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Choose a microcontroller (I suggest AVR-Atmega-8/16)

There are no of  vendors also different architechtures, below is a list of three most popular arch.

  • 8051
  • AVR
  • PIC

The 8051 architecture was developed by intel, but now intel stopped its production and a no of companies (Maxim, Philips,Atmel) producing this with different is the oldest but still popular architecture.

The AVR is a modified Harvard architecture 8-bit RISC single chip microcontroller which was developed by Atmel

AVRs are generally classified into five broad groups:

  • ATtiny series
    • 0.5–8 kB program memory
    • 6–32-pin package
    • Limited peripheral set
  •  ATmega series
    • 4–256 kB program memory
    • 28–100-pin package
    • Extended instruction set (Multiply instructions and instructions for handling larger program memories)
    • Extensive peripheral set
  • ATxmega series
    • 16–384 kB program memory
    • 44–64–100-pin package (A4, A3, A1)
    • Extended performance features, such as DMA, "Event System", and cryptography support.
    • Extensive peripheral set with DACs

AVR Features:

  • Multifunction, bi-directional general purpose I/O ports with configurable, built-in pull-up resistors
  • Multiple internal oscillators, including RC oscillator without external parts
  • Internal, self-programmable instruction flash memory up to 256 kB (384 kB on XMega)
    • In-system programmable using serial/parallel low-voltage proprietary interfaces or JTAG
    • Optional boot code section with independent lock bits for protection
  • On chip debugging (OCD) support through JTAG or debugWIRE on most devices
    • The JTAG signals (TMS, TDI, TDO, and TCK) are multiplexed on GPIOs. These pins can be configured to function as JTAG or GPIO depending on the setting of a fuse bit, which can be programmed via ISP or HVSP. By default, AVRs with JTAG come with the JTAG interface enabled.
    • debugWIRE uses the /RESET pin as a bi-directional communication channel to access on-chip debug circuitry. It is present on devices with lower pin counts, as it only requires one pin.
  • Internal data EEPROM up to 4 kB
  • Internal SRAM up to 8 kB (32 kB on XMega)
  • External 64 kB little endian data space on certain models, including the Mega8515 and Mega162.
    • The external data space is overlaid with the internal data space, such that the full 64 kB address space does not appear on the external bus. An accesses to e.g. address 010016 will access internal RAM, not the external bus.
    • In certain members of the XMEGA series, the external data space has been enhanced to support both SRAM and SDRAM. As well, the data addressing modes have been expanded to allow up to 16 MB of data memory to be directly addressed.
    • AVR's generally do not support executing code from external memory. Some ASSP's using the AVR core do support external program memory.
  • 8-Bit and 16-Bit timers
    • PWM output (some devices have an enhanced PWM peripheral which includes a dead-time generator)
    • Input capture
  • Analog comparator
  • 10 or 12-Bit A/D converters, with multiplex of up to 16 channels
  • 12-bit D/A converters
  • A variety of serial interfaces, including
    • IēC compatible Two-Wire Interface (TWI)
    • Synchronous/asynchronous serial peripherals (UART/USART) (used with RS-232, RS-485, and more)
    • Serial Peripheral Interface Bus (SPI)
    • Universal Serial Interface (USI) for two or three-wire synchronous data transfer
  • Brownout detection
  • Watchdog timer (WDT)
  • Multiple Power-Saving Sleep Modes
  • Lighting and motor control (PWM specific) controller models
  • CAN controller support
  • USB controller support
    • Proper full-speed (12 Mbit/s) hardware & Hub controller with embedded AVR.
    • Also freely available low-speed (1.5 Mbit/s) (HID) bitbanging software emulations
  • Ethernet controller support
  • LCD controller support
  • Low-voltage devices operating down to 1.8 V (to 0.7 V for parts with built-in DC-DC upconverter)
  • picoPower devices
  • DMA controllers and "event system" peripheral communication.
  • Fast cryptography support for AES and DES

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Choose assembler or compiler

Assemblers are always available from chipmaker free of cost.

For 8051 there are a no of sites providing assemblers (Download from Atmel), ASEM-51

For AVR. the assembler comes with AVRGCC or winAVR.(AVR Studio with Inbuilt Assembler), (AVRa from souceforge)

For PIC its MPLAB here is the link from the chipmaker

Compilers: If u want to code with a high level language like C or BASIC then

Search a compiler for the chip you hav choosed to work with. There are some compilers with wide support of microcontrollers. Keil is the best among them its in C

and for BASIC use BASCOM.

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Choose a Burner/Programmer/Flash writer

If u r using 8051and beginner in microcontroller, then its better to buy it from market bcoz making a programmer for 8051 is a hard job.

if u r using a AVR or PIC u can design it yourself. with some basic electronic components. Just search in google.

An opensource programmer from sourceforge for AVR also supports 89SXX series

My suggestion is to buy an Atmega-8 or atmega-16, download AVR codevision , make a SPI programmer with only 4 wires and a DB-25 socket

Proceed to AVR tutorial




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Designed & Maintained By Xtronix

An Engineers Community