choosing a board ?

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by spark8217, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. spark8217

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 29, 2011
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    Hi
    i have just purchased a pickit 2 micro-controller programmer and wondered if anybody can point me in the right direction with purchasing a board or a list of the relevant kit i need besides wot i have got with the programmer.

    Many thanks

    spark 8217
     
  2. Markd77

    Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    Which PIC have you got?
    For most PICs, the minimum for experimenting would be a 100nF capacitor, a solderless breadboard like this:
    http://www.maplin.co.uk/ad-101-breadboard-5199
    and a few resistors and LEDs and of course a power source. 3 AA batteries would be fine for 5V PICs, or a wall wart, a voltage regulator, and it's required capacitors.
     
  3. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    Hey Sparky!

    The PICkit 2 is good for a lot of Microchip's stuff (which is why I own several). There are many many fine boards they work with by many companies.

    What is your budget and what would you like to see in a board?

    Would you like to have a few LEDs to control?
    Would you like to have a pot to turn and measure?
    Would you like to have some buttons to press?
    Would you like to have a display of some sort for LCD letters or full graphics?

    There are lots of things out there.
     
  4. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    They do make development boards just for the PIC, but I have always just used a solderless breadboard, as suggested earlier. That, a few resistors, capacitors, and diodes are all you need, and prove to be much cheaper. I also recently designed a board for a PIC18F13xx chip that puts all the ICSP, power, and breadboard connections on a single PCB. It's designed to just plug directly into a breadboard for prototyping. Though it's not absolutely necessary, it does keep things neat and leaves more room on your breadboard. I've attached a 3-D rendering of what it looks like (The spot on the left rear corner is for a switch to choose between programming and running).

    Anyway, that should give you an idea of a few of your options. I highly recommend the solderless breadboard because it is not as limited as a dev board made specifically for the PIC.

    Good luck!
    Regards,
    Der Strom
     
  5. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    Building your own board may be cheaper, but there is much to be said for using a complete and tested to be working piece of hardware to try software that may not be working.

    When someone is just stating the less things to go wrong the better.

    (Plus I have a dim memory of once using a solderless breadboard but that was several decades ago and I do not miss it.)
     
  6. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    I have found a solderless breadboard to be absolutely indispensable for prototyping circuits. It is one of the most important pieces of equipment I think I have ever bought (in my opinion, anyway).
     
  7. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
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    Some like to breadboard, other like premade boards. If you have basic soldering skills beside. I think you will learn more by using a breadboard and building your own trainer. By breadbording you are more free to chose different micros. My experience is that people quickly grow out of most the premade boards, and then find them self "fenced in" by the board
    As a tip. Most modern cell phone chargers have 5 volt output. And will do well as power supply for your starter projects
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012
  8. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
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    Microchip sells some decent boards.

    PICJazz is a pretty cool board in that it has both PICKit ICSP headers and PICAXE serial programming headers, plus a standard level RS-232 out port. Everything is jumper enabled or disabled too!

    I usually start out with just a breadboard and go from there, but sometimes getting a demo board with just an LCD display and some buttons is handy. Some projects all I'm going to really do is use the display so it's a good trade off.

    Other demo board always have fixed ports connected to fixed peripherals without an ability to disable them, those drive me insane. They try to pack too much on to the board so it's only good for proof of concept. The smaller demo boards are nice, like the TAP-28, (Throw Away PIC), Gives you a 28 pin socket, ICSP connector and power supply for $5-ish. Wish they came in more pin count sizes.

    I do recommend having one or two "Known Good" boards so if something isn't working, you can try changing the target and see if it works on a known good board. If so, then go back to your regular circuit to find which wire was wrong. :eek:
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012
  9. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    I know some people who use a Junebug, and they really seem to like it. In my opinion, it's probably one of the better pre-made development boards. They also aren't too terribly expensive. Something else to look into :)

    [​IMG]
     
  10. spark8217

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 29, 2011
    64
    2
    Thanks for the replies ! to construct my own i have the bread boards and components already ,but can see the point keep it simple and neat & tidy !! but on other other hand i don"t mind paying decent money for a good board as long as i get the right one as i have before wasted alot of money on other things and then finding out ots not quite right , hence my post too you guys ? the aspect of me building a board to strikes me as a future project which may help my understanding ? im gunna look at some boards you have all mentioned and also going to build one as anybody any schematics ? or the best place to source them also can any of you guys give any pointers to any books to read to start me off !! thanks for the time guys !!


    spark 8217
     
  11. spark8217

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 29, 2011
    64
    2
    also guys wot sites do you use to purchase your pics and boards etc ?
     
  12. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    I very much like MikroElektronika. They support a wide range of PICs. You don't need their compilers or programmer either, though they do sell them both.

    In the US they use Mouser as their large local distributor. They also used a few smaller companies, but that one didn't stock their whole line. In the UK they do have MCU Store as a local place.

    You have yet to share what you wish to do with microcontrollers.
     
    spark8217 likes this.
  13. spark8217

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 29, 2011
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    i am going to start off with simple circuits , and use leds , measuring , temp, etc and then moving onto more difficult ones i don"t have a great understanding of them at the minute so any information is gratefull , just need to grasp the basics first !!
     
  14. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    I suggest you go to microchip.com and get an account. Then you can order free samples. I just ordered 6 PICs for free. Unfortunately, I don't believe they give out free boards, though :p
     
  15. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
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    Hello,

    You can also have a look at the low pin count board from microchip.
    It uses a 16F690 for the learning of the pics commands.
    (see attachement)

    Bertus
     
  16. spark8217

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 29, 2011
    64
    2
    can anybody suggest any good reading material ?
     
  17. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
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  18. spark8217

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 29, 2011
    64
    2
    also as i have purchased a pickit 2 microcontroller programmer already is there certain boards etc that are not compatible etc as looking already by some of the posted suggestions and researching them it clearly is a minefield to the new comer. and thanks for the link bertus !
     
  19. CraigHB

    Member

    Aug 12, 2011
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    I've always used a solderless breadboard as well. Even for SMD stuff, I make little proto-boards for the parts that allow me to plug them in (photo attached). Though, you have to be aware of the limitations of a breadboard, there's a lot of parasitic reactance which makes using them problematic for high frequency stuff.

    I can see the advantage of using a development board in that it eliminates potential hardware issues, but for any circuit, don't you need to verify wiring for your particular application anyway?
     
  20. spark8217

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 29, 2011
    64
    2
    looks craig hb and wot is that designed for ?
     
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