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A 32-bit Development System For $2

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the computers-you-can-buy-with-a-$2-bill dept.

Hardware Hacking 138

An anonymous reader writes "If you are too cheap to buy a $20 Arduino or too elitist to not have at least a 32-bit processor, Dr. Dobb's shows you how to take a $2 chip, put it on a breadboard with a TTL serial (or USB) cable, and be up and running with a 32-bit C/C++ system. Even if you have to buy the breadboard and the cable, it is comparable in price to an Arduino and much more capable. The Mbed libraries (optional) make it as easy to use a 'duino, too."

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No 3D printing? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961049)

I'll betcha I can 3D print the same CPU for 1.50$ It's the future!

Re:No 3D printing? (5, Funny)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 7 months ago | (#46961117)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of... oh, forget it.

DR Dobbs is educated stupid. (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 7 months ago | (#46961749)

32 bits x (dollar / 8 bits) = 4 dollar

Re:No 3D printing? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 7 months ago | (#46962189)

That would be absolutely awesome - microchip traces are probably ~200nm, and your 3D printer nozzle might be capable of 1mm thick traces... imagine the barn you'd need to protect the finished product from the weather!

Re:No 3D printing? (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#46962425)

A 1mm 3D printer nozzle? What is this, 2007?

Target market (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961069)

Target market should consider having recreational sex. Seriously these devices are stupid.

Not news (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961081)

So you can take a $2 microcontroller, put it on your $10 breadbord, power it with your $100 variable power supply, wire it up with your $5 eBay chi.com wires, and talk to it with your $12 FTDI adapter. SO WHAT? This isn't news. This is what ARM developers have been doing since the damn chips came out.

This (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961105)

You've got it! There are numerous tiny 32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 based boards out there for less than $20, which are virtually always more practical. It's not like you can't use them with a breadboard for prototyping. Teensy version 3.0 comes to mind.

Re:This (4, Informative)

Klivian (850755) | about 7 months ago | (#46961307)

Or the TI LAUNCHPAD boards, they are Cortex-M4Fs and quite capable.

Re:This (4, Informative)

mirix (1649853) | about 7 months ago | (#46962271)

I'm partial to the STM32 discovery & nucleo boards. They are cheap. Ranging from $7-15 or so depending on the model. Variants with Cortex M0, M3, M4.

Development on STM32 can be done on entirely open source tools too, which is nice. With GCC,
libopencm3 [libopencm3.org] , and
linux st-link support [github.com] .

Re:This (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 7 months ago | (#46961599)

I believe there are PIC32 MCUs that are DIP-packaged (mostly DIP-28) and cheap (a few $) at the same time. It's MIPS, not ARM, but hell, some of us like MIPS anyway.

K.S. Kyosuke = "Run, Forrest: RUN!!!" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961855)

K. S. Kyosuke: You've been called out (for tossing names) & you ran "forrest" from a fair challenge http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

Re:K.S. Kyosuke = "Run, Forrest: RUN!!!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46962225)

Seriously - do you even English, bro?

Take your meds, I promise the voices will stop.

Re:This (2)

Durrik (80651) | about 7 months ago | (#46962557)

The PIC32 MCUs are a bit more expensive. Around $4.20 for single orders. But they're also clocked higher. The PIC32MX is an 80Mhz part. The one in the ARM in the article is 48 Mhz. There is also a big difference in RAM and FLASH. The arm has 4k and 32k. The PIC32MX has 64k and 512k.

Of course if you're really wanting to play with the MCHP parts its best to go with the starter kits, which makes them much more expensive than the $3 in the article. But then you get a USB debug port, a USB port to play with, and on some of the kits you get Ethernet as well. Which is much more than what the breadboard in the article is talking about, and you don't need a flash programmer. If you're really serious to get into embedded controllers this is probably the way to go, since you save the price of your flash programmer/debugger.

You could always wait for the PIC32MZ as well, which is a 200 Mhz part, more RAM and more FLASH.

