How to choose development board for beginner to learn microcontroller

The development board is the best tool for learning microcontroller technology. There are many development board types on the market. As a beginner, how to choose a development board kit that suits you? This article introduces from the aspects of learning requirements, peripheral circuits of development boards, and learning materials, microcontroller types etc.

development board

(1) Beginners mainly learn some basic functions of microcontrollers, such as common I/O port input and output control, use of timers, use of external interrupt ports, use of PWM module functions, use of ADC analog-to-digital conversion interfaces, and some commonly used communication: SCI communication, IIC communication, SPI communication, etc. It is almost enough to understand and master the basic usage of the above functions.

(2) See if the development board covers the peripheral circuits of the basic functions of the microcontroller.

The microcontroller development board generally integrates the common peripheral circuits of the microcontroller (for example, the primary board generally includes running lights, digital tubes, temperature sensors such as DS18B20, IDC, independent button matrix, button electrical buzzer, and some It will also be equipped with infrared sensors, LCD screens, etc.), so that beginners can easily learn the design method of hardware circuits.

8051 development board components
microcontroller development board schematic
8051 microcontroller development board circuit diagram

(3) See if there is a detailed example program for this development board.

Only some simple development board examples are needed, such as I/O port lighting LED indicators, collecting analog values, SPI interface LCD display, IIC interface ROM, I/O port keyboard, external interrupt keyboard, etc., do not need to be too complicated interface, such as USB interface, Ethernet extension, camera extension, etc.

microcontroller development boards examples

(4) Choose the microcontroller type that suits you.

There are many platforms for microcontrollers, such as 51 microcontrollers, AVR microcontrollers, STM microcontrollers, etc. When you first start learning microcontroller, it is generally recommended to start with 51 microcontroller, because 51 microcontroller is relatively not so rich in on-chip resources, it is easier to understand, and relatively simple and easy to use. Also 51 development boards are widely used in the market, and the search information is more comprehensive, which is more convenient for learning.

After you have some understanding and familiarity with the 51 microcontroller, you can learn some enhanced high-performance microcontrollers and some microcontrollers with rich on-chip resources, step by step. Then transition to the learning of the operating system of the 32-bit microcontroller. If you are interested, you can slowly expand later.

When learning microcontroller, most people don’t want to invest too much money when they first get started. Maybe they just want to try whether their interest in learning microcontroller can be raised, or whether they can get in. But if you just read books, you can’t learn it in a year.  There are also some people who first learn microcontrollers through simulation software, which is indeed the lowest cost, but the disadvantages are also obvious. They do not have an intuitive feeling for the hardware, and the circuits built are usually unable to be applied in practice. Instead, they will use the fixed thinking in the simulation software. Bring it into the subsequent hardware-based learning process, causing unnecessary misunderstandings in thinking. Therefore, we suggest that beginners buy a development board for IOT to learn the microcontroller, practice by yourself, and progress quickly! Through the development board kit, you can learn:

  • Theoretical knowledge of microcontroller;
  • The design of the peripheral circuit of the microcontroller (for example, let you use the microcontroller to drive an LED, then how to connect the microcontroller and the LED closely together, for example, to realize the specified flickering or lighting up of the display, how should this circuit be designed?);
  • With the help of this development board kit, you can also learn a lot of control methods, including the registers of the microcontroller, and the programming of on-chip resources.

So having a microcontroller development board of your own is great helpful for learning microcontrollers.


As a beginner, it is recommended to buy a development board kit to learn microcontroller technology, because the circuit on the development board has been designed, and there is no need to build the circuit by yourself, which is very helpful for beginners.

After get the development board, if you don’t know how to program in the early stage, you can look at the detailed example programs, figure out the purpose of each statement, and understand the meaning of the examples, you can change the program on the original basis to change its functions, and observe whether the expected results are achieved.

After learning all the examples, the microcontroller is almost familiar, and you can program and design a project by yourself to exercise your ability.

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