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'[PIC]: PIC tools in the educational sector.'
2004\01\18@112618 by

picon face
Hi everyone !
Yesterday (on an "open-house" event) I met some
people at my sons tech gymnasium. We talked some
about the possibility to introduce some kind of
introductional course on microcontrolers, and we
decided to continue the talks later (it was a bit
busy there during this event...)

Now, I have thought a bit about what hardware to use
as the base of a "student-kit". I think that Wouters
"Dwarf-line" pretty much fits the bill, but I'd like
to hear other opinions on this matter also. Has anyone
been involved with putting together this kind of
kits earlier ? And so, what did you learn from it ?

I'm sure there are kits like this on the market
already, but I'm not sure there are any with docs in
Swedish (and I'm not 100% sure that is a requirement anyway,
another thing to concider...).

This is currently in a very initial state, we'll see
what happens...

/Jan-Erik.

PS.
They actualy had a kind of model "car" driven by a STAMP
based PCB on display. It looked like some commercial model
kit, but I never found anyone who knew more about it and I
do't know what model it was...

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2004\01\18@113946 by Mike W

flavicon
picon face
On 18 Jan 04, at 17:24, Jan-Erik Soderholm XA (TN/PAC) wrote:

> Hi everyone !
> Yesterday (on an "open-house" event) I met some
> people at my sons tech gymnasium. We talked some

This may, or may not, interest you...

http://www.amqrp.org/elmer160/board/index.html

with the current value of the $US its certainly worth thinking about.

There is an interesting bit of software too..

http://www.oshonsoft.com/pic.html

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2004\01\18@164845 by

picon face
Mike W wrote :

> This may, or may not, interest you...
>
> http://www.amqrp.org/elmer160/board/index.html

Nice idea, but why a PIC16F84 ?? It seems to be a quite
recent design, judging from the dates on the page.

> http://www.oshonsoft.com/pic.html

Also looks nice, but no 18-series support, as far as I can see...

Thanks anyway !
Jan-Erik.

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2004\01\18@165508 by Mike W

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picon face
On 18 Jan 04, at 22:47, Jan-Erik Soderholm XA (TN/PAC) wrote:

> Mike W wrote :
>
> > This may, or may not, interest you...
> >
> > http://www.amqrp.org/elmer160/board/index.html
>
> Nice idea, but why a PIC16F84 ?? It seems to be a quite
> recent design, judging from the dates on the page.
>
> > http://www.oshonsoft.com/pic.html
>
> Also looks nice, but no 18-series support, as far as I can see...
>
> Thanks anyway !
> Jan-Erik.
>

I believe the thought process behind the use of the 16F84 was that
it is/was the most basic flash PIC. Once students gain familiarity
with the 'F84 they can easily? migrate to bigger and better devices.
Also the availability of numerous packages and designs to help
inspire the student.

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2004\01\18@171133 by

picon face
Mike W wrote :

> > > This may, or may not, interest you...
> > >
> > > http://www.amqrp.org/elmer160/board/index.html
> >
> > Nice idea, but why a PIC16F84 ?? It seems to be a quite
> > recent design, judging from the dates on the page.
> >
>
> I believe the thought process behind the use of the 16F84 was that
> it is/was the most basic flash PIC. Once students gain familiarity
> with the 'F84 they can easily? migrate to bigger and better devices.
> Also the availability of numerous packages and designs to help
> inspire the student.


But the F84 isn't the most basic flash PIC any more.
It's obsolete, dead, costly and lacking many features
of those PICs that a long time ago replaced the F84.
I'm not going to suggest a F84 based kit to my local school.
I'm primarily looking for something with a 18F-chip.

If the "Elmer" board realy is a new (2003) design, IMHO
they made a mistake when selecting PIC...

Never mind, it's not a real option for me anyway.

And don't get me wrong, I realy *do* value that you
took your time and posted the links !

Jan-Erik.

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2004\01\18@172003 by Tony Nixon

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picon face
Jan-Erik Soderholm XA (TN/PAC) wrote:

>But the F84 isn't the most basic flash PIC any more.
>It's obsolete, dead, costly and lacking many features
>of those PICs that a long time ago replaced the F84.
>I'm not going to suggest a F84 based kit to my local school.
>I'm primarily looking for something with a 18F-chip.
>
>
>
The 18 pin 18F3120 looks likes like a great contender with probably
everything a development kit needs, even softare reprogrammable.

regards

Tony

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2004\01\18@173452 by

picon face
Tony Nixon wrote :

> The 18 pin 18F3120 looks likes like a great contender with probably
> everything a development kit needs, even softare reprogrammable.

