125C, a not-unreasonable instruction set
for assembly-language programming -- how can we go wrong?)

--
My liberal friends think I'm a conservative kook.
My conservative friends think I'm a liberal kook.
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Re: I would like to
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Google "Arduino"

Free software, lots of examples, cheap hardware


Re: I would like to

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Wikipedia is often a good starting point.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arduino

Re: I would like to

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Subscribe to Nuts & Volts, Circuit Cellar, or Elektor.  Elektor is Euro,
and comes in both a Dutch-language and a French-language version, so
depending on which flavor of Belgian you are you can get the 'zine in the
language you want to read.  Or, you can get the English-language version.

Even though I'm a professional, I subscribe to Circuit Cellar.  I do it
mostly for the ads, because there's a lot of engineers at small-volume
companies that read it, so there's a lot of useful advertising content.  
But the articles and columns are definitely worthwhile, too.

As far as the actual hardware and software, that depends a lot on you: do
you want to do Big Embedded, little embedded, what's your technical
background, etc.  Certainly when I start a project one of the first tasks
is selecting a suitable processor.

My top four to consider would be:

The Arduino.  I've never used it, but you've heard a sample of the good
things I've heard of it.  I have an acquaintance in the area that does
consulting who uses the Arduino routinely for little one-off jobs.

The Basic Stamp.  (If you can still get it).  It's a PIC that's been
programmed with a Basic interpreter.  You write in a Really Easy language
so you get started quicker, but it's a Really Limited environment, which
means that at some point you're in a clear box with no food, looking at
some really enticing stuff just outside.  (See my "effort vs. toolchain"
post for my opinion on this).

One of the ARM Cortex M3 or M0 parts.  I recommend this with trepidation
because they're big and complicated, but with enthusiasm because once you
get your head wrapped around them they'll do _anything_ you want, and the
price differential between one of them and an 8-bit processor is modest.  
Yes, you'll do more screwing around trying to get something to work --
but you won't find yourself trying to shoe-horn the thing for speed or
memory size.

A plain old PIC.  Only 35 easy-to-learn instructions (that used to be
their slogan -- hah).  They called it "RISC" processor, but it's really a
NHISC (Never Had an Instruction Set Computer).  But -- it's not a bad
processor as long as you never use a decent one.

--
My liberal friends think I'm a conservative kook.
My conservative friends think I'm a liberal kook.
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Re: I would like to

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I'd choose an MSP430 over a PIC, it has the luxury of being 16-bit, too. The
AVR processors are fun, too. I've used PICs in the past, but never really
gotten on with them.
--
Dave
Too many gadgets, too little time.

Re: I would like to

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A 430 wouldn't be a bad choice, either.

--
My liberal friends think I'm a conservative kook.
My conservative friends think I'm a liberal kook.
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Re: I would like to
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What free tools are available for the MSP 430 ??

What does a debugger/programmer cost ??

A chip is one thing, working with it on hobby projects is another.

thanks

hamilton


Re: I would like to
On Thu, 01 Mar 2012 17:11:43 -0700

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That would be http://e2e.ti.com/group/msp430launchpad/w/default.aspx

The lil'est dev kit goes for $4.30, but TI's out of stock.  If you want
them for real you have to pay Digikey's markup to $4.35


--
Rob Gaddi, Highland Technology -- www.highlandtechnology.com
Email address domain is currently out of order.  See above to fix.

Re: I would like to

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Somewhere around here, several layers down in the pile, I have a home-made
parallel port MSP430 programmer that works with a Linux dev environment. Not
used it for a while, and I've changed my main PC since then and never re-
installed the software (but still have the hard drive, again several layers
down).

Just looked and Olimex do a programmer and publish the circuit too. See
http://www.olimex.com/dev/msp-jtag.html

That page also has links to how to put together a toolchain.
--
Dave
Too many gadgets, too little time.

Re: I would like to
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Gnu binutils, gdb, gcc, etc.  http://mspgcc.sourceforge.net/

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JTAG dongles start at $15.

Debugger and programming software is free (gdb/gdb-server, mspdebug,
msp430jtag).  There's even a very extensive Python library in case you
want to roll your own tool of some sort:
http://pypi.python.org/pypi/python-msp430-tools

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I think the MSP430 is ideal for hobby use.  There are some very nice
cheap development boards from people like Olimex (sold in the US by
sparkfun.com and microcontrollershop.com).  A full-featured dev board
with LCD can be had for $30-$40.

