Arduino buyers guide and the Seeeduino

seeeduino

Make has assembled a buyers guide for the many different types of Arduino devices. The Arduino is an open hardware platform designed to make prototyping easily accessible. The design allows for other people to modify, expand, and improve on the base, and many people have started producing their own versions. The guide features a lot of the hardware we’ve covered in the past like the LilyPad, Arduino Pro, Sanguino, Duemilanove, Ethernet Shield, and Freeduino.

Out of the pack, the Seeeduino (pictured above) definitely caught our eye. It’s a low profile SMD design much like the Arduino Pro. They’ve taken advantage of the space saved by the SMD ATmega168 by adding more useful headers. In addition to the ICSP, you get the pins in UART order and an I2C header. Vcc is switch selectable for 3.3 or 5volts. The reset switch has been moved to the edge plus two additional ADC pins. Our favorite feature is the new spacing on the digital pins. Arduino digital pin headers have an inexplicable 160mil gap between the banks. The Seeeduino has the standard row for shield compatibility, but has an additional row spaced at standard 100mil spacing for use with protoboard. At $23.99, it’s competitively priced too.

Comments

  1. Curtisbeef says:

    Is there a PIC equivalent to Arduino’s? I like PIC a little better. And it would be nice to have a nice small Dev board for PIC’s with the included USB chip…

  2. rivetgeek says:

    @Curtisbeef

    Why on earth would you choose pic over atmega168? atmega168 is faster, fuller featured, and more readily available. Its like saying you prefer a 1982 Dodge over a Ferrari

  3. dax says:

    I’m a pretty happy owner of two iDuino’s. Mostly because they were one of the cheapest w.r.t. shipping to canada.
    It’s pretty awesome to see this much selection! Great list.

  4. Curtisbeef says:

    Alot of people prefer PIC’s tbh… It has far more compiler options and alot of pre-written code also I haven’t had a single problem with speed in any of my projects, granted im not taxing the possessor to the max or anything… Microchip also has a TON more support and app notes for there microprossesors than Atmel…

    Your argument saying its like a Dodge over a Ferrari is dumb. I buy a Chip that is sutible for my needs I dont go and buy the BEST one they make for my project… if you wanna go that route id say “OMG you should use ARM cause its like a ferrari compaired to a AVR/PIC”

    I didn’t want to turn my post into a AVR vs PIC thing I was just simply asking if someone has come out with a small SMD Pic development board on par with this…

  5. jproach says:

    You can’t say an atmega168 is faster than a PIC, when you have no clue which model you are comparing it to. Personally I would completely avoid the PIC 12/14/16 series, and start with 18 or higher.

    As for dev boards, there are two cheap (~$45) ones on futurlec, not quite as clean as this one though.

    Also I’d have to disagree with you on the compiler issue. Having more options isn’t necessary a good thing. Especially when you have an amazing free compiler available (AVR-GCC).

  6. Curtisbeef says:

    ya I hear ya idk why that guy tried to turn this into a PIC vs AVR argument… I use what I use… PIC18F4550 have worked for me in the past and im familiar with them and the Compiler that I use(CCS C) no reason for me to change my setup…

  7. Thomascpp says:

    >>Is there a PIC equivalent to Arduino’s? I like PIC a little better. And it would be nice
    >>to have a nice small Dev board for PIC’s with the included USB chip…

    Yes there is. It’s called a Picaxe(http://www.rev-ed.co.uk/picaxe/). It can be programed with basic or a flowchart. all you need to program a picaxe is a 3 pin serial cable (Tx, Rx and Ground) and the software which you can get free off the website. The major differences between a Picaxe and a Arduino is that the Picaxe firmware is proprietary and that the picaxe is a one chip solution.

  8. Thomascpp says:

    oops! I forgot to mention that picaxes are tons cheaper than an Arduino and have to be bought preloaded with the firmware.

  9. therian says:

    to which PIC are you comparing to ? to grandy 16F84 ? to you knowledge Microchip have not stop on that chip and move on making some newer models

  10. ???? says:

    the 18F24K20/25K20/44K20/45K20 are rated for 64mhz=16mips. Arduino runs a 16mhz = 16mips. it could run at twenty, but overclocking of the pic is possible so essentially they are somewhat equivalent.

