I've recently been using the arduino Uno board and the Arduino IDE at work.
I'm at a point where i feel the atmega328 ( 8 bit MCU's more generally) are not sufficient enough for my applications and that the arduino IDE is not suitable for professional development as it offers no debugging capabilities.
A simple application that I was doing recently for example, microstepping a stepper motor with precise timing and simulatenously reading its feedback encoder (SSI interface) to detect missed steps, stretches the microcontroller's capabilities to their max ( 2 or 3 timer interrupts active, any additional piece of code inside the timer's ISR would screw up the timing) .
I want to advance my embedded system design skills and use more professional development hardware and software tools but I don't know where to starts.
I work as a mechatronics R&D engineer, so most of my embedded applications consists of reading sensors, controlling actuators (Steppers, servos) and LED's, designing user interfaces on a touch screen display. I might need to develop app controlled applications in the future.
I know that Atmel has some 16 and 32 bit MCU's and their own Atmel Studio. Should I try to play with 16 bit MCU's first? Should I try ARM based MCU's?
In any case, what development boards do you recommend? which IDE? which in system debugger? etc..
I'm aware that the choice of the MCU highly depends on the application, but in my case - working in R&D - it doesn't matter since my prototypes won't go to production and are for demo only. I prefer to use an overkill MCU platform that I know could do the job most of the time. ( if that is a bad approach for advancing my skills in embedded systems please let me know)
Any ideas and tips would be appreciated.