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DPRG: Real good riddle.

Subject: DPRG: Real good riddle.
From: David Beckham dbeckham at bectec.com
Date: Sat Jul 26 17:26:12 CDT 1997

droid at bellatlantic.net wrote:
> I am facing pretty tough choice here...
> The Microengeneering labs,Inc is a supplier of a PIC microcontrollers.
> Now...They offer something called PicBasic. It is said to be a compiler.
> They tell me that whatit does is converts teh program that write in
> PBasic to assembler and then to HEX. The PBasic they offer includes
> inline assmebler....now...there comes a good one.
> for $179.99 they offer this bundle(I have placed a individual prices in
> the parenthesis )
> PBasic compiler,($99 when purchased alone)
> EPIC Plus Programmer($60but that is only a programmer, with no cables or
> adapter. The one with the 40 pin adapter and cables and AC adapter costs
> $99)
> AC Adapter($10)
> 25 Pin cable($10)
> PIC Proto18 ($10)
> PIC16F84 ($7)
> Now...The $179 seems so be the best bundle here since if I Wanted to buy
> the whole thing but without the PBasic compiler, well It would cost kind
> of more, right ? (I hope my math is still right).
> The thing is...I don't know a thing about the assembler. I have seen some
> example codes and to tell you the truth,,,this thing looks like
> someone designed it while drinking the rest of his cappucino late at
> night. I know that the PBasic wil compile the code for me but I can't run
> away from it. I mean it will get me sooner or later. I can program in
> other languages tough :
> CBM Basic
> Apple II Applesoft Basic
> Qbasic
> Boland C
> Borland Turbo C++ (v 3.0 for DOS)
> Borland Turbo Pascal 7.0(for DOS)
> All of these programming languages do make sense, maybe that's becasue
> they are sort of human soun'a'like. Well, in the assembler it looks
> rather differnt, you have all these registers, accumulators, and whole
> lot of other stuff.
> Since I want to, well I should say I HAVE to learn the assembler, I
> believe that PIC chip should not be TOO complicated and I hope that it
> will allow me to learn a WHOLE lot about the guts of teh whole
> chip(Someone told me that to be efficient or even programm at all in the
> assembler you HAVE to know the guts of a chip...kind of makes sense to
> me... :(   )
> But (yeah...every teacher always repeated not to use "but" at the
> beginning of the sentence...I guess I had to sleep on this one) I don't
> even know where to start learning this language. I mean...I thought of
> buying this Easy PIC'n since it says teh  it teaches the assembler and
> the chip itself(PIC16F84). There is only a tiny problem. This is a single
> book that I would have(since library has nothing ,well except 1 or two
> books that include word assembler in their title...they didn't look
> rather for beginner when I looked at them.) Now when I will have some
> question...hell I have no idea of who to ask. I mean...I can't write to
> the DPRG group eery time I have a question, because this would become an
> assembler newsgroup. So I was wondering if this Easy PIC'n book is a good
> place to start, I mean from the description it seems to be just what I am
> looking for but you can't tase it by smelling it right ?
> I have looked at the Waldenbooks (a book-selling chain of stores) and all
> tehy have is stuff for the like advanced things or for IBM computers...it
> didn't look to easy..well nothing is easy and I don't expect it to be but
> why should I spend my money on the book which will collect a dust and my
> son will pick it up years from now and say :"God damn...why did you buy
> this book, IT SUCKS !!" So I think I will go for the Easy PIC'n unless
> somene would think it is a bad idea...(if so please expleain)
> Additionally, is there anything on the WWW where there would be some kind
> of tutorial about the assembler...I mean like a basics..?
> And another Q.
> I know that Borland C and C++ (for DOS) have something called IDE
> compiler..if I'm not mistaken that means that the whole thing is
> integrated in single editor. Every assembler I have seen on the WWW is
> old style ...which means the you write your programm with the DOS EDIT
> and then compile it back in DOS and all...is there an assembler for the
> microcontrollers which would look similar to the C or C++ (not commands
> of course, DUHHHH, the feel and integration where you can write your
> program in the on window then press button and thing compiles it)
> I will GREATLY appreciate any response to this letter. Thank you all.
> :)
> :)
> :)
> :)
> :)
> :)
> :)
> :)
> P.S.   :)

Dear Droid;

I sympathize with you because I'm going through the same sort of thing
with Motorola's 68HC11 architecture, and have never programmed in
Assembly either.  That doesn't help you much, I know.

However, I do have the Easy PIC'n book (and am building a programmer
>from a bare board I got from Wirz Electronics for $10 - there are lots
of options around on the Net) for when I get around to further studies
in PICs.  The 16C84/16F84 has a lot of 'bot appeal, particularly for
smaller 'bots.  Anyway, just judging from the writing style, Benson
(author) knows his stuff (of course, as I said, I haven't tried this at
home yet :-)  He seems to explain adequately without over explaining
(which means you will have to read it numerous times, because he doesn't
say it numerous times - the information is there, but you may have to
dig - painful, I know, but there it is :-)  All the business of
registers, I/O pins, Assembler directives, memory maps, etc. are there
in the book, and it isn't all that thick a book.  I only wish there were
just such a book on the MC68HC11 family!  (Anyone know of one, PLEASE
email me :-)

Also, PBASIC is dead-easy to program in, and compiles very nicely,
downloads smoothly, gives you generally understandable error messages,
and works as sort of IDE-Lite (at least the Stamp.exe version of the
compiler).  IDE, by the way, is Integrated Development Environment which
might be over-stating the case, but at least you don't have to leave it
to edit code, complile, and download.  It's a bit annoying because it
uses "similar" editing commands to Windows, but often uses the Alt key
where Windows uses the Ctrl key, such as in Copy, Cut, and Paste.  

I think I ordered the Easy PIC'n book from Dontronics on-line, and it
came pretty quickly because it was probably shipped from Wirz in the US.
Even though I haven't used it much yet, I believe it was well worth the
money (and you could save more than the cost by doing a little surfing
in search of build-it-yourself programmer options - they're really not
that complicated).

Hope this helps.

- -- 
	David Beckham in Chatsworth (WRR-a-L, DPRG)
	Home of ARBE-ONE the "Model T" of Mobile Bases.
	Now offering TCOMP tiny computers by Ray Butts,
	(ARBE-ONE's inventor).



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