GETTING STARTED WITH PICs
■ FIGURE 9. Configuration Menu.
people who are just getting
started with MCUs. Once you
get an LED to flash, the fear
subsides and you begin to
understand things much easier.
You can go back and re-read
my previous columns, and
suddenly all of the complicated
stuff becomes easier.
Another problem is that
some readers are familiar with
using little Basic modules that
have all the inner details hidden
from the user, in order to make
things easier. You pay for that, though, by not having the
ability to use all the features an MCU can offer. Many times,
you sacrifice speed and memory space for simplicity, not to
mention paying a lot more for the MCU. This will seem like
a leap at first but, trust me, it’s not that tough.
On the other side of the fence, I receive other
comments stating that I often use too simple of an
example — such as flashing an LED — to show how to get
started (as I’ve done in this column). I will cover more
complicated projects using this same MPLAB IDE,
PICBASIC PRO compiler (sample version), and PICkit 2
Starter Kit setup in future columns. The idea I have with
this new approach to the beginner path is to use a common, but powerful and professional set of development
tools and software to create a step-by-step guide to getting
started in programming. I plan to use this same setup in
many future columns to remain consistent. I hope you’ll
continue to tune in. After readers get more comfortable
with the PICBASIC PRO compiler, they can then advance
to the full version or possibly convert to the C language.
By then, my Beginner’s Guide to Embedded C Programming
book should be in print, and I can help you down that path.
Please send your feedback on this particular article to me,
so that I can determine how successful you were in getting
all of this to work. My email address is email@example.com.
I try to answer all emails, but I sometimes find messages
from readers caught in my spam filter. Please write “Nuts
& Volts” or “N&V” in the subject line to help me find your
email. Your feedback will enable me to explain the subject
matter of my columns in more complete ways (there is
only so much I can fit into a few Nuts & Volts pages).
Additionally, if you get a chance, check out my new website dedicated to my books-www.elproducts.com. If you are
a fan of my modules and other hardware, you can now buy
them from my friends at www.beginnerelectronics.com.
I hope you tune in to my next column (July ‘08 issue),
where I’ll show you how to use an ADC to read the
potentiometer on the PICkit 2 development board. NV
CONTACT THE AUTHOR
■ Chuck Hellebuyck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Order online at:
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Fax: (719) 520-1867
Colorado Springs, CO 80960
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2-line, 20-char LCD Module
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PICPROTO™ Prototyping Boards
Double-Sided with Plate-Thru Holes
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Boards Available for Most PIC® MCUs
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BASIC Compilers for PICmicro®
Easy-To-Use BASIC Commands
PICBASIC™ Compiler $99.95
BASIC Stamp 1 Compatible
Supports most 14-bit Core PICs
Built-In Serial Comm Commands
PICBASIC PRO™ Compiler $249.95
Supports most PICmicro® MCU Families
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Interrupts in PICBASIC and Assembly
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Source Level Debugging
See our full range of products, including
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May 2008 101