Skip to main content
Topic: Newb needs some advice on getting started with PICs (Read 6260 times) previous topic - next topic

Newb needs some advice on getting started with PICs

So I have been tinkering with micros and electronics for the last year or so. I am currently working on two kind of bigger projects, a mapping robot with DIY laser range finder and an entry for a military/parallax sponsored contest called MicroMedic (It is basically an automated hydration pack that reads the users hydration levels). Anyways these projects both keep growing and growing, I find myself adding more and more micro controllers to them.

I currently have experience with the Parallax Propeller, Parallax Basic Stamp, Arduino, and Bare AVR chips. The problem is most of these solutions are a bit pricey, it costs me around 5 - 12 bucks for all the stuff to get one of these controllers running (except an Attiny type chip but these are very limited). From looking around it seems like a PIC is a really cheap solution compared to AVR, I am also pretty broke most of the time and MicroChip is awesome about free samples, where as AVR is not. Anyways that being said I can't afford to just run out and buy a PicKit right now.

I am basically hoping to just get started using smaller PICs in place of AVR chips where it makes sense. I currently have a Bus Pirate, I also have an AVR USBISP programmer, and I just saw this viewtopic.php?f=38&t=3786 Im not sure if this allows a USBAsp/ISP to program a PIC or what? I know a BP can not program older PICs that require high voltage with out the add on but I am not to interested in those any ways. If I were to sample some PIC chips what would be a good choice? I know the pic24s can be programmed with a BP, what about dsPic and Pic32? I have some books on older pic16/18 assembly and c, would the code in those be compatible with a newer pic24, how about projects online using a pic16, could there firmware be easily ported to a newer PIC?

I guess what I am saying is I have a BP and I want to learn how to use PICs without running out and getting a PICKit, where should I start?

Re: Newb needs some advice on getting started with PICs

Reply #1
Hi again, Im sorry I should have looked a little bit further down the forum I just read this post

viewtopic.php?f=38&t=3949

It answered most of my questions, So I guess all I really need to know is how relevant will Pics for Evil Geniuses based on PicKit 1 and the 16 series pic be code wise for pic 24s? And also what would be a good pic in dip format with an internal oscillator to start with. I am really interested in using PIC as a platform to learn assembly.

I know that the BP is not the best choice for a programmer, like I said Im just looking to experiment with PIC chips and see if it is worth it to learn another architecture.

Re: Newb needs some advice on getting started with PICs

Reply #2
If you want to play with pics, your best bet is to get a PICkit3 or clone.. it suports all PICs..
best regards FIlip.

Re: Newb needs some advice on getting started with PICs

Reply #3
I know a PicKit would be preferable but all I really want to do is blink some LEDs right now, get a feel for PICs.

Are these the only chips the BP will program without the adapter?
18F24J50 24FJ64GA002

Re: Newb needs some advice on getting started with PICs

Reply #4
[quote author="rwgast"]I know a PicKit would be preferable but all I really want to do is blink some LEDs right now, get a feel for PICs.

Are these the only chips the BP will program without the adapter?
18F24J50 24FJ64GA002[/quote]

I know I totatly understand, when I started out with them, I tried Serial, and Parallel programers, but all I can say is, after burning loads of chips, I wouldnt come near one again.. If you just want to play around, and Bus pirates IO is enough for you, you can try making your own firmware for it.. we have a few tutorials that will help you get started..

Since all pics are basicly the same programing wise, it's fine to start with pic24 at the begining, and much easier..

http://dangerousprototypes.com/docs/Dan ... ment_board

all you need to do is folow the tutorials, and upload your code through the bootloader,, whne you are done you can easily recover it to the Bus Pirate firmware with the bootloader again.

The PIC on the Bus Pirate is preatty powerfull, with loads of peripherals. If you write custom firmware for it, you can get descent performance out of it, much better then the Arduino.. Although you only hava  a limited amount of IO pins at your disposal.
best regards FIlip.

Re: Newb needs some advice on getting started with PICs

Reply #5
If you want to go low-cost first, you can use picpgm. The most simple programmers it supports are the PicPgm LVISP and the TLVP. They can do nearly all low-voltage PICs, and are rather simple to build (but need a parallel port).

Re: Newb needs some advice on getting started with PICs

Reply #6
Thanks for the picgm tip! If I decide I like PICs I will either invest time in building on of the parallel programmers listed there or buy an actual PicKit

Last night I ordered 3 each of PIC18F24J50, and PIC24FJ64GA002. I got these because I read the PIC programming wiki for the BP and as far as I can tell there are only three supported PICs at the moment and the two I ordered are do not require Hi Voltage programming. I am a bit confused though, there are a few PIC24F chips I would like to try do to there peripherals but the BP can only program 3 chips at this time??! That just seems strange since there is an add on board to program Hi Voltage PICs.

I figured maybe I could start by trying to upload the Bus Pirate bootloader/firmware using a bus pirate  :). Then just stick a max3232 chip on it instead of an FTDI and have serial BP! Or even use an FTDI cable. Would this work? It would be really nice to be able to do this and then install the stk500 firmware so I a decent AVR programmer that works with the AVRStudio IDE.

Re: Newb needs some advice on getting started with PICs

Reply #7
[quote author="rwgast"]Thanks for the picgm tip! If I decide I like PICs I will either invest time in building on of the parallel programmers listed there or buy an actual PicKit

Last night I ordered 3 each of PIC18F24J50, and PIC24FJ64GA002. I got these because I read the PIC programming wiki for the BP and as far as I can tell there are only three supported PICs at the moment and the two I ordered are do not require Hi Voltage programming. I am a bit confused though, there are a few PIC24F chips I would like to try do to there peripherals but the BP can only program 3 chips at this time??! That just seems strange since there is an add on board to program Hi Voltage PICs.

I figured maybe I could start by trying to upload the Bus Pirate bootloader/firmware using a bus pirate  :). Then just stick a max3232 chip on it instead of an FTDI and have serial BP! Or even use an FTDI cable. Would this work? It would be really nice to be able to do this and then install the stk500 firmware so I a decent AVR programmer that works with the AVRStudio IDE.[/quote]

The three chips  supported are used in some of our projects, that's why they are the only ones implemented... The pic prog board is still under development, as is the accompanying software/firmware...
best regards FIlip.