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

Robert Atkinson robert8rpi at yahoo.co.uk
Sun May 26 10:32:13 EDT 2013

Hi Jason,
Firstly I'm pro PIC so what I say is likely biased ;-)
Look at one of the Microchip PicKit 3 (or even PicKit 2) starter kits. See http://www.microchip.com/stellent/idcplg?IdcService=SS_GET_PAGE&nodeId=1406&dDocName=en538340
                                                                        DV164131PicKit 3 Debug Express is about $70 and includes a development board, in-circuit programmer/debugger and C complier. The programmer will also program the earlier series Flash PICs.
Pics are great for little projects were an Arduino is to costly or big. The little 8 and 16pin PICs are cheap enough to replace things like 555 timers, discrete logic etc. Throw in an onboard comparator, ADC and PWM you have a whole host of applications it can cope with. If you are not a C person look at ME Labs PicBasicPro, www.melabs.com
Don't go for the high end devices and DSPic unless you really need their capabilities.

Robert G8RPI.

 From: Jason Rabel <jason at extremeoverclocking.com>
To: time-nuts at febo.com 
Sent: Saturday, 25 May 2013, 20:08
Subject: Re: [time-nuts] Good (cheap) PIC chip choice for project?

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

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!


> 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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