Yes, it could. The only thing that worries me is the "troubles"
that has been around this family in the 18-series. There seems
to be fewer problems with the 18F252 family.

You and I (and any other PIC'ers) could probably learn to live
with the problems in the 18F3120, but I would not like to stand
before a class trying to explain them :-) :-)
It's a bit sad, becuse these PICs have many other nice features,
such as the programmable internal osc...

Jan-Erik.

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2004\01\18@174114 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
Mike W wrote:
> I believe the thought process behind the use of the 16F84 was that
> it is/was the most basic flash PIC. Once students gain familiarity
> with the 'F84 they can easily? migrate to bigger and better devices.

I think this is backwards.  The newer 18F PICs are easier to program and
much more capable, thereby making them easier again to use in a particular
project.  On top of that, the 16F84 actually costs more than newer chips
like the 16F628 that have more memory and do more.

In particular, I suggest the following PICs for learning or general hobby
use:

12F629, 12F675  -  8 pins, actually 16F parts architecturally.

18F1320  -  18 pins.

18F252  -  28 pins.

18F452  -  40 pins.

Unless you have a specialized need or a high volume design, these are the
only PICs worth looking at.  All of these are also available in DIP packages
for easy prototyping.


*****************************************************************
Embed Inc, embedded system specialists in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com

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2004\01\18@174323 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
Jan-Erik Soderholm XA (TN/PAC) wrote:
> You and I (and any other PIC'ers) could probably learn to live
> with the problems in the 18F3120, but I would not like to stand
> before a class trying to explain them :-) :-)

Those problems have been fixed.  Just make sure you have the new parts.

*****************************************************************
Embed Inc, embedded system specialists in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com

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2004\01\18@175603 by Herbert Graf

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{Quote hidden}

       I agree, and in fact, unless you REALLY have a specific need for an 8 pin
part I'd forget about the 12F's and stick the with 18F parts. The 16F
architecture has "quirks" that don't exist in the 18F line and make PICs a
little harder then they need to be for a complete beginner. Once one is
familiar with the 18F family going back to the 16F architecture is MUCH
easier. TTYL

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2004\01\18@175811 by

picon face
Olin Lathrop wrote :

> Jan-Erik Soderholm XA (TN/PAC) wrote:
> > You and I (and any other PIC'ers) could probably learn to live
> > with the problems in the 18F3120, but I would not like to stand
> > before a class trying to explain them :-) :-)
>
> Those problems have been fixed.  Just make sure you have the
> new parts.

OK, then they are absolutly a viable alternative !

B.t.w, does Microchip generaly release an updated
errata sheet whenever the problems outlined are
*solved* ? Not just when *new* flaws are popping up ?

Thanks !
Jan-Erik.

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2004\01\18@181055 by 859-1?Q?Jaakko_Hyv=E4tti?=

flavicon
face
On Sun, 18 Jan 2004, Jan-Erik Soderholm XA (TN/PAC) wrote:
> about the possibility to introduce some kind of
> introductional course on microcontrolers, and we
..
> Now, I have thought a bit about what hardware to use
> as the base of a "student-kit". I think that Wouters

 Building the JDM style serial port programmer and using either dos/win
software or (my) 'picprog' linux/freebsd software to program it to do
something blinkenlicht style would give the kids a lot of skills from
ground up and also would leave them with a working programmer to take
home.  Maybe use 12f675 for extra points and wow factor on how small can a
programmable computer be and how any hobbyist can still work with it.

 I think I heard there are schools doing just that but forgot where they
were.

Jaakko

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2004\01\18@182755 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Sunday, Jan 18, 2004, at 14:54 US/Pacific, Herbert Graf wrote:

> I agree, and in fact, unless you REALLY have a specific need for an 8
> pin
> part I'd forget about the 12F's and stick the with 18F parts. The 16F
> architecture has "quirks" that don't exist in the 18F line and make
> PICs a
> little harder then they need to be for a complete beginner.

