PH351001 Contemporary Electronics Laboratory
There are two major hobby level microcontroller systems on the market. They are both functionally equivalent, and any "add-on" for one can work with the other once you work out the I/O connections. The first one is Parallax' BASIC Stamp modules, the second is the Arduino module system. I have worked with BASIC stamps for at least 15 years, and Arduino's for a few years as well.
BASIC Stamp programs are written in a specialized version of the BASIC programming language which is compiled and loaded into the module, Arduino's programs are written in a specialized version of C/C++ which is compiled and loaded into the module.
While BASIC Stamp & Arduino aficionado's might argue about "which is better", I've never found anything one could do that the other can't, and I've never found any difficulty using accessory boards marketed for one with the other, and some manufactures like Parallax sell accessory boards explicitly marketed for both.
BASIC Stamp & Arduino modules of different I/O, RAM & computation power are available, so you need to choose one powerful enough for your specific project. In both cases, the low end bare modules run about $25-$30, and the "higher end" modules are all under $100. In both cases, in general programs written for "low end" modules can be run on the "higher end" modules so if one gets into a project but find you really need to upgrade to a more powerful module, porting your program usually isn't an big issue. BASIC stamp core modules tend to be physically more compact than Arduinos & so made to be plugged into a motherboard or custom PCB, Arduino's come integrated on their own motherboard & hence are physically larger.
Parallax' BASIC Stamp
Arduino module system
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