Re:This (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46962685)

One thing holding me back with Microchip PIC32 starter kits is the USB debug port. Some kits from them and Digilent don't even bring out JTAG/SWD any more. Trying to lock me into their proprietary crap does not endear them to me so I never looked at them seriously.

Re:This (1)

Durrik (80651) | about 7 months ago | (#46963137)

There is a PIC32 I/O expansion board (DM320002) that you can hook the PIC32MX starter kit to that will bring out the JTAG port to a standard header. Unfortunately that's a pricy board too that might be a bit too expensive for some people.

But it does bring out all the pins you'd want. SPI, UART, I2C, Digital I/O etc. And if you're going to be doing some pretty intensive stuff beyond what the starter kit gives you (3 buttons, and 3 LEDs) you'd probably want to pick one of those up as well. What I like about it is it has a 9 volt input jack so I don't have to power the starter kit off my PC.

The JTAG is left off the starter kit, since it is a starter kit, and they don't want to make it expensive. There isn't really any space on the board to put a JTAG port without expanding the area, and if you want one thing, others will want others, and yet others, and then its no longer a starter kit, but a full development kit. Which is why there's that I/O expansion board to handle the 132 pin connector that's on the bottom of the starter kit.

K. S. Kyosuke gets called out & ran (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46964367)

From a fair challenge like a chickenshit blowhard http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

Re:Not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961157)

It's like those 3D printing stories that peaked last year: 3D printed gun!

Sure, you can take your 2$ non-functional plastic blob, add a 10$ trigger, and a 50$ metal barrel, and fire mass manufactured bullets with it. So what?

Re:Not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961203)

So you can take it on an airplane or into a school.

Yeah Mr NSA $hill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46963347)

whatever you say.

Re:Not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961297)

...but I already have the breadboard, know how to wire an LM317 and resistor, and oh no not $17 how ever shall we survive?

Re:Not news (2)

jythie (914043) | about 7 months ago | (#46961453)

I am also confused as to how this is news . It can be a cool project, but as you point out, it is something that people have been doing for quite some time. It is a nice little tutorial, but bringing making a story out of it feels a bit like someone jumping onto slashdot and going 'hey! Did you people know there is porn on the internet! I found an article about it!'

Re:Not news - but very useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961721)

... people have been doing for quite some time. It is a nice little tutorial, but bringing making a story out of it feels a bit like someone jumping onto slashdot and going 'hey! Did you people know...'

For some of us that's quite useful - as a HS student I hacked hardware back in the days when semiconductors came one gate to a package (I recall the first $1 transistor, the CK-722, I could now afford one!) Having become a mathematician, I didn't know how powerful/cheap ARM chips had become. There is value in spreading information outside one's field of expertise. (You would not believe the number of things I see that are mathematically/algorithmically stupid.)

Re:Not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46964061)

Well fuck me sideways with a rusty badger - there is pr0n on the internet. About fucking sideways. With a rusty badger.

Re:Not news (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 7 months ago | (#46962201)

No, no, NO! You power it with a $5 piece of crap power supply that you got at an outlet sale - then watch as the power supply fries everything in sight the first time you look at it crosseyed....

I did this in college with my "free" evaluation DSP (that cost $200 in reality...) took me a month to get another sample out of the sales rep.

Re: Not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46963683)

how hard is it to use an old psu? those are around 15 and deliver quiet 5v and 3v3

Re:Not news (1)

k31 (98145) | about 7 months ago | (#46963643)

Yeah, it isn't news, but it is a very cleverly disguised advertisement. I bet they got a lot of impulse buys from this article, and that is basically what slashdot is for mostly.

Re:Not news (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | about 6 months ago | (#46963863)

Ah... but were they able to do it with a chip that was available in DIP form, with useful amounts of flash & ram, and relatively relaxed power & I/O design on a breadboard?

