Author Topic: Is it for me  (Read 4571 times)

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Offline M0BSW

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Is it for me
« on: April 01, 2013, 01:06:38 pm »
In my amateur radio hobby there seems to be a lot of homebrew equipment that uses  PIC chips,  now I've never programed a chip in my whole life, can anyone recommend hardware/software ,that I need to do this, as to be honest I find the whole issue confusing, on the other hand some of these projects that used this type of programming chips are just fantastic. I should imagine there is something you plug into the computer to put I again assume a binary code into a chip, which you would put into the circuit, then at that point I start glazing over. :-//
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Offline updatelee

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Re: Is it for me
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2013, 01:52:50 pm »
Ive never used PIC's. I use Arduino's, they are pretty cheap and easy to use. Honestly though I dont really think it matter what you choose, both seem to have really good support and a large following.
 

Offline ecat

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Re: Is it for me
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2013, 01:54:49 pm »
I was about to recommend starting with a PicKit3 (the programmer) and a ready built Microchip development board. As a ready made kit the big pro is all the uncertainties are removed also you should receive a few demo programs. The big con is the additional cost of a dev board that may never have a practical use outside of the initial couple of weeks playing around.

But then!

I had a quick look to see what was available and found this for £28 :
http://uk.farnell.com/microchip/dm164135/kit-onepic-demo-board-plus-pickit/dp/2082441

Everything I can find on this confirms it does indeed ship with a Pickit3. The Pickit3 itself usually costs about £30 and the above adds 3 pic chips, display, bits and bods - to me it's a no-brainer. See what the other guys have to say first and give Farnell a call just to make absolutely certain the item is board including 3 pic micros AND pickit3. You will struggle to find a cheaper/better introduction to pics.

 Edit:
I may as well dump these Microchip links here too
http://www.microchipdirect.com/productsearch.aspx?Keywords=DM164135
http://www.microchip.com/stellent/idcplg?IdcService=SS_GET_PAGE&nodeId=1406&dDocName=en559296

« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 01:56:34 pm by ecat »
 

Offline Ax_6

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Re: Is it for me
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2013, 02:03:51 pm »
If you want to program a PIC chip you need a programmer. I suggest to use a PicKit2 or a PicKit3 (which actually supports newest PICs). The software I use to program PICs is mplab x ide that can be downloaded directly from the microchip site. To make your software you also have to know some basic programming knowledge and if you want to write your program in C then you will also have to download the xc compiler. Finnally I would also consider to buy an Arduino (UNO or MEGA maybe), if you don't want to make any serious project which requires much resources, because it is a LOT easier to program and making software for it (the board itself can be directly plug into the PC).

I personally use either Arduino and PICs. When I have to make projects where I have to know what I'm doing I prefer PICs while when I have to make something of easy and fast then I prefer an Arduino.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 02:06:34 pm by Ax_6 »
 

Offline M0BSW

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Re: Is it for me
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2013, 02:15:16 pm »
Thank you everyone, all these radio amateur has the codes apparently you just type them in and all the magic is done in the computer, I just don't to let this slip by, you have all given me somewhere to start which is more than I had a couple of hours ago cheers
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Offline hans

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Re: Is it for me
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2013, 08:01:01 pm »
For programming (or 'flashing' a chip) with firmware, what you need is...

- The target chip itself (get the same model number)
- A HEX file containing the firmware
- A programming tool, like a PICKIT3, sometimes also called an ISP
Watch out tho, every vendor has their own series of tools. So you cannot 'just' program a Atmel AVR microcontroller with a PICKIT, or vice versa.

With PICKIT3 you can flash (almost) every PIC chip with firmware. It's a matter of connecting the programming pins to your target chip, connecting the PICKIT3 to your computer and programming the HEX file with something like MPLAB or (easier) the PICKIT3 utility. A HEX file contains the firmware for a microcontroller, and the PICKIT3 can write (flash) it into one.

If you want to write new software yourself (design your own projects etc.), it's a bit harder because you have to learn a programming language. Then it's probably best to get the same stuff (either an Arduino, or PICKIT3, or whatever you want to use) and pick up some programming tutorials.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 08:02:44 pm by hans »
 

Offline M0BSW

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Re: Is it for me
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2013, 08:55:37 pm »
 Yes Thank you  Hans,  that's helped a lot, I used to play with DOS programing about 20 Years ago, I have some amateur radio that has firmware updates I could do with, and it would be nice if I could do them myself, without having to ask the same poor fellow radio ham, you sometimes get a written copy of the hex which you put on an existing chip, after you've made a copy of first chip, and add such things a callsigns , parameters' ect  and to personalise the radio.
Paul
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Offline JTR

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Re: Is it for me
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2013, 04:57:42 pm »

But then!

