# Interest in PIC chips

#### KLillie

Joined May 31, 2014
137
First of all this is not to start a war. I have not done much research on PIC microcontrollers. I am starting to get the impression they are pretty cool, just not as user friendly as the atmel/AVR/arduino environment. What would you say is the PIC chip's saving grace? Why use them? In what area do they shine? Just a question for sh!ts and giggles. Please don't hate on me for this (if you can't say anything nice...); if I wanted to do untainted research I'd be in a corner with a stack of books. Thanks!

#### Roderick Young

Joined Feb 22, 2015
408
The PICs are cheap. If I was a kid again, that might be the only thing I could afford. Those arduino boards are maybe $25 at least, and a PIC could be a dollar. I do have an arduino, and it's a different class of machine. It runs a kind of Linux, and I actually have it set up as a web server, with wordpress, mySQL databases, and everything. A good compromise for usability is the PICAXE, which I still love today. On a$3 chip, you get something that runs BASIC, as A/D converters, a UART to communicate by serial with your computer, and a free development environment. A couple external resistors, and a serial port on your computer are pretty much all you need. For a simple controller, small space, low parts count, that may be all that I need. Many of my little experiments run on the PICAXE. If there were something that needed more performance, I could go to an actual PIC and write in assembly, but I haven't found a need for that, yet.

#### tshuck

Joined Oct 18, 2012
3,534

#### KLillie

Joined May 31, 2014
137
I did. I am amazed. Cheap and strong. Do you guys have favorites? And/or the best way to start with PIC?

#### WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,398
There are a number of ways to get started. Much of the Microchip software is free and you can get programmers pretty cheaply -- or you can get more fully featured programmers that have a lot of bells and whistles and a corresponding price tag. I'd recommend getting a lower-priced programmer at first and getting some small, cheap processors and just start playing with them. You can learn a lot by just doing the "blinking light" type projects (light chasers, seven-segment displays, keypad interfaces, small servo motor controllers, etc.). That would be a path if you don't have any specific project objectives in mind.

#### Hypatia's Protege

Joined Mar 1, 2015
3,226
For a 'gentle entry' you may wish to investigate the offerings of "MicroEngineering Labs"

Best regards
HP

#### Roderick Young

Joined Feb 22, 2015
408
The PICAXE stuff is here. If you want to start easy, you can get an 08M2 or 14M2 for a few dollars, and have an LED flashing in about 20 minutes. You'll be shielded from the instruction set of the PIC, but will learn about the chip's capabilities, such as the A/D converter, touch sensor, even multi-tasking. A PICAXE can go a long way - I'm using one right now as the control element for a switching regulator. When you're ready to move into serious programming, you can get a real PIC, and write your own software.

Joined Jul 18, 2013
22,337
The 16f628a is a popular Pic starter, and there are many projects out there based on this chip.
http://www.winpicprog.co.uk/pic_tutorial.htm
Then gravitate to the 18F series, especially if you go the assembler route.
Max.

#### ErnieM

Joined Apr 24, 2011
8,108
When you are just beginning with embedded devices you have these problems to contend with: writing code, compiling code, programming the code into the processor, the hardware that programs the processor, and the hardware around the processor. And you have to solve all these problems simultaneously.