1) i would sort of think that learning about "quirks" would be an
important
   part of a 'serious' "intro to embedded programming"

2) Once you decide to go to a new, non-quirky 28 or 40 pin chip without
   all the hobbyist history of the 16F series, are you still sure you
   want to use a PIC?  I mean, there are LOTS of $10 40pin flash
   microcontrollers.  (hmm.  Aside from the expense of tools, I wonder
   if a 'comparative religionxxxxx I mean microcontroller" class where
   you implement the same project on several different chips would be
   more beneficial than an in-depth study of one particular chip...)

BillW

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2004\01\18@190816 by Herbert Graf

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face
> On Sunday, Jan 18, 2004, at 14:54 US/Pacific, Herbert Graf wrote:
>
> > I agree, and in fact, unless you REALLY have a specific need for an 8
> > pin
> > part I'd forget about the 12F's and stick the with 18F parts. The 16F
> > architecture has "quirks" that don't exist in the 18F line and make
> > PICs a
> > little harder then they need to be for a complete beginner.
>
> 1) i would sort of think that learning about "quirks" would be an
> important
>     part of a 'serious' "intro to embedded programming"

       No. The quirks in the 16F series I speak of have NOTHING to do with an
"intro to embedded programming", but are instead side effects of Microchip
trying to keep things as simple on the silicon end as possible.

       The 18F series is far more "logical" to use, and while it's instruction
count IS higher it is far easier to start out with. I know, I started with
the 16F series and still remember my amazement at how much easier the 18F
architecture was for a newbie to understand.

> 2) Once you decide to go to a new, non-quirky 28 or 40 pin chip without
>     all the hobbyist history of the 16F series, are you still sure you
>     want to use a PIC?  I mean, there are LOTS of $10 40pin flash
>     microcontrollers.  (hmm.  Aside from the expense of tools, I wonder
>     if a 'comparative religionxxxxx I mean microcontroller" class where
>     you implement the same project on several different chips would be
>     more beneficial than an in-depth study of one particular chip...)

       The 18F is fairly compatible with the 16F, and therefore all the hobbyist
resources out there map quite well to the newer parts.

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2004\01\18@192723 by

picon face
Jaakko Hyvatti wrote :

> Building the JDM style serial port programmer and using
> either dos/win software or (my) 'picprog' linux/freebsd
> software to program it to do something blinkenlicht style
> would give the kids...

They are 16-19 years. Kids ?

> ...a lot of skills from ground up and also
> would leave them with a working programmer to take home.

My primary concern is to find something that works *reliable*,
not something that is cheap. And the HW/SW setup would probably
belong to the school anyway.

> Maybe use 12f675 for extra points and wow factor on
> how small can a programmable computer be and how any
> hobbyist can still work with it.

This is an educational environment, not hobbyists. But
you are more or less right anyway :-) And besides, a 40-pin
PIC "computer" is still rather small compared with a standard
PC :-)

Jan-Erik.

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2004\01\18@193802 by

picon face
William Chops Westfield wrote :

> 1) i would sort of think that learning about "quirks" would be an
> important part of a 'serious' "intro to embedded programming"

Yes, if they was general in nature (common to any MCU family, not
only PICs).

No, if you mean design flaws in *some* PICs specificaly.

There is no reason to start with showing all the things that
make people switch to *other* MCU families, are there ?

> 2) Once you decide to go to a new, non-quirky 28 or 40 pin
> chip without
> all the hobbyist history of the 16F series, are you still sure
> you want to use a PIC?  I mean, there are LOTS of $10 40pin
> flash microcontrollers.  (hmm.  Aside from the expense of
> tools, I wonder if a 'comparative religionxxxxx I mean
> microcontroller" class where you implement the same project
> on several different chips would be more beneficial than an
> in-depth study of one particular chip...)

It's not going to be in-depth, even if *only* using PICs.

It's ment as an introduction and to show that there are
other things "out there" then HTML, JavaScript and PHP...

(I'm also discussion on setting up an OpenVMS environment there
to show that there actualy exists *good* operating systems, not
only those comming from Microsoft... But that's another story
for another mail-list... :-) )

Jan-Erik.

