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'[PIC] recomended PICs for hobbyists'
2005\08\15@150517 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Aug 15, 2005, at 6:09 AM, Byron A Jeff wrote:

> I really don't believe [chip cost] matters too much on the hobby
> front. Projects are generally done in singles. Convenience is more
> important than costs.

I disagree.  Chip cost IS important to the hobbyist, and I think
(for example) that the dsPics are currently too expensive for such
projects.  It has to do with how much someone is willing to spend
on a single component that they might break, I think.  On the other
hand, the cost issues are *different* for a hobbyist than for
a company contemplating volume production - the important number
is the low-quantity price rather than the high-quantity price, and
there is probably a "bottom" below which reduced prices are less
important.  I'm pretty sure that the difference between a $2 chip
and a $1 chip is of little consequence, but the difference between
a $10 chip and a $5 chip is pretty significant.

Or maybe it's just me.  Or maybe things are different for "adult"
hobbyists vs student/young/unemployed hobbyists, but I'm pretty
sure you can't just say "you're only making one, so it doesn't
matter how much the chip costs..."

BillW

2005\08\17@021452 by Chen Xiao Fan

face
flavicon
face
Hope the following will again increase the traffic of PIClist. :)
Still I do not want to stir unnecessary debate. BAJ has very
good argument as well even though I disagree with him.

I think maybe we need to agree on a definitions of "newbie"
or "hobbyists" first. :)

Regards,
Xiaofan

{Original Message removed}

2005\08\17@071218 by Sean Schouten

face picon face
> ICD2 may be for those who want to work with dsPICs but the
> problem is that it does not support right now.


ICD2 does not support dsPIC? How can it not support dsPIC? Are you
reffering to the not-so-functional clones?


> And so a newbie will have to plunk down $50 just to get started?
> And for this you get 1 part (16F690), a pot, some LEDs and
> a programmer? Seems pricey to me to pay for convenience.

I guess that that's up to the user, isn't it? You could just as well
ask why they are even trying to get PICkit 2 to work under linux. Why
not bang-up a simple linux program so you can hook up the PIC directly
to either the Parallel or Serial port and load the firmware from
there? It's cheaper...

Sean

2005\08\17@081320 by Chen Xiao Fan

face
flavicon
face
Sorry there is a missing word there. ICD2 does not really
work with *Linux* now even though there is a program called LPLAB
which is close to work. Without Microchip's source code to ICD2,
it is not so easy. Just take note this post was sent to the
GNUPIC list and most of the discussions there are for Linux.

PICkit 1 and PICkit 2 are differnt, the source code is available to
PICkit 1. The source code to PICkit 2 will soon be released and the
protocol is similar to PICkit 1.

Reagrds,
Xiaofan

----- Original Message -----
From: "Sean Schouten" <spam_OUTdev.seantechTakeThisOuTspamgmail.com>
Newsgroups: gmane.comp.hardware.microcontrollers.pic
Sent: Wednesday, August 17, 2005 7:12 PM
Subject: Re: [PIC] recomended PICs for hobbyists

>> ICD2 may be for those who want to work with dsPICs but the
>> problem is that it does not support right now.
>
>
> ICD2 does not support dsPIC? How can it not support dsPIC? Are you
> reffering to the not-so-functional clones?
>

2005\08\17@082915 by Sean Schouten

face picon face
On 8/17/05, Chen Xiao Fan <.....xiaofanKILLspamspam@spam@sg.pepperl-fuchs.com> wrote:
> Sorry there is a missing word there. ICD2 does not really
> work with *Linux* now even though there is a program called LPLAB
> which is close to work. Without Microchip's source code to ICD2,
> it is not so easy. Just take note this post was sent to the
> GNUPIC list and most of the discussions there are for Linux.


Ah that's another story... :) I was wondering why/what/how!

May I ask if Microchip is giving the source of the PICkit 2 willingly?
Wouldn't it be a good move to give the code for interfacing the ICD2
to the linux community, and otherwize just simply bring out a Linux
port of their ever so popular MPLAB? Hell...They would probably even
be able to get volunteers to port it for them, for free, even under a
non-disclosure agreement. It's always a possibility. :)


Sean.

2005\08\17@092015 by Maarten Hofman

face picon face
I only started with PICmicro at the end of May, so I consider myself
both a hobbyist and a newbie.

