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Old 02-12-2012, 06:34 PM
 
Location: Wicker Park, Chicago
4,791 posts, read 13,329,390 times
Reputation: 1945

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Are Radioshack's MicroController Kits Worth It?

Back in college I took a class in PC Data Acquisition and Control. Messed around with motor control using the Serial Port. I guess nowadays everything uses USB ports?

But are these RS kits worth it to get to practice / hack / learn on?
RadioShack.com

Or do you know of anything better that's used in industrial settings like in actual industrial automation / PC Data acquisition and control. - Actual stuff that machine design firms use also?
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Old 02-12-2012, 07:49 PM
 
Location: Tyler, TX
15,210 posts, read 18,493,942 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse69 View Post
Messed around with motor control using the Serial Port. I guess nowadays everything uses USB ports?
No, not everything.

USB is good when you need the speed. The chips that control serial ports are "legacy" technology, and are rarely included in modern computers for that reason, and the fact that there just aren't a lot of consumers that need them.

But RS-232 is alive and well - especially in industrial and hobby applications. It's proven technology with rock solid reliability.

Just two days ago, I set up a fax server at our office, using an external modem connected to the serial port of an old PC...

As for the Radio Shack kits, I don't have an answer for you. I just wanted to chime in on serial ports.
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Old 02-12-2012, 07:59 PM
 
Location: Wicker Park, Chicago
4,791 posts, read 13,329,390 times
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Serial ports are ancient technology. I see a rare few PC motherboards made with serial ports. If I had to mess around with micro-controllers I'll go with modern USB technology.
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:25 PM
 
Location: Wandering.
3,545 posts, read 5,680,797 times
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The Arduino is a great device.

It's a nice wrapper and IDE around a solid C based controller. It's a great price (Get the UNO unless you really need the extra IO of the Mega), and it's backed by a really incredible community.

The entire thing is also open source (hardware, software, IDE, etc.). If the price of an assembled unit is too much, you can always grab the raw components and build one yourself.

There are a bunch of places to get them as well. Radio Shack is a bit late to the game, but the price is fair.

While it is USB, it's using a virtual serial port driver to make the connection, so programing against it (on the PC side) with almost any language is a breeze.

Arduino - HomePage Main Arduino web site, includes a huge amount of info.

Arduino Forum - Index Arduino forum

Adafruit Industries, Unique & fun DIY electronics and kits Makes some great kits, and lots of tutorials.
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:54 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,545 posts, read 55,469,830 times
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It has been a while, but Omega had catalogs of the real stuff used. MEGA expensive unless you bought in bulk. One of the companies that used to make single lead dongles had a whole line of products along those lines. Agree that arduino and clones are the current hobbiest hot toys.
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Old 01-11-2013, 05:37 AM
 
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Hello Jesses, I am agree your statement that Serial ports are ancient technology. I see a rare few PC motherboards made with serial ports. If I had to mess around with micro-controllers I'll go with modern USB technology. Nowadays, there are various networks technology available in the market. Zigbee, Xbee, Plc analyzer and more. XBee Cheat Sheet is one of the type of Networks technology. It is used in Linux for network communication.
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Old 01-13-2013, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Wicker Park, Chicago
4,791 posts, read 13,329,390 times
Reputation: 1945
I wonder if there is an industrial use USB microcontroller in use and what is it? How do you program on it too?
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