  11. steve says:

    Well I went with avr over pic (and I have used both in the past) for one good reason: Linux compatibility. avr-gcc is a great compiler that’s not only free as in beer but free as in speach. I can run it on any kind of computer I want. I was also able to find a cheap ($23) linux compatible usb programmer. there are lots of code examples and appnotes. I have not and will not get an arduino as I’m allready set up for attinys and atmegas, I’m just not going to pay $20 to $30 a pop when many of the projects I do can be done on an attiny13 for $1.50 or an attiny2313 for $4. One thing to keep in mind is the arduino is a totally open design, not only is the firmware opensource (unlike a picaxe) but so is the hardware so if I wanted to make and sell my own arduinos there wouldn’t be a problem. this is why they are so cheap and popular. they are the cheapest way to get into microcontrollers (that will run on windows, mac or linux) and come with the total freedom that opensource provides; if you made a product based on an avr/arduino you would have a lot fewer legal issues mass producing it then if you had used a pic/picaxe. ’cause on the pic you would need a comercial licence for your (not so) free (anymore) compiler and the firmware/hardware for the picaxe.

  12. Mastro Gippo says:

    Steve, Pic C30 compiler is now free ad open source. It’s based on gcc too. You don’t need any licence to sell product based on PICs. I don’t know about picaxe, but I wouldn’t use them in a commercial design anyway.

  13. ellis says:

    I would love start hacking with the Arduino but I hate its IDE dependency on Java (please don’t ask why, not a place for flamewars here). Are there any alternatives to the original IDE?

  14. keystoneclimber says:

    There are a ton of development boards for pics. One that I like is microEngineering Labs lab-x1. Its expensive though and there are probably better options if you are looking to use graphics lcds, flash memory cards, etc. If you want cheap boards to include permanently in a project, check out the simmsticks from Dontronics (or hobbyengineering in the US)

    These are only development boards. To fully answer your question, I don’t know of an arduino equivalent for pics. The thing with the arduino is that it is a completely open source, multi platform development board, IDE and compiler combined. I’m pretty sure this doesn’t exist for pics, yet.

    Ellis, there are tutorials on how to use Eclipse with Arduinos. I somewhat agree with you. I have no problems with Java as a whole, only the fact that Arduino doesn’t work properly with the latest java version on linux. (namely the keyboard shortcuts ctrl c, ctrl v, etc.)

  15. Daniel says:

    The alignment of the digital pins to a 2.54mm grid is a big one in my mind. Well done!

  16. Ufoguy says:

    I own an arduino and this is what I’ve observed. For an absolute beginner and people who just wanna do stuff but don’t wanna get their hands deep into programming Arduino is the best. You can just copy and paste most of the code and the community is more than ready to help a noob. I don’t think that’s the case with PIC. BTW can someone tell me if Picaxe and Pic are different or based on the same ….

    • Ufoguy,

      Before I get started I’m sorry for any inaccuracies in this post! I believe it to be correct but someone else may say otherwise.

      PICAXE chips are based on the PIC chips but have Rev-Ed’s proprietary firmware installed on them.

      The difference between PIC and PICAXE is that PICAXE chips have a built in interpreter and boot-loader, whereas PIC’s don’t have any firmware pre-installed.

      This means that PICAXE generally is easier and cheaper to start off with, especially for education purposes, because although the PICAXE chips are a little more expensive than PICs, the equipment and software required is much cheaper (for example, a PICAXE prototyping board can be had for as little as £1.10ish which includes the serial interface used to download code to the chip, and the programming software is free).

      However, for batch production the PIC is better as you’re not limited to using Rev-Ed’s proprietary software, the costs will be lower when using a bulk batch of them, and the PICAXE chips are slightly slower than a normal PIC chip because of Rev-Ed’s firmware.

      For what it’s worth, I’ve used PICAXE a fair bit. They’re cheap and easy to program (you can even use flowcharts). However, I am planning on buying an Arduino Uno R3 board in order to compare them.

      I hope this rather lengthy post helps!

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