Looking for a Good PIC Development Board

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by Dalaran, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. Dalaran

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Dec 3, 2009
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    I came across this:
    http://www.mikroe.com/en/tools/easypic6/

    And have read a couple decent reviews of it here and elsewhere. Since it is not cheap I am looking for opinions on is it the best? Will it be able to support PICs new to the market? Should I be looking elsewhere?

    edit: and is it worthwhile to buy the extra LCDs/ touch screen?
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2009
  2. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    Thats a good board for the older 8bit pics. For newer pics and future pics you want this http://www.mikroe.com/en/tools/lv24-33/ or microchips own Explorer 16 board. With this you can use PIC24's DSPIC's and PIC32's.
     
  3. Dalaran

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Dec 3, 2009
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    Doesn't that one only support 64+ pin chips. I really don't think I will need anything more than a 40 pin, I guess I'm just wondering if this will get outdated fast.

    Thanks.
     
  4. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
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    I will say it depends what you are looking for. If you are looking for a programmer/debugger you should perhaps order the PICKIT 3 and use this to build your own trainer. That will be a great way to learn. The PICKIT 3 can program most of the flash based units from Microchip and by updating firmware you will have support for future units from Microchip.
     
  5. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    Nah, technically there are two Explorer 16's the 100pin version and the 44pin version. They are actually the same boards just different PIM's. (Plug in Modules) Really the choice your going to have to make is if you want to stick with the 8bit series of MCU's , which aren't outdated just older. Then you would go with the EASYPIC or BigPIC boards. If you want to move up to their newer lines of more powerful 16bit and 32bit chips you will need the explorer 16 or similar boards.
     
  6. Dalaran

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Dec 3, 2009
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    Thanks. I think I will most likely stick with the 8bit PIC's, I think they will be able to handle anything I can wrap my head around in the foreseeable future. I'm still having a hard time filling up my 14pin devices... although I guess it is just a matter of time!
     
  7. Markd77

    Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    It seems reasonable value for all the stuff on it. I like to just use solderless breadboards (lots of them) and a PICKIT2 clone to program them, but I am a bit of a cheapskate.
    It's easy to have lots of projects on the go this way and I know that when I solder it up it will work because I'm using the same components.
     
  8. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    I plan on doing my AVR and other MCU systems this way. The PIC was my first try at this stuff and I wanted the fully stocked demo board, 1st for the demo code, and 2nd to see how it all worked together. Now that I've learned a fair amount of whats needed on a board next time I will go with a minimal bitwhacker type setup and breakout boards.
     
  9. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    The MikroE EasyPIC6 will support all the PIC 10F 12F 16F and 18F series, in 8pin through to 40 pin. That's a huge selection and some of the larger 18F PICs are pretty powerful.

    I recommend it highly. Most of it's $139 value is in all the self contained peripherals like a button and LED for every PIC pin, built in serial port, USB port, PS2 port, etc etc.

    And it's built in programmer is basically the same functionality as a PICKit2 etc, I have made connector leads for mine and often use the EasyPIC6 as a programmer to do ICSP on external PICs.

    Definitely get a text LCD, I would suggest a 4x20 one. As for the graphic LCD and touchscreen they are worth getting if you want to make any graphic LCD projects (charting or scope projects) etc and the touchscreen is cool.
     
  10. Dalaran

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Dec 3, 2009
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    Thanks RB. I think I might have heard it from you originally. A decent value, and something that I will not need to upgrade anytime soon. It seems they only offer a 2x16 text display... it is possible to interface a 2x20 with the board?

    Cheers.
     
  11. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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  12. Dalaran

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Dec 3, 2009
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    wow FREE 16 pin header! lol jk, looks good though. Thanks for the link.
     
  13. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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  14. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    I'm pretty sure MikroE were selling 4x20 LCD in their "components" section of their web page. From what I remember their price looked fairly competitive.
     
  15. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    Hey RB I'm in the market for two good 8bit PIC and 8bit AVR dev boards, is that the same for the EASYAVR6? Are there any chips that fit the pinout I can't use?

    I don't have an AVR programmer, can I use the standard non-mikroe IDE and then flash the hex with the onboard programmer? I do own a few PIC programmers and am used to MPLAB. Can I use MPLAB and my ole PK2 to program and debug the EASYPIC6

    Thanks for any insight you can give.
     
  16. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    I haven't used the EasyAVR boards but the specs (and socket sizes) should all be shown on the MikroE web page.

    Provided the EasyAVR6 has a similar onboard programmer to the EasyPIC6 you should have no probems. The programmer software they provide can program any HEX file into the micro, and the programmer can also be configured by command line so you can call it automatically in your IDE, even from a non-MikroE IDE like MPLAB etc.

    In the event you can't get the onboard programmer to integrate with your AVR IDE it's no big deal, you just leave the programmer window open and it auto-updates the HEX file every time you go to program so you can work+compile in any IDE, then just hit program in the programmer window.

    As for your last question, the EasyPIC6 has a 6pin connector specifically so you can connect a Microchip ICD or PK2 etc. But I think once you use the EasyPIC6 you won't need the PK2 again as you can just use the EasyPIC onboard programmer, which is already connected with your USB cable!

    I hope that answers your questions. As for the EasyAVR boards you could check the MikroE web page for specs and their EasyAVR forum.

    I would also suggest going for a C compiler, you would need the MikroC for PIC and MikroC for AVR but once setup a lot of your hard-earned code can be used on BOTH microcontrollers. If you are going to work with PIC and AVR and MikroE boards for both, that makes a ton of sense. You can do quite a lot with the free demo versions of their MikroC compilers even with the 2k ROM limit.
     
  17. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    I'm already used to MC's C30 so I wanted to stick with that. Wasn't sure what I was gonna do about an AVR setup. I was actually recently thinking of switching back to ASM for a while.
     
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