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'[PIC]: Should I use a STAMP?'
2003\02\28@013606 by Werner Soekoe

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Just a question to all the people with
I've been working with PICs for the past 2 years or so. Not on a daily basis, but I have built my fair share of "things". I'ev written all my code in PIC ASM using MPLAB (with a lot of debugging).

Lately, I've seen an "uprise" of Basic Stamp users. This really has me intrigued. My question is: If I've started off the "hard way" using ASM and custom peripherals/circuits/etc., is it really worth looking into the Basic Stamp at all?

Thanks
Werner


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2003\02\28@023333 by Russell McMahon

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>My question is: If I've started off the "hard way" using ASM
> and custom peripherals/circuits/etc., is it really worth looking into the
Basic Stamp at all?

No!
   Over priced.
   Some functionality impossible to provide.
   Slower than compiled code.

Spend your money on a BASIC compiler - eg MELABS or whoever and make or
acquire some appropriate PCBs to mount your PICs on. A little more work to
get going but far cheaper and more powerful and flexible in due course.

I'm just about to implement a small project to replace a dead processor in a
product where the manufacturer is being slow about providing a 62T10 ST
processor that was blown up by ESD due to some leads from a plugin switch
box coming in directly to processor leads with no protection or other
components of any sort !!!! (used in a   disability unit in a local special
school - absolutely at the whim of the maker who is 12,000 miles away in the
UK).
Has 4 input switches and drives 4 relays via transistor drivers. Simple
functionality with some switch response and some timing functions. Using a
BASIC compiler I expect to have the code finished in a few hours with
enhancements to the original device. The same would apply to C or other
competent high level languages if you are comfortable with them (or willing
to become so)..

A BASIC Stamp would do the same task but cost form several to many times as
much.

STAMPS are for people who
- don't know about microprocessor and/or
- don't need full; functionality
- and/or don't care and/or
- have too much money

:-)


       Russell McMahon

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2003\02\28@050223 by William Chops Westfield

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   Lately, I've seen an "uprise" of Basic Stamp users. This really has me
   intrigued. My question is: If I've started off the "hard way" using
   ASM and custom peripherals/circuits/etc., is it really worth looking
   into the Basic Stamp at all?

Sure, it's worth looking at.  IMO, the stamp is more interesting from the
perspective of the language being well adapted to a certain subset of
embedded applications than for having brilliant hardware, but I think the
stamp development environment is likely to be amazingly fast, even compare
to flash "bare" microcontrollers (and when the stamp came out, well before
flash controllers were available, it was a real innovation!)

I believe that there's a "fractional stamp" implementation in an 16F84
out there as freeware someplace; uses the internal eeprom instead of
external code, with the accompanying limitations on program size.

BillW

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2003\02\28@051300 by Russell McMahon

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> but I think the
> stamp development environment is likely to be amazingly fast, even compare
> to flash "bare" microcontrollers (and when the stamp came out, well before
> flash controllers were available, it was a real innovation!)

If you have a suitable PIC hardware cct with ISP and an ISP cable to eg
PICSTART Plus then you can compile program, groan and retry in well under a
minute.

STAMP has a debug  mode of sorts back to its terminal which the compilers
haven't but I have never found debugging at the level of programs you are
liable to do with a STAMP equivalent program. Flashing LEDs program
partitioning (and of course an oscilloscope) are good enough. You can also
have a serial port on any pin so can add your own debug routines to any old
PC as well.

> I believe that there's a "fractional stamp" implementation in an 16F84
> out there as freeware someplace; uses the internal eeprom instead of
> external code, with the accompanying limitations on program size.

It's quite crippled and incomplete and not really worth pursuing unless you
are specifically an enthusiast.



       Russell McMahon

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2003\02\28@091957 by Chris Loiacono
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I don't think there's much of a risk that I'll drive a multitude over to the
stamp list...not many here will admit having anything to do with stamps....