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2004\01\18@195458 by James Caska

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face
Hi,

Do the classes on Free Virtual Hardware, (http://www.virtualbreadboard.com) and
show the kids how to program the pics' using Industry standard Language
(Java), (http://www.muvium.com) using an Industry Standard Open source
OpenSource development IDE tool like Eclipse.. (http://www.eclipse.org).. They
might find they skills that extend beyond the hardware quirks of certain
hardware releases of certain PIC chips at the end of it all..

It's what Microchip is thinking..
www.microchip.com/1010/pline/picmicro/category/embctrl/32kbytes/d
evices/18f8720/related/index.htm

Just a thought...

James Caska
http://www.muvium.com
uVM - 'Java Bred for Embedded'



{Original Message removed}

2004\01\18@200914 by Andrew Kieran

picon face
Jan-Erik

Last year I taught a microcontroller course to a small class of
high school students.  Our environment combined the board found
in the link below, with breadboards and a handful of LEDs,
switches, and LCD displays.

http://www.futurlec.com/PICDevBoard.html

This board is not ideal as I had to make cables with DIP clips
to attach to the breadboards. But it is flexible;  the
programmer is built in; and it's very inexpensive.

As for using the 16F series processor, I think that choosing it
over the 18F series was a big help rather than an obstacle.  The
purpose of the course was not just to learn about PICs but to
understand how all computer chips do what they do.  That's why I
used Assembly language rather than C or PICBasic.

The limitations of the 16F series helped to show how the chip
works.  For example, when students asked "Why can't I copy from
register X to register Y", they could lookup the 14 bit opcode
and see that there is no room in the 14-bit program memory to
store the instruction, a source register, and a destination.
Similar discoveries about banking and paging also proved to be
be great learning opportunities for the students.

For next year's course, I will keep looking for a better
environment (the Dwarf boards are very interesting).  But if
necessary, (e.g. to keep the cost down) I might return to these
or similar units.


Andrew
akieran_at_ureach_dot_com

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2004\01\18@204529 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Sunday, Jan 18, 2004, at 17:08 US/Pacific, Andrew Kieran wrote:

> The limitations of the 16F series helped to show how the chip
> works.  For example, when students asked "Why can't I copy from
> register X to register Y", they could lookup the 14 bit opcode
> and see that there is no room in the 14-bit program memory to
> store the instruction, a source register, and a destination.
> Similar discoveries about banking and paging also proved to be
> be great learning opportunities for the students.

Exactly the sort of thing I was trying to express.  In the old
days, certain issues MIGHT have been covered in a good assembly
language class, but it's real difficult to justify assembly on
a 2GHz PC with a gig of ram. :-)  (Of course, there are simulators.
Even in my day, the pdp-11 part of the assembly language class was
taught using a simulator running on the mainframe...)  An embedded
programming class is about dealing with limitations that aren't
present on a desktop-class machine, and about the closeness of
hardware and firmware.  If it's too easy, you don't learn enough.
register and memory banking schemes of assorted level of obscurity
are rampant in microcontrollers; avoiding the issues in the 16F
series by using 18Fs is less 'educational'...

BillW

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2004\01\19@033633 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> > Now, I have thought a bit about what hardware to use
> > as the base of a "student-kit". I think that Wouters
>
>   Building the JDM style serial port programmer and using

For cost-sensitive education the choice is: lowest cost per seat or
lowest cost per programmer. Using a JDM might be a choice for the lowest
cost per programmer, but I would suggest a 'serious' programmer, which
in my opinion is one that uses a port (serial,parallel,USB) for data
communication only, not for the actual programming communication.

My DB016 board is aimed at loweest-cost-per-seat: one bord per seat
(with bootloader), on real programmer per classroom.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2004\01\19@033634 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> But the F84 isn't the most basic flash PIC any more.

If I would select a cheap beginners PIC it would be the 16F630. Much
cheaper than a 16F84, use it with the internal oscillator and reset, and
it has only one pin less than a 16F84. Losing those 2 (resonator) or 4
(crystal) external components more than offsets that one pin.

But my real advice for a PIC beginner is to choose 18F (ease of
programming, advanced peripherals) and start with an 18F452, or choose
16F (downward migration to smaller, cheaper chips) and start with a
16F877A.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2004\01\19@033635 by

picon face
William Chops Westfield wrote :

> An embedded
> programming class is about dealing with limitations that aren't
> present on a desktop-class machine, and about the closeness of
> hardware and firmware.

