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What micros do you actually like to work with?

Discussion in 'Embedded' started by Mike Silva, Oct 7, 2006.

  1. Mike Silva

    Mike Silva Guest

    Or, to put it another way, which micros cause you the least grief? And
    what about those makes them favorites?

    I ask because I'm always interested in trying new families, especially
    ones that come well recommended.
    Mike Silva, Oct 7, 2006
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  2. Mike Silva

    D. Guest

    Hello Mike,

    I'll monitor this thread carefully, as I too like to try new families.
    Bring in the cheap dev kits! :D

    My call:
    - TI MSP430, for its very clean, lightweight architecture.
    - Zilog Z8 Encore, once you get past a few quirks caused by upward
    compatibility with the old Z8s and a sometimes messy documentation. It's
    quite powerful in its own right, has plenty of peripherals, and doesn't
    cost much.

    I would like to try the Dallas Semi MAXQ at some point, as its
    architecture is quite original and actually very clever. Everything is
    register-write triggered! My only real lament is the hardware stack
    (whine whine -- ANS Forth needs 64 words of program stack, not bloody 16
    -- whine some more), but it's not a fundamental architecture flaw, and
    it could be easily changed in future implementations.

    I haven't worked enough with ARMs to emit an opinion. I dislike PICs
    with a passion, and I have never felt at home with AVRs (sorry Ulf). I'm
    having less and less interest in wasting time finding ways around 8051s'
    quirks, although in the right place some derivatives can be really powerful.

    Oh, and a side note: I code in assembly, as I like to be on the bare
    CPU, and I evaluate MCUs in this respect. It's not everyone's cup of tea

    D., Oct 7, 2006
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  3. Mike Silva

    D. Guest

    Oh, sorry I forgot: I'll test-drive the Zilog ZNEO as soon as I'll
    receive the kit, and it may (or not) win my heart over the MSP430, for
    its architecture. From what I've seen, they may be playing in the same

    The MAXQ may also challenge the MSP430, this time on the power
    consumption grounds. Check the documentation for figures and such.

    Regards again,
    D., Oct 7, 2006
  4. Mike Silva

    Jason Guest

    I'll toss my hat in for the AVR micros, mostly because they seem to have
    the best C compiler out there. It seems to be very efficient so I
    don't feel so bad when not writing in asm. They also have some very
    powerful hobbiest parts that fit into DIP packages. I did some work
    with Motorola 68HC11 stuff for awhile, but then I remembered that I
    don't like pain.

    The place where you made your stand never mattered,
    only that you were there... and still on your feet
    Jason, Oct 7, 2006
  5. I really like ARM chips. Their architecture is fairly clean and simple
    to understand. One thing I really like about them is the fact that they
    have conditional instruction execution. It can make assembly code
    easier to read and the compiler writers job a bit easier. These would
    be my 32-bit MCU of choice. I also like the 68K architecture which IMHO
    was one of the best CISC archs.

    For 16-bit/8-bit arena, I am not too sure. I have played with the PIC,
    8051 and the MSP430. It is very difficult to decide. Another big player
    is the AVR, which I personally have not played with. The PIC was
    alright to program simple applications in assembly and the like (low
    current too, I was measuring it at ~1 or 2mA full speed 4Mhz 16F628 @
    5V). But I wanted to try my hand at HLL programming on an MCU. Now, I
    had a firm enough knowledge of the underlying mechanics and the ways C
    compilers typically implement certain constructs to know that it would
    not map on to the architecture to well and would make the sometimes
    necessary task of assembly level debugging a real pain. The 8051 fared
    better w.r.t C code, but the chip needs quite a bit of power and
    external support components and needs a large crystal for decent
    performance (of course, you can get single cycle cores).

    The MSP430 on the other hand has a GNU compiler collection compiler
    readily available. An added plus is that writing startup code is
    unnecessary. Just write your C code and you are ready to go. It also
    makes for easy and readable assembly code (quite simple to understand).
    I haven't really done anything practical with the MSP430 yet, so I
    can't give you an idea of how the chip worked for me. Also the MSP430
    and the ARM have JTAG debug support, for which you only need very low
    cost debug hardware (a 'WIGGLER' in the ARM case). The 8051 and the PIC
    on the other hand, will need the use of simulators (or external ICE's).

    Other mentions: MAXQ, Freescale's HC(S)08/12 (Freescale makes reputable
    chips as well)

    Isaac Bosompem, Oct 7, 2006
  6. My criteria is how easy is to produce the practical result.

    1. Atmel AVR
    2. Motorola HCS12
    3. ADI BlackFin

    Vladimir Vassilevsky

    DSP and Mixed Signal Design Consultant

    Vladimir Vassilevsky, Oct 7, 2006
  7. Mike Silva

    Are Leistad Guest


    Which AVR C compiler are you referring to, Jason?

    @Mike Silva: I prefer AVR for 8 bits and ARM for 32 bits.

    Are Leistad, Oct 7, 2006
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