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

Chris Albertson albertson.chris at gmail.com
Sat May 25 18:22:31 EDT 2013

I agree with everything below.  It is a good argument for AVR.   The
AVR was designed specifically wit the needs of the compliter writer in
mind.  Because of this C compilers can generate very good AVR code and
there is rarely a good reason to program an AVR in assembly, although
you can.

The low-end AVRs start at under $1 for an 8-pin model and go up.   As
was said below the total cost of a project.  But with uP being so
cheap you might use several.  Perhaps one just to read a rotary shaft
encoder and the rest of the front panel.  Use another one to red
sensors and so on.  At $1 each it is some time easier to use several
then to figure out how to multi-task a larger controller.

But as was said be me and others the tool chain matters a lot.  These
chips are so cheap at $1 each that cost is not an issue but your TIME
is.   So what you might do is download the tool chains.  Try them out.
 You don't need tha hardware to compile a program.  Some might even
have simulators.   So try out developmnt systsms and shee which of
them you like.    The Arduimo is self contained, as is TI's launch
pad.  Some AVR or PIC tool chains are DIY with terminal windows, and
text editors or you can use Eclipse.   Set up a few and find which you
think you  like.

On Sat, May 25, 2013 at 1:22 PM, Bob Camp <lists at rtty.us> wrote:
> Hi
> 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.

Chris Albertson
Redondo Beach, California

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