Getting Started with the PICmicro Nigel Gardner Bluebird Electronics

forestevanescentElectronics - Devices

Nov 2, 2013 (4 years and 6 months ago)


Getting Started with the PICmicro

Nigel Gardner

Bluebird Electronics

Origin of the PIC

PIC stands for Programmable Interface Controller and was originally designed in 1978
with an NMOS (power hungry) process by General Instruments as a device to ‘mop up’

external functions for their larger 16 bit microprocessors. A venture capital group bought

the rights and Microchip Technology was formed in 1989. The product was converted
into CMOS, development tools produced and the product released onto the open
ket as the first OTP production device. The story from then is reflected by the
success of the PICmicro as one of the leading 8
bit microcontroller’s and the range of
products being designed and manufactured.


The uses of the PIC are extensive but as



TV/VCR equipment, Stereo receiver, CD player, Remote controls, Cable
TV converter, Video games, Camera, Garage opener, Microwave oven, Washer/dryer,
Kitchen appliances, Cordless tools, Vacuum cleaner, Electric blanket



Auto security system, Keyless entry, Radar detector, Cruise control, Anti
lock braking, Speedometer, Climate control, Turn signals, Active suspension, Fuel
pump control, Fuel injection, Sun roof control, Air bag sensor, Power seats, Emission

e Automation

Computer mouse, Laptop trackball, Computer keyboard, Handheld
scanner, Laser printer interface board, PC LAN system, X/Y plotter, Copier, Bar code
reader, Disk drive, Tape back
up unit, Serial bus, Facsimile machine



Cellular telepho
ne, Cordless telephone, Feature phone, Answering machine,
Pay phone, Pager, Modem, Credit card verification



Motor control, Compressor, Thermostat, Security system, Postage meter,
Utility meter, Robotics, Process control, Gas pump, Smoke detec
tor, Carbon Monoxide
detector, Electronic highway

Advantages of the PIC over other microcontroller’s

Low cost and easy to use development tools

Extensive range of application notes & code examples

No mask charge unless the user moves to a ROM based produ

Inventory kept to a minimum

the same product could be used for a wide variety of

Better security than competitors devices

Lower operating frequency (to produce same code speed) resulting in lower emitted
radio interference

Accessible tech
nical support

Microchips position in the Microcontroller market

Die size comparison of some 8 bit microcontrollers

Current products


See Microchip’s databook, product selection guide or Web page
for full range and availability

16C52, 54, 55,
56, 57, 58

devices aimed at the low cost end of the market

16C710, 711, 715, 73, 74

the 7xx range have a/d capability

16C63, 64, 65

similar to above but without the a/d


EEPROM memory for program and non volatile data area

16C621, 622, 623

brown out (power dip) detect + comparator’s + d/a


pin version of 16C5x series aimed at compact low I/O products


pin PICmicro with A/D and EE memory


built LCD driver

17C4x 17C75x

comparable performance with 68HC11

standard pinout


flash memory based PICmicro


latest technology PICmicro’s for high end applications

What do I need to start development ?

The minimum items required to start PIC development work are :

An IBM compatible PC

preferably w
ith Windows

A data sheet on the chosen PIC

The book

A Beginners Guide to the Microchip PIC


free from the Microchip web site

If you then wish to take the development from paper to a hardware design, you will need:

A programmer

for reliability

and support get the PICSTART Plus, which covers all the

A development board or hardware starter kit

to save time trying to debug software and

Some EPROM (windowed) versions of the PICmicro’s to be used

say 3 to 5 to save
time when t
hey are being erased.

An EPROM eraser.

If developing with the 16F84 (EEPROM) or flash PICmicro’s, you don't need an eraser
as the device is electrically erasable

i.e. no window.

Development Path

Zero Cost


Assembler and Simulator foc from Microc
hip Web Site



Programmer + MPLAB (assembler, simulator, editor) +
PIC sample. No trace or emulation function


Mcrochip ICD

ideal for development with 16F87x devices


Circuit Emulator

allows debugging of hardware and software
at same time. You need a programmer to go with the ICE

see catalogue
for part numbers


C compilers

again see catalogue or Microchip product list for
description and order codes.

upport Products

See Bluebird Electronics website for current range

8/18 pin PICmicro

Hardware Starter Kit


PCB, 8 leds, regulator, 4MHz crystal,
reset components.

16C55/57 Hardware Starter Kit


PCB, 8 leds, regulator, 4MHz crystal, reset

Project Board 1 (18 pin PIC's)


PCB, leds, regulator, push buttons, speaker,
thermistor, dip switch, PP3 battery holder, 4MHz crystal, reset switch

ideal starter
kit for students or engineers.

16C64/74 Hardware Starter Kit


PCB, leds, regulator, push

buttons, RS232
interface, EEPROM socket, 200 hole patch area, PIC Soft disk.

PIC Converter


A pin conversion adapter to allow 16C63/73 devices (28 pin) to be
used with the above 16C64/74 Hardware Starter Kit.

PIC Soft


Project board software source c
ode, application source code from
Microchip Embedded Control Handbook plus MPLAB

PIC in a Box


A complete starter kit for those intending to work with the PIC. PIC in
a Box comprises PICSTART Plus, Beginners Guide to the PIC, PIC Cookbook Vol
1, Project

Board, PIC Soft with additional projects aimed at the absolute beginner
and starter guidance notes.

