Microcontroller development environment with C/C++ compiler support for a freshman mechatronic student

What is the best (not expensive) microcontroller development environment
with C/C++ compiler support for a freshman mechatronic student?
Reply to
<Nico>
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I personally like Microchips PICs and I've been using them for yonks but unless you go for low end chips, C compilers cost a fair bit. I don't know how much dev kits cost for these chips cos I only ever buy just the microcontrollers.
There are these new PICAXE chips. Extremely easy to use. It doesn't support C or C++ only its own BASIC variant. But interms of learning curve, this chip is definately the easiest. The smallest chip(picaxe08) + dev board costs $30 at altronics or for something bigger, the picaxe18 set cost $50.
Finally there are the AVRs. There is a free C compiler available for this chip dev boards for these chips aren't really all that expensive either. You probably can get started on AVRs for well under $100.
Reply to
Wing Fong Wong
I know its bad form to follow up you own posts but...
There is also a book called "Experiments In Mechatronics Using Picaxe Chips" which is also sold at altronics
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. All the more reason to use a PICAXE. :)
Reply to
Wing Fong Wong
environment
As always, it depends on your needs.
The C compilers for the PICs are very good, but they are relatively expensive. There isn't much at the low cost end. Forget any rubbish you hear about the PIC not being suitable for C.
The Atmels have a slightly bigger range of lower cost C compilers, but you get what you pay for. A lot of people recon that because the Atmels have a GCC compiler for free that makes this the platform of choice. In reality it isn't easy to use and you have to know what you are doing. Unless you have a lot of GCC C experience (like writing scripts etc yourself), I'd go for one of the commercial compilers like CodeVision. Infinitely easier to use and you get results from day one.
There are others like say the Zilog series which offer very cheap development systems with C compilers, but these aren't as popular.
The PIC and Atmel are the two hottest 8bit solutions at the moment, and you'll get plenty of online forum support for both.
If you are after more horsepower than an 8bit micro can provide and think you might need a real-time C kernel, then you might like to look at the Rabbit series of processors. The developments kits are reasonably low cost and the come with a real-time C compiler which is easy to use.
Dave :)
Reply to
David L. Jones
If you used sdcc which is a freeware ansi complient C compiler for 8052/avr/pic/z80 processors then you would have the best of all possible worlds with a compiler which is generaly well behaved and allows you to pick your processor to suit the job.
Reply to
Jezwold
There is a free c compiler for lower end PIC, PICC-Lite by Hitech is very good and compiles to quite small code. Personally, most of my coding is in assembly since I can't afford to pay for a compiler that supports the newer chips. :P
Reply to
Wing Fong Wong
According to the offical SDCC site: AVR and gbz80 ports are no longer maintained. Does it work well enough for AVR, or is it hopeless?
Reply to
google
I know its bad form to follow up you own posts but...
WHY ?? not if you have something usefull to add,
and my posting is not useful on this topic so I think it will be bad to follow it up.
Reply to
Eric
An indirect reply:
I know that SDCC works well for 8051, and I know that WinAVR (GCC) works well for AVR. There will be little code that cannot be compiled with both and nearly all such code will be processor specific anyway (the IO routines for example) - it should be easy to switch between compilers with the same code base [I already do this].
Regards, Richard.
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Reply to
Richard
but they are strange compared to anything else.
No true at all. The academic versions are free then there is GNU...
50 USD up.;
/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ \/\/\/\/\ Chris Hills Staffs England /\/\/\/\/\ /\/\/ snipped-for-privacy@phaedsys.org
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Reply to
Chris Hills
In article , David L. J>> What is the best (not expensive) microcontroller development
8051, AVR or ARM?
You have got to be joking... They are both limited range single source compared to the 600+ version of the 51 family from the 30+ silicon vendors.
Not only are there free c compilers for the 51 there are also free/cheap academic versions of the commercial compilers.
Or go to the industry standard ARM7. ARM is so comon it has been called "the 32bit 8051" (not the 32 bit PIC or AVR)
/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ \/\/\/\/\ Chris Hills Staffs England /\/\/\/\/\ /\/\/ snipped-for-privacy@phaedsys.org
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Reply to
Chris Hills
I prefer GCC over the "polished" commerical compilers, even Atmel's own IDE. Anyone who took an introductory C programming class in college should have no problems using GCC for the AVR.
Reply to
Chris S.
Sorry, I meant AVR.
