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'[PIC] invitation for comment'
2006\05\04@112421 by Bob Parks

picon face
Hi,

Hope this doesn't look too much like spam, but I'm a writer for
Business 2.0 magazine, working on a July 2006 profile of
Microchip.  I was hoping to get some voices of PIC users into the
feature.  The article is about how Microchip has done a good job
providing grassroots support to engineers including support, the
sample program, low-cost IDE, and programming tools.  Thus, many
people choose the silicon when developing products.  I met the
Microchip CEO for about 3 hours last week.  He's a crazy man!  But he
seems quite focused on the smaller businesses and the consultants
that Freescale, Atmel, STmicro, and others won't touch.  Has anyone
developed a consumer or industrial product in the last few years with
a PIC involved?  Has anyone had interesting bushes with Microchip
people?  Would like the hear your take.

Regards,

Bob


Bob Parks
Author, Makers: All Kinds of People Making Amazing Things in Garages,
Basements, and Backyards
(O'Reilly, January 2006)
http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/makers/

http://www.bobparks.org

2006\05\04@114941 by David VanHorn

picon face
>  Has anyone
> developed a consumer or industrial product in the last few years with
> a PIC involved?  Has anyone had interesting bushes with Microchip
> people?  Would like the hear your take.


Speaking as the loyal opposition, I think you've come to the right place :)



--
> Feel the power of the dark side!  Atmel AVR

2006\05\04@121214 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> Has anyone
> developed a consumer or industrial product in the last few years with
> a PIC involved?

Man, this is the *piclist*!

> Has anyone had interesting bushes with Microchip
> people?

sorry, warning: non-native-english speakers are allowed here. I never
have had interesting 'low-growing wood-like planst' with Microchip
people :)

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2006\05\04@123314 by Dominic Stratten

picon face

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bob Parks" <spam_OUTbobparksTakeThisOuTspamyahoo.com>
To: "Microcontroller discussion list - Public." <.....piclistKILLspamspam@spam@mit.edu>
Sent: Thursday, May 04, 2006 4:24 PM
Subject: [PIC] invitation for comment


{Quote hidden}

> --

2006\05\04@123840 by Dennis Crawley

picon face

MCHP has a big peak thanks to

1.- Mini developers in 90's
2.- Magazines like former "Electronica Cekit", Colombia for Latinamerica
3.- WEB pages like "picpoint" Italians Tanzzilli & Galizzia
4.- Local BBSs
5.- Forums like this and the PICListLatina
6.- Open access to the Technical department "David Otto German"
   They close this kind contact forever.
7.- Contests with big prizes.
8.- A lot of ANs, made it by no profit developers.
9.- Masters.

Is time to MCHP to make some huge donation to MIT,... for all the shadow
benefits produced by MIT(PICLIST).

Hey, James, how is that?

Dennis Crawley
Argentina


Bob Parks <bobparksspamKILLspamyahoo.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2006\05\04@124754 by olin piclist

face picon face
Bob Parks wrote:
> Hope this doesn't look too much like spam, but I'm a writer for
> Business 2.0 magazine, working on a July 2006 profile of
> Microchip.  I was hoping to get some voices of PIC users into the
> feature.  The article is about how Microchip has done a good job
> providing grassroots support to engineers including support, the
> sample program, low-cost IDE, and programming tools.

Yes, Microchip has the best support out there by a long shot.  I design
small embedded systems for a living, and Microchip treats me way better than
all their competitors.  The consultant program is a lot more than lip
service.  They really do try hard to take care of us.

> smaller businesses and the consultants
> that Freescale, Atmel, STmicro, and others won't touch.

I've noticed that particularly from Motorola (now Freescale).  I Never tried
to talk to anyone at STMicro.  I wouldn't know how.

> Has anyone
> developed a consumer or industrial product in the last few years with
> a PIC involved?

A few.  I've probably done somewhere between 50 and 100 PIC projects since I
became a Microchip PIC consultant in the late 1990s.  Microchip has a
consultant points system based largely on number of projects but also
weighted by particular chips used.  They then put consultants in the bronze,
silver, or gold class based on the points.  We came out on top in 2004,
which is the last year for which results have been released.  I think the
bronze/silver/gold classification gets redone around Masters for the
previous program year but am not totally sure how all that works.

> Has anyone had interesting bushes with Microchip
> people?  Would like the hear your take.

Microchip people are a lot more accessible than their counterparts from
other companies, so I've had various interactions with a bunch of them.
I've always been impressed how I haven't run into bozos despite the large
organization.  They seem to attract and retain quality people.

I'd be happy to relate my experience with Microchip.  Contact me privately.


******************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, (978) 742-9014.  #1 PIC
consultant in 2004 program year.  http://www.embedinc.com/products

2006\05\04@131249 by Peiserma

flavicon
face
piclist-bounces@mit.edu wrote:
> Microchip people are a lot more accessible than their
> counterparts from other companies, so I've had various
> interactions with a bunch of them.

Adding my $0.02 : I was developing an application with one of their
rfPIC devices and was mentioned I wass having some problems with the
link. This was my first-ever experience with rf, BTW. Two days later the
FAE showed up with a MHCP engineer who had written commercial code for a
keyfob and spent 1/2 day discussing pros and cons of various
transmission schemes, checksums, etc.

