How do I start?

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Hi everybody,

I'd like to know how a program is built. It is built in a PIC 16F870-1/sp.
So I have to read out the hex code, and try to understand
What hardware do I need, and what software. Where can I find all the data of
this microcontroller.
Does anyone know what is the difference between 16F870 and 16F870-1/sp?

Thank you very very much for information.


Re: How do I start?

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A good place to start would be Microchip's web site,
There you will find data sheets and other useful information.  You will
need some sort of programmer to read out the code from the chip, and
after you do, it's not likely to make a lot of sense.  Going from hex
code to understandable english won't be easy, and you will need the data
sheets to tell instructions from interrupt vectors using the addresses
and other info contained in the data sheets.

Re: How do I start?

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Hello Tom,

Thank you very much for your answer. I already found the data on I also found several programmers and software.
Most of the programmers can be used for a lot of IC's. I also found several
programs fot pc (sometimes in combination with the hardware like GALEP4)
I once did a course about microprocessors, how they exactly work in machine
code. That where the Intel 8080, Z80 the 6800 and 6502. So I'm al little bit
familiar with it. But I understand that you have to make a program in a
higher level language? most easy for me is basic I guess, though I did a
little Pascal programming.

So the questions I have is, what programmer do you suggest, which program on
my pc, and how do I write a simple program, in what language or

My goal is to understand how my central heat unit works, what program is
behind it. I know it starts with, leak check, ventilation of the boiler,
ignition, test if there is ignition fire, open the main gas valve....

I also read something about protection of the program, that that is possible
with the 16F870. I can imagine that programmers want to protect their
program ofcourse.

Thank you for answer and advice.

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Re: How do I start?

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I would recommend the EasyPic3 from Mikroelectronica.  For $169 you get
    a board with loads of peripherals, code limited C, Pascal and Basic
compilers, the latest MPLAB IDE from microchip.  With this you could
very likely duplicate most if not all of your furnace functions.
Yes, there is a code protection switch in the chip, set it during
programming and the chip can not be read, only erased.

You might also want to look at ComFileTech's Cublock starter systems,
they're reasonably priced and use a combination of basic and "ladder
Logic", they are much better suited to industrial or furnace control, as
you deal directly with relays, switches and conditions.  Based on an
Atmel chip, but the language is not specific, and it's sort of basic
stamp 2 compatable.

Hope I haven't confused you too much.

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