Thursday, September 16, 2010

In PIC Heaven

OK, I am now in PIC Heaven.

Long ago, I have used the Microchip 12C509 for many projects, but it is time to update.

In an attempt to find a PIC for some future projects, I ordered and received a few of the most popular.
  • Texas Instruments - MSP430 Launch Pad, Development and Evaluation Board = $4.30 with shipping at Mouser (how can they afford that!!!)
  • PJRC - Teensy USB Development Board - $18.00

Each Kit has a lot to offer; these are my initial reactions:
  • Microchip - has a lot of supporting chips and I think they have be around longer. Multiple programs to install and/or download. This should be easy, but I am have a hard time getting anything to work.  The Docs and Examples refers to different PIC than received?
  • ATmel Arduino - is VERY easy to program and it is quick to have something useful running. Just download one ZIP file and execute the main program.  The program contains links to read-only example files and a link to your project work space - very nice!
  • Solarbotics Ardweeny - is very small and the same ease of use as the Arduino and can be reduced to just the chip. A 6-pin programmer is needed, that is - a special USB to Serial Adapter (now on order).
  • Texas Instrument  MSP430 - Very inexpensive (evaluation board most function per $) - a little more difficult to program, but the chip has many built-in features, like on chip temperature. Two software packages are necessary to download and install; C and the Assembler. Demo code is a little difficult to find and set up - I will have to learn more.
  • PJRC Teensy - USB Development Board - It has onboard USB for programming and data transfer (I have this board on order)
Each of the above can be reduced to just an inexpensive PIC, for inclusion into a final project. Most PIC's are less than $2.00 - $3.00, availability, support (i.e., demo code), and easy-of-use (i.e., programming) will be the deciding factors.

I will update this post as I learn more.



  1. Not to add to your pile, but you might look at the Teensy ( which is Arduino compatible, like the Ardweeny, but has the USB interface included. Priced between the Ardweeny and Arduino. Just my $0.02 from another tinkerer.

  2. Hey, looks like the Arduino setup reminds me of the OOPic we played with before, but not quite as limiting. That's why I went withe the generic MTmel's. Of course with the Ardiuno software you can remove the boot loader or put it back any time.

  3. Papa, (Larry - KB7KMO) Yes, the Arduino is a easy to program with out the limitation and lack of speed, but you still have to deal with lack of real time multitasking (as with any PIC). The raw chips are cheep enough that multiples can be used for obtaining multitasking if necessary, with communication between them as needed.