No I am not joking. The PICs and the AVRs are two of the most poplaur 8bit solutions going around, especially for those starting out with micros. I am not saying that the PICs or AVRs are better than any other device, that can be debated forever. Last I checked the PIC was the worlds #1 selling 8bit micro. Newbies don't care about having 30+ silicon vendors, they care about what's popular, what's easy to use, and what support they are going to get. You can get support for any micro of course, but the PICs and AVRs seem to be the two micros of choice for beginners these days, with tons of new books, beginners development tools, traning systems, web sites, forums, and other support available.
The 51 family is just not a popular solution for first timers any more.
In fact, the "PIC" has almost become synonomous with microcontrollers these days to those not entirely in the know.
free/cheap
Yes there are, just like many other micros as well.
The ARM is not common at the low end of the market, esp for beginners. Dave :)
Reply to
David L. Jones
Do not forget MSP430 from TI.
Rudolf
Reply to
Rudolf Ladyzhenskii
Hi
I am just a newbie, but I know of a new e-book for sale ( USD$ 29.95 ) that uses the AVR Butterfly board ( USD$20 from Digi-key.com ), I bought 3 of them! which is a credit card sized board AVR 169 that has a 5-way joystick, lightsensor, 4 Mbit flash memory, temperature sensor, speaker, LCD, and RS-232.
I am waiting for the hard-copy version to be released. The author teaches you how to install and use the free WinAVR C-based development environment.
All you need is some additional components from an electronics store ( listed at the back of the book) and you have all you need to get started. Check it out at:
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For Microchip PICmicro, there are free (limited to 2kB hex code) C (new), BASIC and Pascal compilers from
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are also free online books ( a good one for assembler ). A very good online forum for the BASIC and Pascal compilers.
Hope this helps.
Cheers
Dale
Reply to
DS
environment.
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There are also free online books ( a good one for assembler ). A very good
Olimex sells come AVR dev boards too. For about the same price also, about $15USD.
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Wing Fong Wong
Reply to
Wing Fong Wong
1. Do you need ICE : In Circuit Emulator ? This is hardware which lets you stop your program at the places you choose and look at your variables. If you are a newbie or in a hurry, or need insurance, an ICE is required. The alternative is "Crash and Burn", where you write some code, fiddle until it works, write some more. People say they don't need an ICE, but I would not pay someone to spend days finding a bug by trial and error.
2. Only the bigger chips do C++, because of required code memory.
That leaves C for the smaller chips. Let me share a secret : programmer productivity and quality when using C (and C++) is fairly low, ie you take more time to produce code with more bugs. This is to do with the C language itself. There may be screams of outrage from others on this group, but you can save brain cells, time and quality by using Pascal or even a good compiled Basic. Don't be too proud.
3. Get the most powerful chip you can : the most RAM, FLASH, EEPROM, speed, timers, peripherals, ports etc. You aren't going to make 1000 of these, so saving $50 and spending 2 months extra time is silly.
You can't compare microcontrollers by comparing crystal speed - for example, the 8051 derivatives are all slow - even the 25 MHz pipelined chips, because the 8051 has a brain dead instruction set.
4. I am getting a good run from the Atmel AVR chips.
The free GCC compiler is easy to install and use. Google for WinAVR and you can download the compiler and editor and be running. It is good.
For $450 you can buy the JTAG ICE for AVR - a real In Circuit Emulator.
The AVRs have so much grunt that I write all my interrupt handlers in C. Not a line of assembler anywhere.
5. Another suggestion altogether : put an old PC motherboard in your project and forget about microcontrollers. ADC and digital I/O cards for ISA bus are cheap and easy to program. Program it in Turbo Pascal for DOS or C++. Easy to debug and fast development.
Roger
Reply to
Roger Lascelles
If you're using C on PICs, then I hope you never depend on the code being re-entrant. The lack of a proper chip-level support for a C run-time stack kills the platform for me.
CTW
Reply to
Clive Wilson
Get AVR studio which is a free download from Atmel web site. AVR studio does not include a C compiler (only assembler) but is used for souce level debugging of C code or Assembly code. A STK500 prototype board from Atmel is a low cost option to program the AVR devices. A JTAG debugger is a more expensive option which will also support in-circuit debugging.
For C compiler, I suggest Imagecraft is excellent value for money and works quite well with AVR studio for simulation / debugging. There is a 45 day evauation version at
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regards, Johnny.
Reply to
Johnny
I can say that we use AVRs at work.
Reply to
Wing Fong Wong

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