Yes, true for PIC16, PIC18 and any other type of microcontroler.

> If it's too easy, you don't learn enough.

That's why I don't think that STAMP's or higher level languages
are the right way here. They can be talked about, but not used
for labs.

> Register and memory banking schemes of assorted level of obscurity
> are rampant in microcontrollers; avoiding the issues in the 16F
> series by using 18Fs is less 'educational'...

I don't claim to know everything about every type of microcontrollers
but I see no reason to focus on specific limitations in the 16-series
of PIC's that are not there either in the PIC18-series or in any of
the other popular microcontrolers "out-there". As far as I understand,
the major banking/paging issues in the 16-series is a bit unique, not ?

And, beeing in a situation where *time* is the main limiting factor,
I think it's better to use something that gets the students up to speed
as fast as possible without beeing hold up by the 16-"quirks". And the
cost advantage of the smaller PIC's is of no real advantage here either.

Anyway, thanks all for all input so far ! We'll see what comes
out of this.

Jan-Erik.

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2004\01\19@044633 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>We talked some
>about the possibility to introduce some kind of
>introductional course on microcontrolers

I guess one way to get instant interest would be to build the "pong" game,
or maybe keep that as a carrot to get them to see the course right through.

http://dt.prohosting.com/pic/pong.html

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2004\01\19@045255 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>> part I'd forget about the 12F's and stick the with 18F parts. The 16F
>> architecture has "quirks" that don't exist in the 18F line and make
>> PICs a
>> little harder then they need to be for a complete beginner.
>
>1) i would sort of think that learning about "quirks" would be an
>important
>    part of a 'serious' "intro to embedded programming"

Of course you could always award extra points to those who get a project
going on both architectures. You will be surprised who will get it going on
the "awkward" one.

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2004\01\19@045708 by

picon face
Alan B. Pearce wrote :

> I guess one way to get instant interest would be to build the
> "pong" game, or maybe keep that as a carrot to get them to
> see the course right through.
>
> http://dt.prohosting.com/pic/pong.html


I think that the hazle trying to get a "Never The Same Colour"
signal to display correctly on a PAL recevier, would be a
real challenge :-)

Jan-Erik.

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2004\01\19@050330 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>I think that the hazle trying to get a "Never The Same Colour"
>signal to display correctly on a PAL recevier, would be a
>real challenge :-)

Oh, I can see that I need to refresh myself on this project. I thought it
just did a B&W image. However if going to a PAL system, then an 18F with a
colour burst crystal, and 4x PLL should allow easy generation on the sync
pulses at PAL rates, to update the project. Did not look at the alternative
one he points to at the bottom of the page.

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2004\01\19@071024 by Bill Couture

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How about using something like a "picputer" (http://www.picputer.com) and
letting them use on actual hardware?

Bill

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2004\01\19@072513 by 859-1?Q?Jaakko_Hyv=E4tti?=

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On Mon, 19 Jan 2004, Alan B. Pearce wrote:
> I guess one way to get instant interest would be to build the "pong" game,
> or maybe keep that as a carrot to get them to see the course right through.
>
> http://dt.prohosting.com/pic/pong.html

 Needs 2 * A/D and 1 * output pin, 1024 bytes pgm mem, so should be
doable with 12f675.  Maybe even the internal oscillator is stable enough
to produce composite video, so that xtal can be scrabbed from parts list!
This looks like something I'll have to build immediately!

 Oh but the original work uses 16MHz xtal, so 4MHz internal osc probably
is not fast enough.  There's a challence there..

Jaakko

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2004\01\19@072855 by

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Jaakko Hyvatti wrote :

> >
> > http://dt.prohosting.com/pic/pong.html
>
> Needs 2 * A/D and 1 * output pin, 1024 bytes pgm mem, so should
> be doable with 12f675.  Maybe even the internal oscillator is
> stable enough to produce composite video, so that xtal can be
> scrabbed from parts list!
> This looks like something I'll have to build immediately!

Let me know if you get a PAL versions of this NTSC thing
working ! I don't know, that might not a major problem, I
dont know the PAL<->NTSC differences...


Jan-Erik.

