You can see communication from
PIC-to-PC and PC-to-PIC is not that
difficult to accomplish. In this example,
we controlled LEDs from the PC, but the
LEDs could easily be replaced with
transistors and relays so the PC could be
controlling something more powerful.
Eventually, you could add switch
inputs or sensors to the PIC circuit
and then read the state of the
switches or sensors and send the
results to the PC. Now, replace the
Hyperterminal with a nice GUI based
program written in Visual Basic or
similar and you have a professional
looking PC control system.
MOVING ON FROM
The 31 command limit sample
version of PICBasic Pro hasn’t
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slowed us down, but if you want to
use other PICs and larger programs,
then the PICBasic Pro compiler may
be worth the investment. It retails for
$249.95, but I sell it for $10 off to my
website visitors. I also sell a product
called the Atom. It’s better known as
a BASIC Stamp competitor, but in
reality, it’s the free-to-download
Atom Basic compiler and Atom
interpreter chips that are the stars.
The chips are either a PIC16F876A or
PIC16F877A with a custom Atom
bootloader self-programming code
The Atom modules are the same
footprint as the BASIC Stamp
modules, but are built around these
PIC16F876A and 877A PICs. The Atom
Basic compiler is closer to the
PICBasic Pro compiler, giving you
access to all the internal PIC features.
The only catch to use the “free”
compiler is you have to connect an
Atom module or Atom chip to your
PC serial port or USB port (with Serial
to USB adapter) to use the compiler,
so it’s not completely free in the long
run, but definitely inexpensive. I have
those modules and chips, along with
some of my own Atom module
designs, at my website www.elprod
ucts.com and it’s one of my favorite
PIC development tools.
I’ll also talk more about other
programming options in future
columns, including some new
stuff direct from Microchip and eventually touch on assembly language
programming. I just wanted you to
know these columns are taking you
further than just 31 command sample
I’m also excited to announce I
released my second book to follow my
PicBasic book. It’s titled Programming
the Basic Atom Microcontroller and
is written about the Atom chips I
mentioned above. The book is written
for the beginner to intermediate users
who may want more than a monthly
column can deliver. It is also available
in the Nuts & Volts bookstore
( www.nutsvolts.com). Lots of communicating going on, so I hope you are
enjoying it. Thanks for reading and, as
usual, email me with your feedback to