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'[PIC][AVR]: Cant find info on AVR vs. PIC Please '
2002\09\11@114650 by Matt Johnson

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I come from a background of Basic Stamps and want to get into some more
advanced microcontrollers. I am having a terrible time trying to find some
comprehensive comparisons of AVR technologies vs. the PIC. I want to make
sure I make the right choice before investing time or money into one or
the other.

I have searched the archives and just get unrelated search results but I
am sure this topic has come up before. Can anyone steer me in the right
direction?

- Matt

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2002\09\11@122621 by Mike Singer

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PIC is better since it is supported by the PICList :-)

Mike.

Matt Johnson wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2002\09\11@135909 by M. Adam Davis

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I don't recall a really definitive document that covers all the ins and
outs.

Some of the basic differences are (not including atmega or arm thumb,
since they are fundamentally different):
PIC takes four clock cycles to execute one instruction (18 has PLL so
one external clock cycle will execute one instruction now), most go to
20MHz and do 5mips, 18 series with pll go to 40MHz and can do 10mips.
AVR does one instruction per cycle, but generally doesn't go above 12MHz
- therefore 12mips.

PIC has, by today's standards, an odd instruction set partly due to its
design, partly due to backwards compatability.  Many people coming from
another uC or uP have some difficulty remembering the quirks of the code
until they get used to it.
AVR is essentially an 8051 core and has what many consider to be an
industry standard instructon set.

PIC has a large set of  products with many various peripherals, nearly
all of which are available to hobbiests in ones and twos for low costs
from 'regular' hobby sources.
AVR has a small set of devices with normal peripherals, their line is
not completely represented by 'regular' hobby sources but you can
usually still buy low quantities of the less common controllers from
Arrow and the larger industry sources.  Lead time can be more an issue
with atmel, but costs can be lower as well.

PIC includes both eprom (non-eraseable) and flash chips in their line.
AVR is all flash.

PIC's manufacturer, Microchip, has a very small focus.  They do
controllers, and some analog, and some memory.  They are branching out
into other areas, but have kept to fairly simple straightforward
products.  They own their own fab (fabs?  I think they just purchased
another recently...) and are using older, cheaper processes to control
costs.
AVR's manufacturer, ATMEL, has a fairly broad focus.  Their flash memory
business, IIRC, outsells their microcontroller business.  The AVR has
become unavailable for short periods of time to the small quantity
market because their fabs are producing flash which was being sold
faster than they could make it, and the controllers they did have were
promised to larger manufacturers, not hobby channels.  I've heard this
is largely resolved, but that could simply be because other
manufacturers started pumping out the flash.  In other words the
fundamental problem may still remain, but could be hiding.

Microchip tends to announce future products a year or two before they
become available to hobbiests.  When their website says that something
is 'in production' it may still take another 6 months for suppliers to
stock it.
Atmel - I am not familier with their marketting strategy.

Microchip documentation is one of the best available, hands down.  There
are still minor issues, and as their product line grows their
documentation has seemed to become less well maintained (for instance,
there are still charts marked 'preliminary' on the final f8xx datasheet
several years after it became available to the hobbiest market!)  There
are a few tables (notably the SPBRG tables) which are incorrect.  Since
the processors are similar large sections are copied from one generation
to the next.  So far I've never found an innaccuracy in the text and
formulas, but some tables are suspect.  The documentation is reasonably
complete (large) and the only item they've left out which is useful is
the debugging registers and vector.  For the f8xx series this is in
another document.  No one has found them for the 18 series though.
Atmel documentation is standard in the industry, and I've found is not
as complete as Microchip's.

Microchip seems to have done a lot of work on application notes, there
are not as many notes for atmel's processors.

