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Where to Begin Learning Microcontrollers

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LEDThereBeLight

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Hello all, I apologize for the noob question but I couldn't find an answer in search with exactly what I wanted.

I'm an EE student hoping to learn about how to use microcontrollers. I took a course on microcontrollers but honestly I couldn't even tell you how to turn it on. I do still have the board though (PIC 18F4550) so I am looking for a good resource (online tutorial, ebook, book, etc) that explains what I need to know, preferably in a scripting language (not pbp or assembly language), unless assembly language is critical.

The goal for the end of the summer is to have a microcontroller automate house functions such as turning on lights, fans, music, etc by voice recognition (as seen here Absolute Maximum Ratings ). I have no idea where I would even look for how to do that, so I'm starting with microcontrollers.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks a lot
 

bigdogguru

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There are a wide variety of MCUs available for learning and development. However, I you already have a PIC development board and have had some limited exposure to PIC programming maybe you should pursue your studies with the Microchip PIC family. The main stream choice for programming language are assembly or C, however companies such as MikroE offer Basic and Pascal compilers for the PIC as well as development boards:

MikroElektronika

You'll need a programmer/debugger the choices are usually a PICkit or ICD for a beginner.

The PICkit3 is the latest version, although a PICkit2 would work just fine:

PICkit 3 In-Circuit Debugger

You can download the MPLAB/MPASM IDE which is a user develop environment which allow you to enter and edit your program and simplifies the use of the appropriate assembler or compiler:

MPLAB Integrated Development Environment

If you wish to use a C compiler to write your programs, Hi-Tech offers their C compiler running in "Lite Mode" for free download:

HI-TECH C for the PIC10/12/16 MCU Family

The PIC 18F is probably not the best PIC to start learning MCU programming. You may consider purchasing a dev board which supports the 12F or 16F series of PIC.

Both MikroE and Microchip sell several dev boards which support these series of PICs.

PIC Development Tools

Microchip PIC development Tools

I particular like the PICDEM 2 Plus:

PICDEM 2 Plus

However if you decide to use a BASIC compiler, MikroE maybe a better choice for the dev board as well, they usually have package deals.

The best free online tutorials, covering assemby and C, I have come across are:

Gooligum PIC Tutorials - Assembly and C

MikroE has tutorials in BASIC and Pascal, to support their compiler line.

These links should get you started in the right direction, you can always contact me if you need further help.
 

ckshivaram

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If you are a fan of simple learning ..,,, then get a copy of mazidi on PIC, and start,, without good basics, its no use learning things.... so along with other suggestions , go fo mohammed ali mazidi book on PIC controllers, and start with a simple controller then go to higher configuration of controllers..........
 

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