MCU Development boards from MikroElektronika
July 1, 2008
There is an excellent company in my country (Serbia) which specialises in developing MCU development boards. These boards all include the following :
-In Circuit Debugger (ICD)
-Simulation components (LEDs, LCDs, 7seg displays, pull up/down buttons, keypads, thermometers, A/D,D/A.
-Easy to test interfaces (for MCU-PC interaction) such as USB, PS/2, parrallel port, ethernet, etc
-Ability to program various families of MCUs (but for only one type, eg PICs). They usually support around five different types of MCUs per board.
-Modularity - you can buy modules such as slots for SD cards, LCDs (and touchscreens!), flash memory, thermometers, bread boards, etc...
You also get software with it. The inevitable PICFlash is used to interface with the board and the MCU and debug it. Unfortunately, it only works on Windows, and WINE can't make it work. I use it under VirtualBox...
They also sell their own compilers (also for Windows, but all work under Linux with WINE) . There are 3 of those : MikroC, MikroPascal, and MikroBASIC, and they all have IDEs. They all have some 'super powers' which the normal languages don't have (for instance in mikroC you can address individual bits) and their own standad library which allows for an easyer use of LCDs, interrupts, and stuff like that. If you don't want to use any Mikro languages, you can use assembly too...
Here's a picture of an EasyPIC 5, the board which I use :
And here's the link to their page.
So, this is how I'll make my robots, if I ever find decent servos or step motors here in Serbia...