HELP. i need thy help.

Hi. ive been wanting to get into micro controllers, and programming them for a while. unfortunately i have only a VERY basic knowledge of electricity, and my best is lighting up a few LEDs, and playing with some motors. I need to know (since i can't find one topic that makes sense to me) what i will need to start, how much it will cost, and if my computer will handle it. im looking to start with either PIC or AVR... thanks!

westfw9 years ago
The Arduino will give you a "better" environment to learn to program, because you'll have the same hardware as thousands of other people, many of whom will probably be doing similar things. If you work with a programmer and bare AVR chip, you'll never know for sure whether you've done something wrong with the HW or not.
westfw9 years ago
I'm not sure exactly what you mean. An AVR programmer uses 6 actual connections to the CPU chip from the programmer. (Two power, reset, and 3 signals for data transfer.) There are two common standards for the connector used when programming the AVR "in circuit", one using 6 pins and one using 10 pins, but it's a simple matter of extra ground pins. To program a large variety of AVRs *not* "in-circuit", you'll need some sockets with the correct pins connected, or a programmer that already includes sockets (like the STK-500.)
These days, I recommend a "real" programmer (one with its own cpu, communicating via serial or usb) rather than one of the super-cheap things that works by having your desktop CPU wiggle signals (on parallel or serial ports) directly. The latter are getting iffy as windows gets pickier about allowing user programs direct access to hardware.
This programmer form AdaFruit is good, Dragon and STK-500 (both from Atmel) are good.
westfw9 years ago
Consider a module like "Basic Stamp" or "Arduino." These give you pretty instant gratifications, and have large communities dedicated to helping beginners.
See also
guyfrom7up9 years ago
here ya go: go with AVR, they are more efficient and I think hobby friendly. The software is free and there's a lot of online support from various forums you can get a programmer that plugs into your parallel port for under 20 bucks including shipping from ebay. for small projects and just general fun get a coulpe: attiny13a attiny2313 atmega168 you also need a bread board and some connectors for your programmer all in all it should cost you ~50 or 60 dollars if you have to buy everything (and that includes several microcontrollers)