PIC Microcontroller

Past projects include a BASIC Stamp controller built into a development system (thanks Mike!), and several CNC Controllers. Now, I am starting to learn about MicroChip's PIC controllers. They are less expensive than PARALLAX BASIC STAMPS and you can do just as much with one.

With 3 years of college (Electronics Engineering Technology) and twenty years of electronic experience, the PIC should be both fun and challenging.

The PIC I have chosen to experiment with is the 16F819 which is relatively new. I was able to get a couple of evaluation chips from MicroChip, and bought four more on eBay (thanks Randy!).

The 16F819 has the following features:

  • 18 Pin DIP package - the pcb will be fairly easy to make.
  • Flash programmable - mistakes will be easy to correct.
  • 2K Words of program memory - lots for my needs.
  • 256 bytes of RAM - how much do you really need?
  • 5 channels of 10 bit ADC - measure the "real" world if we need to.
  • 16 I/O pins with individual direction control
  • High sink/source current: 25 mA
  • Three timers: - Timer0: 8-bit timer/counter with 8-bit prescaler - Timer1: 16-bit timer/counter with prescaler, can be incremented during SLEEP via external - Timer2: 8-bit timer/counter with 8-bit period register, prescaler and postscaler
  • Capture, Compare, PWM (CCP) module: - Capture is 16-bit, max. resolution is 12.5 ns - Compare is 16-bit, max. resolution is 200 ns - PWM max. resolution is 10-bit
  • 10-bit, 5-channel Analog-to-Digital converter
  • Synchronous Serial Port (SSP) with SPI™ (Master/Slave) and I2C™ (Slave)

    Support devices

    All PIC's require at least some support devices. The devices that appear to be required include, but are not limited to:

  • Voltage regulator - 78LM05 will be used
  • Clock generator - either internal oscillator, resonator or crystal. Resonators will be used
  • General purpose transistors (2N3904/2N3906)
  • High power transistors (TIP120)
  • Serial LCD - nice, but expensive

    GlitchBuster.com supplied lots of my parts and info - thanks again Randy!

    There is a ton of info on the PIC series of microcontrollers. To get up and running fairly quickly, I emailed Randy at GlitchBuster's and he kindly recommended the following:

  • EPIC programmer w/ software
  • PicBasic Pro (BASIC compiler)
  • Flasher with resonator, cable, and PIC 16F628

    Since 2003 I have found that a C compiler from CCS was better for what I wanted to do.

    CYBIKO update get a 32x16 line LCD display with a full QWERTY keyboard connected to a serial port (Yep, a full fledged terminal) for about $10. Makes the debugging go so much easier!

    Get a PIC, and do something with it. Busy hands get things done. You will be surprised how quickly you can make a neat gizmo and you will learn a lot along the way!