[time-nuts] favorite microcontroller module?

Didier Juges didier at cox.net
Tue Feb 19 20:36:21 EST 2008


> -----Original Message-----
> From: time-nuts-bounces at febo.com 
> [mailto:time-nuts-bounces at febo.com] On Behalf Of Robert Vassar
> Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2008 5:36 PM
> To: Discussion of precise time and frequency measurement
> Subject: Re: [time-nuts] favorite microcontroller module?
> I regard PIC chips as something to be avoided.  Horrible 
> little architecture that should have died back in the 70's.  
> It gained a foothold with hobbyists due to the ease with 
> which they can be programmed.  The modern '51's are just as 
> easy, and in some cases easier.  Some of them ship with 
> bootloader that can be activated on reset, and programmed 
> using the onboard serial port.  Last I checked, even the 
> AVR's are missing out on that, though they're relatively easy 
> to program as well, and have an arch better suited to C.
> de KC6OOM/5

I agree on the PIC. Aside from great marketing and lots of good, old
fashioned DIP packages great for hobbyists and for prototyping, the
architecture and development tools do not have much to attract.

I like the 8051 because you are not tied to one vendor, code is everywhere
and options abound. In my job, it's good to know that if I need help, an
8051 aware software engineer is only a phone call away.

The Texas Instrument MSC1210 is an 8051 variant with some interesting
quirks. Aside from a good 24 bit ADC with 1:64 PGA, up to 32k of flash,
33MHz clock with a 4 clock core and 2 serial ports, they are programmable
via the serial port with a built-in bootloader and a VB program (I got it
from the TI rep, not sure it is on the web site, I have a copy with source
code, the API is not officially documented, but trivial to reverse engineer
using the VB source code, which is rare nowadays). They also have the
Phillips variant Port I/O where pins can be set as typical 8051 (open
collector) or 3 state/push-pull via Data Direction Register (more convenient
in my opinion). On the other hand, there is no debugging tool that I am
aware of. Getting the first piece of code running may be a challenge to the
uninitiated. A very nice chip overall.

Didier KO4BB

No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Free Edition. 
Version: 7.5.516 / Virus Database: 269.20.8/1288 - Release Date: 2/19/2008
8:47 PM

More information about the time-nuts mailing list