NerdKits - electronics education for a digital generation

You are not logged in. [log in]

NEW: Learning electronics? Ask your questions on the new Electronics Questions & Answers site hosted by CircuitLab.

Microcontroller Programming » spare parts out of stock?

August 12, 2013
by jchen4coxnet
jchen4coxnet's Avatar

Hi, I tried to order a spare LCD screen and processor breadboard and PayPal charged my account but I haven't received the parts or received any messages. I know the kits are back ordered but are the parts also out of stock? Thanks,

August 12, 2013
by Ralphxyz
Ralphxyz's Avatar

Email support@nerdkits.com, good luck.

I just got a new mcu so they are still stocking somethings and delivering.

That was part of my reason for ordering, just to see if they were still in business.

Ralph

August 12, 2013
by jchen4coxnet
jchen4coxnet's Avatar

Thanks very much, Ralph. I already sent a message to support and posted here just to see if anyone knew if they were still in business also. I'm glad you were able to get a new MCU so there is still hope. I love the nerd kit and I'm hoping to do a lot more with it now.

August 12, 2013
by jchen4coxnet
jchen4coxnet's Avatar

by the way, does anyone also use the Arduino boards here? What are the opinions about using those? Thanks.

August 12, 2013
by Noter
Noter's Avatar

I use Arduino Nano's to make ISP programmers. The 1st thing I do is put a nerdkit type bootloader on them and go from there so I don't use the Arduino compiler to program them. I like the Nano's, they're neat little boards.

August 12, 2013
by Rick_S
Rick_S's Avatar

I go the other way, I use arduino boot loaders without the arduino GUI. I like the auto reset you get that way. Just use an ftdi type USB adapter, tie the DTR line to reset via a .1mF cap and replace avr109 with arduino in the makefile. No more flipping switches to program.

August 12, 2013
by Noter
Noter's Avatar

I know what you mean. Early on I just about wore a hole in my finger from flipping those switches. That's why I like using an ISP programmer, no flipping switches. I also like the ability to change fuse settings anytime.

August 13, 2013
by Ralphxyz
Ralphxyz's Avatar

When I want to just get something to work I'll search the Arduino libraries and put a project on my UNO, 15 minutes later it's done, working.

Ralph

August 13, 2013
by jchen4coxnet
jchen4coxnet's Avatar

Thanks very much for your replies. So is the nerdkit mcu better than the arduino for faster execution cycles or more chip level control?

August 13, 2013
by Ralphxyz
Ralphxyz's Avatar

The UNO Arduino uses a 16Mhk crystal versus the 14... that the Nerdkits uses.

So essentially the Nerdkits mcu is slower but none of my projects could/would ever tell the difference.

Ralph

August 13, 2013
by JimFrederickson
JimFrederickson's Avatar

Depending on the version of the Arduino you are talking about the MCU's are identical.

The only difference that would affect "speed" is the Crystal, as Ralph mentioned, and the Programming Environment.

The Crystal Frequency is essentially the MCU's Heartbeat. None of the code that you write can happen faster than this Heartbeat. (There are elements within the MCU that perform specific activities faster than the Crystal...)

I think, in the end, it mostly depends on what you are trying to end up doing?

I think maybe, in a way, it can be categorized as a difference between Process and Results.

Nerdkits leans more towards the Process, while Arduino leans more towards Results.

The Nerdkit programming Environment approach is mostly an approach where you have direct control over the hardware.

The Adruino Programming Environment approach is mostly an approach where you access the hardware through Libraries that are part of the Programming Environment. One plus in regards to this is increased portability of code across different AVR MCU's. (That is NOT to say that in the Arduino you can't have direct access to the hardware, it is just most of that is outside of the Programming Environment they promote.)

You can get a alot of stuff done on the Arduino Faster, and there are a ton of companies that support this Programming Environment.

In the end it's more a matter of taste and the effort you want to expend. (Maybe even the type of effort that you enjoy, or the education you are seeking...)

With BOTH you can do identical things, it is just the effort required is directed thru different channels.

I like things "simple" and "close to the hardware"...

I have ALWAYS taken the approach that programming MCU's, for me, is more relaxation and entertainment. (Maybe a bit strange?) I like having complete control and knowledge of how and why it works. I don't like having alot of things between me and the hardware. I like "solving the puzzles".

Nerdkits approach is closer to that for me.

(Actually, for me, I don't program using the Serial Interface. I just have ALWAYS used the ISP Interface. So I am not really doing it the "Nerdkit Way". But I like their ideas, this board and the people on it... Even if think that this Websites true goal is, or has become, a Psychological Experiment.)

August 14, 2013
by jchen4coxnet
jchen4coxnet's Avatar

That's really helpful, thanks. I also like the nerdkit approach so I know exactly what it's doing and have better control over it. It sounds like the Arduino libraries are great and quick but they're a layer of "black box" that you take on faith to work.