Truly a company that goes the extra distance for their customers.

2006\05\04@131623 by Larry G. Nelson Sr.

picon face
I too am a Gold level / Master consultant member and have been for years. I have attended the Masters Conference every year since they started it. I have worked with many people inside the organization as well as with many of the consultant members. All have been very professional and helpful from day 1. I am a member of consultant programs with other vendors and Microchip has gotten it right while the others are learning. I too would be happy to discuss these experiences with you. Send me a private email at .....L.NelsonKILLspamspam.....ieee.org and we can set up a time to talk.

Microchip has realized for years that small customers and large customers are all customers and have put together a structure to get support to all customers. They also know that todays small company with 100 part orders can become tomorrows large volume customer.

Larry G. Nelson Sr
Nelson Research



---- Olin Lathrop <EraseMEolin_piclistspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTembedinc.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> --

2006\05\04@132549 by Mauricio Jancic

flavicon
face
I've been a consultant for Microchip for the last 5 years.
I can tell it's hard here in Argentina, mostly because our qty's are always
low, compared to other countrys.
The difference between our currency and others, makes our markets to shrink,
and we always have to cut down the costs at a rate of 1/3th the ones of the
US, for example.

All that, makes Latin America an ANATRACTIVE market for most companies. How
ever, Microchip, has always supported me, and even more these last 2 years
that I have the gold category (See Olin's post).

How they support us?

- Samples (very important) in Argentina you can't buy a PIC18F4580.
Anywhere. No one has one. (I do :) )
- Support. Excelent trough their site
- I can always talk to someone I know over the phone, and I know there is
one person (always the same) that can solve most my problems (The wonderfoul
Donna)
- Great tools
- Reasonable price for the tools
- The price of the parts is good for my apps

Well, if you need anything just contact me.

Regards,

Mauricio Jancic
Janso Desarrollos
http://www.janso.com.ar
infospamspam_OUTjanso.com.ar
(54) 11-4542-3519


> {Original Message removed}

2006\05\04@134404 by James Newtons Massmind

face picon face
> Is time to MCHP to make some huge donation to MIT,... for all
> the shadow benefits produced by MIT(PICLIST).
>
> Hey, James, how is that?

Much as I would love to be able to do more on this list / website and less
on "feed the family" sort of stuff, having no financial support from
Microchip makes it easier to rip them a new one when they do (and I think it
is rarely) screw up. E.g. no posts that suddenly disappear from the archive
right after I get a Montblanc or like that.

It's good to be independent. And we have MIT to thank for that. Besides,
Microchip doesn't really need to support us, they have their own, company
owned, forum with lots of newbie's and high end consultants.

I'm just happy that they haven't sued us over the name... E.g. Tony Nixon's
PicNPoke was shut down by them some years ago. It may be that having to take
on MIT is stopping them, or just that we are a none profit... (insert old
joke about not being that way intentionally, but actually that is intended,
this is a hobby; for me at least)

Maybe that is what helped MCHIP make it: They left the user community alone
and didn't try to control what was said, or sue everybody all the time.
Wikipedia has problems with big companies editing their own entries all the
time, Microchip has never said ANYTHING to me or ever touched the site as
far as I can tell.

---
James Newton: PICList webmaster/Admin
@spam@jamesnewtonKILLspamspampiclist.com  1-619-652-0593 phone
http://www.piclist.com/member/JMN-EFP-786
PIC/PICList FAQ: http://www.piclist.com


2006\05\04@135118 by Bob Parks

picon face
Wouter -- it's just bad typing, not new American slang.

> > Has anyone had interesting bushes with Microchip
> > people?
>
>sorry, warning: non-native-english speakers are allowed here. I never
>have had interesting 'low-growing wood-like planst' with Microchip
>people :)
>
>Wouter van Ooijen
>
>-- -------------------------------------------
>Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
>consultancy, development, PICmicro products
>docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu
>
>
>

2006\05\04@135351 by Bob Parks

picon face
from what I'm hearing it seems Atmel is similar in terms of meeting
engineers' needs.  They are open to the needs of the hobby community,
knowing those engineers also make products during their daylight
hours.  Some of the folks I've talked to prefer AVR because they say
GCC is easier and simpler.  One hobbyist type prefers it because he
says Atmel has opened up the source code for its development
environment, and this guy's an open-source nut.  Obi Wan -- pls, tell
me more about "the dark side" .

At 11:49 AM 5/4/2006, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2006\05\04@135828 by Bob Parks

picon face
This is valuable.  Thanks so much, everyone.  So has anyone ever had
Microchip CEO Steve Sanghi visit their work?  He claims he likes to
call on engineering companies more than the fortune 500.  "I'd rather
visit a $20,000 customer, talk about their needs, than a $2 million
one."  Really?

At 01:16 PM 5/4/2006, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2006\05\04@141731 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
>>> Has anyone had interesting bushes with Microchip
>>> people?
>>
>>sorry, warning: non-native-english speakers are allowed here. I never
>>have had interesting 'low-growing wood-like planst' with Microchip
>>people :)
>
> Wouter -- it's just bad typing, not new American slang.

