Thread: PIC Advice For A Newbe
FWIW, I bought the PIckit2 ...& think it's the best thing since the proverbial sliced (it even has a function that replicates the h/w normally needed to get your PIC interfaced with your PC serial comms wise ....normally you'd need to buy a signal level converter like a MAX232, but such capability is integral to the Pickit2 ...check out Uart Tool once you buy it & install the software).
Re languages, I started off thinking I'd learn assembly but alas, I spontaneously combusted when I tried to get something as simple as gettting an LED to light up!
PIC basic is much more digestible... I've got my PICs doing all sorts of stuff now ...eg just finished a program that carries out AtoD, then ultimately controls an AGC circuit based on the AtoD'ed incoming level etc ...I'd have had a beard like ZZ top trying to figure that lot out in Assembly!
Last edited by HankMcSpank; 07-06-2009 at 03:51 PM.
I use a programmer that came, well the PCB did, with the Myke Predko's book Programming and Customizing the PIC Microcontroller. Can't recommend the book but it was cheap (well mine was) and with a downloaded copy of MPLAB and the C18 compiler I've been programming away in C happily. I've always thought C a better language to program hardware in than Basic (discuss*) but each to their own.
Unless you are happy as a pig in sh*t with a soldering iron and a scope (which, sadly, I am) I'd buy the PicKit or one of the other proprietary tools.
*The main advantage for me - non-CNC related - is that there are a lot of C libraries out there for CANBus, TCP/IP stacks and on the latest PICs USB interfacing, all of which I have used - none of which are easy program in Basic. For the un-initiated CANBus is the network that talks to the engine management system on most modern cars... I did some projects linking that to a laptop via a wireless connection to monitor and adjust engine management parameters in real-time.
Thanks for eveyones input so far.
I have just had a quick google looking for the UCN8504B driver chips, could not find any UK suppliers, I did find a guy one eBay selling them, but wants £7.65 Each plus £3.75 for postage, so a min of £26.70 for 3 IC's.
Also wile I was on eBay I had a quick look at the prebuilt driver boards, most where from China/Hong Kong and only supports voltages upto 24volts.
I know going down the PIC route will cost more then a prebuilt driver, but at least once I have got the programmer I can use it for any other projects I might have.
CLaNZeR has designed and built some great PIC programmers and software, hopefully he will add to this thread
It looks like the site's spam filter isn't working that well!
http://www.cricklewoodelectronics.co...0&cat=0&page=1 (it's a great little chip)
It's only saved you a couple of quid, but at least they're UK based (& a good company at that)
I started to play around with PICs a little while back and found the following suppliers good value for money.
Tech Toys - development/test kits
Kee Electronics - mainly PIC programmers
Futurlec - lots of development/test kits for PIC's and Atmel stuff. Cheap electronic components too.
I'd avoid using BASIC and stick to C or assembler. There are a lot of free C libraries available from Microchip plus of course the free MPLAB stuff.
Worth looking at Mikroelectonika too http://www.mikroe.com/
I used to spend half my time breadboarding stuff and fiddling with wiring, now I just flick the switches on the development board to get hardware I'm interested in 'wired' up.
USB to PC for programming, debugging, ICD. A decent collection of on-board IO (leds, switches, 7 segment, GLCD, LCD, RS232, USB, PS2 etc) along with all ports brought out to headers and a collection of cheap IO boards that will connect to the headers (or make your own) all the way up to GPS, LAN, CAN etc etc.
They also have a range of compilers in various languages which all provide nice little libraries to use the peripherals making one's life very easy.
(If your projects are small then you can use the compilers in 'lite' mode for free). Want your stepper controller to have it's own web page on your network? (And who wouldn't ) it's no problem...
Once your device is working as you expect simply copy the circuit for the peripherals you use into the final design (circuit diagrams are provided for all their peripherals).
I have of course no connection with the company, but having used PICs for a long time and in a lot of ways I've simply found their products to be top notch and saved me much time and effort.
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