In order to get started with microcontrollers, several factors need
    to be considered.
          - cost
          - convenience
          - availability of development tools
          - intended use

    The hardware described in this section is readily available,
    affordable, and is easy to find software for.


6.1) Evaluation Kits/Boards

    Many manufacturers offer assembled evaluation kits or boards which
    usually allow you to use a PC as a host development system.  Among
    some of the more popular evaluations kits/boards are:

    Parallax Basic Stamp
       This is a small single-board controller that runs BASIC, and costs
       only $39.  A SIP version for only $29 is also available.  THE 256
       byte EEPROM can hold a program of up to about 100 instructions.
       The BASIC Stamp Programming Package is a complete development
       package for only $99.
          Parallax, Inc., 3805 Atherton Rd. 102, Rocklin, CA  95765
          (916)624-8333    Fax: (916)624-8003   BBS: (916)624-7101
          email: info@parallaxinc.com

    Motorola EVBU, EVB, EVM, EVS
       A series of very popular evaluation/development systems based on
       the 68hc11.  Comes complete with the BUFFALO monitor and varying
       types of development software.  Commonly used for university

    Motorola 68705 starter kit
       Motorola supplies a complete development system, -- software,
       hardware, simulator, emulator, manuals, etc for just $100.

    Dallas Semiconductor DS5000TK
       The DS5000TK allows evaluation of any DS5000 series device in any
       existing application without circuit changes.  The included
       DS5000T plugs into the supplied serial interface pod which
       provides a connection to a host PC.  A target cable connects the
       pod to the target system.  Programs can be downloaded directly to
       the chip (no EPROM programming!) using the built-in serial loader.
       (With Dunfield's Development System, you end up with a cheap
       "pseudo-ice".  Dunfield also has a circuit if you want to build a
       similar device.)

    Philips/CEIBO DS750
       For $100 (from Philips, from CEIBO the price is $250), you get a
       "pseudo-ice" for testing your code in-circuit.  Based on the
       low-end Philips 87c75x parts.  Allows source-code debugging in
       assembler (included), C, and PL/M, with an interface similar to
       that of Borland's Turbo Debugger.  Very popular with students and
       consultants for experimenting with 80c51 code.  Includes a VERY
       NICE book which describes the theory of operation of the board
       itself, and includes a good number of experiments that you can try
       for yourself.  Philips sold nearly 10,000 of these boards in the
       USA (and 5000 in Europe without even advertising).

    National Semiconductor's EPU
       The COP8780 Evaluation / Programming Unit (EPU) offers designers a
       low-cost ($125) tool for an introduction to National's COP8 Basic
       Family of 8-bit microcontrollers.  This development tool gives you
       an inexpensive way to benchmark and evaluate microcontroller code
       in realtime.  With its built in MIRCOWIRE/PLUS interface, it can
       interface to numerous MICROWIRE/PLUS devices such as EPROMS,
       EEPROMS, D/As, A/Ds, DASs, and others, to give a full featured
       system.  The system includes the EPU board, assembler and debugger
       software, sample code, very limited C compiler, wall power supply,
       documentation, and a really great box :-).

    Zorin BOTBoard
       The BOTBoard is a low cost and powerful single board computer
       based on the Motorola HC11E series Microcontroller.  The Zorin
       kits make it easy to create many types of computer controlled
       applications.  Get the optional servo motors to create walking
       machines, robotic arms, animated art and more!  Program the
       on-chip memory from any computer or terminal using the Buffalo
       monitor, or use the PC software included with the kit. The eight
       page assembly manual includes example code to operate the servo
          Zorin / POB 30547 / Seattle, WA 98103-0547

6.2) Easy chips to use

    In addition, several chips provide a similar capability if you are
    willing to spend a bit of time wiring up a simple circuit.  A few
    chips worth looking at are:

    Motorola MC68HC11A8P1
       Contains Motorola's BUFFALO monitor which has the same
       functionality as the one on Motorola's evaluation boards.  A
       working system can be built with this chip and a Maxim MAX-232.
       You can talk to it with a PC or Mac over a 3-wire RS232
       connection.  It is easy to load and run anything you want in the
       on-board RAM and EEPROM.  You can even use subprograms in the
       BUFFALO monitor after getting a listing from Motorola's BBS or ftp
       site.  This BBS/ftp site also has freeware assemblers to make a
       complete development environment cheaply and quickly.

