I'm hoping for a compare and contrast. I'm no stranger to a soldering iron, have a nice collection of 555's and various transistors, make my own circuits, etc. My applications almost always involve Input/output control to integrate certain devices with other devices such as power window behavior modification or remote start integration. (95% automotive applications)
I'm no electrical engineer though.
It is soon time to begin experimenting with microcontrollers to make more sophisticated devices. I can go either the PIC direction, or the arduino direction. As far as I can tell, the differences are:
PIC - cheaper arduino - easier
Where I almost have to do no circuit design or even construction with the arduino, and no programming more complex than I'd have to do for an HP calculator.
Not sure what is involved programming a PIC compared to arduino, but the chip cost is a couple bucks (after programmer costs) which is pretty nice. widely available, I can buy PIC chips locally in a pinch, which which I can not do with arduino.
Are there any other advantages or disadvantages to either choice besides what I've outlined already? I'm leaning toward arduino at the moment because it seems far more user friendly. But at $19 plus shipping per circuit plus a prototyping arduino for testing, that's kind of a drag! especially if I can get equivalent performance for $5 a pop plus an extra few hours of reading...