Suggestions for bare minimum for microcontroller experiments....

Hi, After a few months of reading webpages about microcontrollers, I figured it's time to just jump in and get my feet wet.
So, my question: if I purchased the following http://www.futurlec.com/ET-AVR_Stamp_Board.shtml http://www.futurlec.com/ET-AVR_JTAG.shtml http://www.futurlec.com/ET-AVR_Stamp_Board.shtml http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id$5
and downloaded: http://winavr.sourceforge.net /
Do I have absolutely everything that I would need to measure the temperature of a room? I have fairly versed in the C programming language. Using winAVR will not be a problem. I am doing this to learn more about hardware. So I figure taking the temperature of a room would be a good start.
Your input is greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

To start with, while I have used AVRs and AVR Studio, I haven't used WinAVR or any of the hardware you list, so I might be wrong in saying that what you have listed seems like it will all work together. BTW, I think you meant to include http://www.futurlec.com/ET-AVR_Stamp.shtml in your list. #s 1 and 3 are the same link. But yes, that corrected list would seem to have everything you need. FYI, you might find it easier at first to use an analog temperature sensor like the National LM35, which puts out a 10mV/degree C output which you can read with one of the analog inputs in your system. Just a thought.
As far as programming, my recommendation would be to try and program some simple applications in assembler first, before tackling the whole subject of getting compiled code onto your board. If you want to learn about microcontrollers I think you need to understand programming them in assembler before you move to C. The JTAG module says it will work with AVR Studio. I don't know what would be involved in using it with WinAVR. Best bet is to confirm with Futurlec that what you have proposed will all work together.
How will you display your results? Looks like you would have to send them out the serial port back to your PC. At some point you might want to add an LCD display and a matrixed keypad to your setup.
Oh, and prepare to get addicted. Good luck!
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Thanks for suggesting a LCD display. It would be nice to use that instead of having a PC read back the results.
I do have a few quick questions though: If I purchased the following: http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id%5
... would there be any LCD connectors available to connect the LCD display to my prototyping board? If so, do you have any recommendations?
Or should I just solder leads to the 16 pins?
...and you are right. This is becoming addictive. So much for going to bed early.
Mike Silva wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

The connector on the AVR board looks like a 2x7 header (I think that's it down in the lower right of the board picture, with the red LED and blue LCD contrast adjustment pot right above it. The display doesn't use a 2x7 connector, but rather a 1x16. What I'd do is get a 2x7 cable with connector, and just solder the wires on the other end to the display. If you want you could add a 1xsomething header to the display so you're not soldering to the display itself each time you need to replace the wires if they break. But I don't think that's necessary. Solder the wires (check 3 times that you've got the correct wire for each connection!) from the cable to the display, and then solidify the whole thing with hot glue and you shouldn't have a problem with the wires breaking. Oh, did I mention make sure you've got the right cable wires connected to the display connections? :) It might be confusing going from the 7x2 to the 1x16 connector, and of course you'll find that two pins remain unconnected on the display. Those are for the LED backlight, which you'll want to connect up (un-backlit displays are unpleasant to read). It looks like there's a 2-pin LED backlight connector on the AVR board right above the 2x7 connector, so you'd wire that connector to the backlight pins on the display. If you get a 2x7 cable that's long enough and has connectors on both ends, you can cut it in half and have a spare. Here's the type of cable: http://www.mouser.com/catalog/627/863.pdf
This is just guesswork without the specs on the AVR board (too bad they don't have the manual for the board on the website), but I'm pretty confident it's right.
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