    Intel 8052AH-BASIC
       This popular chip with hobbyists is another easy way to get
       started.  You can download high level code from your host.  The
       disadvantages are that you can't get away from a multi-chip
       solution, the code is noticeably slow, you have to buy an MCS
       BASIC manual, you are detached from the inner workings, there
       aren't many on-chip goodies like A/D, and you can forget about
       running off of a battery.

    Dallas Semiconductor DS5000/DS2250
       These are well suited even for electronics ignoramuses (ignorami?)
       such as myself.  All you need to add is a crystal and two
       capacitors to end up with a working system.  These chips come
       complete with non-volatile RAM in the form of static RAM (at least
       8K) backed up with a lithium battery.  Everything is saved -
       program, data, and bugs ;-).

    MicroChip PIC '5x series
       With only 33 instructions, this chip is definitely easy to use!
       Using Parallax's assembler, the instruction set is ** MUCH ** less
       intimidating than MicroChip's opcodes!  These chips simply need
       power, ground, and 1 of 4 different timing circuits. Doesn't get
       much easier than that!  With I/O pins that are beefy (25mA per pin
       sink, 20mA per pin source) and drive both high and low,
       interfacing is super easy.  It's great to hook LEDs and such
       directly to output pins with only a resister in-line!

6.3) Software (Cheap and easy)

    You can search for free software for development, but you often get
    what you pay for.  What is sorely lacking in freeware is technical
    support.  Several packages are available that provide complete
    development environments for some of the more popular
    microcontrollers.  If you want to be productive right away, think
    about investing $100 or so - it'll be well worth the price!

    I've been playing with the Dunfield Development System lately (on the
    8051), and it's really quite nice.  I've also heard many good things
    about it from others.  It includes a near ANSI-C compiler, run-time
    library with source, assembler, ROM debugger, integrated development
    environment, monitor with source, utilities, and other extras.
    Although not freeware, the low price ($100), the features, all of the
    extra goodies, and the good reviews make this a package worth looking
    at.  Also, if you're interested in working on more than one family of
    microcontroller, Dunfield supports a wide range.  This means only
    needing to learn one system, instead of many.  The following chips
    are supported:  6805, 6809, 68hc11, 68hc16, 8051/52, 8080/85, 8086,
    and 8096.  A package including a simulator and a resident monitor
    debugger are also available for the 8051 for $50.
          Dunfield Development Systems
          P.O. Box 31044, Nepean, Ontario  K2B 8S8   Canada
          (613)256-5820   Fax: (613)256-5821
          Email:  ddunfield@bix.com

    A decent C compiler for the 68hc11 comes from ImageCraft.  This
    package, which runs under DOS and OS/2, includes a near ANSI C
    compiler, assembler, linker, librarian, ANSI C functions and headers,
    and 90 page manual.  The current release is version 1.02 of their
    compiler.  The price is just $40.  Initial feedback on this compiler
    seems promising.  The pre-release versions are already in use by many
    of you, and will still be available as freeware.
          P.O. Box 64226, Sunnyvale, CA 94086-9991
          (Richard Man) imagecft@netcom.com

    Another low priced ($100) C compiler comes from Micro Computer
    Control.  Cross compilers running under DOS are available for the
    8051 and the Z8 (including Super-8).  This package includes a C
    compiler, assembler, linker, librarian, and extensive printed
    documentation.  A simulator/source code debugger is available for an
    additional $79.95.
          Micro Computer Control Corporation
          PO Box 275, 17 Model Ave., Hopewell, NJ  08525
          (609)466-1751   Fax: (609)466-4116   BBS: (609)466-4117
          Email: 73062.3336@compuserve.com

    C isn't the only development system available (yeah, I know that's
    hard to believe) - good solid Basic and Forth development systems are
    also available.  Refer to the appropriate FAQ for the microcontroller
    that you are using for more information on free and commercial
    development systems.

    If the Microchip PIC is your game, then check out the Parallax tools
    (available on their ftp and web sites).  All Parallax software is
    available free of charge to all takers!  This includes PSIM (a PIC
    simulator), PASM (an assembler for '5x parts), and PASMX (an
    assembler for 'xx parts).  These are the full commercial versions,
    not hobbled in any way!