Let's Make Robots!

What is the best programmer/development board for someone new?

I was wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction.  I'm looking for a programmer/development board that your only limited to your knowledge and right now I don't have much, but will want to expand upon it without buying a whole new programmer/development board.  So I'm also looking for something that will be easy to get started in also with tutorial to get you up and running.  I don't want to start with something and be cut off and have to go out and buy something completely new and start all over again learning.  What would anyone recommend for me and had experience in?  Thanks for your help.


P.S.  I'm looking for work with LED, 3D LED cubes, and robots.  Something all around you could use.  I know there are alot of smart peoples here.  Hope to share one of my project in the future with you guys.

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Thanks, I think I might just go ahead and get a picaxe to start.  Maybe I will be able to figure more out that no one else thought of or something.  The problem is that for me living in the USA I don't come across any places that sell the usb cord with it.  They charge you a good $25 for that which is high when in UK you can get it with that.  I know I think it was posted before where you can get everything here in the USA.  If anyone still have that site handy please leave it in here.  Thanks a bunch.

I expect that you could make a USB cord fairly easily. get a standard USB cord, cut off the 'B' end and replace it with a jack or whatever your PIC board requires. The jacks are standard, and the pin connections must be on the web somewhere - possibly in the great big PICAxe manual that you can get from Amazon and other places.

Having researched both PICAxe and Arduino (sp?) I also reckon that a PICAxe is the right place to start. The Arduino seems to have a better spec, but seems to have fewer kits and on-line resources. The main advantage of the Arduino appears to be built-in 'H' Bridges on many project boards. I also sneaked a look at ARM based boards that look to have stunning specs and prices to match.



Picaxe 28x1 for $28

the usb cord is $15

Now for the 28 chip for $6.63 a bad price.  Or can you get them somewhere else cheaper.  Also what motor driver would I need again and a place someone got it here in the US. 

If you have absolutely no programming experience, I would most definitely go with the picaxe to start if you want to be a hobbyist.

Other than a few special functions, the programming Picaxe uses is BASIC, a very simple language that I refer to it "coding in plain english"

Again, either is great, I haven't had experience with Arduino yet, but have been very happy with picaxe so far.


Either way, you'd have a lot of support here! 

The PIACXE is a grea choice to start with.

The cheapest USB to serial converter is from Fundamental Logic -- only$9.13 


This will plug directly into a breadboard. You will have to add the stereo jack .

One note: the PICAXE requires the FTDI chip to have inverted TX and RX, opposite that of the Arduino. But it is  very easy to reprogam the chip wiith Mprog programmer from the FTDI website. 

Another good starting optoin is the  USB-18x board from Advanced Micro --$21 (includes the usb interface nad PICAXE 18X xhip)