Personally, i started out on PIC, but fairly quickly got annoyed enough with
the toolchain support on linux to move across to AVR. Because Atmel based
the AVR C compiler on GCC, and contributed their changes back to GCC, the
AVR tools are available on pretty much any platform / architecture.
For someone starting out nowadays, i’d definitely suggest Arduino as a
jumping-off point, as you can get a first project up and running in minutes!
Its very gratifying to be able to plug together a bunch of pre-made
modules, and go. Where you want to go after that really depends on the
types of projects you’re interested in.
If you’re in Manchester, I think MadLab are planning on running another
(paid) Arduino 101 course later in the year, or you can drop into the hacman
hack sessions every wednesday evening and ask around, there’ll always be
someone around to help
-BobOn 5 October 2010 11:03, Jim MacArthur firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I started programming microcontrollers with PIC16F871, tried to build my
own programmer which worked but wasn’t very reliable so I got the Velleman
PIC programming kit from Maplin, which works well. I did some quite complex
projects with them like motor control and LED message boards but I got
annoyed with the Windows-only development environment and moved to AVRs. I
think PICs have better Linux tools now though. So now I use ATmega8-16pu
chips with a USBtinyISP programmer (
http://ladyada.net/make/usbtinyisp/index.html). These are not the most
powerful chips but I have not yet found that to be a problem.
If I were starting out now I would probably look at an Arduino or mbed as
these are supposedly much easier to work with (I haven’t had a chance to
play with either). Programming microcontroller chips directly is more fiddly
and usually needs C or assembler experience but has the advantage that the
chips only cost about 2 pounds so it doesn’t matter so much when they get
burnt or smashed. No doubt someone else can chip in here and explain more
Farnell are usually the best supplier for parts, I’ve also used
www.crownhill.co.uk for PICs.
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