Let's Make Robots!

Arduino vs. Picaxe

Im still relatively new to robotics and micro controllers, and while searching the internet for information i stumbled upon some arduino projects, both on youtube and their site. As i am still learning basic/ programming in general along with robotics i was wondering what you guys thought about the arduino as experience robot builders. I currently have the picaxe 28x1 starter kit and im in the process of making the start here robot (waiting on parts) but im not sure which is better. The arduino seems like a great controller as has many prebuilt add-ons (shields) and looks pretty intreasting, however i've only seen a few robots made with the arduino here on the site with most people sticking to the picaxe 28x1 or 18x1. Any advice/ information you could offer me would be greatly appreciated.

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I started off with a 8052 chip with BASIC-52 built in (WAY too long ago!) and a KIM-1 (6502 based) and a TI 68010 based trainer.

(Years go by...)

Then I had a STAMP-2, nice chip but it needed a built in ADC. Still not a bad chip, great to learn on.

Next I went to a Arduino, awesome setup, (I now have a few!) but it is showing its age (like me :-)

(I like Linux too, Ubuntu, and Windows 7 64bit, not sure if the Arduino has gotten better on the Linux side, sorry!)

I am now going to try a PICAXE 18M2, I like the "tasking" and other chip features. (Found a possible PWM problem with the board I ordered, but I think I can get around it...)

My future expansion of "Phoenix" may use an Arduino AND the 18M2 (a processor-coprocessor combination).

I also would like to try a Propeller chip (maybe a Prop-2) and a PIC-32.... (Tried a TI MP430, can't quite program it yet...)

And I have LOVED them all! Why do I have to say one is my favorite? I have always hated "flame wars" because every chip has its own merits, if it didn't it probably wouldn't exist! Plenty more are being developed each day. :-)

Find a chip, build a bot. If it isn't good enough make another bot (I have 3 now!) It is always a great learning experience. You are all awesome, just never forget that!

(And please don't listen to me, I am an old retired fart that never stops learning, and hopefully never will....)

Could not agree more.

What is this Arduino/Picaxe war good for? Like a war of religions, for nothing. Like Dallas or Denver Clan. If you don't want to see, don't watch. If you don't like, don't buy. Have you ever used up all functions your chip provided, even all I/O pins? Most robots here only avoiding obstacles, solving maze etc. Nearly any chip can handle this.

I never liked a robot because it uses Arduino/Picaxe or what else. I like a robot because it is innovative or funny or both. What much more count is the idea, the craftmanship. Just my 2 fucking cents.

This is an old debate, for the easiest learning curve, if you've never done any programming before or only know basic then the picaxe is a good starting point. It is designed for school chidren and therefore the easiest system to learn with lots of documentation and free programming editor.

The Arduino is probably a better choice if you can program in C. I don't know how it compares for documentation or software support.

The microchip processors used for picaxe are quite powerful but the bootstrap code that allows them to be programmed in picaxe basic really slows them down. If you wipe the bootstrap code and program them in their native risc language then they are about 100 times faster according to the documentation.

I'm not certain how Atmega processor compares to the microchip processor.

I ended up having a quick look at the ATMEGA168 datasheet. It does have a more powerful processor (131 instructions compared to 35) which is why it can handle "C" efficiently. Microchip do have processors comparable but they are not used by picaxe.

The number of instructions isn't any sort of indication of power or efficiency. It's just a different architectural style.

The ability of the C language, or any language for that matter, to control a processor is a function of the compiler, and that depends on how smart the compiler's author is.
There are many things that the ATMEGA can do with one instrction in a single clock cycle that the Processors used by picaxe need to use 2 or more instructions to process. Read the data sheets. The compiler can't make something out of nothing.

This site definately seems to have more Picaxe users than not.

I chose Arduino, because when I started looking at playing with micros Picaxe didn't work well with linux (side note, is that better now?). I also prefer coding in C style languages rather than Basic.

Google "Arduino Vs. Picaxe" and you'll get several thousand hits. The first one is right here at LMR.