There still is no free C compiler for the PIC line.  Scott Dattallo is
working on porting the small device c compiler to the midrange (16
series), but it won't be very helpful for the high end (18) or low end
(12, 14, 15).  There are several packages that are inexpensive by
industry standards (c2c, ccs, hitech, cc5x) and one which is free for
non commercial use up to 1k of instructions(cc5x).  None of them provide
one compiler for all pics, instead deviding it up into two or more sets
(low and midrange 12-16, 17, 18) and I suspect the DSPic will require a
different compiler as well.
The GCC compiler has been ported to the AVR and is freely available.
Because of this there are few other AVR compilers, and those that do
exist are high performance (and high cost).  Part of the reason for the
compiler availability is that the AVR is so similar to the 8051, for
which existed a GCC port, and the standard instruction set which was
well suited to the C language.  The PIC is rather ill-suited to the C
language and there are lots of nasty hacks to make it work well.

The only other metric which I suspect has any bearing on your decision
is the code space available in eithe chip.  A quick peek shows that the
avr has up to 8k of code space - just remember that each instruction
(IIRC) takes two bytes.  The PIC typically lists code space in two ways,
one in KB, the other in number of instructions. (so a 16KB 18f pic holds
8k of instructions).

The atmega is a valid AVR as well, and you should take that into
account.  It appears that the speed on some AVRs is 16MHz, which is
still 50% faster than the fastest pic.  Like Intel and AMD you can't
compare them on clock speed alone, but the clock speed is still a fairly
good indication of possible performance.

What this all boils down to is it pretty much doesn't matter.  You can
buy chips for both and wire up simple parallel port programmers, use the
free assemblers from both and try them both out for under $20.  Go to
the AVR list and see what kind of comparison they make.  In the end you
ought to choose one that has the support system you need.

-Adam

Matt Johnson wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2002\09\11@142705 by Katinka Mills

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Hi all,

My comments inbetween Adam's

{Quote hidden}

The core on the AVR is similar to the 8051, but the instruction set is not,
the instruction set was designed for efficient C programming.


> PIC has a large set of  products with many various peripherals, nearly
> all of which are available to hobbiests in ones and twos for low costs
> from 'regular' hobby sources.
> AVR has a small set of devices with normal peripherals, their line is
> not completely represented by 'regular' hobby sources but you can
> usually still buy low quantities of the less common controllers from
> Arrow and the larger industry sources.  Lead time can be more an issue
> with atmel, but costs can be lower as well.

Never had a problem with sourcing the AVR's, The 89C51 /2 deffinately, but
there are other sources eg other ppl who use them, IE in AU Grantronics in
Sydney has a good supply.


{Quote hidden}

The AVR data sheets are better than most, the app notes are great (and
AVRfreaks have a fair few "home grown" app notes being generated by monthly
design note compertitions).


{Quote hidden}

The "standard" AVR is like talking on Pic 12 and 15 (and low end 16) family,
older technology. The Newer AVR's are they Tiny's and Mega's. The Mega128
(as an example) has a clock speed of 16Mhz and aproches 16Mips.


> What this all boils down to is it pretty much doesn't matter.  You can
> buy chips for both and wire up simple parallel port programmers, use the
> free assemblers from both and try them both out for under $20.  Go to
> the AVR list and see what kind of comparison they make.  In the end you
> ought to choose one that has the support system you need.

If you go to my website it has the schematics for the "elcheapo" programmers
both serial and parallel (you will need access to a programmer to build the
serial as it has an AVR to do the Serial to SPI interface)

http://www.kaqelectronics.dyndns.org/avr/Aispcable.html

I personally use the AVR's, you can buy an STK 500 Development system for
under au$200 and an ICE 200 In Circuit Emulator for under au$500. I have
never found tools so cheap, that can do as many chips as these can.

If you would like more info on the AVR's you can join the AVR list on Yahoo
groups, Or go look at the great website at http://www.avrfreaks.net .


In the end it is a hard decision, each product has strengths and weeknesses,
one design works well on a PIC, another works better on an AVR.


> -Adam
Regards,

Kat.

