Want suggestion for a microcontroller for capstone univ. project

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Hi All,
    I would like to hear your input for the selection of a
microcontroller used on a vehicle gudiance/navigation system. The
vehicle is required to track a long range signal beacon (~30meters
away). The requirement of the microcontroller is: 1) low cost 2)
programmable in C and 3) easy to debug.
    I would appreciate any suggestions that you can bring.

    Regards,

PQ


Re: Want suggestion for a microcontroller for capstone univ. project



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Get an old PC; it has all of that. If you want to look like a real
engineer, you may open the cover of the system block.

Vladimir Vassilevsky
DSP and Mixed Signal Design Consultant
http://www.abvolt.com

Re: Want suggestion for a microcontroller for capstone univ. project
as much as I enjoy dissemabling old PCs (not really), we are very
short on time, and need something that is readily available. We are
investigating PICs as an option, but heard that it is very hard to
debug them. Hence I came here to ask you guys for some suggestions.

Regards,

PQ


Re: Want suggestion for a microcontroller for capstone univ. project



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That's why you need a PC. This is absolutely the quickest, the cheapest
and the simplest way to get the things up and running.

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With PIC, AVR, ARM or anything else you will have to do a lot of tedious
stuff on the low level hardware initializations. Unless you are
experienced with this type of work, it will be months before you get
anything useful.


Vladimir Vassilevsky
DSP and Mixed Signal Design Consultant
http://www.abvolt.com

Re: Want suggestion for a microcontroller for capstone univ. project



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Vladimir gave you good advice. Assume it will take you a few weeks
to understand the tools and the mindset necessary to use a small
processor in an application. Add that to the project unknowns
and short term a disaster awaits.

For a prototype a PC is a good choice. At the very least prototype
the software on a PC especially so you have a means of regression
testing the the navigation software.

w..



Re: Want suggestion for a microcontroller for capstone univ. project
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Cost and energy spent is also an issue with this project. A high cost/
high power consumption solution is not acceptable. I am willing to
investigate the platform even if it takes weeks. Right now I'm
considering PICs and Motorola 68HC12 series.

Regards,

PQ


Re: Want suggestion for a microcontroller for capstone univ. project



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Consider a handheld PC for the prototype, low cost and low power
requirements. Have a good idea of your system requirements before
selecting one.

w..


Re: Want suggestion for a microcontroller for capstone univ. project
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  Do you know how much code, and what numeric data types you will work
with ?
  That should help narrow the choices.

  At the smaller end, focus on the Debug pathway - a good example here,
are the SiLabs Low cost ToolStick series - USB debug, and a small
daughter card, with the target on it.
  You can use these cards in low volume production.
  Very good analog performance, and low powers, with fast wakeups.

  Moving up CPU power, I'd skip the HC12 (unless you have code-leverage
reasons for looking at this ).

  Again focus on Simulation and Debug. With a HLL, the core is more
'don't care' these days.

  We found the Zilog Zneo Z16F good :  USB debug, one shop supply
advantages, Tools are mature and Non-Crippled Compiler is free, and
include a Simulator, and the Z16F has some 64 bit operand opcodes,
includes divide. sub $100, includes EvalPCB _and_ USB-debug

  Also Rabbit ? - Not single chip, and higher start price, but they
do have attractive modules for low-med volumes


  The 32 bit core market is expanding :
Again look for good Debug, and non-crippled tools.
  ( The USB debug prices can creep a little here. )

  Freescale have a new V1 coldfire they are pushing.
  Atmel have AVR32, and also ARM7 and ARM9
  ST have ARM7, ARM9 and M3 cores.
  NXP have  ARM7, ARM9 uC, and some new ARM9 Flash devices
  -etc-

-jg


Re: Want suggestion for a microcontroller for capstone univ. project
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Hi,
   I would hope to do most of the signal processing by means of
circuitry, instead of DSP, since I've heard these chips may be limited
in processing capabilities.
   My budget for the chip is < $10 unit cost bulk order, I don't care
about the programmers and software cost.
   In terms of data input, eventually I will need to process two or
three sensory inputs, and control two motors (differential drive for
steering). Nothing complicated like image processing.
   Thanks to all of you who offered suggested, I'm looking into each
one of them now.

   Regards,

PQ



Re: Want suggestion for a microcontroller for capstone univ. project
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If this is a univ project, you could also look at this effort :

http://www.eetimes.com/news/latest/showArticle.jhtml ;jsessionid=HQ0AZXWN3IHKEQSNDLPCKH0CJUNN2JVN;?articleID20%1807632

and

http://mobilestudio.rpi.edu/Hardware.aspx

This looks to have an impressive 'PC End' SW suite, as well as using
capable, but still simple PCB Modules.

-jg






Re: Want suggestion for a microcontroller for capstone univ. project
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The AVR32 will run up to 89 Dhrystone MIPS which is not too bad
and it has extra DSP features, usually not present in a small Micro.
The instruction set support saturation which is important for DSP
applications.

Also single cycle multiply-accumulate, (ARM7 = 5 cycles)
and a divide instruction (not present on ARM7).
Single cycle load instruction (from internal SRAM).  (ARM7 uses at least 3
cycles
    -1 Sequential + 1 Non-Sequential + 1 Internal from zero waitstate SRAM).

It will have much lower power and higher performance than the ARM7
alternatives.

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--
Best Regards,
Ulf Samuelsson
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Re: Want suggestion for a microcontroller for capstone univ. project

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Why take it apart?  Unless you are space constrained, using a PC whole
will get you a working microprocessor system very fast.  Even an old
laptop running freeDOS or Linux would get you on the road (as it were).

PICs aren't that bad to debug if you get one of the development boards
with a built in JTAG to USB debugger.  Any 8-bit processor is going to be
a similar debugging challenge to a PIC, if not worse.

How big is this thing?

--
Tim Wescott
Control systems and communications consulting
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Re: Want suggestion for a microcontroller for capstone univ. project

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Get ye to Sparkfun http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/categories.php
and take a look at their goodies. I'm lately fond of the NXP ARM7 dev
boards (LPC2000-series) that they offer. Most (many? all?) of them are
sourced from Olimex and are aimed at prototypes & small runs. Lots of
I/O, lots of memory.

I there's a GCC toolchain for the ARM7, as well as some expensive-ware
from the usual suspects. My personal preference is for the
not-so-expensive-ware from Imagecraft (trial and free-but-limited
versions at http://www.imagecraft.com ).

For programming/debugging you'll probably want/need a JTAG setup. The
Segger J-Link is good but a bit $$. A low-cost option may be H-JTAG
software http://www.hjtag.com/ which works with the Olimex parallel
port JTAG adapter (see the Olimex site for a tweaked version); only
slightly higher is the USB Scarab dongle + software, also available at
Sparkfun.

While you're at Sparkfun, you're likely to find other gizmos that may
be useful, like 6 DOF IMUs (you supply the Kalman) and various RF
widgets. Fun place.

Re: Want suggestion for a microcontroller for capstone univ. project
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http://www.luminarymicro.com/products/kits.html
luminary eval kits generally include usb jtag on-board. So no
additional hardware is required to program/debug your micro.
Keil & IAR has code limited versions (16kB & 32kB respectively)
for simple i/o applications it is also very easy to get something run.
They have a very good-simple library to use peripherals.

www.olimex.com -- you will generally need jtag.

But Some Atmel SAM7 parts  (USB ones) can be progammed through USB
(samba).


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