That doesn't remove the problem - remember the word-guessing games! I
readly could not guess whether the guy meant 'interesting
conversations', 'heavy arguments', or something else entirely.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2006\05\04@142214 by David VanHorn

picon face
On 5/4/06, Bob Parks <spamBeGonebobparksspamBeGonespamyahoo.com> wrote:
>
> from what I'm hearing it seems Atmel is similar in terms of meeting
> engineers' needs.  They are open to the needs of the hobby community,
> knowing those engineers also make products during their daylight
> hours.  Some of the folks I've talked to prefer AVR because they say
> GCC is easier and simpler.  One hobbyist type prefers it because he
> says Atmel has opened up the source code for its development
> environment, and this guy's an open-source nut.  Obi Wan -- pls, tell
> me more about "the dark side" .



I've not done much with GCC, but it has to be easier for the compiler, given
the easier architecture of the AVR.
Picture things with essentially 32 W registers, plus all the usual
peripherals and ram/ee.

Atmel does release a lot of code snippets, and of course we have "avrfreaks"
and the avr-chat group on yahoo, and several others.
I've released a fair amount of code to the public domain as well, as time
and confidentiality permits.

I've not had too many issues with Atmel, but they could do better.
On support issues, I'd put them inbetween Zilog (support?  we don't speak
latin here guy)  and microchip.
Tools are relatively inexpensive, except for the high end ice.  Jtag
emulators can be had for the compatible chips for $40.

My main love for AVR comes from the internal architecture.
I work in assembler, so I have my nose pressed into it on a daily basis.
I've done pic work too, enough to know that I really don't want to have to
use the pic.
I work a lot with the smaller AVRs, some aren't C compatible due to not
having any ram at all, or having fixed hardware stack space of only a few
levels. (and they tell me that C can produce code as tight as the best
assembler..)

I have vectored interrupts on all avrs, no pages, no holes in the memory
map, and no read-modify-write bug.
I get most instructions in one xtal cycle, some are two or more, but not
many.
On the pic it's four xtal clocks at a minimum per instruction.

I have easy portability of code between the smallest and largest AVRs.

Not such an issue now, but all the AVRs have always been flash based, with
user programming done by six wires from your parallel port.

Atmel's big mistake in my opinion is not following Mchip's lead in farming
their user community.


--
> Feel the power of the dark side!  Atmel AVR

2006\05\04@144256 by CHIPTECH

flavicon
face
Hello Bob,

>Hope this doesn't look too much like spam, but I'm a writer for
>Business 2.0 magazine, working on a July 2006 profile of
>Microchip.  I was hoping to get some voices of PIC users into the
>feature.  The article is about how Microchip has done a good job
>providing grassroots support to engineers including support,
>
You bet.

> the sample program, low-cost IDE,
>
LOW COST IDE.... there is no cost. The IDE is FREE to download by anyone
!!!.

>and programming tools.  Thus, many
>people choose the silicon when developing products.
>  
>
Thats because the investment required by any one to start using PICmicro
is about less than $ 1 to build a programmer and come up with great
products.

>  I met the
>Microchip CEO for about 3 hours last week.  He's a crazy man!
>
CRAZY ... thats depends on the view point. He was the one who turned a
loss making company into a #1 in the world and you have the cheek to
call him CRAZY !!!.

>  But he
>seems quite focused on the smaller businesses and the consultants
>that Freescale, Atmel, STmicro, and others won't touch.
>
When you call the distributors of FREESCALE, ATMEL, etc ..... the first
question they ask it "what is your volume?" ... if you say I am
designing a new product and I am yet to find out the market.... thats
the last you hear of them and their "SUPPORT". Where as with the
Microchip distributors, even though they can't support the SMALL time
cutomers, the customers are directed to those who can support them.
Microchip policy is to support 100 customers who will give $100,000
business EACH and also 1000.....00000 customers who will give $100
business EACH. Thats why they are #1 today.

>  Has anyone developed a consumer or industrial product in the last few years with
>a PIC involved?
>
Me being a member of Microchip consultant program for the past 10 years,
have been actively involved in promoting PICmicro in India for the past
couple of years. Today then #1 in water purifier manufacturers in India
have switched over to PICmicro in all their products ( 8 to 9) and using
about 20,000 PICmicro's per month.

>  Has anyone had interesting bushes with Microchip
>people?  Would like the hear your take.
>
>  
>
They are easy to get in touch with and always helpfull, never had any
misunderstanding either local or corporate. What more does anyone want
in the embedded control design field !!!

Device availability, development software (FREE), technical support
(direct & web based) and low cost development tools (direct or third
party) is what makes them #1.

Cheers

Ravi

2006\05\04@145351 by Bob Axtell

face picon face
Bob Parks wrote:
> Hi,
>
> Hope this doesn't look too much like spam, but I'm a writer for
> Business 2.0 magazine, working on a July 2006 profile of
> Microchip.  I was hoping to get some voices of PIC users into the
> feature.  The article is about how Microchip has done a good job
> providing grassroots support to engineers including support, the
> sample program, low-cost IDE, and programming tools.
You, Sir, have no IDEA what a real story you have there. I will contact
you offline for MY
story. And I know there are 1000's of stories very similar to mine.  You
will have, when
it is done, a best-seller.

