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Paulray
11-27-2009, 04:30 PM
Hello I am new to micro controllers and I wanted to get my feet wet working on them before I start trying to build a robot. I have used Labview 8 and the Legos NXT. I can write in C++ and liberty basic, and donít mind learning another langue.
But when it comes to using a microcontroller and programming it I am completely new, uninformed.
I want to start working on microcontrollers and trying to run one, but I donít know where to find a starter kit and which one to buy. I was hoping to find a robot or kit that would teach me how to program a microcontroller and how to use sensors.
I am willing to spend about $250 on this project does anyone have any advice?

Adrenalynn
11-27-2009, 04:53 PM
Welcome to the forum!

I'd be included to suggest something like an Arduino: http://www.trossenrobotics.com/p/arduino-duemilanove.aspx
A motor controller: http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store/p/5103-Sabertooth-dual-5A-motor-driver.aspx
And a simple base: http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store/p/5390-Stinger-Robot-Platform.aspx

You still have the budget to buy a few simple sensors.

The parts there, though, will grow with you.

Your budget is a bit low if you're hoping for lots of sensors, pan/tilt, etc.

sam
11-27-2009, 06:20 PM
I started out with a simple breadboard and wires with a DIP atmega 168. Plug an LED in. Did some Digital outs and ins and some PWM with the LED and a button. Create simple loop like if the button is pressed then blink the LED. Then I basicly did the same with other sensors, all on the board (IR range sensor, IR line sensor, accelerometer and now I'm up to Ultrasonic and sound sensors).

Once you get a good idea of how things work you can make your own PCB which is really practical for space critical applications. After a bit of time, I managed to make this board with an AtMega 328p :

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/files/1/5/4/9/img_5451_thumb.jpg (http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=2009&c=3)

I liked the way I learned but a lot of people seem to like the Arduino.

Sam

Adrenalynn
11-27-2009, 07:27 PM
What development environment were you using Sam?

"Arduino" is nothing but an AVR with a lot of libraries already done shortening any development cycle astronomically.

lnxfergy
11-27-2009, 09:14 PM
One option is the Pololu 3Pi robot. No soldering required to get started, $119 with line following sensors. The bot can be used with the Arduino environment with very little trouble, and Pololu has a decent number of libraries. If you add an expansion deck, you could easily interface many other things to it, I know I've seen tutorials on adding Sharp IR Rangers to the bot.

Since they use a step up regulator for motor supply, the motors always get constant voltage, which is really nice for getting started with robotics (makes the bot more predictable).

http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store/p/5913-3pi-Robot-Starter-Kit.aspx

-Fergs

sam
11-28-2009, 11:04 AM
AVR-GCC with ARV studio.

I should try programing the bootloader for the arduino on one of my chips one of these days. That is what you need right? Can I use the libraries without it?

Now that I see the Arduino website... Should have taken a second look in the past few month. It would have made my life much easier. :rolleyes:

lnxfergy
11-28-2009, 11:57 AM
AVR-GCC with ARV studio.

I should try programing the bootloader for the arduino on one of my chips one of these days. That is what you need right? Can I use the libraries without it?

Now that I see the Arduino website... Should have taken a second look in the past few month. It would have made my life much easier. :rolleyes:

Bootloader is only needed if you don't have an ISP. You can use an ISP with the Arduino IDE, and avoid the bootloader (I do).

-Fergs

Adrenalynn
11-28-2009, 04:31 PM
The libraries are the libraries. The environment just ties them together with gcc. Agree with Fergs re: bootloader.

Robert
02-18-2010, 12:45 PM
For Atmel processors, I use AVR studio, and AVR-GCC with a cheap ISP device like this: http://cgi.ebay.com/AVR-AVRISP-STK500-V2-0-USB-ISP-Programmer-ATmel-IC/260461942129