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'[SX] General Question about Microcontrollers'
2006\07\16@034348 by isotope776n/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, isotope776 wrote:

Hello Hello,
I am new to the microcontroller arena, I have no experiance but the time and drive to learn all sorts of things. I have seen the PIC do many of these things but my basic understanding of the SX is that it can do all of it and more due to the increased flexability and greater processing power. I want to be able to do several different things including:

controlling multiple servo (10+)
sensor input and logging (temp, humidity, GPS NEMA 0183 output, accelerometer, etc)
motor controlling
vision system processing (maybe)
RC/AUTO movement
CO-processing/ processor networking
Is my interputation that the SX can do these things acurate, and dare is say is there something better that wont break the $300 bank?

PS: Is the SX Pro kit $130 better then the SX Plus kit?

Thanks for the input,
  Jason Falliable
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2006\07\16@172139 by oliverbn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, oliverb wrote:

Hi Jason,
The SX Professional kit has everything you need to get started with simple or advanced projects. On comparing the SX to the PIC, you'll find the SX supports much faster clock rates. Because of the faster clock it is much easier to implement high speed projects in software creating them as  virtual peripherals. However, the SX is limited when it comes to memory when compared to the current higher end PICs. I like to use the SX beause it is so fast and flexible but I also use many other microcontrollers as well (including the PIC and BASIC Stamp). From what you posted, many of the tasks you want to do can benefit greatly from the SX. Temperature conversion, and motor controls are two of them. The SX is also great for all types of sensors beccause of it's speed. For example, you can calculate distances faster using the PING which translates to higher accuracy. You also have these fourms to discuss ideas and ask questions of the people who monitor them which is supported to a higher level than most of the PIC forums.

Regards,
Oliver
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2006\07\16@172405 by kvwoodn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, kvwood wrote:

Hello Jason & Welcome to the forums.

Comparing the SX to the PIC is a bit of a lop-sided comparison, since there are hundreds of PICs, and only a few SXes. The technical specs for the SX are very good, but can't be directly compared across the entire PIC line.

As for SX programming kits, you can find a comparison here:

http://www.parallax.com/sx/programming_kits.asp
For the two lowest priced kits, the difference is the number of books included. For the price, the best option is to get the kit with the most books, since the overall price is much better than buying the manuals separately.

As for your list of things to do, you shouldn't have any problems, but it will depend on how many you want to do at once. Eventually you will reach the limits of whatever processor that you choose.

All that being said, since you are new to microcontrollers, you may want to hold-off on the SX, and instead start with the Basic Stamp 2. The reason for this is that the SX line of products is more directed towards those with some level of experience and comfort in working with electronics & computer programming. If you start here, you might find it a bit overwhelming at first, which is not what you want.

On the other hand, the BS2 has a multi-level curriculum built around it, as well as several third party teaching resources. There are literally thousands of pages of material in print or online, which makes the learning process considerably easier. And all of the general design, electronics, and programming skills that you develop will carry over to the SX.

The starting point that is recommended for the BS2 is the "What's a Microcontroller" course, which you can get as part of the following kits:

BASIC Stamp Activity Kit: http://www.parallax.com/detail.asp?product_id=90005
BASIC Stamp Discovery Kit: http://www.parallax.com/detail.asp?product_id=27207
BASIC Stamp Discovery Kit (USB): http://www.parallax.com/detail.asp?product_id=27807
The Activity Kit is the least expensive way to get started, but the Discovery Kit is more flexible and expandable in the long-run. The Serial version of the Discovery Kit is probably more flexible than the USB version. Note that the Stamps in Class curriculum is built around the Board of Education, which is included with the Discovery kit.

From the point of completing the WaM Course, you could proceed to a more advanced Stamps in Class course, depending on your interests, or look at creating your own design with various accessories.

If your interests are geared towards robotics, another good option is to start with the Boe-Bot kit. This kit is very close conceptually to the WaM course, and you can complete many of the experiments in the WaM manual with the included parts. You would need to download the WaM manual seperately. Here are links to the kits:

Boe-Bot Full Kit (Serial): http://www.parallax.com/detail.asp?product_id=28132
Boe-Bot Full Kit (USB): http://www.parallax.com/detail.asp?product_id=28832
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2006\07\16@194322 by mgreenn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, mgreen wrote:

Something to keep in mind is the Propellor.  The major disadvantage is that there's just beginning to be a tutorial and the product is new.  The main advantage is that doing the kind of thing you're talking about (controlling 10+ servos, reading a variety of sensors, networking, etc. -- all at once) is very much what it's designed for.  The control language (SPIN) is very straightforward and powerful and you can selectively use assembly language where it makes sense.  Start with a Stamp and the extensive curriculum built around it.  When you're ready to move on, I suspect that there will be well developed transition tutorials, a couple of 3rd party books, and a variety of development boards.

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2006\07\16@214041 by isotope776n/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, isotope776 wrote:

Thanks everyone for the fast response and great information. I'll take another look at the BASIC stamp line and move on from there. I am looking foreward making some projects.

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2006\07\17@000129 by kvwoodn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, kvwood wrote:

You can also check out the main Downloads menu, as well as the Educational Downloads link under the Education Menu.

You'll find a ton of project ideas.

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