Noob needs good PIC software

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Aussie Nuf Man, Nov 6, 2010.

  1. Aussie Nuf Man

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 3, 2010
    5
    0
    Hello all,

    Lets admit it first and foremost. I am a PIC noob.

    I have knowledge of PIC's, their function and the principal of how they work. I also have a fair amount of Basic knowledge however both areas of knowledge are......lets say......Dated (remember back when MultiMedia Edition windows was 3.11?). I also have a very simple knowledge of Borland C++ (12 or so yeas ago was the last time I saw this language)

    I think, due to my history, PIC is probably the way to go.

    So... I think it would be a good idea to treat myself as a pure noob and start fresh. The practical application I would eventually like to complete is a main board for commercial coffee machines.

    The physical I/O requirements:
    Outputs: min 30, max 36 + LCD
    Inputs: min 22, max 25 (incl 5 x temp)
    ***Another input option is daisy chaining of the control touchpads however I have NO knowledge of how to do this.

    I guess what I'm asking is if anyone can give me any kind of feedback of ideas and maybe point me in the general direction of microprocessor choice, easy test/project boards etc.

    Russell.
     
  2. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
    15,815
    282
    You may make some progress by defining the function of the entire machine (possibly an upscale coffee dispenser?). It is quite important to have a functional appreciation of the device as a whole, especially with the very large number of inputs and outputs.

    It is entirely possible that a number of functions are more easily controlled by other devices - say a thermostat for maintaining water temperature, for one example.

    There are simple accounting routines that can track quantities of coffee, creamer, etc if the machine is loaded with known amounts of each and the amount dispensed is debited against the remainder.

    My tendency is to tell people to generate flow charts for each action. A flow chart breaks the process into steps and allows you to see which steps are common to several dispensing functions. That alone can shrink the code necessary to run the dispenser.
     
  3. CDRIVE

    Senior Member

    Jul 1, 2008
    2,223
    99
    IMO there is no Pic's easier to use, program or less expensive than Picaxe. It uses Picaxe Basic and this Basic, like all Basic languages, have much in common. The Editor/Compiler is down-loadable and free.
     
  4. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
    6,357
    718
    I'd suggest the PicAxe as well. The other choice would be either BoostC or BoostBasic from Sourceboost (free version available), with that, you'd need to get a PICKit 2 or PICKit 3 to program the IC.


    With the PicAxe, you only need a serial port on the PC. They are very easy to use, and once you have the concepts down, you can switch to BASIC or C language and programming individual microcontrollers for projects.
     
  5. CDRIVE

    Senior Member

    Jul 1, 2008
    2,223
    99
    Actually, you don't even need a Serial Port. Any USB/Serial converter that recognizes 'Break' mode will work but you're better off buying the model that Picaxe sells. It's molded into a very compact dongle and costs about $25.00. Once a chip has been programmed, any USB/Serial converter will communicate with it. Break capability is only needed for programming the chip, not to communicate with it.

    The above information was verified through experimentation and Picaxe documentation.
     
  6. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
    6,357
    718
    A "Real" USB to RS-232 converter will work, but be careful when buying one. The cheaper ones often discard some of the less used pins and functions. I learned that after being extremely frustrated with an older GPS, and my new system not having a COM port.

    I'd suggest getting one that is labeled "100% RS-232 compatible", rather than "RS-232 compatible". Or the one made for PicAxe, which is certain to be compatible.
     
  7. CDRIVE

    Senior Member

    Jul 1, 2008
    2,223
    99
    Picaxe sells two models. One model uses a DB9 connector and incorporates all the RS232 control pins. The other model, that I mentioned earlier, doesn't incorporate any control pins. The RS232 end is terminated in a 1/8" stereo mini plug(GND-RX-TX) only. Remember the 'Break' requirement that I stated earlier when programming the Picaxe? One of my converters is a Belkin that has all the RS232 control pins but it doesn't recognize Break mode and can't be used to program a Picaxe. However, that same converter can communicate with my Picaxe (VB6 to Picaxe) with no problems.
     
  8. nickelflipper

    Active Member

    Jun 2, 2010
    280
    35
    I don't think a PicAxe is going to handle all the I/O requirements without some delegation of duties to offchip devices, or slave units.

    For narrowing down of chip choices, reference the Microchip parametric tables for given requirements. For an 8bit device with 60-70 I/O's, looks like an 80 pin package would be required. Add a little EEPROM for variable storage and you get this table. For example, want a bunch of CCP's, RTCC and built in LCD module for bare glass display? Then, take a look at say the 18f87K90, there will see suggestions for programmers and develop/demo boards.
     
  9. radiohead

    Active Member

    May 28, 2009
    474
    31
  10. CDRIVE

    Senior Member

    Jul 1, 2008
    2,223
    99
    After reading over his requirements I concur. I still love Picaxe though for its ease of use and minimal cost.
     
  11. blueroomelectronics

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jul 22, 2007
    1,758
    98
    For the ease of BASIC but with some real power the 18F series plus Swordfish BASIC.
     
  12. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
    6,357
    718
    How many of the inputs are analog, and how many are digital?

    Sourceboost BASIC is a pretty advanced, supports function overloading, etc, and the price is right for a small project (free). This would be a commercial project, so the price goes up to $150.

    If most of the inputs are digital, you could use 8-1 multiplexers to fan out the number from the IC, same for outputs.

    If most are analog, then it isn't so simple, but could be done.

    What, exactly would all the I/O be used for? I've worked on a very spendy name brand (Bianca? something like that) 3 "port" espresso machine, and the board in it wasn't as huge as this project.
     
  13. Aussie Nuf Man

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 3, 2010
    5
    0
    Thank you all very much for your input.

    I think that the best way for me to start is most likely get a development kit that includes some basic software, fully kitted and functioning dev board and some really simple 'hands on' tutorial/example aspects. I've been doing some searching and the more I read, the more confused I get. Guess it will be like this for a while.

    I was thinking something along the lines of:
    http://www.mikroe.com/eng/products/view/297/easypic6-development-system/
    http://www.mikroe.com/eng/categories/view/24/pic-offers/

    the 'Easy Start 1 Kit - PIC' would be most appropriate for me I think.

    Again, thanks for all the input - I know it's been a little while for me to reply, but running your own business take up time.
     
  14. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
    5,201
    312
    I own the EasyPIC6.

    Love it.
     
  15. Aussie Nuf Man

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 3, 2010
    5
    0
    Hey kids,

    Thanks heaps for the insight. I think you have all given me the info needed to start at an entry level for what I need. I have looked extensivly at all the information laid out and think that I MAY have found the right choice.

    Here http://www.mikroe.com/eng/products/view/430/lv-24-33-v6-development-system/ is the LV 24-33 v6 Development System by MikroElektronika. Allows support for 64, 80 and 100 pin PIC24 and dsPIC33 MCUs.

    And here http://www.mikroe.com/eng/products/view/229/mikrobasic-pro-for-dspic30-33-and-pic24/ is the MikroBasic Pro compiler software needed. (they have both C and Pascal opptions however with my history, I thing Basic is most appropriate)

    A question I do have, and forgive the n00bness of this - what, from a programming and compiling point of view, is the difference between the different numerical versions of pics - i.e. PIC8, PIC16, PIC24, PIC33 etc....??

    Please, let me know what you all think of the packages.

    Cheers,
    Rus.
     
  16. Aussie Nuf Man

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 3, 2010
    5
    0
    Ohh - sorry, realised I had already replied :D
     
Loading...