Electronics > Microcontrollers

Microchip C Compilers - which free compiler do you use?

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andyg:
Hi

I would like to get into using PIC MCUs. I have mainly used AVR in the past using avr-gcc which is free.

I was wondering what people are using out there with regards to PIC compilers which are free. From what I can see:

MPLAB C - doesn't work for PIC12/16, but for the other devices it supports, some optimisations are crippled after 60 days
HiTech C - free version has crippled optimisations
CCS - not free

What do you guys use? Are you paying, or just live with the crippled features? Is the disabled optimisations versions still okay for general projects?

Andy

oPossum:
I recommend beginning with the 16 bit PIC (24H/24F/30F/33F series). The GCC derived compiler for those parts that is part of MPLAB is much more like AVRGCC than any of the compilers for the 8 bit PICs.

The Microstick is a nice low cost way to get stared with the 16 bit PICs. It has an integrated programmer and debugger, so you don't need any additional hardware to get started.

cyberfish:
Is there a specific reason you want to switch to PIC?

For free tools, AVR is much better. I used SDCC for PIC before, but it's fairly limited and buggy. According to friend that's a PIC assembly expert, it also generates very un-optimal code.

If you want more power, ARM (ARM7/ARM9/Cortex) is another platform with great open source tools.

Nermash:
I have used Hitech free version for 12F and 16F pics, and I am currently working with C18 trial compiler on 18F2685 chip, mainly due to the fact that Microchip TCP IP stack natively supports it.

Both are fine for me, altough I sometimes hit syntax limitations in these compilers,probably  being "spoiled" with C++ uni education :)

For me personally free version of both are fine, I tend to lean toward Hitech, but that's just because I started with it in the first place. IMHO, for general type of personal projects I would recomend free versions, optimisations come in to play with big number theory, penny saving and micromanagement.

johnmx:
I use the following compilers:
PIC10/12: MPASM (Assembler)
PIC16: HI-TECH
PIC18: MPLAB C18
PIC24: MPLAB C30
PIC32: MPLAB C32

The only issue I have with the free limited versions is when I want to compile the bootloader program for some micros.

If I need a fully optimized (for speed or time execution) function, I write it in assembly.

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