Beginner needs help choosing microcontroller platform & software

I'd appreciate any advice you could send my way. I want to avoid the probability of me getting bored or frustrated and leaving hundreds of
dollars of equipment collecting dust on my workbench.
There are two ways I can run out of steam:
1) It becomes too difficult. I can learn almost anything, but if I'm following a guide that skips over something vital (like what they heck is a booloader?) I'll decide the frustration isn't worth it. I'd like something (a book, a guide) that walks me through the entire process.
2) If it becomes apparent the platform/programming language I've chosen is too limited to accomplish what I want (ultimate goal is a multi-axis motion control camera capable of learning moves and replaying them exactly, maybe even outputing the data to a CF card to be used in 3D-animation software for match-moves)
Since I have more time than money, and not much of either, I need to go cheap. That pretty much rules out the Basic Stamp, which excels in #1.
Proton Basic seems like a good alternative, but it isn't cheap either. It seems to be the best way to avoid burn-out while avoiding the limited capability and high cost you get with the Stamp, Ooopic, Atom, BAsicX, etc. If Proton Basic offered a kit like BAsic STamp offers with books, a programmer, and all the hardware you need to run through some experiments I'd jump at it in a second, if it was priced reasonably.
AVR and BASCOM'S free version looks promising, but I don't see anything that walks me through the whole process beginning to end.
GCC-AVR is probably the perfect combination to accomplish #2 (unless it is lacking built-in functions like stepper-motor control, LCD driving, etc.). It is free, but lacks an IDE. I'm also not all that familiar with C, but it sure beats Assembly!
The AVR seems to be the better platform, too, technically and Atmel offers some real nice, and cheap, programmers and development boards.
Mindstorms doesn't seem to be supported by Lego much anymore, so I'll avoid that.
Thanks for your help!
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I have to disagree with that. LEGO is supporting Mindstorms just fine, and in fact there are fairly well-founded rumors in the LEGO community that they're working on a new & improved RCX brick... but if I know LEGO (and I think I do), your investment in existing Mindstorms equipment would not be wasted.
Best, - Joe
,------------------------------------------------------------------. | Joseph J. Strout Check out the Mac Web Directory: | | snipped-for-privacy@strout.net http://www.macwebdir.com | `------------------------------------------------------------------'
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Different people will approach this from different directions !
This kind of problem I'd tackle by starting with the mechanical side of things - estimating weights, speeds, accuracy, repeatibility and so on. This gets you to a point where you can specify the type of motors to use, and thus finally to the requirements for a controller to drive everything. Finally, I'd put the lot under (loose) control of a PC so as to be able to do fancy gui interfaces !
If you need quality real time positioning, then the mechanics are very important and will tend to be challenging and possibly quite expensive if the loads are significant. For this kind of application, closed loop dc servos are often used, and the controllers tend to be quite sophisticated.
On the other hand, if operating speed is not a factor, then life can be somewhat simpler, and a system based on stepping motors with a substantial reduction gearbox will probably suffice.
Almost any processor can be used as a simple controller for a single axis stepping motor, but when you start to operate several axes simultaneously in real time, then you really need something designed for the job - for example, something from the IsoPod <www.newmicros.com> family [Tinipod etc]. These devices are typically programmed in Forth, which is fairly well standardised and has some good reference books. On the other hand, if you think Basic is a good idea, then Forth will probably come as a bit of a shock ... Devices like this cost a little more than the Basic toys, but the gain in performance is staggering.
So, the message about controllers is 'decide what it has to do first - don't just pick one and hope that it will be adequate'.
This could easily be a big project, and you need to plan your stages carefully. For example, you could build a purely mechanical 'arm' for positioning, which would then be useable for posed shots, then add encoder readout to make re-positioning simpler. Now add a motor drive to one axis, and then another and so on. At each stage you have something that works and can be improved on. Projects that only come together at the end in one 'Big Bang' can be very frustrating ..
good luck !
Dave
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That's exactly the approach I was considering. I'd start out with a platform that would simply be a motorized pan.
Unfortunately, the Isopod is MUCH more of an investment than I'm willing to make. It looks like you can end up with a real money hole when you're done buying everything you need. Remember, I'm considering $5 microcontrollers being programmed with a free C compiler and $40 (or so) programmer and tested using standard breadboard.
Thanks for the advice, though. I realize going AVR or PIC may result in not enough horsepower, or maybe I need to network microcontrollers.
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Sigh! Why do beginners ask for help, when they don't want to listen to any? Oh well...
That mythical $5 microcontroller strikes again, the bane of all small budget control projects, preventing sales for vendors, and success for beginners, alike. I've commented at length on this phantom before.
http://groups.google.com/group/comp.robotics.misc/browse_frm/thread/f5c84fd7bcc6aafc/4e74c532f34b408c?lnk=st&q=mythical+%245&rnum=1#4e74c532f34b408c
So here's what my 25+ years of experience tell me, if you care to listen.
AVR's and PICs in general fail your Test 1 (doesn't become to difficult) (particularly for someone who doesn't know what a boot loader is) and fail your Test 2 (too limited to accomplish what you want) if the axes of motion exceed ~approximately one, and then only if programmed in assembly language using advanced interrupt techniques to have processor enough left over to allow the networking to happen. (Basic is out of the question, C is marginally possible, maybe, given the computing ability of these processors.)
You'll have to do one very hard development, one of five, for control on each axis, with an equally difficult communications module built-in; and another difficult development for a separate micro for gathering, managing and coordinating the communications with the 5 slaves. (BTW: Usually bugs in these type of protocols aren't exorcised without thousands of dollars of test equipment, scopes, logic analyzers, in circuit emulators and the like.)
By your numbers: free C, 6 processors $5 ea., $40 programmer, not including breadboard, crystal, resistors and caps, regulators, etc., which are ignored. For $70 (less ingored parts which are probably double that) you will have something that only might work if you were a professional, experienced and very diligent programmer, using a suite of expensive development tools.
Or for $99 you could have a finished IsoPod(TM) system that was designed for 6 axes of motion, has a multitasking operating system, and (a couple) high level language to get it done.
So when you consider you could have professional quality motion control on 5 axes of motion, and still having processor speed left over, doing a better job than half a dozen (mythical) $5 micros could hope do... perhaps the IsoPod(TM) isn't MUCH more of an investment than than is essentially necessary. Otherwise, it looks like you can end up with a real time sink and money hole when you're done and it still doesn't work reliably.
Oh, as for references, Panavision uses IsoPodX(TM) based system on their Super Techno Crane in their new BackPanPlus tracking system to monitor five axes of motion (pan, tilt, swing, boom and telescope) and control two (pan and tilt). It also does closed loops on the outputs, a pot-load of real time f.p. trig. for position computation, out-of-range monitoring, and also interception, modification, and retransmission of a complex communications protocol. And the processor still isn't tapped out. Just to mention some users you might have heard of, Oprah has one of these crane permanently built into her new TV set, Spielberg in his some of his latest movies.
--
Randy M. Dumse
www.newmicros.com
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A very good point and good points made in the post you link to. But I'm not claiming a $5 MC is equivalent to a $79 Stamp. I'm saying when I accidentally ground a pin and fry the MC I only need replace a $5 part instead of a $79 part.
Rather than complain of newbies' ignorance I think it would be much better to keep a positive attitude and sell the added value that bridges the gap between $5 and $99. You sort of do that, but it is encapsulated in so much frustration and indignation one has to read between the lines to see that a good point is being made.
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Thanks. I'm glad you see it. Hopefully, then, I'm not wasting my time.

