The Justice Unlimited gadgets which use microcontrollers all used Microchip PIC microcontrollers.
The Microchip corporation has a suite of development tools for Windows which you can download for free. Check out their website and click on "PICMicro Microcontrollers", "Development Tools," and then "Software". Their software is pretty cool - it includes a simulator which allows you to run programs on different PIC microcontrollers without ever buying or building any hardware.
PIC microcontrollers are low cost (as low as 1 dollar or less) and can be ordered online through DIGIKEY (www.digikey.com)
I used the "Picstart Plus" programmer which is about the cheapest you can get and which works with any PIC device. You just plug it into a regular serial port (not USB). It comes with a CD of the free software from the Microchip website. You can buy it for $199 from DigiKey by typing "Picstart Plus" into their search window, and then clicking on "programmers."
The "F" in the partnumber indicates that the program memory is FLASH memory. This means the same chip can be erased and reprogrammed.
To decide which PIC to use for your project go to the microchip website at www.microchip.com and click on the "PICMicro Microcontrollers" link.
Datasheets for the microcontrollers used in Justice Unlimited can be obtained by going to their website or by clicking on the links below
Considering that I am a LINUX snob, I found that the Microchip software worked quite well. Much better than Microsoft software. I did all my editing in vi (vim) and then compiled it with the microchip tools (they supply their own editor too). The software worked on Windows2000 running in emulation on VMWARE on my Linux machine, but I was unable to get it to work with the programmer so I had to install a windows2000 partition and boot into it to get it all working.
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This file Copyright (C) 2004 by Nathan (Acorn) Pooley
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