I have a PIC project, and I am new to PICs. I need to set up a development environment as cheaply as possible. Can anyone direct me to inexpensive (or free) development tools for a PIC 16F; I found nothing at GNU, and Microchip's site had me running around in circles. At this point, all that I need is an IDE (or compiler/linker) and in-system programmer, but might decide to get an ICE later.
Thanks Spehro, I will get MPLAB, but it appears that it does not include a C compiler. Having no burning need (nor desire) to write the code in Assembly, I would prefer to do it in C. With Microchip's tools, I find a bit of a quandry.... C17 or C18 for a PIC 16F -- which do you use? (and how much does it cost?).
Are there any (cheaper) 3rd party compilers that will integrate into MPLAB?
I'm not that familiar with Microchip branded compiler products. I think I tried a demo of an earlier version, but that's not representative of what they offer now. If you are going to invest in and use a C compiler you might want to consider starting off with the
18F series. Many compilers are limited to emitting code for just the
16/17 series OR the 18 series. If you buy one and then decide to use the 18F series you'll have to buy a new compiler. (The 17 series is a dead end). The 12 series may or may not be included in the 16 series compilers, but the point is pretty much moot anyhew.
You will more than likely have to learn some assembly anyhow. The 18F series is much nicer to program in assembly too, so if you want to avoid spending money that is one way to go.
Most of the compiler vendors offer demos that will work for a limited period of time and/or limited versions.
The ones I know of off the top of my head: IAR, Hitech, Bytecraft, Microchip, CCS, SDCC (in approximate order of decreasing cost and possibly other things..) I'm sure there are others.
Best regards, Spehro Pefhany
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Perhaps I am mis-representing the project scope, and my questions. I am designing the software for a 16F controller; i cannot change the hardware -- i have no control over that. Now I am presented with a C17 or a C18 compiler, but using a chip that one would think would need a C16 compiler. There is no such thing. Which do I use, and why?
And I know that any PIC C compiler from Microchip will be much more expensive than the same item from a third party; it almost goes without saying. IAR, out of the question, thats $2k or so without even looking. People are using PIC C compilers in here everyday. Cannot someone suggest a cheap alternative and give me some specific details?
If you're only interested in a C compiler for the 16F series, and you're new to PIC's, then you might want to look into the CCS PCM compiler. It will set you back around $125.00.
I prefer the CCS compiler for several reasons, but primarily because they include a ton of example sorce code, a nice web based support forum, and you have access to built-in function code in the supplied libraries.
There's also an excellent book titled "Embedded C Programming and the Microchip PIC" by Barnett, Cox & O'Cull that's writen specifically for the CCS compiler. If you go the CCS route, this book is a good addition.
There are several demo versions with limited capabilities like the CC5X C compiler at
and C2C C
Here's a good site for Hi-Tech examples
Depending on the target 16F PIC you're using, one of the freebie versions may be all you really need, but it's worth the investment (in my opinion) for the CCS PCM option.
That must be the one that came out around '96 or '97. It had some weird method of distributing code in the codespace. IIRC it cost USD 99 then.
I got an early version for some Pic work, and found bug after bug, even considering that it didn't (and couldn't, because of the PIC) approach standard C. The author was very cooperative in attempting to fix the bugs, but another one always sprang up immediately. I had to check the assembly code generated for everything. So I switched to assembly for the project and left him alone, which might have given him a chance to get it right.
Chuck F (email@example.com) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Available for consulting/temporary embedded and systems.
CCS prices on the 12 & 14-bit versions used to be $99 ea, but went up recently.
Which PIC C compiler was that?
That's one of *several* good reasons why it's handy to know assembly before getting started with a compiler. I have various time critical functions in .asm with most everything else in C. I use PicBasic Pro too when the app is relatively simple and doesn't require interrupts or fp.
Whatever you're comfortably with that gets the job done I guess..;o]