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[DPRG] Getting Into PICs

Subject: [DPRG] Getting Into PICs
From: Martin Meier puppy_dog500 at yahoo.com
Date: Wed Nov 14 21:44:52 CST 2001

Hi Patrick:

I'm in the same situation you are with PICs. Sure they
are less expensive and more versitle than the good
'ole BASIC stamps, but where are ya supposed to begin?

For starters, the June 2001 issue of "Nuts & Volts"
had a good starters article, that had plans for a
simple flash programmer. 

The one I've been working with is the "PIC 16F84".
This seems to be a widely supported (by both free
software programmers and compilers) model. The
programmer I use is came in kit form from Tanner.
Although the software to drive it came for free from
the internet. The only downside, is that I dont think
the 16F84 series supports serial programming. In other
words, I have to remove it from the circuit, and plug
it into the programmer's socket.

Right now, I'm using a BASIC compiler that also came
>from Tanner. It was set up to mirror as much of the
BASIC Stamps functionality as possible. It works well
enough, but was not free. 

I hope this helps some
-Martin-

--- Patrick Innes <kc5ugq at yahoo.com> wrote:
> 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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