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Need help to spec a microcontroller. Answered


I am looking for a bit of guidance as I have limited knowledge in programming Microcontrollers...amateur experience covers a bit of Arduino and LabVIEW (mostly).

My goal is to have an LCD display (Module size +- 65 x 40 mm, with SPI or I2C Comms, Monochromatic) to display small error message/codes and other information as for example temperature, speed, Test number and Timer.

I do not know what would be the best Microcontroller to use that is off the shelf, that will still be in production for years to come and is "less complicated" to learn...from what I have read, perhaps the best microcontroller might be the Atmel just don't know what model (am open to other suggestions)

Also there shall be 20 push buttons connected to the microcontroller.

All that the microcontroller does is read the buttons as a byte and send it to another controller and receive information from that controller to know what information to display on the LCD. It shall also inform the controller of any error that it is experiencing. 

I do hope that I am providing with clear and enough information so that someone could point me in the right direction. 

Thank you in advance.


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3 years ago

Look into the Adafruit Feather line of arduino boards. It has the add on display that should be suitable. https://www.adafruit.com/product/2900?gclid=CP7eqO... You can add other sensors/boards/wifi-bluetooth etc later on if your project needs it.

For your application, it is capable of being a HID device - meaning it can be used as a keyboard - with limited board pinouts for each switch, easiest thing to do is hack a usb keyboard and use those built-in key switches/hardware as your set of 20 to 101+ switch inputs. There are a lot of tutorials and instructables already done on that. Good luck.


Reply 3 years ago

Hello Caitlinsdad.

Thank you for your comment, but I am trying not to work with arduino. I need to make a PCB board that will house the microchip and any extras that I need.

Also, I just realized by your comment that I would like to add a RF ID scanner. Will also look in to the built in key switches as that saves quite a bit of space and allows far more buttons.

So resuming, connected to the microchip shall be:

- 20 pushbuttons or the suggested key switches;

- LCD with SPI or I2C comms;

- RF ID Scanner;

Could you help with suggestions please? Would an AVR Mega 328p work?


Reply 3 years ago

Unless you are some kind of electrical engineer, you really wouldn't attempt to start designing circuit boards off the bat and program bare chips. The Atmel atmega 328 chips are the basis of the arduino ecosystem. Arduino engineered the fun and ease into programming and using boards/accessory peripherals that have those microcontrollers. When you need more processing power or capability you move on to those boards containing the ATSAMD21 or Cortex M0 or full blown microcontroller chips for something like raspberry pi.

All of Adafruit's boards and similar are open-source so you can start from those designs as a basis for a new one.