View Poll Results: What is your skill level with microcontrollers?

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  • I'm at least fairly skilled with microcontrollers.

    33 62.26%
  • I've used microcontrollers just a little, but I wouldn't know how to do much with them.

    4 7.55%
  • Never used one, but I have decent electronics and programming skills and would like to learn.

    12 22.64%
  • It sounds too complicated, or I'm not interested.

    2 3.77%
  • I don't understand what a microcontroller does.

    2 3.77%
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Thread: How much do you know about microcontrollers?

  1. #11
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    Here is a link to the ICD2 programmer

    Homebrew Microchip ICD2 Clone

    Probably outdated now though, but yeah if you want to build one its fairly easy.

  2. #12
    Low Bitrate FordNoMore's Avatar
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    I totally agree - learning assembly language first is a good way to go, just to get a feel for what's actually happening on the chip. And then when you start pulling your hair out because assembly is a pain to actually program anything sizable in, transition to C.

    Along the same lines, I feel lucky that I started programming computers in the DOS days, using timer interrupts, polling the mouse driver directly, writing direct to video memory, controlling the sound card using low level port access... It gave me a tremendous understanding of a computer's inner workings that I would have never gotten if I'd jumped straight into high-level Windows programming.

  3. #13
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    got any good links to learning assembly?
    Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

  4. #14
    Low Bitrate FordNoMore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meddler View Post
    got any good links to learning assembly?
    To be honest, if you've got just a little programming background, the link I gave above does a really good job of introducing assembly language for the PIC. (And a PIC is a great way to learn assembly language because the processor is very simple.)

  5. #15
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    cool... I have already bookmarked that one.
    Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

  6. #16
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    I actually just into AVR's (PIc competitor), and they're great. I had it reading from my cars OBD1 port and displaying information in a little LED numeric display before I fried one of my components (ESD Safety is a must!!) And the nice thing is I can program in C

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by malcom2073 View Post
    I actually just into AVR's (PIc competitor), and they're great. I had it reading from my cars OBD1 port and displaying information in a little LED numeric display before I fried one of my components (ESD Safety is a must!!) And the nice thing is I can program in C
    I can only second that. Been using them through my university course and they are just amazing. Really easy to use and the programmers are not too expensive either. Most of the software is free too and the chips are real cheap too!
    If anyone is interested: http://www.fischl.de/usbasp/.
    Been using the programmer for a good while now and its reliable and cheap, also very easy to build.
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  8. #18
    Constant Bitrate kibble's Avatar
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    I've been wanting to get into microcontroller programming for a long time and have actually bought some with the intention of getting started but never really got far. The first one I tried to get started with was the Motorola 68HC11 several years ago. I still have a few sitting around that I keep telling myself I'll get to one day. LOL

    I had bought a book a while ago about programming PIC's and I read all the way through it, but I have yet to pick up a PIC and just go at it.

  9. #19
    Low Bitrate Beehphy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngelOfLight View Post
    I can only second that. Been using them through my university course and they are just amazing. Really easy to use and the programmers are not too expensive either. Most of the software is free too and the chips are real cheap too!
    If anyone is interested: http://www.fischl.de/usbasp/.
    Been using the programmer for a good while now and its reliable and cheap, also very easy to build.
    I have quite a bit of experience with PIC, Atmel, and Motorola/Freescale (HC11, 12, 16) micros from school (electronics engineering degree) and hobbies (since 7th grade).

    By far, my favorite is Atmel's AVR series.

    The development studio, for writing code, testing and programming is awesome. It's free, powerful and intended for only their products so itís not bogged down thinking about everyone else's bells and whistles. It has a built in simulator for stepping through code virtually. And there is huge noob-2-expert support at avrfreaks.net

    The functionality of the chips are awesome too. I'll discuss each of my main points in detail.

    Instruction set: PICís are too limited with only 31 instructions; you have to baby them around every little step. Motorolaís are wicked complex with hundreds of instructions with variations so small that itís easy to loose track what they all mean. You can write very concise code but itís awkward. AVRís have about 130 instructions that cover all the stuff motoís do but a lot simpler and easy to remember.

    Packaging, PICís and AVRís come in hobbyist friendly DIP packages, Motoís do not.

    Price: Motoís are expensive (~$20) and have every bell and whistle you can think of. PICs are cheap (~$4), but come with few extraís. AVRís have plenty of options but donít break the bank (~$7).

    Options/Extraís: Motoís are king! They have so many extraís its almost scary trying to configure the peripherals. External memory mapping is a cinch. The thing is, you pay for all these extraís even if you donít need most of them. PICs have next to nothing. Limited peripherals and limited memory. Every project I started with a PIC had to be upgrade to a bigger chip because the limited instructions caused the code to exceed the available space. AVRís have most of the options of a Moto, but a price much closer to a PIC. They have plenty of registers and program space.

    Programming: PICs and AVRís have the cheapest programmers available, as low as $15. Motoís are ridiculously expensive (I got a simple/crap one with a student discount for $135) and basically only companies can afford them. Both PICís and Motoís require a programming voltage (13V) to program the flash/EE memory, AVR do not. A single 5V supply is all you need for programming and running an AVR. This makes the board design much simpler.

    AVRís have the best programmer of all; the AVR Dragon PP/ICP/ICE/ JTAG for $50. It can program almost every chip they make in multiple modes.
    Parallel Programming (PP): just the chip in a socket.
    In Circuit Programming (ICP): use a small cable to program the chip in your circuit.
    In Circuit Emulation (ICE): run/stop/manipulate the chip, in circuit, from the development environment on your computer through a small cable.
    JTAG: A different and more universal ICE.

    The AVR Dragon is USB, professionally built, and integrated into the development environment. Any new chips are added with software updates from Atmel.

    For all these reasons and more, Atmel AVRís are the best. IMO.
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  10. #20
    FLAC coucouillu's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    For the subject, none choice is for my case.
    Mine is : "I've used microcontrollers just a little, but I don't know enough and I am trying to learn more."

    For my project, I need help.

    I don't want to hijack this thread, but just ask a question in relation with Ķcontrollers.

    I am trying to hack Lilliput indash screen.

    I have made some "scans" with DIGITRACE software.

    below a complete scan I made from one command of the screen (flip up button).


    and here the "flip down" button scan



    I could tell that the communication between the screen and the mainboard of the unit is made by 2 wires, looks like assynchrone protocol (serial), and like 4800 bauds.

    1) First, What could you say about this signal? What do you understand?

    2) I am using a PICBASIC 3B Ķcontroller. I am trying to reproduce this signal (unsuccessfull).

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you.

    Brice.

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