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Thread: Which microcontroller is best in terms of price and performance?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Re: Which microcontroller is best in terms of price and performance?

    Purely viewing pricetag per-piece, you can't beat Microchip.
    They have a hundred new controllers every other week, and you'll never find the one you really need, but nonetheless, they're cheap.

    Taking into account development tools and learning how to use them, you may end up with a higher pricetag though. But that's allready been stated before.

    There's really no such thing as "the best price/quality" in micro's. They match up pretty good, if you take all things into consideration.

    For a complete beginner though, Arduino does indeed seem like the way to go, although I've never handled one.
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  2. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Ontario, Canada
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    Re: Which microcontroller is best in terms of price and performance?

    if you are not building 10000 robots, do worry about the unit price.
    CAD Tools: Solidworks 2011. Altium Designer 10
    Micro Controller: ARM7/9, AVR 8bit/16bit, PIC, Nordic nRF, HOLTEK, 51s, NEC
    RF: 2.4G, 433M
    IDE: KEIL MDK3.5, AVR Studio 4, MP LAB, HOLTEK HT-IDE3000, Elipse
    High End: VC, VB, Unix/Linux C/C++, J2ME (For cell phone game), SQL
    Education: EE Master.
    Hobby: RC Helicopter.

  3. #13
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    Jul 2008
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    Re: Which microcontroller is best in terms of price and performance?

    I still love the Propeller. I think you can not possibly not want to use it.

    Please comment you opinions. Let the bashing begin.
    Last edited by Quantum; 03-25-2010 at 01:25 AM.

  4. #14

    Re: Which microcontroller is best in terms of price and performance?

    Best is in the eye of the beholder. I agree ease of use is important as is support. Depends on your familiarity with programming languages. If you're new to programming, you might think about going with a Lego NXT and the graphical IDE (you can always progress to more traditional languages later). Cost is pretty high but then you get a pretty flexible, powerful kit that you can build into a staggering array of things. Or, a BASIC Stamp is pretty simple to wrap one's head around. Not much of a deal at the prices they go for, given their limitations. (There are other BASIC MCUs out there) I've not programmed in Spin on the Propeller but am planning to dive in this year... that might be an option. At $40 for a Schmartboard based kit I couldn't refuse. The Propeller is a weird animal... but I suspect capable of some amazing things.

    If you are comfortable with C, then Arduino is probably a good way to go as it provides library routines that simplify AVR. It seems from my limited experience with Arduino that you can always access the 'raw' AVR stuff if you need to, and eventually migrate to plain jane AVR programming... then just use other people's libraries anyway? Me, I like the idea of spending my time figuring out higher level algorithms versus digging through 500 page datasheets figuring out which bit in which register to set to get just the right behavior out of the MCU.

    If you're not intending on controlling motors then several cheap Arduino compatible options exist, like the Solarbotics Ardweeny chip backpack kit at $10 (need FTDI programmer). I like mine so far--it's doing some very simple object detection vision processing for a firefighting robot. Another option is the Boarduino at just under $20. Or the Arduino Pro Mini at a similar price. Or buy a $5 ATmega328P from Sparkfun with the bootloader on it, stick it on a $8 breadboard, and wire it up per some tutorial out there, and program with a Sparkfun FTDI programmer. Just finished setting one of these up, should be good fun to play with

    If you are interested in controlling motors, like on a differential drive robot, it's awfully hard to argue with the size and price of a Pololu Baby Orangutan, either B-48 (ATmega48) or B-328 (ATmega328), $17 and $19 respectively, each with integrated motor controllers, a nice library set, and both can be programmed with Arduino IDE (some caveats, apparently, but I've limited experience with an Arduinified LV168 so can't offer detail).

    That's some of the cheap stuff, and some of the options. Of course an official Arduino opens up the options of a multitude of 'shields' e.g., motor controller. That's about all I know, hope it is of help...


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