We've gotten spoiled by $7 Arduino knock-off boards from China, and a lot of us have forgotten that just 5 years ago, Atmel literally couldn't make the ATmega644p fast enough for stores like DigiKey and Mouser to reliably keep it in stock. For those who weren't into AVR microcontrollers a few years ago, the 644p was Atmel's beefiest AVR that you could buy in DIP form. The next step up from a 644p was a 1280 or 2560 (the 2560 is used in the reference design for Android ADK), and they easily cost $30-50 (~$30 for a board that was literally just a bare chip soldered to a breakout board, $50 for one that had most of the same hardware that's the norm for an Arduino board). The 1280 and 2560 themselves were fairly cheap... I think the 1280 was around $10-12, and the 2560 was around $15. But the act of having someone solder it to a board to make it something YOU could deal with (unless you had a hot air rework station & didn't object to buying solder paste that had to be kept refrigerated, warmed to room temperature over the span of a day, and went bad a few days later when the flux separated out) basically doubled or trebled the purchase price.

Back in the same era, it was almost UNHEARD of for people to buy breakout boards for Atmel's smaller chips, like the Mega168 (unless they were rank n00bs buying their first one), because a DIP Mega168 cost around $4, but a Mega168 soldered to a dev board with Arduino-like hardware ran about $25.Back then, the hardest problem every N00b had to solve was "how the fuck do I connect the 3x2 or 5x2 header from the AVRISP to MISO/MOSI/SCK/~RST/Vcc/Gnd on the breadboard (I used to endlessly wish somebody would make a breadboard whose pins from one side were extended by one into the middle , so you could stick a 2xN header straight into the breadboard and wire away (for some inane reason, breakout boards to convert 3x2 and 5x2 headers to breadboard-spacing were always outrageously expensive, and stayed that way until about the eBay floodgates from China opened about 2 years ago).

Re:Not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46964721)

The 1280 and 2560 themselves were fairly cheap... I think the 1280 was around $10-12, and the 2560 was around $15. But the act of having someone solder it to a board to make it something YOU could deal with (unless you had a hot air rework station & didn't object to buying solder paste that had to be kept refrigerated, warmed to room temperature over the span of a day, and went bad a few days later when the flux separated out) basically doubled or trebled the purchase price.

You don't need any of that for soldering surface mount chips to a board for a hobby project, or even prototypes in more serious situations. The only ones that have potentially serious problems are BGA chips, but there are some tricks that let you do that even with a basic soldering iron and a pcb with plated vias. You could get premade breakout boards for a couple dollars for quite a few years now, if you weren't going to make your own. It was easy enough to adapt surface mount only chips to a breadboard, as long as they weren't high enough frequency to deal with the breadboard's capacitance.

Re:Not news (1)

David Barreda (3462737) | about 6 months ago | (#46964051)

why you wouldn't make your own power supply?

This is more than $2!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961087)

Need a breadboard. Need a cable. I am tired of these lies!!!

Re:This is more than $2!!! (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 7 months ago | (#46961325)

I can do it for $0.

My PC support 32 bit instructions.

price (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961091)

If you're buying single quantities for development use, it doesn't make sense to worry about the price.

How many bitcoin can I mine wit this? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961097)

need frre muney!

Very cool - but where do you get the chip for $2? (4, Informative)

mykepredko (40154) | about 7 months ago | (#46961131)

Digi-Key $3.48 and Mouser $3.49

Still could be something you can have a lot of fun with!

myke

Digikey is expensive (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 7 months ago | (#46961235)

Digi-Key $3.48 and Mouser $3.49

Digikey and Mouser are about the most expensive places to go. They have everything and usually don't have minimum buys but the markups are huge. Arrow Electronics has them for $1.70. My company buys a lot of stuff through Heilind.

If you want to find out who has parts and how much, stocknet [eem.com] is a good resource.

Re:Digikey is expensive (2)

janoc (699997) | about 7 months ago | (#46961625)

Good luck trying to get these in Europe. They are pretty much unobtanium, because nobody stocks them or they sell these only to companies (Farnell), with a huge shipping and handling markup (Digikey, Mouser, Farnell) or they simply don't carry the DIP version at all (RadioSpares).

