Let's Make Robots!

Which Microcontroller to start with

So, want to start using microcontrollers. I know very little about them. Although i do have programming experience of basic and some c. I’ve basically narrowed down the options to either an Arduino or Picaxe. There basically the same price. The most important part for me would probably be the ease of reading sensors. I don’t really know much about them so this is where i would need your help. Although support is also important, the Arduino chips seem to have a bigger following. So could any one tell me which board they would recommend for an absolute beginner to microcontrollers?. Thanks on advance. 

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Thanks alot for that. Im pretty set on the arduino because there just seems to be a whole lot more people using them. Plus loads more tutorials. Then again it is alot harder to grasp as its c not basic. Although just a general question about micrcontrollers. How could i get more power from i/o pins to drive a motor, without using a relay. I could use a transformer, but being new to electronics í dont know if grounding that will blow the circuit or what, or even if it will affect the torque of the motor.

depending on the motor, you can use transistor(s), FET transistor(s), or HBridge driver IC's. How many volts / amps will your motor need ? Do a search for "motor control" on LMR, these appear on the first page. 

http://letsmakerobots.com/node/6328
http://letsmakerobots.com/node/464
http://letsmakerobots.com/node/2074
http://letsmakerobots.com/node/7005

And you should also read FritzL's "First Robot" post
http://letsmakerobots.com/start

One thing you could also look at is the Basic Stamp from Parallax that uses a version of basic or for more power the 8 core Propeller that runs a language very like Basic called Spin. Both have loads of tutorials and the Propeller has video tutorials and webinars. If you get stuck, Techsupport lines connect you to a live person quickly to resolve your programming issues or questions. If you are in the USA you can go to Radio Shack and pick up "What is a Microcontroller" kit [or go to the Parallax site to order it] and it will walk you through basic electronics and interfacing things to a microcontroller like motors, sensors etc.

As for controlling motors there are several options like these

Have fun learning. I look forward to your first robot