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 [ 4 posts ] 
 PIC development options, especially PIC18 
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Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:03 am
Posts: 285
Location: California
I'm trying to figure out how to get going with somewhat more powerful PIC microcontrollers (µCs) than the PIC16's I've designed into many products. My old DOS MPLAB assembler supports up to PIC17's, but I see the 17's are no longer available. The 17's had the same basic architecture as the 16's but with more instructions. Now there are the 18's (before you get to the 24's and higher). The 18's appear to be the 17's further improved, unlike the higher-numbered PICs which apparently have an entirely different architecture, the 32-bit ones using the MIPS4000 architecture. I see the 18's have a memory-mapped hardware stack which I've been wanting, and gets rid of at least some bank limitations, and finally allows stacking W and STATUS. Three FSRs ain't bad either.

Microchip's parts are not the most powerful, but Microchip seems to be in a much better financial situation than especially Atmel to not go belly-up in the foreseeable future. I know from plenty of experience that TI's support is terrible, so I will not use their µCs. I don't know much about what Motorola is up to these days in µCs, but I get the idea that they're not oriented toward hobbyists and tiny companies. When I looked into National for their COP800 µCs years ago for a product, they basically told us to go away, that we weren't big enough for them to be interested in us. The COP800 family is apparently gone now, and unfortunately National has been taken over by TI anyway. There are other companies of course, but Microchip and Atmel seem to be the biggest contenders.

Microchip has an IDE that runs on Linux, but all I really want is an assembler and programmer that will run under Linux. I'm not impressed with what the guys using the IDEs can (or, should I say, can't) do. The development method I've worked out over the years seems to be quite effective, the latest addition being the structure macros. The assembly program listings in Microchip's own literature is very archaic by comparison.

I made my own PIC programmer (which is controlled by my 65c02-based workbench computer) back when the programmers were very expensive, particularly production-grade ones which could span the voltage range needed by the EPROM-based PICs to verify reliability of the programming. (Mine does this.) That doesn't seem to be an issue anymore with the flash-based ones. According to Dave Jones' EEV Blog #39 on the PICkit 3 programmer, it's lousy compared to the PICkit 2 which is no longer available. It appears that it's also only for 3V-- or was that the PICkit 4 and AVR Dragon, from EEV Blog #448--I can't remember.

If you have any knowlege in these that might help, I'd welcome it. Microchip's own website has not been nearly as helpful as I would like.

_________________ lots of 6502 resources

Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:42 pm WWW

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:33 am
Posts: 165 ... f=2&t=5425

Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:06 pm

Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:03 am
Posts: 285
Location: California
Thanks Chuck. I can always count on you. Maybe I need to join that dangerousprototypes forum, since you've pointed out the value a few times. I guess I'm just hesitant because I'm already on so many, although I'm not enchanted with the sparkfun one so maybe I'll "trade" sparkfun for dangerousprototypes. Thanks for asking there for me.

I had found the Microchip page hlipka referred to, but it looks like it's only a C compiler, not really an assembler, and much of what they're so excited about in the many short MPLAB X TV programs on the website are things my almost-20-year-old MultiEdit programmer's editor running under DOS does just as well or better, like being able to tile and window and tab and compare dozens of files at once, version control, more-flexible block operations, multiple-file search, color-highlighting brackets and structures and errors in different programming languages, preserving old file versions to go back to, etc., all with a hi-res monitor and point & click and drag, under DOS. I guess I'll just have to take the time to download and install and learn MPLAB X to see if it can serve as just a good macro assembler I can use with my editor.

_________________ lots of 6502 resources

Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:32 pm WWW

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:33 am
Posts: 165
Garth wrote:
Thanks Chuck. I can always count on you. Maybe I need to join that dangerousprototypes forum, since you've pointed out the value a few times.

I only avoid the forums that have the lower common denominator in terms of life forms. I joined a few electronic forums and my conduct is just business. I'm not there to converse with the elitist or try to fit in a group. I try to keep it non-personal, ask my question or contribute my two cents and just get off and the wonderful thing is that you can be annonymous and use a handle / username that doesn't identify you.

As far as Dangerousprototypes goes, you can't edit your profile right away when joining because the software may think you are a spam bot. I got deleted the first time I joined because I edited my profile. I would avoid posting links right away for that reason until you have a couple of posts down. If you get deleted, register again and I've talked to the owner in email about it and told him I'm not a spammer.

I have to keep track of my passwords so I have a whole page of usernames, email addresses, passwords and forum URLs because I can't remember my passwords anymore because I have too many accounts.

I don't know why Microchip doesn't do more but I tried to round up forums that have anything to do with Microchip and this is what I got:

There are other forums like Adafruit but they don't specialize in Microchip yet. They might have some people who generally know something but they seem to be big on Arduino or whatever they sell.

Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:26 am
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