It is way easier to buy one of the QFP packages - they are both cheaper, more available and with more pins. And either get it pre-soldered on a breakout board or buy a simple QFP to DIP adapter on eBay (or make your own).

Re:Digikey is expensive (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 7 months ago | (#46963285)

Good luck trying to get these in Europe.

It is really too bad that governments don't get together and set up an international small parcel delivery service that anyone can use easily and conveniently by applying a small adhesive sticker (or "stamp") as their proof of payment.

Re:Digikey is expensive (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46964565)

Before making snide comments, you should try to get those items in Europe. I have. By the time you have them in your hands, you can rest assured that the price is closer to 200-250% of what the parts originally costed. Provided your time is free, of course. Else it gets a tad bit expensive.

Re:Digikey is expensive (1)

Kazymyr (190114) | about 7 months ago | (#46962545)

Arrow Electronics kills you with shipping charges. Least expensive option is $15 for a small order.

Re:Digikey is expensive (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | about 6 months ago | (#46963913)

LOL, if you think Digikey and Mouser are expensive, check the prices (including shipping) from Newark or Farnell. Jesus God naked on a Harley, Newark absolutely *rapes* you on the shipping charges. I can't even count the number of times I *almost* bought something from Newark, then called it off once they revealed their criminally-expensive shipping charges at checkout time.

DigiKey's shipping is expensive, but they have a huge advantage -- if you absolutely MUST have something tomorrow, their cutoff time for next-day delivery is something like 10pm most nights, and they'll happily ship via USPS Overnight so you can order on Friday night or Saturday and get your part by Saturday or Sunday.

Mouser's shipping isn't *cheap*, but their rates for Priority Mail are relatively reasonable & they don't have a minimum order amount like DigiKey does.

I still have occasional fantasies about Radio Shack closing MOST of their retail stores, but keeping at least one store per metro area open that's well-stocked with just about any component hobbyists might want to buy (say, everything that SparkFun and AdaFruit sells). Back in the 80s (when Radio Shack's parts department occupied the rear third of the store), people paid INSANE prices for components because you could walk in, grab what you needed, and go home with it in hand.

Re:Very cool - but where do you get the chip for $ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961267)

You buy 149 from Digi-Key and scam Mouser into accepting all but one as a return. Duh!

Re:Very cool - but where do you get the chip for $ (1)

mykepredko (40154) | about 7 months ago | (#46962465)

LOL.

Thanx for the tip.

I think I'll buy a Corvette that way.

myke

Re:Very cool - but where do you get the chip for $ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961867)

Simple, buy it in bunchs of 100 or more.

Re:Very cool - but where do you get the chip for $ (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961903)

Even the website says $3 for the chip. It's £1.50 from avnet. Extremely optimistic summary. To quote TFA...

Assuming you already have a breadboard and a few simple items, you can start using these CPUs with very little effort. Even if you have to buy everything, you could spend as little as $20 — perhaps $40 if you buy the Link board for debugging. The result, though, is an easy to work with 32-bit development system that can create systems that are very inexpensive to deploy.

Perhaps a zero slipped? You need to buy the carrier PCB (probably $3-5 from Oshpark), breadboard ($1-2 on eBay), wires and a USB-Serial cable. I don't know anyone who just has a serial converter just lying around unless they're an engineer - nobody except electrical engineers and instrument scientists use serial ports any more.

http://octopart.com/partsearch#!?q=LPC1114FN28

Re:Very cool - but where do you get the chip for $ (1)

JanneM (7445) | about 7 months ago | (#46963781)

"I don't know anyone who just has a serial converter just lying around unless they're an engineer"

This is not a first project for anybody. Chances are high that you've already played with Arduino a fair bit, and built your own on breadboard as well. In which case you most likely have a USB-serial cable or board already, in order to program them.