**********************************************
K.A.Q. Electronics.
Electronic and Software Engineering.
Perth, Western Australia.
Ph +61 (0) 419 923 731
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2002\09\11@142708 by H. Carl Ott

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At 08:18 AM 9/11/2002, you wrote:
>I come from a background of Basic Stamps and want to get into some more
>advanced microcontrollers. I am having a terrible time trying to find some
>comprehensive comparisons of AVR technologies vs. the PIC. I want to make
>sure I make the right choice before investing time or money into one or
>the other.
>
>I have searched the archives and just get unrelated search results but I
>am sure this topic has come up before. Can anyone steer me in the right
>direction?
>
>- Matt


 It's hard to find an itemized checklist that compares the two. Especially
because the parts families for each manufacturer spans so many chips. As it
is most of the comparisons out there are usually biased one way or the other.

Here are examples of each, (David's is much less biased)   A little dated
perhaps, but representative.

www.avr-forum.com/dcforum/AVRForum/718.html
http://www.dvanhorn.org/Micros/Avr/AVR_VS_PIC.php

Both companies have newer parts that are easier to work with.

Both lines have strengths and weaknesses. There are mail lists, forums,
c-compilers (from free to big $$), example code,  pretty damn cheap
programming hardware, and various flavors of ice and icd for both available.

 If you are planning a high volume application, where cost and part
availability are important considerations, then you'll figure out your
requirements and pick the correct part from either manufacturer.  If this
is just for hobby purposes I don't think you'd go wrong with either family.
But you are doing a very smart thing by getting away from stamps.

 The piclist is a great resource and could be a consideration, discussion
lists for the avr also exist, but not at quite the volume,  or with quite
the diversity of discussion topics :-).

 For a totally personal opinion:
 I used to use pics but switched to avr years ago, if only to get away
from the damn paging. Found it much easier to develop projects, and never
looked back. But I still read the piclist!

 Regards,
 carl

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2002\09\11@144136 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
(I fully agree with previous conclusions: you can't go wrong with
either)

Two chips to keep in mind:
ATtiny28L : exceptionally good bang for the buck, but difficult to
program
Ubicom SX: PIC clones that run 75 MIPS at 75 MHz

Wouter

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2002\09\11@145125 by Katinka Mills

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: pic microcontroller discussion list
> [PICLISTspamKILLspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU]On Behalf Of Wouter van Ooijen
> Sent: Thursday, 12 September 2002 2:41 AM
> To: .....PICLISTKILLspamspam.....MITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Subject: Re: [PIC][AVR]: Cant find info on AVR vs. PIC Please help.
>
>
> (I fully agree with previous conclusions: you can't go wrong with
> either)
>
> Two chips to keep in mind:
> ATtiny28L : exceptionally good bang for the buck, but difficult to
> program

Not that hard, I have one sitting on a breadboard ATM (after switching a
battery charger design from the Tiny15 (I needed some SRAM lol) It has an
SPI port that can connect to any standard SPI programmer (you need AVR
Studio 3.55 or higher as this is a very new chip). My biggest bug with it is
the unusuall power pins (right in the middle) so I do not think it will run
in the STK 500 (may also need a dedicated Adaptor for the ICE 50 (when they
bring support out for the T26)

> Ubicom SX: PIC clones that run 75 MIPS at 75 MHz

Never played with these, and would not even know where to buy them in AU,
One day when I have spare time I will have to look into these, shame they
dropped the 100Mhz version.


> Wouter
>
Regards,

Kat.

**********************************************
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Electronic and Software Engineering.
Perth, Western Australia.
Ph +61 (0) 419 923 731
**********************************************

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2002\09\11@150129 by

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Just a small note...
Just checked the "C51 MCU Selection Guide" from Atmel.
I can't find any *flash* modell with A/D in a "simple"
DIP package (like the PIC16F87x modells).

Am I missing something ?

