How to get started with microcontrollers?

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Eugene
Posts:34
Joined:Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:09 am
How to get started with microcontrollers?

Post by Eugene » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:11 am

My point is not to start a flame war, or have an opinion based fight. I really just need advice based off of my experience.

I am pretty experienced with using an arduino, I understand C, & C++ fluently. What is a 8 bit microcontroller I could start with that would give me a solid foundation and understanding? I understand the programming and theory, but I am lacking practical experience. Besides the chip, do I need an IDE? or an IDE & a compiler?

Junaid_Shahid
Posts:110
Joined:Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:00 am

Re: How to get started with microcontrollers?

Post by Junaid_Shahid » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:12 am

Eugene wrote:
Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:11 am
My point is not to start a flame war, or have an opinion based fight. I really just need advice based off of my experience.

I am pretty experienced with using an arduino, I understand C, & C++ fluently. What is a 8 bit microcontroller I could start with that would give me a solid foundation and understanding? I understand the programming and theory, but I am lacking practical experience. Besides the chip, do I need an IDE? or an IDE & a compiler?
"Arduino" as a hardware platform is useful because of the range available for almost every niche, even if you choose not to use the Arduino IDE & toolchain & bootloader - you can install your own standard AVR8 toolchain (i.e. GCC + AVRDUDE + avrlibc + linker + etc, there's usually packages available to make installing all this easay), or Atmel's Windows-only-based 'Atmel Studio', and other options, & use an AVR device programmer, and your own preferred text editor. With this you can take off the Adruino 'training wheels', get dirty with the MCU's registers, and really understand how to drive it.

The same can be said of just about every other mainstream MCU family, there's usually cheap development boards available for virtually all of them, though without so much of the community & hobbyist-level hardware add-ons that surrounds the Arduino. Each will have a toolchain of their own.

I would recommend sticking with 8-bit MCUs for a while - get to know how to really drive them without the Arduino training wheels, because this will hold you in good stead to deal with the substantially greater complexity you'll encounter in 32bit MCUs.

The IDE is just a pretty GUI layer on top of the underlying toolchain, and is optional, but ideal for beginners - setting up a toolchain & make system is not easy unless you're already familiar with it from other programming work. Opinions vary greatly on which IDEs are 'best' (from those available within a given brand/family of MCU), but reality is that few if any are 'best'. Although if you start using a JTAG debugger device (as distinct from a simpler in-circuit device programmer) to step through you code & set break-points & inspect registers & memory etc, then an IDE really helps here.


Read More : GETTING STARTED WITH MICROCONTROLLERS

Clayton
Posts:35
Joined:Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:34 am

Re: How to get started with microcontrollers?

Post by Clayton » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:13 am

Eugene wrote:
Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:11 am
My point is not to start a flame war, or have an opinion based fight. I really just need advice based off of my experience.

I am pretty experienced with using an arduino, I understand C, & C++ fluently. What is a 8 bit microcontroller I could start with that would give me a solid foundation and understanding? I understand the programming and theory, but I am lacking practical experience. Besides the chip, do I need an IDE? or an IDE & a compiler?
in my opinion, you can start smt8 discovery kit then you can try smt32. These kits also has debug. For ide, you can download ST Visual Develop and Cosmic CxSTM8 32K 4.3.13. Cosmic licance is free for 32k memory. This is ide and linker.

Vernie
Posts:33
Joined:Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:19 am

Re: How to get started with microcontrollers?

Post by Vernie » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:15 am

Eugene wrote:
Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:11 am
My point is not to start a flame war, or have an opinion based fight. I really just need advice based off of my experience.

I am pretty experienced with using an arduino, I understand C, & C++ fluently. What is a 8 bit microcontroller I could start with that would give me a solid foundation and understanding? I understand the programming and theory, but I am lacking practical experience. Besides the chip, do I need an IDE? or an IDE & a compiler?
My first microcontroller was the PIC18F1330, which is a very decent chip and great for beginners. I had to buy the chip ($2) and the PICkit (2 or 3) for $35-$45, but then I was ready to go. I used MPLab 8.6 and the C18 compiler, though I think I heard that C18 is being phased out. XC8 is taking its place.

All of the software is available from the Microchip website for free, and there is a lot of help documentation out there. The library references built into the compiler/MPLab are also very thorough.

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