> 1) Chips of choice:
> The new trend is that all the new 16F chips are standard flash
> and does not support bootloader. They are supposed to be the
> main stream PIC16F chips in the near future. In terms of
> price, they will be the cheapest PICs. So I will recommend
> the new 8/14/20 pins of cheap PICs to new beginners than
> big 16F88 or 16F87xA. Paging is a pain. Of course, 18F is
> a good choice as well if price is not a problem. dsPICs may
> be too new to use.

I'm against not recommending small sized PICmicros just because
"paging is a pain" for three reasons:
1) As already mentioned, regular paging errors occur only when you
write more than 2KWord of code, which wouldn't happen immediately (in
fact, in the past few months of coding, I have yet to exceed that
limit... I only once did it by accident through overuse of a large
macro).
2) However, I did ran into a form of paging problems on the 16F628
within one week of using it, as I was doing table jumps. I was happy
to find AN556, but it is clear that avoiding paging by sticking so
small PICmicros doesn't really work.
3) The usual argument that by deliberately avoiding paging, you could
create a mindset that would cause people to avoid using it
alltogether. I already am trying to overcome bad habits regarding
banking (I have a preference to use FSR to point to bank 1 so I don't
have to switch), do I need bad paging habits too?

{Quote hidden}

I agree about the outdated information. I discovered, though, that
most of the problems programming do not occur because of poor
hardware, but because of poor software. I use the "El Cheapo" from
Myke Predko, and so far the only problems could all be resolved by
using different programming software. I also used a JDM programmer,
and it worked without any problems as well, once I had the right
software. I agree that the PICkit1 is most likely cheaper than
building your own programmer, if you include things like proper
shielded cable and stable power supply.

> those experts or pros? Why burden newbies with the task of building
> a programmer (sometimes frustrating)? Of course it they consider it as
> a good exercise, I have no objections. Then build a proper one.

I enjoyed building my own programmer. The reason I decided to do
microcontrollers was because I wanted to hold a soldering iron again.
I'm lousy at it, but I enjoyed the challenge (also, the "El Cheapo"
had very good instructions on how to solder and what to test after you
soldered each component).

I personally think the $1.61-$2.24 16F628(A) would be the ideal
choice, and I should have started with that instead of the 16F84A (but
I said that once already). As said, I have no experience with dsPIC or
18F series, and those might be even better.

Greetings,
Maarten Hofman.

2005\08\17@101313 by Jan-Erik Soderholm

face picon face
About dsPIC30 and hobbyists/newbies...

Now, how many hobbyists/newbies
are
realy looking for that DSP "thing" ?

If it's just the added
"power" (speed,
peripherials and so on), it could be
better to wait
for the "standard" 16-bits
PIC24 (it was "24", right ?)

Yes, you can
use the dsPIC30 without
looking at the DSP engine, but it's still
extra
pages in the datasheet and extra
instructions and so on.

And by the
time that PIC24 hit the
streets, the tools might have evolved
a bit
more then today (mainly 3-part
programmers).

Jan-Erik.



2005\08\17@110508 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 04:13:12PM +0200, Jan-Erik Soderholm wrote:
> About dsPIC30 and hobbyists/newbies...
>
> Now, how many hobbyists/newbies
> are
> realy looking for that DSP "thing" ?

Olin Lanthop has pointed out that it's possible to use dsPIC
as a really fast, really feature packed (multiple USARTS,
multi channel PWM, etc).

>
> If it's just the added
> "power" (speed,
> peripherials and so on), it could be
> better to wait
> for the "standard" 16-bits
> PIC24 (it was "24", right ?)

Nope. The dsPIC is here now. If you have an application for it
you should use it.  

{Quote hidden}

Is there a time frame for that?

BAJ

2005\08\17@113432 by Jan-Erik Soderholm

face picon face
Byron A Jeff wrote :

> Olin Lanthop has pointed out that it's possible
to use dsPIC
> as a really fast, really feature packed (multiple
USARTS,
> multi channel PWM, etc).

As I did a few lines below.

> If
you have an application for it
> you should use it.

I wasn't talking
of some urgent need
for some specific application.

I was talking about
those thinking
that 16-bit chips would be nice
to "play around" with a
little.

> Is there a time frame for that?
[PIC24 release..]

Not that
I know about.