Jan-Erik Söderholm.

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2002\09\11@150750 by Dave King

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Kat

Curious what you think of or have heard of the SprintBasic IDE
for the AVR?

Dave

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2002\09\11@151136 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> > Ubicom SX: PIC clones that run 75 MIPS at 75 MHz
>
> Never played with these, and would not even know where to buy
> them in AU

http://www.nollet.com.au/

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2002\09\11@153757 by lexandre_Guimar=E3es?=

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Hi,

> Just a small note...
> Just checked the "C51 MCU Selection Guide" from Atmel.
> I can't find any *flash* modell with A/D in a "simple"
> DIP package (like the PIC16F87x modells).
>
> Am I missing something ?

   The AVR family is not a C51 ! Take a look at the other section and you
will find what you are looking for. Atmel also manufactures C51 family
members with Flash but the AVR's are another completely different processor.

best regards,
Alexandre Guimaraes

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2002\09\11@163457 by

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You're compleetly correct, of course.

Sorry...

Jan-Erik Söderholm.

-----Original Message-----
From: Alexandre Guimarães [EraseMEalexgspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTMS.MICROLINK.COM.BR]
Sent: den 11 september 2002 21:36
To: PICLISTspamspam_OUTMITVMA.MIT.EDU
Subject: Re: [PIC][AVR]: Cant find info on AVR vs. PIC Please help.


Hi,

> Just a small note...
> Just checked the "C51 MCU Selection Guide" from Atmel.
> I can't find any *flash* modell with A/D in a "simple"
> DIP package (like the PIC16F87x modells).
>
> Am I missing something ?

   The AVR family is not a C51 ! Take a look at the other section and you
will find what you are looking for. Atmel also manufactures C51 family
members with Flash but the AVR's are another completely different processor.

best regards,
Alexandre Guimaraes

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2002\09\11@170131 by Douglas Wood

picon face
> The core on the AVR is similar to the 8051, but the instruction set is
not,
> the instruction set was designed for efficient C programming.

The AVR series "core" is not at similar to the 8051. The AVR series
processors are RISC processors and employ a modified Harvard architecture
similar to that of the PIC. It is true that the AVR's instruction set was
designed to allow C compilers to generate highly optimized output; this
means that the instruction set is not orthogonal. Also note that while both
the AVR and PIC processors are RISC (reduced instruction set computers), the
AVR instruction set has a lot more "instructions" when compared to
equivalent PIC instruction sets. Part of this increased number of
instructions to due to the fact the the AVR instructions have separate
mnemonics for certain functions such as setting or clearing the CARRY flag,
for example. The PIC instruction set does not have explicit instructions for
each of these types of operations; they are simply represented by BSET xx,yy
instructions and are often coded as "instructions" by macros, either written
by the programmer or, in the case of MPASM, supplied as "built-in" macros.

Douglas Wood
Software Engineer
@spam@dbwoodKILLspamspamkc.rr.com
ICQ#: 143841506

Home of the EPICIS Development System for the PIC
http://epicis.piclist.com
{Quote hidden}

monthly
{Quote hidden}

family,
{Quote hidden}

programmers
> both serial and parallel (you will need access to a programmer to build
the
> serial as it has an AVR to do the Serial to SPI interface)
>
> http://www.kaqelectronics.dyndns.org/avr/Aispcable.html
>
> I personally use the AVR's, you can buy an STK 500 Development system for
> under au$200 and an ICE 200 In Circuit Emulator for under au$500. I have
> never found tools so cheap, that can do as many chips as these can.
>
> If you would like more info on the AVR's you can join the AVR list on
Yahoo
> groups, Or go look at the great website at http://www.avrfreaks.net .
>
>
> In the end it is a hard decision, each product has strengths and
weeknesses,
{Quote hidden}

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2002\09\11@210522 by Matt Johnson

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Adam, that was an excellent reply to my post. Thank you very much.