While there are a number of amateurs & enthusiasts that are regulars on the
stamp list, I still maintain a subscription for one reason, well actually
two. First is that a number of times I have been hired by lurkers to do
actual projects. I will say that they have been in the higher end of the
rate scale. Since I realized this was happening, I make sure I keep a few
stamps in a drawer for a few reasons: They're great for fast customer demos.
The Stamps debug window has to be the cheapest way to watch for real events.
Many times can be used to prove the viability of an idea, such as
investigating use of uncommon input or output devices. They're great for
testing VB apps using MSComm in a snap too. Like right now - no hardware,
only a serial cable and a debug screen.

Like the PIClist, the stamp list is a widely diverse community. There have
been regulars that range from absolute beginners to engineering students to
PhD's in various fields. 'Outside of the box' thinking is more common there.
Dr. Allen is a math genius who has found ways to do incredibly complex math
on stamps. Another fellow in Germany uses stamps to build entertaining
advertising displays and has been hired by many large inational &
International firms, probably because he gets results so
quickly...etc..etc...
but...

Stamps have serious limitations when compared to PICs and ROSC micros as
they are discussed here. As interpreters, they run much slower, having to
interpret instructions every time around the loop. while there are simple 1
line instructions for what we call hardware peripherals and even serial I/O,
the processor can do nothing else while these are being executed.
They are deterministic - one loop of serially executing program - no way to
'squeeze' more out of processor resources. No real interrupts - high end
models can be interrupted after the completion of each interpreted basic
instruction with a slow 'pseudo interrupt' instruction.
They are priced ridiculously high.
Despite all the limitations, one could line up a string of stamps on a
serial line and have a working network in less than an hour.

Lasy year I purchased a copy of PICBASIC Pro, and this has allowed me to do
simple PIC projects in much less time, since I prefer Asm & am allergic to
C. Still, not too many suitably simple projects come my way...

Nowadays, I use all 3 methods, granted stamps never wind up included in a
finished product or design - unless the customer asks for it. Some actually
have. Those are the ones that are paying by the hour & know the hours that
can go into low level RISC programming. One fellow even had us do an RF
project for investor demos with stamps.

My point is that Stamps have their place. Having working knowledge of their
strengths and weaknesses is like having another tool in the box. Sometimes
you may have to cut holes in wood, other times steel, or even glass.

So, there's no reason to avoid them, but the cost and performance
limitations keep them in a different call that doesn't really overlap with
PICs.


> Lately, I've seen an "uprise" of Basic Stamp users. This
> really has me intrigued. My question is: If I've started off
> the "hard way" using ASM and custom
> peripherals/circuits/etc., is it really worth looking into
> the Basic Stamp at all?
>

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2003\02\28@094053 by Sid Weaver

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In a message dated 02/28/2003 09:20:50 Eastern Standard Time,
spam_OUTchrisTakeThisOuTspamMAIL2ASI.COM writes:


{Quote hidden}

Well put, Chris

I also use both Stamp and PIC.  If I'm developing something new, the Stamp is
much, much quicker to set up, program and display.  Costwise, the PIC is
preferable for production, but you just can't beat the Stamp when you want to
do something in a hurry.

Sid Weaver
W4EKQ
Port Richey, FL

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2003\02\28@103909 by John Pearson

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I am currently working with a BasicX24 (http://www.Basicx.com). At one time, the
BX24 (AVR 8535) was much better than the Stamp, but that may have changed, I
am not current on that.

I bought my BX24 when they were 35.00.  I think they are 50.00 now. I love
it. I can make something happen in minutes. My current project came together
so fast I couldn't believe it.

I will be migrating to a AVR Mega8 using Bascom. I just bought the SDK500
board to do this 79.00.

When I have the time, I will port the code to GCC for further refinements,
but in the meantime, my project is in service and working.

A lot of good BX24 code from PHAnderson too, as well as easy purchase and
great shipping rates using PayPal.

If someone would just write a Palm terminal emulator w/adjustable fonts
(sorry, had to get that in).

John


{Original Message removed}

2003\02\28@141454 by Chris Loiacono

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Although if I had a programmer on each machine, Flash PIC's would be pretty
close when using PBP - as someone stated earlier. There are just too many
things that can't be done smootly with PBasic, if at all. Otherwise there'd
be no need for lower level language programming...
{Quote hidden}

CL

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