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[DPRG] Getting Into PICs

Subject: [DPRG] Getting Into PICs
From: Patrick Innes kc5ugq at yahoo.com
Date: Wed Nov 14 06:53:24 CST 2001

Hi there!

This may qualify as a "Frequently-Asked Question",
but...

Recently, I've been working out the planned details of
a 'bot I plan to build.  In order to reduce the load
on the main processor (planning on a Stamp of one
flavor or another), I would like to use a
multi-controller sort of architecture.  The plan is to
use a number of smaller "outboard" processors to
handle things like running sensors, positioning
servos, returning formatted data about what the
sensors see, etc.

My reading and research has pointed me in the
direction of PICs.  From what I've seen, they're
versatile, reprogrammable, fast, and (most
importantly) cheap.  I also understand that there are
software packages out there that allow you to program
them with a modified form of BASIC, which is another
plus for me, as my C is shaky, and my assembly
nonexistant.  

At this point, I've pretty much figured out that PICs
are a good way to approach the problem, but I'm not
really sure about the best way to get started with
them.  I've seen several books on the market, each
with glowing reviews claiming that they are "the
single best reference out there".  Same goes for
various programmer units on the market, from $15 kits
to $500 units.  

As cash is sort of an issue, I'd rather get some
advice before dumping a lot of money into something
that may turn out to be an expensive paperweight --
but I also don't want to get stuck with something that
was cheap but doesn't work well.  Something in the
"$200 or less" range would probably be a workable
option for me.

I know I'll probably get lots of conflicting answers,
but any help you can give me will help point me in the
right direction.

Thanks!

-- Patrick
   KC5UGQ
   Frederick, MD


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