Wide variety of individual chips (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961135)

If you are going to go with an individual chip to be put on a breadboard or a breakout board, there have been a wide variety of chips in the $2-5 range for years. And like every other step of the price ladder, there are newer, better ones each year. The chips on a lot of the dev boards, even some $100+ ones are quite cheap. What you are paying for is the convenience of someone setting up a communication layer for you and having it all soldered together in a compact design. If you are trying to save money, you always have the option of using the chip directly, although some faster, smaller ones might be more difficult to setup depending on your soldering and PCB making skills. Although some of the cheap dev boards come out to about the same cost as buying a USB communication chip and socket anyway because they are selling at a loss or using volume discounts, so it is difficult to get the exact same prices of less. But if you already have a USB to TTL cable of some sorts, you just need the main processor chip in a lot of cases. Then it is about making sure you can initially program the chip, and it is useful to have good instructions (like this article) or tutorial instead of working that out from the datasheet.

USB2TTL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46963369)

...costs something like 5 Euros. get it at Reichelt.de.

Re:USB2TTL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46964743)

Yes, but if you are dealing with a cheaper dev board as suggested, that still adds up. I've seen a few that were in the $20 range for a pre-made board, where the main processor (or FPGA in some cases) was on the order of $10 for a single chip order, the USB communication chip was about $5 or so, throw in a socket, a few regulator chips or external clock, and you start getting close to the $20 without factoring in the cost of the PCB. You can sometimes save some money with a cheaper USB chip or cable and making other setup changes, although then need to design your own board and code instead of using the free stuff you can find for the dev boards sometimes. You end up trading a lot of work for a couple dollars, which, unless you like to play with the setup or want the educational experience, is not worth it for most who just want to get to use that as a means to some other end.

Dr Dobbs (4, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | about 7 months ago | (#46961155)

I used to love Dr Dobbs. But unfortunately had to give up my expensive Dr Dobb's habit, when it went online-only, and turned into a cheesy website peddling little but warmed-over stuff from elsewhere, and paid puffery. Too bad.

Dr. Dobb's excellent content (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961355)

Huh? Have you actually looked at it in the last few years?

This quarter, Walter Bright on writing languages, Dave Thomas (the Ruby guy) on why he regrets being one of the original signers of the the Agile Manifesto, Cay Horstmann's lengthy tutorial on Java 8 lambdas, Microsoft's compiler team on the most underused compiler switches for Visual C++. In addition, Jolt Awards, salary survey, and editorials that aren't shy, like this week's on companies using OSS without buying licenses. I read and love Dr. Dobb's and don't in anyway recognize what you're talking about.

Re: Dr. Dobb's excellent content (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961593)

Same here. I love how dobb covers a huge range of topic not just one or two things

Re:Dr. Dobb's excellent content (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 7 months ago | (#46962933)

Wow, that makes me want to subscribe.

Micromite (3, Informative)

psergiu (67614) | about 7 months ago | (#46961215)

Here's a better one-chip sollution:

MicroMite [geoffg.net] .

PIC32 running a full BASIC interperter [mmbasic.com] (ANSI X3.113-1987, with optional line numbers, structured programming features like do loops, multiline if statements, user defined subroutines and functions. )

You don't even need to install Arduino or another IDE to use-it - you just need a VT100 terminal emulator and use the built-in editor.

While I'm off RTFA... (1)

RailGunner (554645) | about 7 months ago | (#46961237)

... can anyone elaborate as to why this would be a better road than just springing for a Raspberry Pi?

Raspberry Pi as headless Linux box ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 7 months ago | (#46961363)

... can anyone elaborate as to why this would be a better road than just springing for a Raspberry Pi?

I have some old systems in the closet running as headless Linux boxes. I recently realized some of those were about the same CPU and RAM -wise as a Raspberry Pi B I had on my desk for a current project. The Pi was about US$45 with case and power. I'm thinking of attaching an external USB HD and mounting a NAS HD for some comparison test to these old systems. Don't need blazing performance for the local subversion or media wiki server in the closet, might save space and watts and decibels with the Pi. Should be a fun experiment.

