[time-nuts] Good (cheap) PIC chip choice for project?

Bob Camp lists at rtty.us
Sat May 25 16:22:38 EDT 2013


If you are going to code on a cheap PIC (the PIC16 series) you will likely need to learn PIC assembler. All my coding on those parts was in assembly language. They are old enough / slow enough / small RAM enough that things like C (or the other high level languages you listed) really don't do well on them. 

A PIC might cost you $1.31. The pc board it goes on will likely cost you $10 in quantity. The regulators and clock source might cost you $2. Throw in $3 for resistors, capacitors, and connectors. If you go for a one up PC board, figure $50 or so. All of that is before you do anything related to your project. That will likely add cost for a power supply, an enclosure, and often a display. It is not at all unusual for your total outlay for even a simple project to hit $100. In that case the micro is 1% of the total cost. A very fancy,  factor of 100 better micro than a basic PIC is *maybe* $6 these days. Depending on how you define and measure better, the answer could be $3. 

There really is no way to use a PIC without something around it. The chip can't just float in mid air. You will always have the "stuff" that goes around it. It's never really a choice between a single IC and an entire assembly. 


On May 25, 2013, at 3:08 PM, Jason Rabel <jason at extremeoverclocking.com> wrote:

> My reasoning for using a PIC (or similar) is mostly two factors.
> First, simplicity... The few things I have in my head that I've wanted to do aren't complicated or require special busses. It is
> things that you could *probably* do with a whole pile of logic chips, or keep it simple with just one PIC. ;)
> Second, cost... Spending $30-$40 for a one time project is fine. But say after 10 or so, the cost savings of a $2 chip vs $30
> embedded system starts to add up.
> I agree with you that I need to figure out the project details first and what I'm trying to integrate with and work backwards. I'm
> really glad people are giving me feedback though I didn't know so many different options existed (and at so many different price
> points). If you don't ask, you will never learn. ;) Both the Arduino and TI Launchpad offerings look very intriguing.
> I'm on no deadline, so time is not an issue. I just wanted a new challenge and this is something I've wanted to dive into for a long
> time.
> Learning a programming language is not an issue. While I mostly write code in PHP, Perl, and shell scripts these days, I used to and
> am still somewhat familiar with C/C++. Most other programming languages I've used in the past are now probably considered archaic or
> defunct. ;)
> Looks like I have a lot of reading to do now. Everyone's responses have been most helpful!
> Jason
>> How did you decide to use a PIC and not one of the others such as the
>> AVR MSP or whatever?   I don't want to argue for any of the others but
>> if you can't list 5 or 6 good reasons to use a PIC and you are not
>> able to say why the oters cn't work for you then you've just selected
>> something at random without thinking.  SO as a check, see if you can
>> list pros and cons.
>> You have to decide what you are going to USE the device for first.
>> Some are bets for different purposes.  And also how much time you are
>> willing to invest in learning.   How much programming experience do
>> you have?
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