Just to let you know, I asked for a refund for the LCD screen and MCU through PayPal and got it right away so that's all good. Guess they're really short of parts.

Can I ask for help getting started with an In System Programmer? Do you use this to install the boot loader?

Are these the sort of things I need?

http://sourceforge.net/projects/ispprogrammer/

https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9825

Thanks everyone

August 14, 2013
by Noter
Noter's Avatar

There are a ton of threads on ISP programmers in the forum. Everything from the different makes to making your own. Just search on "ISP programmer".

August 14, 2013
by Ralphxyz
Ralphxyz's Avatar

And if you really really want to get close to the hardware/mcu you should be looking at Assemble as your programing language.

Assemble can be lots of fun to see what exactly is going on.

Ralph

August 15, 2013
by JimFrederickson
JimFrederickson's Avatar

There are numerous options for programmers to start with.

I have purchased many things from Sparkfun as well as Evilmadscientist and have NEVER had any issues. (One REALLY NICE thing about Sparkfun is that they aften, nearly always really, have example code.)

There are some places were things can be purchased cheaper. I know alot of people here, and elsewhere, have had really good luck on EBay. (I haven't. I purchased a few things in the past, and just don't any more...)

Given the 2 programmers that you asked about, I would go with the one from Sparkfun.

I also buy alot of things from Mouser and Digi-Key too.

You do have to look around though. (i.e. 1 month something at Mouser will be cheaper than the same thing at Digi-Key...)

If you do end up ordering from Sparkfun then this LCD, I am quite sure, is the essentially the same as the one that Nerdkits has been selling. Maybe the pin outs are a little different, but you can check into that looking at the Datasheets. (RESEARCH is a huge part of Electronics...)

https://www.sparkfun.com/products/256

That way alot of the examples and code here will still work for you.

Good Luck...

August 15, 2013
by JimFrederickson
JimFrederickson's Avatar

Of course...

If you already have an AVR Microcontroller from Nerdkits and the USB-Serial Converter Cable then you are already set for programming. So, at least to start, you wouldn't need the Programmers you had mentioned.

(I am unclear about what you do, and don't have...)

The AVR Microcontrollers from Nerdkits have a "Boot Loader" installed. So that when the chip first boots, it looks for a logic level on a pin to see if it should run "Your Program" or the "Boot Loader".

The "Boot Loader" is designed to be able to "Self Program" the AVR Microcontroller
through the USB-Serial Converter using AVRDude on your Computer to send the program.

Go through the Initial Nerdkits Tutorial, if only just reading it, and it will show you.

I think it's almost always easier to start small, cheaply, and get used to what you have so you know where you may want to go...

August 15, 2013
by jchen4coxnet
jchen4coxnet's Avatar

Thanks very much, Ralph. I actually did program a Motorola MCU in assembly in graduate school for high speed closed loop control and cycle milliseconds mattered.

I mainly started with Nerdkits because I wanted to duplicate the SPI bus traffic going to a 2010 Toyota Prius compressor and try to control it as if I were the car CPU. I sniffed the data bus traffic and recorded it, now I'm trying to transmit the same commands from the Nerdkit.

I asked about the boot loader because the tutorial mentioned having to load one if I bought a blank MCU.

It sounds like I can use something like an ISP if I want to burn many MCUs with my program for high volume production.

Another thing I am looking at is building a self balancing unicycle so I need to interface with an accelerometer like this one.

https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11028

Jim, thanks for the LCD link, I will probably get that.

Jeff

August 15, 2013
by Noter
Noter's Avatar

If you do start production where you are programming a lot of them something like this ISP pogo adapter from Sparkfun will be very helpful. I needed a 5 pin adapter for my ATtiny10 boards so I found the pogo pins on ebay and made one.

pogo adapter 1

pogo adapter 1

August 15, 2013
by Ralphxyz
Ralphxyz's Avatar

SPI bus traffic on a Toyota Prius compressor?

Are you sure about the SPI? I would think OBDII.

Ralph

August 16, 2013
by jchen4coxnet
jchen4coxnet's Avatar

Ralph,

I know I thought the same that it should be the OBDII but my friend is a Toyota mechanic and he showed me the maintenance manual calls out 4 connection lines to the refrigerant compressor brushless DC controller as STB, D out, D in, and CLK. So this looks like the 4 wire SPI for strobe, digital out, digital in, and clock. It does seem strange since the SPI should be for much tighter communication on the same board. I did sniff the data bus traffic and you can see the master slave communication on the two data lines, the enable command, and the clock cycle. The OBDII only has one data line.

That's why I got the Nerdkits LED arrays, they sync using SPI.

August 16, 2013
by jchen4coxnet
jchen4coxnet's Avatar

Noter,

That's cool, thanks.

Jeff

Post a Reply

Please log in to post a reply.

Did you know that NerdKits make a great gift? Learn more...