--Bob
{Quote hidden}

2006\05\04@145410 by olin piclist

face picon face
Bob Parks wrote:
> from what I'm hearing it seems Atmel is similar in terms of meeting
> engineers' needs.  They are open to the needs of the hobby community,
> knowing those engineers also make products during their daylight
> hours.  Some of the folks I've talked to prefer AVR because they say
> GCC is easier and simpler.  One hobbyist type prefers it because he
> says Atmel has opened up the source code for its development
> environment, and this guy's an open-source nut.  Obi Wan -- pls, tell
> me more about "the dark side" .

I'm not Obi Wan, and I don't know much about the dark side.  My first
exposure to PICs was because a customer asked me to pick up a project that
they realized they weren't going to complete on time.  The microcontroller
was already chosen, a PIC 16C77, which was the top of the line at that time.
I got used to the tool chain and the architecture.  When another
microcontroller project came along, Microchip had a good fit.  They have the
broadest line of microcontrollers in the industry and so far there has
always been a good and competitive fit.  I have looked at other lines
occasionally and am not against using them, but so far the compelling reason
to use something different just never materialized.

Zilog calls every few months to convince me to use their stuff.  It looks
fine, and the price/performance looks reasonable.  While their chips would
probably be fine in a number of my PIC applications, I don't see them doing
anything really better, so why would I want to use them?  There is a lot of
investment in tool chain and architecture to get really good and proficient
at it, so it makes sense for me to spend that investment on a broad product
line of a company with a track record of good support and competetiveness.

On one project the customer brought me in because their existing
consultants, who were using an AVR, weren't getting the job done.  I got it
done on time with a 18F252 and they were happy.  Now they only use PICs,
some of which go into pretty high volume products.  The really high volume
product has a 10F202 in it.  You can't get anything similar from Atmel.
This is where the broad product line is a real benefit.  I don't know if the
AVR consultant just didn't understand manchester decoding, or if the AVR
wasn't up to it, but from the view of the customer the difference isn't
relevant.


******************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, (978) 742-9014.  #1 PIC
consultant in 2004 program year.  http://www.embedinc.com/products

2006\05\04@145902 by olin piclist

face picon face
Bob Parks wrote:
> So has anyone ever had
> Microchip CEO Steve Sanghi visit their work?

Not me, I have had some pretty senior people come out and ask my opinion on
future products.  This has happened maybe four times in the last few years,
starting with Sumit Mitra when the dsPIC was just a twinkle in his eye.
Each time they bring real technical people and actually seem to listen.


******************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, (978) 742-9014.  #1 PIC
consultant in 2004 program year.  http://www.embedinc.com/products

2006\05\04@150712 by Bob Axtell

face picon face
Olin Lathrop wrote:
> Bob Parks wrote:
>  
>> from what I'm hearing it seems Atmel is similar in terms of meeting
>> engineers' needs.  They are open to the needs of the hobby community,
>> knowing those engineers also make products during their daylight
>> hours.  Some of the folks I've talked to prefer AVR because they say
>> GCC is easier and simpler.  One hobbyist type prefers it because he
>> says Atmel has opened up the source code for its development
>> environment, and this guy's an open-source nut.  Obi Wan -- pls, tell
>> me more about "the dark side" .
>>    
>
>  
Did'ja get this, Mr Parks? Olin is right on the mark. I could have used
the same words.

--Bob

{Quote hidden}

2006\05\04@152821 by William Couture

face picon face
On 5/4/06, Bob Axtell <TakeThisOuTengineerEraseMEspamspam_OUTcotse.net> wrote:
> Olin Lathrop wrote:
> > Bob Parks wrote:
> >
> >> from what I'm hearing it seems Atmel is similar in terms of meeting
> >> engineers' needs.  They are open to the needs of the hobby community,
> >> knowing those engineers also make products during their daylight
> >> hours.  Some of the folks I've talked to prefer AVR because they say
> >> GCC is easier and simpler.  One hobbyist type prefers it because he
> >> says Atmel has opened up the source code for its development
> >> environment, and this guy's an open-source nut.  Obi Wan -- pls, tell
> >> me more about "the dark side" .
> >>
> >
> >
> Did'ja get this, Mr Parks? Olin is right on the mark. I could have used
> the same words.

Similar "open source" comments can be made about Microchip's C30
compiler.

It's based on GCC, and they have made the changes to the GCC available.
However, they have added propritary components that are not open source.

Unless they feel that selling C30 is going to be a profit center (i.e. they get
more incoming from selling C30 licenses then they spend on programmers
writing C30), why not make the entire toolchain open source?

I'm sure someone will talk about "the expense of supporting a compiler that
we do not have control over", but the GCC community does quite well with
it's support, and they are currently spending the money to support a compiler
that nobody else can fix.