Pointers to get started

Start off with a simple program

don’t try to debug 2000 lines of code in one go.

Use known working hardware

Bluebird starter

kits for example

for the initial
design phase to save debug time.

Have a few windowed PIC’s to hand when developing to save time waiting for

If using the PIC Start (programmer only) you will need to use the program


modify process

w extra development time.

An ICE will speed up development and save the company money

if an engineer
costs his company £200 per day, 3 days wasted trying to sort out a bug without an
ICE, and the ICE would have paid for itself, and met a deadline!

Use so
me form of I/O map when starting your design to speed up port identification
and function

Draw a software functional block diagram to enable modular code writing

Comment the software as it’s written. It is meaningless the following day or if read by

Write, test and debug each module stage by stage

Update documentation at the end of the process

How do I program a PIC ?

Run MPLAB software on the PC

Power up the programmer

Build the project

without errors

Set the defaults for product, Watchdog, O
scillator, POR, Brownout and Code

Check you have the correct PIC to program

Check it’s blank



Test in the product

How much will it cost me ?

The programmer




Microchip CD ROM

A Beginners Guide

to the Microchip PIC


PIC Cookbook Vol 1 and 2


PIC C an introduction to C on the PIC



a few windowed devices


£25 each


for the finished project

less than 25


£17 each

ICE PIC in circuit

approx. £550

CCS C Compiler


What about PIC designs for manufacture?

For those embarking on product development with a deadline or a complicated design
for their company, invest in the ICE PIC In Circuit Emulator. It will save

time and money
in product development and, the engineer from loosing their sanity. The ICE enables the
programmer to step through a program, set breakpoints, trace what is happening within
the PIC

to list a few of the features. The ICE will pay for it
self on the first major project.

What happens when my program won't run?

Check the following:

Has the oscillator configuration been set correctly when you programmed the PIC?

Was the watchdog enabled when not catered for in the software?

Have all the po
rts been initialised correctly.

On 16C7x devices, check if the ADCON1 register is configured as analog or digital.

Ensure the data registers are set to a known condition.

Make sure no duplication of names given to variables, registers and labels.

Is the re
set vector correct, especially if code has been moved from one PIC family to

Refer to the debug flowchart on page 100 of Beginners Guide to the PIC

Microchip Approved Training Workshops

Get your project off to a flying start!

What are Training

PIC Training workshops are designed for those who want to know the practical aspects
of using the PIC in their product design. Small class sizes (up to a maximum of 8
delegates) ensure individual needs are met.

Why a Training Workshop will he
lp your Company

Typically an Engineer will spend a few weeks getting a reasonable understanding of a
new microcontroller. The time spent on this learning curve is costly for the Company and
delays product development. The workshop assists in getting the
Engineer over the
initial hurdle in a fraction of the time normally taken with the guidance of a Microchip

In just one day you'll learn...

How the PIC operates

internal and external needs

Hardware interfacing

the ins and outs

Software p

flowcharts, code writing, assembler directives

Debugging Code

with and without an ICE

Development Tools

hands on use of ICE PIC and PICSTART PLUS

The EMC directive

software techniques to assist in product reliability

How is the day org

The workshop is in two parts. The morning is spent working through the theoretical
aspects of the PIC and product development. Following lunch, the afternoon is allocated
to work on customer specific projects. Delegates are encouraged to bring
along some
hardware from their intended project to help get the project started. Some equipment is
provided for project construction, debugging and programming including ICE PIC and
PICSTART PLUS development tools for hands on experience.

What does eac
h delegate receive?

Each delegate will receive a copy of “The Beginners Guide to the Microchip PIC”, 'PIC
Cookbook', a PIC Project Board to continue the learning process together with any
software developed during the day and some goodies.

Where are th
e Training Workshops held?

Workshops are held at Urchfont Manor, Wiltshire, where the isolation from on
interruptions results in a truly intensive training session.

When are the Training Workshops held?

Workshops are held on a mutually agreed dat
e giving flexibility in arranging training
around staffing levels and project deadlines.

How much does a Training Workshop cost?

Contact june@bluebird
- for information.

What about large organisations?

For larger companies, the Corporat
e workshop is intended for engineers involved in PIC

based projects to work to a common set of standards. It can also form part of an
ongoing training package for new members to the engineering department or existing
engineers needing an understanding of
the products being used by their team. Course
content and duration is completely flexible, please call us to discuss your needs.

What about large projects

If you need to get a large project under way or a number of smaller ones, an extended
course is av
ailable, covering 2, 3 or 4 days. These extended workshops have proved to
be successful for clients needing more than a jump start.

Previous clients

CAA, British Gas, Scottish Nuclear, Trinity House, Scottish Constabulary, AC Deco, MK
Electric, Foxguard
, IMI Pactrol, Unitek, Cranfield Institute, Loughborough College,
Lancing Linde and Army

Technical Support to list a few.

Booking a Training Workshop

To book or discuss your training requirements, phone Nigel or June on 01 380 827080.

Happy PICing

gel Gardner

Bluebird Electronics

Microchip Registered Consultant and Trainer


01 380 827080


01 380 827082

Email info@bluebird

Internet http://www.bluebird