Actually, I would. The $5 MC and a $79 Stamp are rather equivalent (if you ignore the value added of the additional parts and assembly) because they have the same "class" of processor.
And in the case of motion control, you're probably better off with a $5 AVR than you are with a $79 Stamp (by which I assume you are refering to a Parallax Basic Stamp). The AVR is a ~1995 designed processor, and the PIC in the stamp is a ~1990 designed processor. While the stamp offers a much easier to access mechanical package, and the ease of Basic, you won't likely get the job done in Basic, and so is much less convenient than using an AVR with C.

I can see that point. It is not unusual for beginners to fry a processor or two. Much more likely though, if they use a chip than a board. With a board, the power and ground are usually already wired and protected. So you'll fry many more $5 processors than $xx boards. But it does still happen.
BTW, you are not likely to cause problems for a micro by grounding a pin. They are generally pretty tolerant of an accidental grounding, and will run indefinitely that way, and still recover. They are slightly less tolerant of the application of +5 (some +3)accidentally, but almost always survive short duration shorts.
However, applying a mildly negative voltage (more than -0.7V), or a moderately high voltage (typically over +7V) will toast almost all micros, board mounted or otherwise. This is very common with motion control projects with higher voltages present.

Well, I threw my first reply out, and restarted, and then did extensive rewrite, before sending. Okay, I'll try again a bit further on.

Yes, I have a great deal of frustration. Maybe even indignation, although I tried not to direct it at you. But I am frustrated. As you can see, it's a pet peeve of mine. When I saw Gordon tell you, you might be able to get this done with a DSP, and I saw blueeyedpop tell you you could do it with an PlugaPod(TM), I figured I would stay out of it. But that $5 comment, and the IsoPod(TM) being MUCH more of an investment..., brought me out. I feel I need to set the record straight.
Let me try an analogy. Let's say, your neighbor on the right comes over and asks about lawn mowing. You start to say, well, you can get an incredibly good deal on a cheap lawn mower at "Lawn Depot" for $99. But your neighbor on the left says, My dad used to cut our lawn with scissors. Plus, if the scissors break, you're only spending $5 on a new pair.
Well, you think, it actually is possible to cut a lawn with scissors, but its just not a practical approach. You wonder if they understand the quality versus the effort it will take. Wonder if his time is worth anything to him? Wonder if the blisters he gets will be too painful? Wonder if it matters before he finishes the back, the front will need cutting again? Wonder if he has a job or a life that might interfere with his lawn mowing?
Next day, the neighbor behind you comes over and asks about cutting down a small oak. You're thinking maybe that Remington 16" electric on sale for $89 at "Tree Depot" is perfect for light duty tree trimming. The neighbors on the left and right jump in and say, hey they just got these scissors! They are cheap, and you can use them for anything that needs a sharp blade... Excitement builds...
There may be no listening to your opinion at that point. Maybe all you can do is suggest they don't run with their scissors.
After you'd heard the $5 scissors answer to everything from cutting tin to digging wells, about 100 times, how would you feel? Remember we get a "newbie" asking about processors here about once a month or more, and it's been going on for years and years...
What I think what you've heard me say, is, don't buy a $5 micro, buy a $99 board. You suggest I explain the value added by the board.
That isn't what I am saying.
I say, don't buy a $5 micro which isn't up to the task, but a more expensive micro that actually is. Not only is the advanced micro (generation later development ~2001 design) faster than the other processor (about 20X), it also has power hardware built in for motion control (like the engine on the mower or the chain saw - it adds the power to make the job practical).
Now these faster micros are fine pitch SMT parts. They don't come in through-hole packages that will fit on a breadboard. Beginners don't have much luck working with them. Your best move is to buy it assembled on a board, rather than a chip per sa.
So the right value is the processor on the board. It is completely wired, has a high level language installed that can get you there, but MOST importantly actually can do the job because it has hardware built into it.
Okay, for specifics, to prove my point:
How are you going to tell where the Pan, Tilt, Up, Down, etc. motors actually are? Common way is to use quadrature encoders. How fine does the resolution of the quadrature have to be? Well, for smooth video, pick a number, maybe 2000 counts per inch. Okay, how fast do the axes have to go maybe a foot or two a second? So just as a minimum guess, let's say 2000 counts per in. x 25 in. per second. So you need to read 50,000 quadrature counts a second. Or go open loop. Or have much slower movements. Or less resolution and jerky video.