Bill

--
Psst...  Hey, you... Buddy...  Want a kitten?  straycatblues.petfinder.org

2006\05\04@170949 by Larry G. Nelson Sr.

picon face
I have never had him visit me but he has had lunch / dinner with me several times over the years while out at the Masters in AZ to talk about my perceptions on how Microchip is doing. I have also met with several program managers at the factory for similar sessions and have had phone conversations with factory experts as well.
Maybe it helps that my son and daughter spent many hours with his children at a masters conference several years ago but I think you will find this true of a lot of the consultants as well as many customers.
Larry


---- Bob Parks <RemoveMEbobparksspamTakeThisOuTyahoo.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>

2006\05\04@225710 by Jesse Lackey

flavicon
face
Microchip's not really with the open-source movement, and they are
fading out in the cutting-edge hobby world too, IMHO.  The two main
reasons are: not documenting how debugging works on the 18F parts, so
while a programmer can be readily built, a 3rd party, from the ground up
ICD2 replacement cannot.  So there is a wall for projects beyond the
simple that aren't on Windows or where a $150 ICD2 isn't acceptable.
(say schools that want to buy 30 of them.)  Yes, there may be clones of
the ICD2 from companies that educational institutions wouldn't buy from,
and possibly convoluted unsupported ways of using the ICD2 on mac/linux.
 Irrelevant.

The second reason is the lack of a free C compiler.  This isn't
microchip's fault in any way, but it is how it has turned out.  Again,
CCS may be pretty cheap for their (recently made available) limited
educational version, but GCC is free and has not artificial limits.

The MAKE magazine crowd, the "physical computing" crowd in the nyc area
(NYU, Columbia, and Parsons all have programs, and I'm sure there are
others I don't know about), well, PICs are used if a design is a a small
variation on an existing PIC design.  Everyone is going AVR, and there
will be no going back.  Microchip owned this area, but they are losing out.

How much this matters is up for debate.  3.5 years ago when I decided to
get immersed in all this and go freelance, PIC was still clearly on top,
and mainly due to piclist (awwww... its true) I got on the PIC
bandwagon.  How many people come out of the "hobby" or "physcomp" world
and go on to place multi-K qty orders later professionally, well,
probably none.  But these are the designs that get put online with full
documentation, if most of them are being done with AVR, microchip is
losing part of their "ecosystem" that got them where they are today.

J



William Couture wrote:

{Quote hidden}

2006\05\04@231012 by Zik Saleeba

picon face
No free compilers for PIC?

SDCC is a free microcontroller compiler which can be used for PICs.
And it now supports pretty much all 16fxxx processors and will support
all 18fxxx processors within a couple of weeks (when I submit my
patch).

dsPICs are supported by gcc I believe.

Cheers,
Zik

On 05/05/06, Jesse Lackey <RemoveMEjsl-mlspam_OUTspamKILLspamcelestialaudio.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -

2006\05\05@014147 by Jesse Lackey

flavicon
face
Hi Zik, glad to hear SDCC for PIC 18F is actually happening, its been
discussed here and there for years.

I wouldn't call something this fresh good enough for anything but
strictly hobby use though.  For students and profs racing to finish
projects before a big semester show-and-tell event tools very well
tested are pretty much required...

But it'll be great to have it available.  Tx!
J



Zik Saleeba wrote:

{Quote hidden}

>>-

2006\05\05@024014 by Zik Saleeba

face picon face
The PIC 18F port of SDCC is actually pretty solid - it's going to be
declared "stable" in the forthcoming release.

The PIC 16F port is not as solid. But good enough for hobby use as you
say. And getting better.

Cheers,
Zik

On 05/05/06, Jesse Lackey <jsl-mlSTOPspamspamspam_OUTcelestialaudio.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2006\05\05@024129 by Peter Todd

picon face
On Fri, May 05, 2006 at 01:10:12PM +1000, Zik Saleeba wrote:
> No free compilers for PIC?
>
> SDCC is a free microcontroller compiler which can be used for PICs.
> And it now supports pretty much all 16fxxx processors and will support
> all 18fxxx processors within a couple of weeks (when I submit my
> patch).

Don't you mean pretty much all 18fxxx and will support all 16fxxx?

I use SDCC a lot, and I was always under the impression that it's the
16f support that isn't very good. Of course, the 18f support has a lot
of serious holes in it too. For instance I've found that
multidimensional arrays just don't work in many cases. That said, I
really need to do the work to make up a proper test case to demonstrate
that, and other bugs, so I can send in a proper bug report...

--
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2006\05\05@030415 by Peter Todd

picon face
On Thu, May 04, 2006 at 01:16:18PM -0400, Larry G. Nelson Sr. wrote:
> I too am a Gold level / Master consultant member and have been for years. I have attended the Masters Conference every year since they started it. I have worked with many people inside the organization as well as with many of the consultant members. All have been very professional and helpful from day 1. I am a member of consultant programs with other vendors and Microchip has gotten it right while the others are learning. I too would be happy to discuss these experiences with you. Send me a private email at @spam@L.Nelson@spam@spamspam_OUTieee.org and we can set up a time to talk.
>
> Microchip has realized for years that small customers and large customers are all customers and have put together a structure to get support to all customers. They also know that todays small company with 100 part orders can become tomorrows large volume customer.

I love that I and my fellow students can order tonnes of samples, always
saying that we are students and are using them for education, and we get
them! No questions asked. Hell, it's via FedEx with a tracking number so
they arrive very quickly. I also really like that the policies are
clearly layed out, one sample order a month max. The ordering system is
also nice too, automated carts are a good thing.

That sort of treatment has gotten a number of people into PICs that
otherwise would have never tried them out.

--
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2006\05\05@101705 by Paul James E.