Re:Raspberry Pi as headless Linux box ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961517)

Would make a great learning project. I'm sure it would save quite a bit of power too. The Pi would use about 10W tops, add in a small router or wireless, and you are still below 40W or so, much less than the old PCs would draw.

Re:Raspberry Pi as headless Linux box ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961563)

Just remember to get a good USB hub. I've had a lot of headaches with USB devices drawing too much current on my Pi and kicking it offline.

Re:Raspberry Pi as headless Linux box ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961743)

I have a Pi running raspbian playing NAS.
Works pretty well, not exactly a speed demon, about 10MB/s read and 8MB/s write for NFS.

For comparison, my "big" NAS here:
Xeon E3-1220Lv2 on a Supermicro X9SCM-iiF board, IBM M1015 SAS HBA flashed to LSI 9211-8i, Mellanox MHGH29-XTC Infiniband HCA, 10 3TB 7.2k SATA HDs, linux md raid6, 65W at the wall.
113MB/s read 110MB/s write for NFS over the onboard GbE.
1200MB/s read 850MB/s write for NFSv3 over IPoIB. NFSoRDMA would have been even faster but had weird issues with client lockups.

Conclusion: for its cost/power the Pi is surprisingly good. Just don't expect miracles.

Re:While I'm off RTFA... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961371)

Cheaper. Better for driving devices (Pi is greatas a mini Unix but if you are serious about using the GPIO you want to be careful not to fry it).

Honestly though, see this for a homebrew Arduino compatible solution at a fraction on the price: http://shrimping.it/blog/shrim... [shrimping.it]

Buy the bits from wherever and follow the plans or they will sell you a kit.

Re:While I'm off RTFA... (1)

WhiteZook (3647835) | about 7 months ago | (#46961775)

Add shipping cost, power supply, breadboard, interface cables, and the difference in price is negligible.

Re: While I'm off RTFA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46964137)

Many of which are one off costs. If you need 10 smart motor controllers, you can spend $200 on Teensy 3s, or $30 on the infrastructure and $30 on chips and a few parts. Different people with different projects have different trade-offs.

Re: While I'm off RTFA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46964213)

Also, the first and chief point is that the Pi sucks for anything resembling RT control. Which is why people buy a Pi "for the IO!" And then hook it up to an Arduino (or teensy ... or $3 LPC) to run a string of NeoPixels because the Pi can't do precision timing.

Re:While I'm off RTFA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961473)

Full documentation, including on-chip peripherals.
Proper electrical and timing specs.
Doesn't require a SD card to boot.
Lower power.
Can do hard realtime (the ARM in the pi not only has to deal with the usual DRAM controller latencies, it can get stalled for north of 10ms by videocore bus accesses...).

Microcontrollers and general purpose computers are different things and - surprise - designed to do different things well.

Re:While I'm off RTFA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961481)

Two different things The PI can run an OS has video etc A $2 chip runs natively you code generally for one specific job thats it.This is a controller the PI is a computer.

Re:While I'm off RTFA... (4, Informative)

cdrudge (68377) | about 7 months ago | (#46961943)

Google the difference between a microcontroller (this, Arduinos, etc) and microprocessor (RaspberryPi). They both have their advantages and disadvantages and areas that they are designed for.

Teensy 3.1 is cooler (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961255)

I dig that the chip in TFA is DIP...but soldering TQFP isn't that tough... same cost, much more power in the Teensy 3.1. Also less of a hack than what's described in the article.

Re:Teensy 3.1 is cooler (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | about 6 months ago | (#46964103)

It's not so much "tough" as "the goddamn solder paste has to be kept refrigerated until you're ready to use it, then goes bad within a few days of warming it up to room temperature". Throwing away mostly-full syringe after syringe of solder paste after you used maybe 0.5mL of it to solder one chip gets expensive after a while.

