View Full Version : Please give me some advise.

04-18-2010, 12:53 AM
Hi all, my name is Scotty and was wondering if you could give some guidance and advise. I would like to learn to program micro's and was going to buy a Pic Programmer and start to learn but everyone tells me that I should start with the Basic Stamp. So here I am, new to the forum and looking for some guidance and advise.

For starters, let suppose I have never programmed anything except my stereo and know absolutely nothing about Microprocessors. I am a disabled 57 year old on a very fixed income.
Where do I start ?

Which Stamp should I get to learn on and what do I need for a programmer ? Because of the expense, some have told me to get a home work board. What is a homework board and where do I buy one ? Will this homework board be suffice to learn everything about programming the stamp without add ons or costing more in the end?

How much easier is the Basic Stamp to program and learn than say a Pic or Atmel AVR ?

How much will it cost to get started ?

As you can see, I have a lot of questions so I think it would be best if I just got some good solid advise where to start and then leave the rest of my questions until after I have read and tried programming because I don't want to get anyone upset by asking a lot of questions like it does on some forums.

Any and all advise and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Mike Green
04-18-2010, 01:27 AM
I would suggest the "Basic Stamp Activity Kit" (see www.parallax.com/StoreSearchResults/tabid/768/txtSearch/homework/List/0/SortField/4/ProductID/313/Default.aspx (http://www.parallax.com/StoreSearchResults/tabid/768/txtSearch/homework/List/0/SortField/4/ProductID/313/Default.aspx)) which includes the HomeWork Board. The Kit includes everything you might need to do the learning exercises and experiments in the included tutorial ("What's a Microcontroller?") except for a 9V battery or 9V power supply like this one (www.smarthome.com/78540/Plug-In-9-Volt-Power-Supply-Battery-Eliminator-9V-ADAPTER/p.aspx (http://www.smarthome.com/78540/Plug-In-9-Volt-Power-Supply-Battery-Eliminator-9V-ADAPTER/p.aspx)).

You can read pretty much any of Parallax's tutorials and manuals to get a feeling for them. Just use the "Downloads" button on their main webpage. The "Stamp Documentation" and "Stamps in Class Downloads" links will take you to the downloadable manuals and tutorials. There are also links on the individual product pages in their webstore.

The Basic Stamp is easier to learn and to program than the PIC or Atmel AVR and Parallax has developed many excellent tutorials for high school and college use for teaching about microcontrollers, programming, and robotics. You may have also heard about the Arduino which uses an Atmel microcontroller and is also intended for introductory college use, but the tutorials and documentation availabl are not quite as well developed as for the Basic Stamp.

The Activity Kit costs $99. You can also get this from RadioShack, but I think the RadioShack version doesn't include USB to serial adapter and the USB cable that you'd get from Parallax.

04-18-2010, 02:48 AM
Thank you so much for your advise and suggestion. I will surely follow up on them and proceed accordingly. I can't wait to get started, I think. I have tried to learn the AVR but there isn't much out there for tutorials unless you can read dutch. I even have the software for them, Bascom AVR and CodeVisionAvr. I purchased everything back when I was working and could afford hobbies. I never got too awful far because of the fact that there isn't that many tutorial in English and anything that I found in English was written with the assumption that you are an established programmer and it appears that the Pic is the same way. So.......I am hoping that the money is well spent on the Basic Stamp and that there won't be any disappointments in the literature and tutorials.

Again, thank you so much Mike. You were a real big help in getting started somewhere.

Many Many thanks,