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

Herbert Poetzl herbert at 13thfloor.at
Sat May 25 21:44:25 EDT 2013

On Sat, May 25, 2013 at 08:46:03AM -0500, Jason Rabel wrote:
> I've decided I finally want to tackle learning how to use a PIC
> chip for some smaller projects. Can someone recommend me a good
> (and cheap) PIC, and possible some literature (be it a book or
> website)? I have a fairly recent willem eprom programmer that
> I'm hoping I can use.

Microchip has good product selection tools like this one:
(note the plus signs on the right side of each section)

> I don't know what all the features PICs have, but for my first
> project I would like to have it connected to a serial port on
> one of my Soekris' where it can grab info (i.e. the current
> time, or NTP/GPS info) and output that on a little LED display.

Depending on the type of LED display you have in mind, you
want to have PWM capabilities (multiplexing) and high
current source/sink, as well as an (E)U(S)ART for the serial

A four digit LED display can be easily controlled by a
PIC16F1503 (price about 0.8 USD, 14 pins) and the required
documents are available on the Microchip site:

You can do the UART part in software for low data rates
or simply take the PIC16F1508/9 which already includes 
an EUSART (price about 1.3 USD, 20 pins)

One programmer for many PIC chips (8 bit to 32 bit) is
the PICkit2 which can be bought for less than 30 USD
(via usb, works fine on Linux and MacOS as well)


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