Re: Teensy 3.1 is cooler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46964129)

A lot of the cost is one-off. You can keep paying $20 for each teensy (and I love the teensy!) or you can pay $20 for the infrastructure once, and then $3 per chip. And if you only need 6 IO pins, the LPC810 is even cheaper.

I for one (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961259)

look forward to buying one, playing with it for a day, then throwing it in a drawer, never to be seen until I move.

32Bit? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961281)

Aren't we supposed to be going to 64Bit now?

breadboard alone is $30 (3, Insightful)

paulpach (798828) | about 7 months ago | (#46961389)

The cheapest breadboard I could find was $30.

In other news, I also figured out how to get a great ride for $1. All you need to do is add a $1 car freshener to your existing BMW.

Re:breadboard alone is $30 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961627)

Re:breadboard alone is $30 (2)

Ksevio (865461) | about 7 months ago | (#46961649)

How hard did you look? I just typed "breadboard" into google and found several under $10 on the first page. Also found some great surfaces for cutting bread at a similar affordable price.

Re:breadboard alone is $30 (1)

paulpach (798828) | about 7 months ago | (#46961711)

Not hard at all, as the price was irrelevant.

My point was that it is only $2 if you _only_ focus on the chip which is absurd.

Re:breadboard alone is $30 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46963195)

This is a site for nerds. You are expected to already own several breadboards.

Re: breadboard alone is $30 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46964251)

Lern2ebay

$11 for breadboard and 170 pc jumper wire pack.

Penny wise, pound foolish? (3, Informative)

bhlowe (1803290) | about 7 months ago | (#46961407)

Spending a little more money up front often pays off with a better product, bigger user community, more sample code, more documentation... and no breadboarding!

Re: Penny wise, pound foolish? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46961629)

Yeah but I want a breadboard to experiment and not be tied to a board to deploy.

Re: Penny wise, pound foolish? (0)

MacTO (1161105) | about 7 months ago | (#46962591)

You can still do that with Arduino boards. The ATmega is socketed on the Uno, so you can pop it out and place it on your own board when it is time to deploy. In the case of surface mount chips, you can still use the Arduino when prototyping and program the chip on your own board when it comes time to deploy.

The benefits are tremendous. You have a standard platform for prototyping and most of the debugging. Since there is nothing "magical" about the Arduino (e.g. expensive supporting circuitry or proprietary libraries that are difficult to incorporate outside of the standard development tools), it is also easy to build compact and inexpensive circuits when it comes time to deploy.

Re: Penny wise, pound foolish? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46963897)

Arduino is a brain dead toy. Fan boys attack

PIC (2)

Richy_T (111409) | about 7 months ago | (#46961589)

If you sign up with Microchip as a dev, they'll send you small numbers of their chips for free. These can be set up to work with next to zero external components. You will need some kind of programmer though.

Re:PIC (1)

n1ywb (555767) | about 7 months ago | (#46961765)

Yeah you could shoot yourself in the foot and use PICs or you could come to the light of AVR with it's higher speed and full support for doing dev with the GNU toolchain on Linux from 8 to 32 bits.

Re:PIC (1)

Camel Pilot (78781) | about 7 months ago | (#46962057)

And what about file system crashes (ie from power being pulled) in an embedded environment?

Re:PIC (2)

Matt_Bennett (79107) | about 7 months ago | (#46962067)

Higher speed? The max speed on a 32 bit AVR is 66MHz, with 1.5 DMIP/MHz, the max speed on a PIC32MX is 80MHz at 1.65 DMIP/MHz. You can do development on Windows, Mac or Linux with MPLABX for every 8, 16, and 32MHz PIC in Microchip's stable. Microchip's 16 and 32 bit compilers are GCC based (but free versions are limited to -O1 optimization). The newest PIC32, the MZ, will do up to 200MHz.

If you prefer using AVR, great, but at least make your comparisons based on reality. The hard part of doing any development is not the core you're working on, but the code you put into it.