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2004\01\19@075419 by Wally Barnacle

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Hi All
 Its time for my 2 cents.
 For an intro course, sophomores with very little circuit knowledge,
theoretical or hands on, the key is engagement. This means giving them a
program and explaining why that program does what it does. I give them a
circuit board wiyh a traffic light pattern and a program to light one led.
Their assignment is to hand in a program that will light all lights for a
state of the traffic light system. The course takes off from there.
 The students do not design or even build breadbords, but work with
hardware that has been designed and tested and built. There are more than
enough problems with the programming.
  A good simulator is essential(I use MPLAB and PicStart+ for a seamless
environment)
  Since every micro has:
         1. I/O issues
         2. At least one timer
         3. Interrupt issues
  A simple micro is key 16F630
  Assembly language at this stage is mandatory since is more informative as
to what the chip is doing and the way things get carried out
  After three or four weeks they have a timed system using the timer and
some sort of flag system to intelligently operate the walk button.
  Now its on to a board with multiplexed led displays and the introduction
to tables ->indirect addressing to check contents of ram ala Myke Predko->
count up an count down timers etc.
 Other boards have register chips for bit banging, and LCD displays.
Thats my story and I'm sticking to it
Wally Barnacle

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2004\01\19@165654 by Antonio Sergio Sena

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Hello Jan, greetings,

i found that what you want to do is very interesting.
I myself gave a course on PICs, for a class of teatchers that will teach
youngsters, and got a good feedback. Its always nice to be involved in this
kind of activities.

As you are in doubdt of the hardware to use, let me give a light on what i
have to present to you.
It may be of your interest.

This is the main page for the Development Kit,
http://www.primetec.pt/products.php?sec=2&cat=1&prod=6&lang=en

From the http://www.primetec.pt/index_en.php root page.


I would like to hear some feedback from you, as it may bring some thoughts
and ideas, probably some considerations.
Many thanks

Antonio Sergio Sena








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---------------------------------------------
Antsnio Sirgio Sena
(Field Applications Engineer)

Primetec - Engenharia de Sistemas, Lda.
Rua Porto Alegre, 9 - 1: Esq.
2780-031 Oeiras
PORTUGAL

e-mail: asenaspamspam_OUTprimetec.pt
WEB: http://www.primetec.pt







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2004\01\19@173222 by

picon face
Antonio Sergio Sena wrote :

> As you are in doubdt of the hardware to use, let me give a
> light on what i have to present to you. It may be of your interest.
>
> This is the main page for the Development Kit,
> http://www.primetec.pt/products.php?sec=2&cat=1&prod=6&lang=en




Hi and thanks for the pointer.

I must say that my first 30-sec-impression is
that this board might be a bit over the
specifications I'm targeting. I'll keep
your link for future reference...

Jan-Erik.

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2004\01\19@180407 by Tony Nixon

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This idea was quite acceptable and cheap for some schools whereby the
student built any old circuit on a breadboard and a programmed
controller board was then connected via a single line IDC connector. The
controller board was just a simple power supply, a PIC, crystal, RS232
and a bootloader installed. The instructor had access to a PIC
programmer to reinstall the bootloader in case of problems.

regards

Tony

Jan-Erik Soderholm XA (TN/PAC) wrote:

>I must say that my first 30-sec-impression is
>that this board might be a bit over the
>specifications I'm targeting. I'll keep
>your link for future reference...
>
>Jan-Erik.
>
>

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2004\01\19@182106 by Victor Faria

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Here is a link www.basicmicro.com/Category.aspx?CategoryID=34
very nice board to start with and a good price.
I do own one and love it!!!
Also check out some of the boards at http://www.melabs.com they have several!
regards
victor
{Original Message removed}

2004\01\19@204518 by Hopkins

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This PDF may be of some interest for training.

http://techtrain.microchip.com/masters2003/(c1xuow55dt0yvl3t0zcci245)/masters2003-CD/classes/701/701_PIC.pdf

*************************************************

Roy Hopkins

@spam@rdhopkinsKILLspamspamihug.co.nz

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2004\01\19@210633 by William Chops Westfield

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On Monday, Jan 19, 2004, at 17:43 US/Pacific, Hopkins wrote:

> This PDF may be of some interest for training.
>
> http://techtrain.microchip.com/masters2003/(c1xuow55dt0yvl3t0zcci245)/
> masters2003-CD/classes/701/701_PIC.pdf
>
>
that looks pretty nice.  Does microchip allow other teachers to use it?

