EVERYTHING FOR ELECTRONICS
LOW DOWN ON THE
I would like to build the Digi-Log clock
that was in the Feb ’07 issue. However, the
article does not tell me how to get the
downloaded source code into the PIC.
Response: Nuts & Volts, like many
magazines that include software projects,
does not list the code in the article for two
basic reasons. The first is space. Some programs would require multiple pages to list.
This is not cost-effective for the magazine.
The second is speed and accuracy. Downloading a file is much simpler and more reliable that re-typing everything by hand. For
these reasons I provide Nuts & Volts with
the software and they provide it free of
charge at their website, www.nutsvolts.
com. The file in question can be located
under the "FTP Index" associated with the
issue and article. In this case, look at February 2007 and you'll see the " Clock.asm"
file and a short description of the article
with the title and author. Just click on the
file name and the download will begin.
Once you download the file, you have
to program your PIC device. This requires
significant software from Microchip, the
manufacturer of the PIC microcomputer.
The good news is that this sophisticated
software suite is also free from their
website at www.microchip.com. Again you
will have to go to their website and locate
the file associated with "MP-LAB."
Note: I provide the source code for all
my projects. This is readable and can be easily changed. However, it needs to be compiled by the Microchip software before use
(a simple command). Some others provide
the object code. This does not need to be
compiled but it still needs to be loaded into
the Microchip software so that it can be
copied into the PIC device. Object code is
much harder to understand and/or change.
The last thing you will need is a
programmer of some sort. This physically
connects the PIC device to the MP-LAB
software and it isn't free. I recommend the
PIC-START, but it's a bit pricey now at $199
(I think I got mine for about $50 originally). It interfaces with their software well and
supports virtually all of their products. There
are probably hundreds of various other
third-party "download cables" available that
can cost under $20. Most of these are
fairly limited and not as easy to use. It may
be possible to use one of Microchip's
inexpensive development kits as a
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