How many quadrature decoders does an AVR have? None.
How many quadrature decoders does a stamp have? None.
So how do these processors do quadrature for motion control? They have to do it with software - processing power. Does that put a limit on how many quadrature inputs you can read? or how fast they can be read? Yes. For a beginner to do quadrature AND something else usually requires a multitasking system, or interrupt driven programing techniques. How fast can a stamp read a quadrature input in Basic? Oh, I don't know, but I'll estimate up to 200 counts a second. The processor would be pretty well used up there, and would have difficulty also communicating with a master, and there is no multitasking built-in. How fast can a AVR programmed by a beginner in C read a quadrature input? Another guess, maybe 20,000 times a second. (I've heard clever assembly language programmers claiming ~100,000 counts.) The processor would be pretty well used up there, and would have difficulty also communicating with a master.
Now, for comparison, how many quadrature decoders does the DSP on the IsoPod(TM) have? Well, two in completely dedicated hardware, but it also has 16 timers, and in pairs, these timers have a mode where they can read quadrature. So the short answer is the IsoPod(TM) has an easu 6 available hardware quadrature input channels (and still has a timers left over).
How fast can the IsoPod(TM) read these quadrature inputs? Since they are hardware, and they require no software support at all to do the counting, they can read quadrature up to 40,000,000 counts a second. 80 times faster than required!
So maybe my point is clear now. A clever AVR programmer can capture quadrature just fast enough to do your minimum requirements of 50,000 counts on one channel. (Not considering the communications, and PWM output to the motors, which are also competing software tasks.) On the other hand, a beginning programmer can read 6 channels of 40MHz quadrature on an IsoPod(TM) with very little trouble at all, just a handful of writes into setup registers (and has a dozen hardware PWM outputs to boot).
I hope you understand, I'm not talking about something as trivial as differences in brands of scissors. I'm talking about real differences in the hardware features, like the difference between scissors and power mowers/saws.
The fact this point is a hard sell, and takes great efforts to explain, is the source of my frustration. I wish I knew a better way to do it. But somehow the prevailing wisdom is the $5 micro is as good as anything out there for any job you care to name. It's a dangerous myth that prevents many projects from getting where they ought to be.
--
Randy M. Dumse
www.newmicros.com
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I don't know what to say, Randy. First reaction is I wanted a Ginsu to cut an apple, not a food processor + mixer + espresso machine. But let's get beyond that. Let's also get beyond the need to count 2000 ticks per rev at 1500 rpm, as though I couldn't find an encoder with an index mark.
I've visited your site in the past, and I peeked at it again just now. I still haven't much of a clue why I would want an IsoPod. Sure, I like FORTH. Brodie was one of my early heroes (a full quarter century ago now). But what the heck is an IsoMAX? It's all cool stuff I'm sure, and probably useful to me this very moment if I took the time to look at it deeply enough. And that's the problem.
Your site is all backwards, Dude. I don't really care to know what an IsoPod is. I need a five axis controller with certain capabilities. We should both be pissed that I passed up a perfectly workable, debugged and packaged solution, and instead wired up a few jelly-bean PICs out of reflex. And it's your fault. How hard should I have to work to figure out you already solved my problem? What might compell me to hit that IsoPOD(TM) button when I'm looking for a 5-axis controller?
Regarding IsoMax... Jingo-ism scares me. I think you're selling me a Ginsu with a fancy instruction sheet. So far, I've gathered that it's a realtime scheduling system. Is it any better than the one I'm already using? I don't think I'll ever know.
Taking it all together, I'm a little uneasy. I'm clutching my wallet tightly, protectively, because the fancy man with the fancy named goods is not to be trusted. (It's not stamped sheet metal with a serrated edge; it's a Ginsu(TM).) Every day, we're all deluged with basically what amounts to junk that some guy is hawking to pay off his Volkswagen. And I don't know you from Adam. You can help me best by helping yourself. Fix that site. Tell me what your "stuff" can do for me, and why I might care.
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Well, the Forth in IsoMax(TM) isn't the only way to go on our board. You can develop with the Small C we've provided just as well. Then there's always CodeWarrior. And of course, C came out a full quarter century ago, lest we loose perspective.