BillW

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2004\01\20@091123 by John J. McDonough

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I realize this response is a tad late, but I've been real busy with the PIC
course.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jan-Erik Soderholm XA (TN/PAC)"
Sent: Sunday, January 18, 2004 4:47 PM
Subject: Re: [PIC]: PIC tools in the educational sector.

> Nice idea, but why a PIC16F84 ?? It seems to be a quite
> recent design, judging from the dates on the page.

This is intended as an experimenter board for the Elmer 160 course.  A *LOT*
of the students are very green to anything microprocessor-ish (although they
are generally pretty astute with RF electronics).

We had quite a go around on what part to use.  No doubt some of the newer
parts are a lot nicer.  For the intended applications (control of radios),
the 18F parts are overkill, plus, compilers generally cost money and hams
are notoriously cheap.

But the real driver was the I/O.  The '84 has 13 I/O pins, 12 of which are
nothng more than straight I/O, and the remaining one behaves like the others
until you configure it to do something else.  All of the newer parts have
three or four uses per pin.  The prospect of explaining that right out of
the chute to folks who are very, very green with this stuff was not
appealing.  The widespread availability of ham related '84 projects also
played into it, but it was really the complexity of the newer parts that
drove the decision.

We all know that, once you've figure out how to use the things, using a new
form of I/O involves nothing more than looking it up in the datasheet.  Once
you "get it", the newer parts are no more complicated than the older ones.
I intend to make this point later in the lesson, and I have tested out the
PIC-EL with the 628 and found no issues.  But for someone just starting out
in the whole business, the newer parts with an alphabet soup around every
pin are very intimidating.

A little more detail is at http://www.amqrp.org/elmer160/lessons/e160aa.pdf

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2004\01\20@091930 by Alan B. Pearce

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>We all know that, once you've figure out how to use the things, using a new
>form of I/O involves nothing more than looking it up in the datasheet.
Once
>you "get it", the newer parts are no more complicated than the older ones.
>I intend to make this point later in the lesson, and I have tested out the
>PIC-EL with the 628 and found no issues.  But for someone just starting out
>in the whole business, the newer parts with an alphabet soup around every
>pin are very intimidating.

However the F628A at about half the cost of an F84 does seem a more sensible
selection. After all to start out it can be treated as an F84, the only
change being that the comparators need to be turned off, all the other
peripherals default to off to start with, so using the F84 pinout in the
early stages removes most of the "alphabet soup" until later. Especially as
you appear to have already tested an appropriate application on this chip.

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2004\01\20@092114 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> But the real driver was the I/O.  The '84 has 13 I/O pins, 12
> of which are
> nothng more than straight I/O, and the remaining one behaves
> like the others
> until you configure it to do something else.  All of the
> newer parts have
> three or four uses per pin.  The prospect of explaining that
> right out of
> the chute to folks who are very, very green with this stuff was not
> appealing.

IMHO the 16F630 is at least as easy as the F84 in this respect, plus you
would not need to explain about a crystal, capacitors, and reset
pull-up. And it is half the price of an F84 or less.

> The widespread availability of ham related '84
> projects also played into it,

Can't argue with that

> but it was really the complexity of the newer
> parts that drove the decision.

It was probably the complexity of the Microchip product line that made
you overlook the simple chips?

Wouter van Ooijen

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2004\01\20@092321 by

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John J. McDonough wrote :

> > Nice idea, but why a PIC16F84 ?? It seems to be a quite
> > recent design, judging from the dates on the page.
>
> For the intended applications  (control of radios),
> the 18F parts are overkill, plus, compilers generally cost
> money and hams are notoriously cheap.

C18 from Microchip is "free" (in a way).

> The widespread availability of ham related '84
> projects also played into it, but it was really the
> complexity of the newer parts that drove the decision.

Yes, you have a point (or two) there.

> We all know that, once you've figure out how to use the
> things, using a new form of I/O involves nothing more
> than looking it up in the datasheet.  Once you "get it",
> the newer parts are no more complicated than
> the older ones.

Once you "get it", they are a actualy easier to use, IMHO. :-)

Anyay, it was my impression of the board when I saw it, that
it was intended for a very special group, just as you say...

Jan-Erik.

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