Newbie needs advice

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HI Guys i am new here and to PICS in general my history is in Power
electronics rather than digital/ microprocessors but i have been asked to
try to design a controller for my friend so thought it would be a good
excuse to learn PIC programming.

I have brought a couple of books and have been scanning the internet but i
wondered if anyone could give me some pointers to some links that may help
me with this project.

The Project is to build a hand held controller for a large mechanical clock
that i have got my hands on. it is addressed by RS422 2400 baud, 7 data
bits, no parity, 2 stop bits. i have the data string as well somewhere.

the controller will need a LCD display a newmeric keypad and three other

The display will show competitor number (three digits) and faults (2 digits)
and also timing manual start but i would like to add an option latter of a
triggered start.

Which PIC would people reccomend

can anyone point me at a few links or comments here please.

Many Thanks


Re: Newbie needs advice

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MeLabs. Not free but was easy to get going right away on projects. M<elabs
has decent email support. The picBasic forum is great!

My first project pic controlled 110 VAC ignitor board for firing hand held
torch/welding systems. Second project was an exerciser/tester to life
cycle/reliability test the ignitor board. LCD readout: counts the square
wave pulses and the 15KV spark pulses generated by the Pic on the ignitor
board. cycled the ignitor board for over 50,000 tests reliably.

Great forum for help: /

Olympic timer posted here:

Samples here:

I'm relatively new to programming microcontrollers/electronics. I am looking
at C for my next project. Never used it before. So it should be an
adventure. I don't have time to learn assembly.

Re: Newbie needs advice

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All depends on what you want to achieve in the end. Are you programming in
assembler or C?. If programming in C then nows a good time to start using
the PIC18F series as Microchip have provided a free student download for the
C18 compiler (only optimisation limited after a certain number of days).
Will you be designing your own board or are you looking for a pre-built
board with as much of your required functionality as possible?.

Also, if you aren't sure if you'll have enough code space to fit your design
into, either choose a big part to start with or socket your micro. That way
its easier to upgrade should you need to. I always use the biggest part I
have and when the project is finished, drop in a part that more fits the

I have recently used the small pic boards at as it gets
you up and running quickly and is easilly changeable. But if you want to do
the whole project youself then maybie just stick with smaller DIP parts.

My opinion. Go PIC18 for C (and get an ICD2 debugger from somewhere).

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