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Sunday, September 9, 2007

MicroController Chips, Code, and Not Me

It doesn't much matter because I don't have a design to be controlled yet, but starting from some advice from 4QD, it looks like Atmel's AVR series might be the ticket to the chip to use. There is a LOT of open-source stuff out there, including some DIY programming hardware for the initial programming of the chip, and some routines to update the program with a USB bootstrap while in-circuit.

AVRFREAKS is a good place to start, from what I can see. For those that are interested, this is a comparison chart of the devices, along with data sheets:

There are versions of the AVR uC that are *designed* for PWM control circuits, both for motors and for stuff like dimmable fluorescent light ballasts. And the chips can be had for as little as $1.00 each, from some places, not to mention there are sample kits available for just shipping/handling costs. I bet I can even take some out of old equipment, because i'm *sure* I've seen these things in some of my old junk. Depends on what comes in the sample kits whether I'll bother with them or not, I guess. I'll check all that out later, once I have the bike itself physically working.

The biggest catch is that I first have to learn C, as that's what it's programming environment uses to create the code to be uploaded to it. I are not a programmer. :-( Yet.

The good news is that if I do learn how to use this uC, I will be able to do a number of other improbable projects that I could not do before, unrelated to the bike.

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