IsoMax(TM) is an operating system, in this case a set of words on top of Forth. It is a paradigm based on state maching concepts. So if you follow the paradigm, you can string almost unlimited unmbers of state machines together in a background, interrupt driven task provided by the language, and they will all cooperatively multitask. And you can still communicate in the foreground, dump memory, change settings, print results, even continue to develop additional code, as the processes run in the background.
Now the remarkable Pete Gray who posts here sometimes has actually taken the IsoMax(TM) concept of operating system, and transformed it into a C like language as well.
So IsoMax(TM) isn't a Forth only concept, but can be applied as an extension to other languages as well. The key to it, is the state machine approach to designing real time systems.

Well, the IsoPod(TM) isn't a five axis controller. I'd be a "Ginsu" salesman if I said it was.
But hold that thought a moment...
In order to protect my property rights, should someone try to copy the "xxxPod" names, I have to follow it with the (TM). If I don't take my trademark seriously, no on else will be required to either. I don't like typing that all the time either, not at all. But... If protecting my property rights seems slick or silly... to bad.
Now back to the pod stuff.
The IsoPod(TM) is a board with a processor, which is cross between a DSP and a general purpose controller designed for motion control. With the addition of software, it can be a six axes motion closed loop PID controller. (A version of the IsoMax(TM) language is with PID functions built in is in late testing. Then it really will be a 12+ channel PID controller, with software built-in.)
Or it can be a 26 RC Servo driver with _hardware_ generated PWM now. (If you did software RC Servo outputs like the SSR's do, you could easily do another 20 RC Servo outputs on the port pins.) We tried to show that off by driving the Lynxmotion 18 servo hexapods directly with smooth profiled motion, without any SSR's helping.