If you're willing to sit through a powerpoint presentation, you can a
usually get a small dev board for free from a local distributor at one
of the "msp430-day" events.  It's not worth it, IMO, but your
tolerance for powerpoint presentations may be higher than mine. :)

--
Grant


Re: I would like to
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DuinoMite is a BASIC Language Computer-Micro-controller for around $30.
Plug in a VGA Monitor & a PS2 Keyboard. Save to uSD card. Arduino Shield also.

Runs on a PIC32, and can be programmed in BASIC, C, and can run Linux.
Great user support group:
http://www.kenseglerdesigns.com/cms/forums/index.php

More info:
http://www.duinomite.com /

Top of the range:
http://www.dontronics-shop.com/olimex-duinomite-mega.html

Cheers Don...

================

--
Don McKenzie

Dontronics: http://www.dontronics-shop.com /

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Re: I would like to
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Join the queue, and pick up a Raspberry Pi?
(But I also have to add another +1 to the Arduino suggestion.)

Phil
--
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Pics or it didn't happen.
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Re: I would like to
Le 01/03/2012 12:19, Andre a écrit :
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First let me say thanks to every body.
But, I was also looking for a 'embedded system with Linux'.
I could build periferals and use use such a system ( providing I can buy
this ).
But the arduino thing is very interesting too as are other anwers I .
recieved
Many Thanks again.
André

Re: I would like to
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If you are looking for embedded Linux, you should consider the
Raspberry Pi or better (at a slightly higher cost) the BeagleBone.
The BB is real and there is a Google Group providing suppot.  The pi
is still getting out the door.

Rick

Re: I would like to
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That's not a simple question.

Decide what language you want to use to program it.
If you want to use something simple like a basic-like
language, you'll want to consider the cost of the
development language tools.
The harder the language is, the cheaper the tools.

Do some googling to see how much free sample code
and hardware design is available for your choice.
If you can't find lots of relevant stuff, reconsider
your choice.

Beware of free tools that let you program half the chip
memory.  You want to use it all, it'll cost you.

Take a good hard look at the high level commands of the
language.  You can do anything with C...and the GCC tools
are free.  But, do you want to spend your time figuring
out how to format a text string in a subset of C or sending
that text string formatted in a variety of ways with one
command?  Yes, you can probably find a text formatting
"include file".
I find C to be a stressful programming language.
Any language that requires you to determine the need and
find the correct include file just so you can concatenate
two strings is too complex.  Stuff in C is pretty simple
the second time you do it...assuming your memory is excellent.
I find that FIRST time very distressing.  And it's hard to get
help.  You'll get lots of flak from people who've already
done it once.  You're an idiot because "everybody knows that"...
except those of us who haven't done it once.  Since
"everybody knows that", it was omitted from the step-by-step
instructions that didn't work for you.

Do you want to build a complex breadboard for development,
the make a circuit board for the finished project?
If so, bare chips are what you want.

If you want pre-built hardware, you might want to start
with something like an Arduino.  More cost, simpler deployment.

I find a bootloader to be an essential feature.  I've busted
more stuff trying to plug/unplug chips to be reprogrammed
than all other faults combined.  But you may still need a programmer
to put in the bootloader.

For me, the sweet spot is PIC16F877A with PicBasic Pro
and tinybootloader.  I do all my I/O through the serial port.
If I want USB, I plug on a USB/serial adapter.  If I want wireless,
I plug on a Bluetooth/serial adapter.  If I want GPIB, I plug on
a GPIB/serial adapter.  If I want infrared, I plug on a serial/IR
adapter.  If I want a GUI, I plug on a Palm IIIC and use that
for the user interface  over the serial port.  The palm also
does the "heavy lifting" like floating point math, buffering,
formatting, graphics, touch screen, etc.  With the Bluetooth/Serial
adapter, you can use a more modern palm with bluetooth and more
horsepower.
A 25-cent Palm PDA can save you a LOT of grief at the embedded
processor end of the wire.

For the 16F877 (won't work on the 877A) there's a resident basic
interpreter.  Just plug on a terminal and start typing.  Yep,
you can do that over Bluetooth too.
You'll want to modify the source code slightly so it can be
installed with the bootloader.

But I got the compiler for a buck at a
garage sale and Microchip used to give away sample chips.
Not sure I'd go that way today.

TI has some cheap plug-on processor boards for the EZ430
usb development dongle.  I started this direction, but decided
that the learning curve for a new system outweighed any benefits
over the current PIC system.  Looks like they've tripled the
price of the boards.  $10 each is not as attractive.

Arduino-like systems seem to be the most popular today.

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