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Re: Beginning PICs
I'm a fan of the PIC. Mainly for cost reasons. I understand that there is
better microcontrollers out there but it's usually reflected in the cost.
Another reason I like the PIC is because they are so wide spread in use. You
ask a question about a PIC on the newsgroups and your almost guaranteed an
answer within ten minutes. Their new MPLAB simulator is free and fun to play
with, and it gives you a good understanding of how assembly language is

I think they are currently the number one selling micro. Surpassing Motorola
a few years back. So they must be doing something right.


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Re: Beginning PICs
Hi Tom,

Thomas Magma schrieb:
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Me too :-)
And I want to throw in 3 more arguments:
1) I have never seen more ESD/spikes/bad supply robust micros
    than the PICs, which makes it easier to do applications which
    should *not* reset every now and then.
    Forget that with AVRs. May be the main reason, PICs are
    widely used in automotive areas.
2) Programming AVR chips is a mess. Once you muck up the
    fuses, you have to tinker around to repair that.
    *Much* easier with PICs.
3) Free C compilers are available for PICs. No need to bother
    with banked RAM.

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I would install one of the free C compilers on top of MPLAB.
You should also purchase a ICD2 debugger (maybe there are
DIY projects also). This makes life much easier :-)

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No need. A bit of breadbord and a soldering iron is all you need.


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Re: Beginning PICs
I'll second the esd/spike/bad supply observation. I've even plugged
pics in backwards (Vcc pin to ground and the GND pin to +5 volts) and
had them survive. Never seen any other micro do that.

I'd look at the C18 compiler from Microchip. It's a little
non-standard, but it works. And the student edition is free. With C18
and MPLAB's simulator you can do a pretty good job of debugging before
you even think of loading code into a chip. Of course that limits you
to the 18Fxxx family of parts, but they are way easier to use than the
16Fxxx parts. Now if they would just do a 8 pin version...



Re: Beginning PICs
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I have seen an AVR (AT90S2313) survive that too.
I also have discharged myself with a very unpleasant spark to a 8051 in
operation. No problem either.


Re: Beginning PICs
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This is a common misconception with ESD in which the device continues
working but with a greatly reduced lifespan. Of course I've never seen any
evidence that I've ever ESDed anything to death and I don't know of anyone
else who has. Perhaps the device's internal protections are now good enough
that ESD doesn't need to be worried about any more?

Re: Beginning PICs
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If only that were true. I've spent several board spins on a recent
project trying to ensure that it would pass ESD testing (15kV spark
applied to all locations where a user's hand might be expected to touch
the board).

Re: Beginning PICs
I've used alot of different micros and never had problems with random
Only reason you might would be bad hardware layout or bad hardware design.

Messing with AVR  fuses is trivial. Messing with PIC banking is a huge mess.
Did I mention PIC have very poor support for pointers while AVR was designed
for pointers.
Very important to write an efficient C compiler.

The only free C compilers for the PIC are toys. AVR has free GCC C Compiler
that is highly recognized.

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Re: Beginning PICs
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Andrew M

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industry (Z8,
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Andrew M

Re: Beginning PICs
I suggest working backwards.  Ultimately, what do you plan on making or
working for?  If your ultimate killer system will need 40MHz spped and
128K of program area, start learning a system that has a path meeting
those requirements.  If you need low cost, 8K at 8MHz then your options
will be different.  If you want to work for a company that use 68HC11s
using C, then that is your starting point.  

This is like when someone asks should they get a Mac or PC.  It depends -
what are you going to do with it?

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