Re:PIC (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46962337)

Seems pretty obvious he was talking about 8 bit AVR & PIC.

All these outfits can take their free, but limited compilers and shove them so deep up their ass it hurts.

Re:PIC (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46962577)

The 32 bit PIC architecture isn't bad at all, but it is badly let down by the development tools. MPLAB X is okay, but really nothing special. Microchip's ICD hardware is awful, and rather expensive.

Re:PIC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46962999)

32-bit PICs use a MIPS32 core. You can use any MIPS32 gcc cross compiler with full optimization. You only need PIC-friendly versions if you buy into their dev tools.

Re:PIC (1)

Matt_Bennett (79107) | about 6 months ago | (#46964139)

Microchip's ICD is awful? Well, it isn't JTAG (for most chips, but the PIC32 does support JTAG debugging), but the ICD hardware supports all PICs (8, 16, 32 bit) and is available at what appears to be competitive to Atmel's tools (Atmel as an example- their low-end programmer the AVRISP is about the same price at Digikey as the PICKIT3) You can spend more and get more capability no matter what. It seems to me that the debugger that people complain about the most is the one they use the most, no matter the architecture. An ICD is not an ICE- and it doesn't seem like a true ICE exists anymore since nobody was willing to pay the huge price for the development system- ICDs pretty much rely on hardware in the part itself. The cheap generic JTAG debuggers at sparkfun don't get stellar reviews. My experience is that debuggers are a lot like Camaros- everybody has one, and all of them are limited by the person in control.

Re:PIC (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 7 months ago | (#46962649)

Meh, if the speed is fast enough (sometimes it's more about the timing) and I'm hitting assembly anyway and I'm not religious about the toolchain I use, who cares?

Re:PIC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46963949)

Meh, if the speed is fast enough (sometimes it's more about the timing) and I'm hitting assembly anyway and I'm not religious about the toolchain I use, who cares?

Agreed. I have no idea what they are talking about. All embedded SOICs or even most SOCs are system specific. And you end up writing like 200(0) lines of code anyway, to do some timing, I/O detection, ADC or similar.

I have no idea what is the appeal of Ardino over something like PIC or similar SOC. People don't have basic knowledge of hardware or can't/won't read free specs?

Re: PIC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46963927)

Thank you arduino fan boy. 8 bits and a retard build system

See Beetle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46962055)

The ad Slashdot served me up for this article is a $7 Arduino Leonardo board called "Beetle."
No breadboard required, and includes a usb port. It's about the size of a coin.

$4 PSOC 4 kits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46962367)

http://www.cypress.com/?rID=92146
(get the 4200)
I just bought a few of these. max 48mhz cortex M0, 32 bit. 4k sram 32kb flash
programmable analog and digital blocks
and they come with the usb uart already

Re: $4 PSOC 4 kits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46964285)

"This kit requires PSOC Creator"...

Any idea how friendly it is to open tool chains?

Africans breathe a sigh of relief... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46962371)

... at LAST they can finally start developing! You see, those damn 'racists' were somehow holding them back, and preventing an entire continent from producing this...

What good has ever come out of Africa? What have Africans EVER invented?

Your math is wrong! (4, Funny)

dskoll (99328) | about 7 months ago | (#46962547)

$2 is only 16 bits, since a quarter is 2 bits...

The article contradicts the headline (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 7 months ago | (#46962631)

Assuming you already have a breadboard and a few simple items, you can start using these CPUs with very little effort. Even if you have to buy everything, you could spend as little as $20 — perhaps $40 if you buy the Link board for debugging.

An arduino has many more connectors and is easier to use and therefore justifies a higher cost.

32 bit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46962689)

haven't seen a 32 bit processor since the Pentium 4/Windows XP days. Just saying.

OMPC (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 7 months ago | (#46963335)

One Microcontroller Per Child. At $2 a pop they could give one to every kid in the world.
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