PC Program

Small project here. Two cats, one (large 21 lbs) bullies the other (~12 lbs) for litter bin. Looking to setup scale with output to PC to control servo lock on litter box door based on greater than and less than clauses, mini motion detector inside box will also keep door unlocked. Can you recommend software that can take input and then communicate with the servo controller. Thanks.

Through the other threads I found my way to Parallax. I am interested in basic stamp and MPLAB software. I intend to learn through a kit and then apply to this project. In the future, I wish to apply micro-controllers to home automation. Which software do you recommend I learn and develop skills for to eventually use for home automation tasks - control temperature, blinds, lights, pool, power backup system, security, etc. Thank-you.


Parallax is probably the easiest starting point right now. If you want to go to a lower level, PIC programmers are quite cheap and MPLAB is free. It’s not really a matter of which software to learn since most development environments are similar and don’t take too long to get familiar with. The important thing is to learn the architecture of the microcontroller you are using. Download some PIC datasheets and see if you understand them. If you don’t (and don’t have someone around that does), I would recommend the Parallax offerings.

- Jan

Thanks Jan,
I think I will start with Basic Stamp. In the future I will be looking at power management control in combination with large scale brushless DC motor control. After looking at this site, Parallax, MPLAB, ATMEL, and various other sites, I still don’t know which to choose: Basic Stamp, PIC, or AVR. I can handle them all, but initially I want my PC to do all the work and I agree, Parallax seems to have better learning tools and kits.