- Matt

On Wed, 11 Sep 2002, M. Adam Davis wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2002\09\11@215837 by Katinka Mills

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: pic microcontroller discussion list
> [KILLspamPICLISTKILLspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU]On Behalf Of Dave King
> Sent: Thursday, 12 September 2002 2:57 AM
> To: RemoveMEPICLISTTakeThisOuTspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Subject: Re: [PIC][AVR]: Cant find info on AVR vs. PIC Please help.
>
>
> Kat
>
> Curious what you think of or have heard of the SprintBasic IDE
> for the AVR?
>
> Dave

Hi Dave,

Never even seen it, give me a URL and I will go try it in my spare time :o)

Regards,

Kat.

**********************************************
K.A.Q. Electronics.
Electronic and Software Engineering.
Perth, Western Australia.
Ph +61 (0) 419 923 731
**********************************************

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2002\09\12@014533 by Dave King

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> > Curious what you think of or have heard of the SprintBasic IDE
> > for the AVR?
> >
> > Dave
>
>Never even seen it, give me a URL and I will go try it in my spare time :o)
>
>Kat.

www.avrsprint.com/DownLoadFiles.asp?Cat=Demo+Software
That's to download the demo

http://www.avrsprint.com/SprintBasic1.asp
for the main info.

$69 for the registered version.


Dave

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2002\09\12@033027 by Alan B. Pearce

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>There still is no free C compiler for the PIC line.


Not quite totally accurate. HiTech have available a free C compiler that
does the 16F84 and 16F627. Can also be used with the 16F628, but the
compiler is limited to the memory size of the 16F627.

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2002\09\12@102650 by M. Adam Davis

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I would still stand by my statement, as there is no free C compiler for
the PIC line - as I think of the pic 'line' as the complete or
substantially representative series of pic processors.

Sure, there are limited 'demo' compilers which have various restrictions
(such as the HiTech, cc5x (which does up to 1k instructions for all
pics, not just two of them)) but I would not call them free, nor would I
say they cover the line of pics.  Their cost is suddenly very high if
you want to use all the code memory in some pics.

But I suppose it's all pedantic.  If all your programs are under 1k
instructions and/or you only need two processors then there are c
compilers which are free enough for you.

The SDCC compiler will only cover midrange pics (at this time) so even
it won't cover the line, though it will be free and do more code than
any other demo midrange compiler.

-Adam

Alan B. Pearce wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2002\09\12@210518 by Nathan Hurst

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On Thu, 12 Sep 2002 10:24:54 -0400
"M. Adam Davis" <EraseMEadampicspamUBASICS.COM> wrote:

> The SDCC compiler will only cover midrange pics (at this time) so even
> it won't cover the line, though it will be free and do more code than
> any other demo midrange compiler.

I know of two people who are working on 18f support.  Noting Scott's
post of a while back there might be 3.  Adding more support to a
compiler really isn't that hard.

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2002\09\12@233935 by Scott Dattalo

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On Fri, 13 Sep 2002, Nathan Hurst wrote:

> On Thu, 12 Sep 2002 10:24:54 -0400
> "M. Adam Davis" <RemoveMEadampicspam_OUTspamKILLspamUBASICS.COM> wrote:
>
> > The SDCC compiler will only cover midrange pics (at this time) so even
> > it won't cover the line, though it will be free and do more code than
> > any other demo midrange compiler.
>
> I know of two people who are working on 18f support.  Noting Scott's
> post of a while back there might be 3.  Adding more support to a
> compiler really isn't that hard.

Yes, I'm working on the 18f at the moment. SDCC doesn't handle the 18f's
(except to the extent that the 18f's already work on most 16x code).
However, there is somebody that has expressed an interest in doing an 18F
port in SDCC. BTW, I fixed probably 20 bugs with gpsim and the 18F parts -
none have been commit'd to CVS yet.

Scott

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