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Bob, All,

  My experience with Microchip dates to the early 90's.  I was working for
TI at the time, and a project came up for a diffusion furnace controller.
The current controller at that time was using obsolete parts and was
very unreliable.  I was going to use a TI micro, but was having trouble
getting them internally (go figure!).  I had recently seen an ad in a
magazine for PIC's, so I thought I'd give them a try.   Using assembly
language with the free assembler and simulator I got from Microchip, I
proceeded to code the controller.  After I wrote the code and simulated
it to get it to where I wanted it, I burned the part (16C84) and put it
into the vector board I wired up point to point.   We put it into the
furnace stack, and it worked right away just as it should have.  
I no longer work for TI, but the controller is still working.
  Since I started with my current employer, I have had several PIC designs
integrated into products we sell.   Also, many designs into test equipment
we use internally to test our products.
This is my way of saying that PIC's are easy parts to learn and to work
with.

  As far as support from Microchip is concerned, I have only positive
things to say.  I have been able to order sample parts online with no
problems, I can talk to FAE's whwnever I need to, (and they have been
very helpful when I do talk to them), The provide seminars and webinars
often, so introductions and/or training on a new or particular part is
easy to come by, and on and on.  
  Probably the best support feature I can think of is
the MASTER conference each year.   I have not been able to attend yet, but
hope to soon.  I have talked to several people who have been there though,
and they say they think it is a great thing.

  I have been, and am now, very happy with Microchip, their products,
and their support for their products.   I have many of their development
products, as well as several third party development products, including
Basic and 'C' compilers.   I prefer to program in assembly.   I've tried
the compilers, and still use them ocassionally when the project originator
requires it.   But for the most part, I think HLL's are very over-rated
for PIC's.  I just don't see the point.    That's not to say that if
someone likes using them, that they shouldn't.  I just prefer not to.

 So, the bottom line from my perspective is....

1. Good quality and range of products.
2. Support is second to none (AFAIC).
3. Parts are easy to get and inexpensive.
4. Datasheets and Ap Notes are available 24/7 from the website.
5. The free Assembler and Free Simulator, along with an IDE is excellent.

  I think this sums up my attitude towards, and satisfaction with,
Microchip and PIC's.   I have been a loyal user for well over a decade
now, and have no desire to change.

 I hope this long winded explanation doesn't turn you off.
 I'll sign off now.   Thnaks for letting me sound off.


                                            Regards,

                                              Jim




{Quote hidden}

> --

2006\05\05@101915 by kravnus wolf

picon face
hi Bob,

   My experience with Microchip has been wonderful.
My first exposure with microcontrollers was with PIC.
And I did not look back. Their support has been great
for professionals and newbies.

   Let me inform you on a newbie side. Their tools
were great but now are excellent! With their release
of PICKIT2 has made to a lot more afforable for
newbies to use PIC as their first choice. I did see
some competitor like AVR but they has yet to provide
such programmer yet. A good and useful programmer to
me is one of the  key elements in drawing newbies into
the MCU scene.  

   Sample are accessible for hobbist and professional
which makes it VERY attractive. Have you seen their
site for sample chips? WOW! That is the word I would
use! Simple and eager to help anybody to dive into
PIC.

   PIC ide has yet to catch up like AVR but I hope
they improve their support for C. So far I do have
very little to complain about their development tools
and many of us get positive response in solving
problematic development tools that we own. I have yet
to hear of the same treatment for the other
competitors.


Regards,
John

--- Bob Parks <.....bobparksspam_OUTspamyahoo.com> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

******************************************************************
> > > Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, (978)
> 742-9014.  #1 PIC
> > > consultant in 2004 program year.
> http://www.embedinc.com/products
> > > --
>

2006\05\05@221459 by Zik Saleeba

picon face
The 18fxxx support is going to "stable" status with the upcoming
release of SDCC. Presumably that means it's pretty good. Currently it
supports about 30 of the most popular 18Fs. In a couple of weeks it'll
support all 114 of them.

The 16fxxx support is not as stable. I still find it very usable for
hobbyist stuff but sometimes you have to work around the odd issue. It
supports all 105 variants of 16Fs and 16Cs which have the standard 14
bit instruction word.

Cheers,
Zik

On 05/05/06, Peter Todd <.....petespamRemoveMEpetertodd.ca> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -

2006\05\09@175548 by Mauricio Giovagnini

flavicon
face
Jesse Lackey wrote:
> Microchip's not really with the open-source movement, and they are
> fading out in the cutting-edge hobby world too, IMHO.  The two main
> reasons are: not documenting how debugging works on the 18F parts, so
> while a programmer can be readily built, a 3rd party, from the ground up
> ICD2 replacement cannot.  So there is a wall for projects beyond the
> simple that aren't on Windows or where a $150 ICD2 isn't acceptable.
> (say schools that want to buy 30 of them.)  Yes, there may be clones of
> the ICD2 from companies that educational institutions wouldn't buy from,
> and possibly convoluted unsupported ways of using the ICD2 on mac/linux.
>   Irrelevant.
>
> The second reason is the lack of a free C compiler.  This isn't
> microchip's fault in any way, but it is how it has turned out.  Again,
> CCS may be pretty cheap for their (recently made available) limited
Jesse,  have you checked out Microchip site lately?  MPLAB C18 student
version is free, but of course for the 18F family.