How did that go?

I don't know. I suppose that is why I participate on these groups, trying to get the word out. Apparently I'm not doing a good job of it.
I will look into your suggestions. Thank you. Actually, thank you very much.
--
Randy M. Dumse
www.newmicros.com
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Now I'm interested. :) It wasn't that hard, was it?

Done it before; will do it again. Unless someone has a better idea. ;)
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I guess I'm kind of confused who the customer is for the Isopod(TM;). It sounds good to me, but as a beginner I get this feeling, "Don't mess with this unless you're REALLY serious, need something powerful and know what you are doing." Which is fine! If that's what it is supposed to be.
I think the problem is that the industry only caters to two extremes. One is the novice who has plenty of money and low ambitions, the other is the techno-geek who's either comfortable enough with the programming or with the electronics to get them beyond all the user-unfriendliness you have to wade through.
I'm in the middle.
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MrMJPEG wrote:

There's LOTS for people in the middle, and lots of products that address this space. An AVR chip and an $80 STK500 programmer is perfect for this level. You can choose your development language, including the free version of Bascom, which works quite well for many types of projects.
Or, if you want something ready-made you can purchase a board like the AVR-based MAVRIC II, which is made for robotics applications, and does not need an external programmer. (In reality, most AVRs don't need any special hardware to be programmed, just some wires and maybe a resistor and/or diode here and there, depending on the design.)
-- Gordon
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On Mon, Dec 12, 2005 at 08:01:57AM -0800, Gordon McComb wrote:

Thanks Gordon. That's http://www.bdmicro.com/mavric-iib.
You'll also find it's sister board the MAVRIC-IB there also - similar design with more on-board support for common additions (real time clock, extra RAM, more EEPROM). The MAVRIC-IIB is the smaller leaner sibling, and I believe the most popular.
For a small sample of what you can do with it see the sample code section here:
http://www.bdmicro.com/code
Also, take a look at how one DARPA Grand Challenge team used it:
http://www.bdmicro.com/darpa-gc
Insight Racing finished 12th overall with over 26 miles autonomous.
One of the great things about the AVRs is the free development environment GCC. Unlike many processors, the AVR instruction set was designed from the beginning to support high level languages like C so it is easy for the compiler to produce high quality code. And GCC is an exceptional C compiler that rivals many commercial products in terms of code quality and size, but is available freely and open source as it has been through out is several decade long history. The environment is built on Unix so if you use Unix/Linux/MacOS X, etc, you will be right at home. For folks using Windows, a pre-built package is available with all the GCC goodies called WinAVR.
Of course, other languages are availabe like BASIC if you like that as well as FORTH if you like that. Also, several economical commercial C compilers are available if that is more suited to your needs over GCC. The AVRs are very popular and the on-line community is active and helpful. There are lots of options so you have a variety of capable processors and third-party boards to choose from. What you learn from using one AVR processor is directly transferable to all the others.
-Brian
--
Brian Dean
ATmega128 based MAVRIC controllers
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Seems like a strange comment for me to respond to. If you buy it you are the customer, and if you don't, you aren't.
The company name "New Micros" is based on the idea of selectivly choosing what we think is the best in new micros, and putting them on an easily accessible board. IsoPod(TM) is based on the DSP56F805 processor.
So generally, our customers are ones who, want the latest or best technology in some particular area, (for motion control it's IsoPod(TM)) and want to get after their project and get it done. So yes, we hope for a serious customer, because serious customers are very likely to be successful customers, and we like to sell to successful customers.

