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

Clint Turner turner at ussc.com
Sat May 25 22:17:27 EDT 2013

Having used PICs since 1990, I've designed them into projects rather 
than getting a board like a Parallax or Arduino (either of which are far 
more expensive than the chip and the few components required to make it 
work) and then shoehorning someone else's board into my project.

Since the late 90's, I've used the PICC compiler (by CCS) which - once 
you know it - can produce reasonably tight code that is can also be 
fast:  I've done a number of audio DSP projects on 16F platforms - 
mostly in "C" - and had plenty of horsepower.  A bit expensive, but I 
updated only every 4-7 years and with as many projects that I've done (I 
have used rails of the things with personal/amateur/work projects as 
well as some commercial prototypes) the time/power is worth the cost.

The PICs that I use the most are the 12F683 - an 8-pin device with 10 
bits of A/D and a 10 bit PWM:  With a 20 MHz xtal, I've done audio DSP 
with this.  As it turns out, a great many projects require <=6 pins (the 
PIC using an internal R/C clock - 1 of the pins is input-only) and this 
will do the trick.

The other one that I use is the 16F88 - It has the A/D, PWM as well as 
I2C/SCL and USARTs and internal clocks - an 18 pin device, 16 of which 
can be used for I/O (1 of those only does "I").  With more RAM/Program 
memory, one can do more DSP than with the '683...

For more horsepower I'll often use the 18F2620/18F4620's - 28/40 pin 
devices (respectively) and these have more I/O and peripherals. There's 
are close cousins of this that also has hardware-based USB (I don't 
recall the number of an example, however...)

I've yet to do anything with the 24F and dsPICs, but maybe, the next 
time I update the compiler...



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