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Electronics and Microcontroller guide? Answered

Is there a a basic intro to electronics and microcontrollers? I know about the basic components, but no clue about microcontrollers =)





9 years ago

Hello Wes,

My advice is to get hooked up to the MAKE community. They are always presenting very simple ways to get into the Microcontroller (uC) scene. Check out this link for a book on some tips on how to get started with an Arduino Kit. Just a note: All Arduinos actually have Atmel brand uC's on them.

Other affordable uC Kits are the PICAXE line made with Microchip uC's and the Basic Stamp & Propeller Lines by Parallax which also incorporate Microchip uC's. Another Note: Microchip uC's are nicknamed "PICs" due to the prefix on the uC.

So I guess your first choice is to either go with Atmel or Microchip. You can check out a variety of different ones at: HVWTECH

My more biased advice to a someone just getting into micros is to go with an Atmel based Arduino kit for 4 reasons:

-There is plenty of supporting documentation
-You do not need an external programmer (if you have an FDTI chip onboard)
-The programming language (called Wired) is easy to learn
-The software is open-source (free)

DISCLAIMER: There are plenty of other uC's out there but they may not be as newb friendly. Other microcontrollers may require you to buy an external programmer, learn a challenging programming language, have expensive software, and may not have much support. But like I said this is my biased opinion, others may have a differing view on the subject.

By the way just for some Background info: I started with a Motorola 68HC11 & Microchip PIC16F877 (Pictured on my robot) in Tech school and found the software I was using at school was too pricey for me to use at home so then moved onto an Atmel ATMEGA32 Kit & then to more affordable Freeduino Atmel based ATMEGA328.

Good Luck, in the uC Wes, I promise you'll have a lot of fun!


Reply 9 years ago

I messed up the Propeller uC is actually made by Parallax, they started designing their own chips in recent years. I didn't answer your question about basic electronics, so I was thinking you could check out a couple books MAKE: Electronics and/or Teach yourself Electronics


9 years ago

Holy Moly, I didn't realize someone beat me to it. Check out this instructable, it's got way more info than I could ever give you. Oh and I forgot to mention that the Atmel Butterfly is another cool kit that I've used in the past.