       
       
               
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2006\05\09@180008 by Mauricio Giovagnini

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face
Mauricio Jancic wrote:
> - Samples (very important) in Argentina you can't buy a PIC18F4580.
> Anywhere. No one has one. (I do :) )
>
>  

Hehe, I have many PIC18F4580 and PIC18LF4520 too and I also live in
Argentina...





       
       
               
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2006\05\09@182802 by Mauricio Giovagnini

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face

Bob Parks wrote:
> Hi,
>
> Hope this doesn't look too much like spam, but I'm a writer for
> Business 2.0 magazine, working on a July 2006 profile of
> Microchip.  I was hoping to get some voices of PIC users into the
> feature.  The article is about how Microchip has done a good job
> providing grassroots support to engineers including support, the
> sample program, low-cost IDE, and programming tools.
Yes, they are.  The IDE is no 'low cost' , is free.  I started with the
pics as a student with low 'money resources' and I've been using pics
since then.

>  Thus, many
> people choose the silicon when developing products.  I met the
> Microchip CEO for about 3 hours last week.  He's a crazy man!  But he
> seems quite focused on the smaller businesses and the consultants
> that Freescale, Atmel, STmicro, and others won't touch.  
The support I had from Microchip was good, although it was on the forum
and on some mails because I'm in SouthAmerica although I don't have any
complaints.


> Has anyone developed a consumer or industrial product in the last few years with
> a PIC involved?  
Yes, many diverse kind of applications.  Some in small quantities, some
on big quantities (more than 200 and if continues ok the size will
grow), but the typical applications Im developing right now are in the
order of the dozens of units.  I've used many diverse pics and I have no
complaints.


> Has anyone had interesting bushes with Microchip
> people?  Would like the hear your take.
>
>  
Didn't get the meaning of this frase


If you wish you can contact me by mail.

Best Regards.


       
       
               
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2006\05\09@191514 by Vasile Surducan

face picon face
{Quote hidden}

On 5/4/06, Dominic Stratten <dominic.strattenEraseMEspamntlworld.com> wrote:

> There are two manufacturers who stand out for me on their general attitude
> to their customers.
>
> Microchip are one of them (the other being Maxim/TI).


I'm a spurious user of Microchip pics, located in the East of the
Europe and some very small amount of time at NY. Maxim looks much
better to me than Microchip talking about the feedback and implication
in user's real problems.
So, I'll vote for Maxim, but you'll have to write about Microchip...
hard stuff, but if they pay you well, no problem.
BTW, I've seein many books (most of them published by Mc Graw-Hill) in
which the first 40 pages the author is talking (using pictures) a bout
how looks a hammer, a drilling machine, a soldering iron or a
prototyping card.
The next few chapters are how to mount a LED into the holes and make
it blink using a PIC and usualy a compiler.
I'm just curious, -and as a writer you must know- those kind of books
can be sold well in the US ?

cheers and thx,
Vasile

2006\05\09@205241 by Bob Parks

picon face
Ok, not 100% sure what you mean about the books, Vasile, but I
quickly looked up these McGraw-Hill electronics books on Amazon:

Electronic Gadgets for the Evil Genius : 28 Build-It-Yourself

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0071426094/qid=1147220271/sr=1-13/ref=sr_1_13/104-7948617-8449517?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

Programming & Customizing PICmicro Microcontrollers

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0071361723/qid=1147220440/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-7948617-8449517?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

Judging from the fact that they came out in paperback editions or 2nd
editions and seem to hold their value, I'd say that they did pretty
well.  If the book is out under a year, you can also tell from the
Amazon rating down at the bottom of the listing.  Those are all
healthy for these books being out so long.  The numbers aren't exact,
but you can get an order-of-magnitude sales figure from that.  A book
rated 10,000 on Amazon is selling about 15 books a month.  I would
take a wild guess they sold over 15,000 copies, and Evil Genius could
have sold over 40,000.    Author contracts are typically made for 7 -
14% of net sales, which is around 40 - 50% of list price of the
book.  So there you go.

By the way, the magazine pays me to write about Microchip, not the
company.  The magazine wants it probably because of the stock
valuation.  It was my idea to try to tie their success to how they
treat the engineers.

If you could answer one question for me:  To do this story, I started
opening up all the electronics in my house to see which uses
freescale, atmel, microchip.  Why do some manufacturers grind off the
name and model numbers off the chips?   One of the products I tried
to open up had all the chips wiped clean.  Maybe it was just a fluke?

Here's my list so far:

Atmel:

Honeywell 7-day programmable thermostat - ATMEGAA32L

ST:

Microsoft I-Feel Mouse -- ST72T631L4M1

Freescale:

Logitech Trackball -- 68HC908JC3

Microchip:

First Years Baby Monitor -- PIC16C505

Onset HoboWare Sensors -- PIC16F684

Microsoft Mouse -- PIC16C54C

iPod remote control -- PIC12C508

Kidde Fire Alarm --- PIC16LCE625

Holtek:

EPT Pregnancy Test (don't ask) - HT48


{Quote hidden}

2006\05\09@213039 by James Newton, Host

face picon face
> If you could answer one question for me:  To do this story, I
> started opening up all the electronics in my house to see
> which uses freescale, atmel, microchip.  Why do some
> manufacturers grind off the
> name and model numbers off the chips?   One of the products I tried
> to open up had all the chips wiped clean.  Maybe it was just a fluke?

