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Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers Discussion forum for projects and working with embedded systems and microcontrollers (FPGAs, PICs, AVRs). Get help with hardware issues and embedded programming.

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  #1  
Old 08-29-2007, 02:00 PM
carlcat carlcat is offline
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Question Mlab vs mikroC

I'm getting ready to purchase a PIC developemental board and can get a substantial discount on the compiler (MikroC) if I get the two together. I understand that Mlab is the standard for PIC programming and has a very comprhensive set of tools.....and it's also free. Having said that, is it worth paying for a compiler? Does anyone have experience with MikroC to where they can give me a reason to justify the purchase of MikroC ($180 at discount)? Thank you in advance for any help.
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Old 08-29-2007, 06:59 PM
Dave Dave is offline
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I have never personally used MikroC, but will say that MPLAB is more than suitable for the vast majority of your microcontroller needs. There is a free download for the C-compiler (http://www.microchip.com/stellent/id...cName=en010014), and unless you can find a definitive practical reason to need to purchase MikroC then I would suggest you stick with Microchip's tools.

Dave
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Old 08-29-2007, 08:39 PM
nanovate nanovate is offline
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MPLAB does not come with a free full functioned compiler AFAIK. MPLAB is a GUI frontend with a simulator and hooks for interfacing all of Microchip's dev tools. I'd recommend getting the compiler if you have the budget. MikroC is supposed to have a decent library.

There are different flavors of PIC and each uses a different compiler. Microchip has "free" compilers for the PIC18 and PIC24/30 that turn off optimizations after the trial period ends. For the PIC12/16 you need a different compiler -- I do not know if there is a free compiler -- HiTech has a limited compiler -- restricts to a subset of devices which is fine if you only use those parts.

I use MPLAB but I also have a full commercial compiler for all the PICs. If MikroC will compile all the PICs then I think it is worth it. If you plan on doing serious designs then you'd have to look at other things -- Microchip prefers to support MPLAB versus another vendors development environment. In any case try to get familiar with MPLAB in case you decide to buy Microchip hardware and Mikro doesn't support it.
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Old 08-29-2007, 09:49 PM
Dave Dave is offline
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It is correct to say that the C18 compiler I linked to above is for the PIC18xxx line of microcontrollers. I too am not aware of one for different lines. You may wish to look at the relevant page at Microchip's website: http://www.microchip.com/stellent/id...param=en025441

As for the optimisation limitations of the C18 compiler, I have discussed this with n9352527 some time back and he brought to my attention that the main thing that the programmer will observe is an increase in memory requirements for a program - the net impact on the functionality of your programmes is limited, if not negligible.

Dave
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  #5  
Old 08-30-2007, 01:56 PM
carlcat carlcat is offline
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Default Mlab vs Mikroc

From what I read, MikroC covers PIC12/16 and 18. MikroC also uses high level language,so being the newbee that I am (I'm not too worried about code overhead and speed), I think I'm heading in that direction and I'll post back my critique from a beginner's propective as I will the Easy Pic 4 Developemental board as well. Let me know if you think I'm completely misguided. Thank you all once again for helpful input.
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  #6  
Old 08-30-2007, 06:16 PM
Dave Dave is offline
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As a curiosity can I ask the following questions:

1) What is MikroC priced at without the discount?

2) What reasons, if any, have the suppliers of your PIC dev kit given you to go for MikroC as opposed to another option? Is it just because they can do you a deal?

Dave
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  #7  
Old 08-30-2007, 07:02 PM
carlcat carlcat is offline
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Default mlab vs mikroc

forgive my mis-spell: Mplab. anyway the price without the discount is $249.00. It does seem to be geared to us newcomers in that it includes examples and a fairly good size library as I think Nanovate pointed out earlier. Here's where you can take a look:
http://circuit-ed.com/mikroc/index.htm

Plus the fact that it handles more than just pic18 (free version of Mplab). The whole package is probably overkill for a beginner but I also want to purchase something that will not be outgrown for years to come.
Maybe it's my time to be the guinea pig and not let someone else bear the brunt.
But having said that, I'm trying to research and get as much input as possible so I won't regret it later so thanks for the help and the questions.
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  #8  
Old 08-31-2007, 02:38 AM
nanovate nanovate is offline
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Just to clarify:
MPLAB is not a compiler. It is an integrated development environment that can interface with third party compilers (an Microchips C18 and C30 compilers). Some of these third party compiler vendors offer free demo versions that are scaled down versions of their full versions. The scaling back might involve restricting supported devices or limiting the size of your output code or eliminating optimizations.

Mikro C says it is ANSI C (with minor modifications) which is good because that means that it will more portable if you decide to use your code in another compiler. One note about that though, if you use the built in libraries without ever learning how they worked then you'll have tough time porting your code to another microcontroller/compiler. Of course you may love Mikro C and PIC so much that you'd never switch

Have fun!
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  #9  
Old 08-31-2007, 07:53 AM
Dave Dave is offline
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Ok, tying together your previous posts with this one, you are purchasing the Easy Pic 4 dev board presumably with the standard M/C on board (PIC16F877A). If you use the default set-up you cannot use the C18 or C30 compilers so will need to look at the alternatives suggested at Microchip: http://www.microchip.com/stellent/id...param=en025441

You should then compare these (features and price wise) against MikroC. One thing I will say is that MikroC is developed by the people supplying your dev board so there may be an advantage with hardware-software integration. You will only find this out by trying them out, but from what I can see you can't get a free trial of MikroC. One thing to be aware of is that the discount price ($175 on the website) for MikroC is available to past customers (ref. http://www.mikroelektronika.co.yu/en/compilers/) - so you may wish to try the trial versions of the software recommended by Microchip to see how it suits our needs, and then look at MikroC at a later point (it won't cost you extra).

That also said, if you've money to burn, go for the full deal!!! The decision is ultimately yours, and you will find that whatever decision you make it will be the right one, its just that you have to make it work.

Dave
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  #10  
Old 08-31-2007, 08:40 AM
nanovate nanovate is offline
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HI-TECH PICC-Lite will compile for the PIC16F877A. What you'd do is compile (in MPLAB) then it would output a .hex file which your EasyPIC4 software would use to load into the PIC16F877A.

MikroC has a 2K limited demo versionhttp://www.mikroelektronika.co.yu/en...c/download.htmAlso do not forget to set the configuration bits and to download the PIC16F877A datasheet.

And as Dave said earlier "whatever decision you make it will be the right one, its just that you have to make it work"

Cheers
John
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