This is a very interesting comment, because, I see the underlying micro as perhaps intimidating, but not unfriendly. On the otherhand, IsoMax(TM) with Forth under it, is all about user friendliness. We've kept from closing it for several years now, as we continue to add features to the language to accomodate user requests for more friendly words to deal with internal features of the micro, like interrupt driven serial and SPI support, and quadrature readers, and modes to set timers, etc. We even added an RC word to make dealing with RC Servos easier.
I'll look into this and make a report of what I mean in a new thread, as I have time.
--
Randy M. Dumse
www.newmicros.com
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I think as a beginner, you don't have enough information to evaluate an advanced product, no offense. The embedded market covers the a very wide range of customers. Many advanced products are better funded, have better documentation, because their market is a professional one that must produce good results quickly.
The IsoPod is applicable to all, but is not limited to, the following:
Rank beginner who is willing to sit down, learn forth, and program in an atypical paradigm compared to a lot of the embedded industry. A user who wants to have an OS, without paying the performance penalty. ( yes, forth is an OS in effect.) Someone who has a project that requires a LOT of hardware interfacing, but does not wish to tackle it with a PC. Someone who wants to use a lot of R/C servos. Someone who wants to read a lot of encoders or analog signals. Someone who wants to use FSM architecture to control behavior in order to avoid rats nest conditionals.
My experience includes programming in C, assy on the 6502 & PIC, C on the ARM, AVR, Python, and forth. I generally prefer forth and Python for work related stuff.
I worked for many years on a motion control crane using PCs but got it working really well using forth. It reads 5 quadrature encoders, does high resolution velocity calculations on 3 of them in addition, using additional timers, reads a serial stream, outputs a serial stream, and does a hell of a lot of calculus. This is a real time motion control system, so all maths must be done in a fixed period time. The IsoPod does this, and leaves processor time enough to allow the forground task for other functions.
Just because it tackles something of that massive complexity, doesn't mean it is a complex product however, just powerful.
Additionally, I have done the following: I have also wired up 6 mini pods on CANBUS to build a robotic centipede. Built a 6 leg, 3 axis per leg hexapod using one ServoPod that does complete inverse kinematics solutions per ler leg at 60 hz More 3 wheeled bots than I cane to remember with PlugaPods
When I came aboard my new job, Feb 2005, I was quite pleased to find many IsoPod related products in use by a majority of the embedded programmers there. I work at a think tank with many clients that demand good results quickly. We are able to do this with IsoPods because its language is fast, the hardware is powerful, and the programming paradigm is fast and efficient.
Mike

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The "pod" wasn't on my list, but it is now. However, what sort of beginner documentation is there? Is the manual suitable? Are there sample projects? Kits? I'm not seeing much like that on www.newmicros.com, although I've only skimmed the obvious locations. A "Beginners start here" button would be nice that walks you through what it is and what is available to get you started.
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Go to
http://www.newmicros.com/
Click the "Downloads" button on the top of the home page.
Click the 'Pod(TM) Download page
at the top of the Downloads page.
Second like on the 'Pod(TM) Download page is IsoPod(TM) Presentation in HTML or PPT. It will give you an overview.
Then read manuals and appnotes at will.
--
Randy M. Dumse
www.newmicros.com
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The manual gives relitively good instructions on getting going from the ground up.
Forth is a good approach in that it helps teach you how to factor a problem.
http://home.iae.nl/users/mhx/sf.html Is a good place to start too. It is the online version of Leo Brodie's book "starting FORTH."
New Micros has a well attended forum as well.
here is some fun stuff: http://sickfortoys.addr.com/bio-botsite/movies/ my centipede, now living at the advanced robotics research institute in Texas.
Images through an optical mouse and ancillary lensing system. http://sickfortoys.addr.com/bio-botsite/mousecam /
My LynxMotion hexapod http://sickfortoys.addr.com/bio-botsite/lynxmotion /
Moco lives inside this crane... http://www.panavision.com/product_detail.php?maincat=2&cat 2&id9&node,c1,c4&PHPSESSID8045d383dcfeccfd739b65fe89bb0c
Not an IsoPod, but FORTH http://www.clairmont.com/spec_items/squishy_lens.html

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What is the problem you are trying to solve ? If you detail it, we can figure out how powerful a uC you will need... BTW, software people tend to choose a uC way overpowered for the task. Hardware people do the opposite :-)
For example, with an atmel atmega8535, I am doing motion control with unipolar stepper motors along 3 axis (could do more if there were more IO pins...) with linear and circular interpolation, a bunch of limit switches, an interpreter to parse commands and return current information through the serial port.
bruno
MrMJPEG wrote:

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bruno said

Cool! I don't suppose you have a website showing how you did it?
What's "circular interpolation"? Interpolating based on degrees (orientation), rather than position?
Also, how are you able to do this with ONE uC? Conventional wisdom appears to be you need one uC per axis. Are the limit switches for defining a home position? Is a mechanical switch accurate enough?
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