I had a quick look to see what was available and found this for £28 :
http://uk.farnell.com/microchip/dm164135/kit-onepic-demo-board-plus-pickit/dp/2082441

Everything I can find on this confirms it does indeed ship with a Pickit3. The Pickit3 itself usually costs about £30 and the above adds 3 pic chips, display, bits and bods - to me it's a no-brainer. See what the other guys have to say first and give Farnell a call just to make absolutely certain the item is board including 3 pic micros AND pickit3. You will struggle to find a cheaper/better introduction to pics.


Wow! That is a discovery and relatively (to microchip's usual prices) great value! RS in Oz have the kit for $55Aud. Cheaper than a stand alone pickit 3.

Thanks for that heads-up.  :-+

The only thing that is a little disappointing is that the PIC24 is a GA series and not a GB (USB) part. However that will not make a big difference for most people.
 

Offline Rufus

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Re: Is it for me
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2013, 03:04:18 pm »
I had a quick look to see what was available and found this for £28 :
http://uk.farnell.com/microchip/dm164135/kit-onepic-demo-board-plus-pickit/dp/2082441

Everything I can find on this confirms it does indeed ship with a Pickit3.
The Microchip part number is DM164135. lt comes with a PICKit 3, a USB cable, an Energizer AAA battery, the One PIC board, some junk paperwork and an obsolete MPLAB CD.

It is the cheapest way to get a PICKit 3 from Farnell and you get a free One PIC board and battery :)

Documentation on the One PIC board is limited. After some searching this is the only place I found a schematic http://microcontrollerkits.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/one-pic-microcontrollerplatform.html
 

Offline KennyG

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Re: Is it for me
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2013, 08:58:28 pm »
Following up on RUFUSs comment  - Slides and other files relating to the seminar that used the DM164135 demo kit may may be found here:
http://www.microchip.com/pagehandler/en-us/promo/picmcuplatformdemo/home.html
More specifically, the slides appear to be in the following pdf:
http://ww1.microchip.com/downloads/en/Market_Communication/Microchip%27s%20Technical%20Training%20Seminar%202012%20Rev%2010.pdf
For just £28 from Farnell It has to be worth a punt
 

Offline PA4TIM

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Re: Is it for me
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2013, 09:19:22 pm »
I also just started using those things because they are handy. I still use a lot of analog design, I like that more but instead of analog meters I started using 2x16 LCD's and a uP to display the data. My first project used an Arduino programed atmel328. I used it to display the power measured by a AD8317 and made a counter that reads up to 2 GHz and turned out to be very accurate. But I did not use the standars arduino way of measuring frequency because that sucks.

I am going to use the TI MSP403 launchpad and energia as IDE. for my next project. The IDE is a pure arduino copy in use, looks and commands, so it is easy to learn and lots of information.  The launcpad costs only 9.99 dollar incl usb cable and extra processor. And if you want to use a programmed MSP in a project than it is very handy the pin layout on the launchpad is the same as the IC itself. But for 9,99 who cares, I just use the whole launchpad. It will be a powermeter that does DC to 1 MHz upto 300V AC and DC, and gives Volt, Current, power factor, Power and will operate a relays if current or voltage goes over the limmit (i will use it behind a variac and isolation transformer during repairs)
www.pa4tim.nl my collection measurement gear and experiments Also lots of info about network analyse
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Offline dannyf

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Re: Is it for me
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2013, 10:35:22 pm »
PICs are fairly easy to start with - I would get a pickit2 (not pickit3, unless you want to start with some of the newer chips - they tend to be cheaper as well), plus a breadboard + a battery pack. That all you need to get started.

Low-end PICs don't have a vectored interrupt controller. Atmel is better in that regard, plus it has cheaper programmers + better IDEs (CB or AS).

Arduino's are very easy to start and provide a path to move away from Arduino.

I do think those discovery packs from ST and launchpads from TI are nice and easy to work with.
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Offline JayDee

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Re: Is it for me
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2013, 07:38:47 pm »
just another 2 cents...
If your very new to the whole programming PICs and similar...then i would agree with others that lots of people have made good progress with Arduino stuff but also have a look at FlowCode by matrix multimedia.. the basic idea is graphically building up your program with building blocks, this is then converted to C, then Hex. that is sent to your micro controller of choice. There IDE is simple to use but hides lots of capability..you can re-write the building blocks and add your own custom C if you want.
It looks very simplistic at first but is in fact a very capable system. You can run it on lots of difference hardware...you dont have to use their own. We use own own custome built microcontroller devices and also use the Matrix Multimedia ECIO 40...which is a great hardware building block...just add your own periferal electroinics.  If you dont facny building your own electroincs..just build the system using thier own hardware stuff call E-Block or the MIAC unit.
Our non-code engineers can actually tweak and build there own programs, stuff them into a MIAC and have a basic control solution roughed out in a day... surprisingly good for industry!
Sorry  ;) kinda a Fan Boy for Flowcode but as a engineer needing solutions fast it was a great introduction!
JayDee
 


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