where should I be looking? Microcontroller/processor / Electronic hobby

Hello, I'm looking to expand on my interests in robotics and I'm looking for some help getting started finding places to read up and get some preliminary
purchases. I have a very light background from undergrad in robotic naviagation. (We used a Rabbit BL2600 processor with A/D stuff, etc) But I'm looking at trying to set up my own hobby bench and I'm stuck finding the right microprocessor or microcontroller to buy. Bassically 3 questions
1) Where are the good blogs/ websites / magizines to read up on robotics and control?
2) Does anyone have any recommendations for good boards to start with. I'm looking for something general purpose that has a couple of A/D ports, and isn't enormous, and that also doesn't consume TOO much power. Something that can be used to do basic control on the bench, but could also be incorporated into small on-board robotic navigation stuff later. (My only experience thusfar is on the Rabbit BL 2600) Needs to be programmed in either C or C++.
3) Are there any surplus stores for other electronic stuff - waveform generators / Oscilloscopes/ etc? I'd like to get some basic (used) cheap stuff to get going.
Any help is much appreciated. Thanks - David
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On Tue, 21 Oct 2008 13:03:13 -0400, "David Manegold"

"Circuit Cellar" and "Nuts & Volts" and the companion magazine "Servo" http://www.circuitcellar.com / http://www.nutsvolts.com / http://www.servomagazine.com/

Sparkfun is a good place to start for general dev boards. There are lots of others out there, of course, but they have a pretty representative selection of most flavors at good prices. The boards are listed under their "Development Tools" category. http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/categories.php
My own preference is for Atmel AVRs as 8-bitters, TI's MSP430s for 16s, and NXP's LCP2000-series ARM7 32-bits, depending on how much umph is needed.
I generally use Imagecraft's compilers for all of these. Good value and quality and, since I also use the compilers professionally, no complications about L/GPL licensing. http://www.imagecraft.com /

Mostly new: http://www.web-tronics.com / http://www.tequipment.net / http://www.saelig.com /
New and refurbished: http://www.testequipmentdepot.com / http://www.testequipmentconnection.com / http://www.globaltestsupply.com /
--
Rich Webb Norfolk, VA

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Thanks Rich - this is great help -David
wrote:

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Any suggestions for surplus parts...mechanical and electronic?
Thanks
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On Thu, 23 Oct 2008 20:34:02 -0700 (PDT), Too_Many_Tools

Sure; these are the ones that I've used but there are many others. Not necessarily surplus, a few are hobby/enthusiast targeted and others carry specialized tools, parts, or equipment that may be of interest or hard to find.
http://www.allelectronics.com/ http://www.bgmicro.com / http://www.web-tronics.com / http://www.dontronics-shop.com / http://www.futurlec.com/index.shtml http://www.hobbyengineering.com / http://www.howardelectronics.com / http://www.mcmaster.com/ http://www.micromark.com / http://www.mpja.com / http://www.ramseyelectronics.com / http://www.saelig.com / http://www.solarbotics.com / http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/categories.php http://www.starkelectronic.com / http://www.superdroidrobots.com/shop / http://www.surplusshed.com/ http://www.usdigital.com/
Have fun!
--
Rich Webb Norfolk, VA

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David Manegold wrote:

A bit dated now, but this should help: http://www.dontronics-shop.com/dontronics-newbies-start-here.html
Cheers Don...
--
Don McKenzie

Site Map: http://www.dontronics.com/sitemap
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On Tue, 21 Oct 2008 13:03:13 -0400, David Manegold wrote:

One line of controller boards to look into are the various Arduino and Freeduino boards. I recently bought a batch of Bare Bones Boards from the Modern Device Company, http://www.moderndevice.com /, although I have been too busy to have time to assemble them as yet. The Bare Bones Board is based on the Atmega168 processor, with the following specifications:

They are available for as low as $10 each in quantity. As far as the test equipment is concerned, a friend of mine who has a small computer consulting business bought quite a bit of used test equipment on EBay recently, for about 10% of what the original cost would have been. Apparently, a failed dot-com was being liquidated.
--
John F. Eldredge -- snipped-for-privacy@jfeldredge.com
PGP key available from http://pgp.mit.edu
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