If you can't identify the chip, you can't crack the copy protection, read
out the firmware, and make your own knock off of the product without paying
the firmware development cost.

Not that "you" would, just that there are people who do. And "we" want to
make it harder for "you" to do that.

Honestly, I doubt it slows down most professional knock off artists. I
remember the later generations of the cue cat got xrayed to find out what
chip ran it since they can encapsulated the thing to keep people reverse
engineering it. That sort of ability has got to be very much in the hands of
any scumbag who does that sort of thing for a "living."

Its more a matter of slowing down the lower level scumbags so that you can
sell your product for a bit longer... Until the upper level scumbags bring
their tools to bear and copy it.

---
James Newton: PICList webmaster/Admin
RemoveMEjamesnewtonEraseMEspamspam_OUTpiclist.com  1-619-652-0593 phone
http://www.piclist.com/member/JMN-EFP-786
PIC/PICList FAQ: http://www.piclist.com


2006\05\09@223810 by Carey Fisher

face picon face

> If you could answer one question for me:  To do this story, I started
> opening up all the electronics in my house to see which uses
> freescale, atmel, microchip.  Why do some manufacturers grind off the
> name and model numbers off the chips?   One of the products I tried
> to open up had all the chips wiped clean.  Maybe it was just a fluke?
>
>  
As far as I can recall, Fluke leaves all the part numbers intact...

2006\05\10@063704 by Mauricio Giovagnini

flavicon
face
Mauricio Giovagnini wrote:
> Mauricio Jancic wrote:
>  
>> - Samples (very important) in Argentina you can't buy a PIC18F4580.
>> Anywhere. No one has one. (I do :) )
>>
>>  
>>    
>
> Hehe, I have many PIC18F4580 and PIC18LF4520 too and I also live in
> Argentina...
>
>
>  


Just to be fair and in order to clarify my post.  I was trying to do an
ironic Post.

The fact is that its true that Argentina is a 'forgotten land' in many
aspects and Our Local Official Microchip Distributor only has the
'usual' pics and only on  DIP.

I don't think this is a Microchip problem but a matter of the
Distributor that is not willing to buy the non "most common" pics.  An
16F84 is easy to get, but a 18F4520.... impossible.

Best Regards to all and 'saludos to Mauricio'



               
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2006\05\10@065340 by olin piclist

face picon face
Bob Parks wrote:
> Why do some manufacturers grind off the
> name and model numbers off the chips?

To make it a little harder to copy.

******************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, (978) 742-9014.  #1 PIC
consultant in 2004 program year.  http://www.embedinc.com/products

2006\05\10@065654 by Vasile Surducan

face picon face
Thanks for your feedback Bob, see below:

On 5/10/06, Bob Parks <@spam@bobparksRemoveMEspamEraseMEyahoo.com> wrote:
> Ok, not 100% sure what you mean about the books, Vasile, but I
> quickly looked up these McGraw-Hill electronics books on Amazon:
>
> Electronic Gadgets for the Evil Genius : 28 Build-It-Yourself
>
> http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0071426094/qid=1147220271/sr=1-13/ref=sr_1_13/104-7948617-8449517?s=books&v=glance&n=283155
>
> Programming & Customizing PICmicro Microcontrollers
>
> http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0071361723/qid=1147220440/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-7948617-8449517?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

This is a good book if we cut half from it and threw away, but readers
taste are different...


{Quote hidden}

It's not very relevant, you're living probably next door to Microchip
(I mean in the US). In the Europe there arent so many products with
PICs inside like Atmel inside. Atmel is much cheaper here. Also the
faster 8051 clones (which are many, some of them having already WIFI
support inside)
If you'll buy a japanese product,will have japanese microcontroller inside.
You know what I'm saying.

Why do some manufacturers grind off the
> name and model numbers off the chips?

Why? I don't know. How they're doing:
There are two methodes, just alcohool cleaning (so using a good
microscope you'll find the name of the cip) or file cleaning where the
microscope offers no clue.
In this situation you have to found the producers country and with a quite hard
dig you may found the chip name by reverse engineering of the
schematics plus datasheet inspection of the most used microcontrollers
in the producers country.


greetings,
Vasile

One of the products I tried
{Quote hidden}

> -

2006\05\11@095555 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On 5/10/06, Vasile Surducan <EraseMEpiclist9spam@spam@gmail.com> wrote:

> It's not very relevant, you're living probably next door to Microchip
> (I mean in the US). In the Europe there arent so many products with
> PICs inside like Atmel inside. Atmel is much cheaper here. Also the
> faster 8051 clones (which are many, some of them having already WIFI
> support inside)
> If you'll buy a japanese product,will have japanese microcontroller inside.
> You know what I'm saying.
>

I think that is quite true. I find out that Yokogawa used some
NEC78k0 and SH microcontroller for its PLC interface modules.
The information on using them are scarce over the Internet.
Renesas is slightly better than the other Japanese vendors by
having better documentations.

Atmel seems to be quite popular in Europe since it is cheaper there.

And there are a lot of Taiwanese MCUs which are very cheap and
quite popular in the Great China area (mainland China, Hong
Kong and Taiwan).

Regards,
Xiaofan

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