By orion on Tue 05 of July, 2005 14:10 BST

There are now many forms of controller on the market. Each have their own abilities and advantages as well as annoyances and bugs.

We want to hear what you like, or dislike about certain controllers, their pricing, their flexibility, their ease of use, educational value, IO/interfacing ability.

I mean any, from the Lego RCX and CyberMaster to the ooPIC, the PIC Micro's themselves, GumStix, RoboStix, Basic Stamp and every other one you use.

If you use FPGA or CPLD devices, then let us know - these are a paradigm shift away from the standard microcontroller, although there are Open Cores that allow them to function exactly as one.

Compare also the boards you can fit them in, for example, the ooPIC-R board is great for Servo applications, but perhaps not as flexible as the S board.

I will be working on a comparison chart and run down (we did once have one, but it is a little neglected). I want opinions, ratings out of ten and facts as well.

The ratings should be marks out of ten, for any of the following(as many or as little as you want):

  • Value For Money
  • Ease Of Use (overall)
  • Educational Value
  • I/O Connectivity (Motors, Sensors etc)
    • I/O Number of Inputs
    • I/O Number of Outputs
    • I/O Flexibility of IO (Analogue, Digital Interrupts)
    • Completeness (Built in PWM's and H-Bridges, Pins configured to accept standard servo plugs)
  • Communication Connectivity (IR, Serial/COM, I2C bus or even wireless)
  • Memory - If you know it, it is worth stating what architecture it uses, and what you like/dislike. Many use Harvard Architecture, some use Von Neumann Architecture.
    • Program memory
    • Data storage
  • Programming Languages
    • availability (how much choice there are of languages)
    • ease of use
    • Flexibility
    • Value For money
  • Programmer/Programming Cable
    • availability
    • value
    • ease of use
  • Support
    • Documentation
    • Company Support - How much information, or support can you get out of the supplier/manufacturer?
    • Community Support - How much information is out there on the internet? Newsgroups, mailing lists, yahoo groups etc?
  • Availability - How easy is it to order, is it still available?


From this, we can build up a fair picture of what the community uses which controllers for, and how much a particular one is used.

Orion

By Anonymous on Wed 13 of July, 2005 23:25 BST

I don't have a lot of experience with the more simple devices, but I found STAMPs very easy to get to grips with and program.

Im my opinion, PICs are the best, cheap (expendable), very powerful and flexible and upgradable. There are so many to choose from and the code is pretty much portable as long as you write it well. The major drawback is that you need a fairly good understanding of the working of the chip to use it to the full, but if you are prepared to invest the time then you will appreciate just how useful that knowledge is. Also, the choice of languages is great. You can use assembly for speed, basic for simplicity and c for power, even mixing as you go.

Plus you get to use ALL the I/O from the device for yourself and programming is easy as you want.

James

By Anonymous on M11 of July, 2005 23:23 BST

❓ 😛
I think the oopic is the best!😎😀 😐

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