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Submission + - Microcontroller for the hobbyist? 5

TomTheGeek writes: "I'm a programmer that's done some assembly language before and would like to start programming microcontrollers. I've heard about the BASIC Stamps from Parallax, the PIC series from Microchip, the MAKE Controller Kit, and the AVR series from Atmel but they seem to be focused on a development board that is too expensive to dedicate to a single project. Having an expensive development board is fine but I want the microcontroller to be cheap (<$10) enough that I don't have to disassemble my previous project in order to start a new one. I'll be doing the programming in Ubuntu so compatible development tools and drivers are required."
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Microcontroller for the hobbyist?

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  • Do check out the Arduino [berlios.de] system. It is a prototyping platform based on Atmel's microcontrollers and a simple Java-like programming language (simpler than C, far simpler than assembler). It has a growing community of users, it is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux, it has good documentation and it is WAY cheaper than the Basic Stamp. You can buy it pre-assembled, or you can freely download code and CAD schematics to build your own.
  • Mostly because that's what I'm familar with.

    PIC controllers are cheap enough. You can find cheap development boards too, Olimex development boards can be had for under $20, but depending on what you are doing, you don't even need that, if you grab a 16x series with an internal oscillator, then you pretty much only need a 7805, some caps and a resistor and you are good to go.

    There are a number of schematics available for programmers, or you can get a Olimex PG1 or PG2 serial programmer for around $10 USD. I

The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Paul Erlich