Let's Make Robots!

microcontrollers and programming

ok i would like to have a go at using a microcontroller and programming it and so on

im in the uk what is a good cheap one ?

or a basic cheap one? i dont have much money soo any links would be very nicee thank you or any ideas what i should do

oh and software and shiz

 i havnt had any programming experiences

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Geir Andersen's picture

Luckily I’m not planning to run Office on my micro, but thanks for the heads up.


ignoblegnome's picture

Since you say you lack programming experience, keep it simple. Best way to get into this hobby is to start with an easy success. Have you had a look at the start here robot on this site? It is based on the Picaxe, which is pretty easy to get started with.

I've been a PIcaxe user for a while, with some programming experience. I'm just picking up the Arduino now, and there is a ton of support for that platform. Have a look at these tutorials and see if you find the material easy enough. If it looks approachable to you, the Arduino is a great choice.

If the C code seems a bit scary, go for the Picaxe to get started.

Vote for Arduino. There is a vast amoiunt of info out there, plus avery active forum - here.

Also, since you're in the UK, these guys are worth a look. They also have an excellent beginners guide you can download.

Note, I have nothing whatsoever to do with them. IMO they offer good value for money.

UltraMagnus's picture

I learnt on PICs and 8051s, but recently switched to arduino for prototyping and robotics because of its simplicity with minimal loss of efficiency.  It eliminates the digging through datasheets to find what bits need to be set in what registers to configure peripherals.  Being open source you can develop on any platform, and develop products based on it.  It is also C/C++ based so it is easier to transition to/from most normal micro-controller systems, unlike proprietary BASIC based systems designed exclusively for beginners (Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code).

djhesit8's picture

arduino is worthwell... based on atmega328 it rocks... but you can start with attiny45 for blinking a led etc and understand PWM bla bla than go for attiny2313 wich has more pins and definitly then go for mega8, mega16, mega128 :) but since production is held :| go for picaxe and PIC

renkku's picture

Tell us what kind of programming experience you have if any, this will help narrow down the options. Basic, C, C++, Java, Phyton...

Todays irrelevant fact:

I did not have much programming experience when I started for about 10 months ago. I had programmed some simple games on my graphical calculator (Ti-83+) when I was bored in class and it uses a simple version of basic, so Picaxe was a logic choise for me. This is the only brand microcontroller I now how to use for now so I can not recommend any other but I think Picaxe is very easy to start with.



TheTrustedOne's picture

I was where you are a year ago, Trust me start with the Arduino, not too expensive, really easy to work with if you know C at all, still easier the Pic if you dont!

Lots of people using it world wide.

REALLY nice platform, I have started to move towards ARM development now, but for a beginner, Arduino is hte way to go 100%