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Arduino vs. PIC

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by jellybird, May 6, 2012.

  1. jellybird

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 20, 2012
    I'm fairly new to microcontrollers but I would like to invest in one of the aforementioned. I've used Arduino in the past for a school project and found it pretty easy to get started but I wonder if PIC might be a better choice for me after reading a few posts on the forums here.

    Regarding PIC, I like the idea of the programmer being the main cost and the microcontrollers themselves being reasonably priced. By that I mean if I purchase one arduino, i can only have use it with 1 project at a time. Correct me if I'm wrong here.

    Is there a steeper learning curve for the PIC? and is the PIC more "industry applicable"?. Are they both programmed in C? I just graduated BSEE and I have a little more time to myself so I'd like to get my hands dirty with some of my own projects.

    Sorry for all the questions at once but I'd really appreciate if anyone shed some light for me.
  2. Drok

    New Member

    May 6, 2012
    The biggest difference is that a PIC is just a chip, while an Arduino is a platform. yes the arduino is expesive to have multiples, but it is rather plug and play, the PIC will require some external circuitry. If you are looking for something a little more apples to apples check out the chip that controls the arduino. it is an Atmel part. The arduino provides a layer of abstraction from most of the nitty gritty aspects of the chip, while (though I am not a PIC developer so take this with a grain of salt) i am unaware of any similar programs for the PIC. The PIC can be programmed in asm or C, the same as the atmel AVR chips. The arduino is simpler for quick prototyping. The biggest advantage (as far as im concerned) of the arduino as a platform is that the system (the shields, the programming environment, the documentation) allows for fast and simple setups with minimal debugging of the processor circuits, they work. That was rather rambling and I'm sorry but it kind of came out as a stream of consciousness.

    If you check out both the Atmel and Microchip development suites you can get a feel for the professional level development tools available for both.
  3. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    The Atmel chip is also just a chip. PICs are also chips, and either one should be a good choice.

    I personally chose PICs based on how the market looked over 15 years ago and I have never regretted the choice. They are very "industry applicable:" tomorrow we intend to ship samples of a new product I designed that uses a PIC. The test fixture for them also uses a PIC. I tend to put a PIC in most things are they are so dang useful with choices spanning 5 pins with 256 instructions to 100 pins and 512K ROM plus 128K RAM, with 8 16 or 32 bit instructions.

    Microchip gives away very useful C compilers that are slightly crippled after a trial period but still crank code you can legally put into products. An extensive application library is also a freebie with examples of many devices such as USB ports, SD card readers, color graphic displays with touchscreens... tons of things.

    A Pickit 3 programmer/debugger is available for under $50 USD (though I use either the Pickit 2 or an ICD 3). In-circuit debugging will oft save you a ton of time.
  4. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
    The Arduino platform. Do not allow for in circuit debugging. And that is a big con in my eyes. If I had to employ someone to join a group working with microcontrollers. I think I would have preferred the hobbyist that could show me projects build and debugged. Done by using say AVR studio or MPLAB. But that is important. If I had to choose between a hobbyist using Arduino, and someone with only lab experience from some school subject. I would with no doubt at all. Employed the Arduino person.
  5. lightingman

    Senior Member

    Apr 19, 2007
    PIC's for me any day.

  6. qpclasers

    New Member

    Apr 9, 2012
    i use max32 chip kit. it uses pic chips on an arduino platform. it basically an arduino on steroids. also cheaper that an arduino itself ...check it out
  7. takao21203

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 28, 2012
    Arduino has the problem you can't really have 20 or 50 etc. as many as you want. For PICs this is possible and still low cost.

    I have one Arduino here but why put efforts into it, I can use PICs quite well.

    Learning to get along with PICs can take quite a long while if you use assembler. I found small baseline PICs very easy to use actually, and larger PICs took me hours to set up (in assembler).

    Nowadays it's often just a matter of minutes, add a small switcher IC, ICSP header, LED, crystal, that's pretty much it.

    If you have the funds, buy Arduino + shields, get a PICKIT3 as well, and see what's easier for you.

    If you don't have so much money, but want to use many chips, use PICs.

    But Microchip does not really primarily care for hobby only users. Normally people are expected to buy their evalution boards, and if you stick to assembler only + self made boards, then you are hobbyist. Change over to C at least!
  8. Sparky49

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    Hi there! I've just started a blog here which follows,my journey to learning to program! It's quite easy to understand, and I make sure that everything is well discussed and documented.

    cork_ie likes this.
  9. cork_ie

    Active Member

    Oct 8, 2011
    Sparky , your blog has answered so many questions and I hope that you will continue to keep us updated with your progress. By the way how far back will the LFEBS12UB work. Will it work on XP or Vista or is it just Win7 64bit?
    Sparky49 likes this.
  10. Sparky49

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    No problem - I'm glad it helps!

    I must admit that I know very little about microcontrollers, which I why I started the blog. That way it is 100% written for a beginner!

    I'll add a full answer to your question in my next post (today), but the short answer is yes - you can use it with older versions of windows.
  11. Sparky49

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    Interesting post! ;)
  12. MrChips


    Oct 2, 2009
    kuku7 is a robot and will get shut down soon by a mod.
  13. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    What post? ;)

    Been busy around here. Spammers hard at work, so must I.
  14. BillO

    Distinguished Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    Why not? The Arduino (board) is nothing more than a way to power, program and connect to an Atmega328. You can have as many Atmega328s as you want and still program them through the Arduino IDE and a little USB to TTL board. Or with a real development board like this one.