But the PIC24 is said to be a PIC30
with the DSP part
stripped of, so...

Never mind...

Jan-Erik.



2005\08\17@204432 by Sean Schouten

face picon face
> But the PIC24 is said to be a PIC30
> with the DSP part
> stripped of, so...
>
> Never mind...


Well, I would't throw in your towel so soon. I am sure that if they
pack the PIC24 with less features than the dsPIC30, then it's sure to
be some what cheaper, no? That would mean that people that aren't in
need of the DSP end of the table shouldn't (and probably wouldn't)
bother to spend the extra buck. Unless ofcourse they want to be able
to tell their friends that it's a dsPIC that powers the blinking leds
on the front of their computer-case. How could we possibly even forget
about those types...

2005\08\17@210659 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
> If you have an application for [dsPic] you should use it.

But that's not what we're talking about.  We want to know whether
the dsPic is powerful, cheap, easy to use, and common enough to
use as your general purpose "does everything" hobbyist chip.

IMO, it's currently too expensive, draws too much current, and
most of the existing code examples are written for a $$$ compiler
not accessible to hobbyists...

BillW

2005\08\18@054142 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 06:06:57PM -0700, William Chops Westfield wrote:


> >If you have an application for [dsPic] you should use it.
>
> But that's not what we're talking about.  We want to know whether
> the dsPic is powerful, cheap, easy to use, and common enough to
> use as your general purpose "does everything" hobbyist chip.

No to everything except for powerful.

>
> IMO, it's currently too expensive, draws too much current, and
> most of the existing code examples are written for a $$$ compiler
> not accessible to hobbyists...

Bingo. It's not there yet. But I still stand by my original
statement above. Don't run away from the dsPIC simply because
of these issues. If you really have an application where it fits,
it should be considered.

BTW have we figured out why the power consumption is so terrible?

BAJ

2005\08\18@055733 by Jan-Erik Soderholm

face picon face
Byron A Jeff wrote :

> BTW have we figured out why the power
consumption is so terrible?


Has there been any power values shown
that specifies current/transistor/Mhz ?

And if so, are those values
worse then for
the PIC16 and PIC18 ?

Jan-Erik.



2005\08\18@082148 by olin piclist

face picon face
William Chops Westfield wrote:
> But that's not what we're talking about.  We want to know whether
> the dsPic is powerful, cheap, easy to use, and common enough to
> use as your general purpose "does everything" hobbyist chip.

I think it's a good choice, particularly the 30F3013 and 30F4012.  These are
both available in 28 pin DIP package.  The '3013 has 12 bit A/Ds whereas the
'4012 has 10 bit A/Ds but a larger program memory.

> IMO, it's currently too expensive,

Not if you think about it rationally realizing you are just buying a small
number.  Other than the knee jerk reaction, this shouldn't be an issue
(although I realize a lot of hobbyists out there think with their knees).

> draws too much current,

Most projects aren't going to have a problem with the PIC drawing 150mA at
5V.  Of course this is only at its maximum clock rate.  As far as I can see,
a dsPIC draws about comparable current to an 18F at the same clock rate.

> and most of the existing code examples are written for a $$$ compiler
> not accessible to hobbyists...

So don't use the compiler.  The assembler, librarian, linker, debugger,
simulator, and IDE are free and part of MPLAB just like with other PICs.


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

2005\08\18@090144 by John Nall

picon face
Olin Lathrop wrote:

> William Chops Westfield wrote:
>
>>  We want to know whether
>> the dsPic is powerful, cheap, easy to use, and common enough to
>> use as your general purpose "does everything" hobbyist chip.
>
>
> I think it's a good choice, particularly the 30F3013 and 30F4012.

I just got back into playing with PIC's about a month or so ago, after
being out of it for several years.  When I quit, I was using the
18F452.  When I started back, I decided (based upon the advice of this
group) to go with the ds3013.  My reaction so far has been that for the
"average" hobbyist (different people probably have different ideas on
what "average" means) it might be a little bit too cutting-edge
(bleeding edge?).   I like the 3013, and intend to stick with it, but if
I had a definite project in mind to accomplish and saw the PIC as only a
means to an end (rather than an end in itself) then I would use one of  
the 452's that are in the drawer.  The reason is strictly because there
just are not that many tools available (yet) that support the ds3013,
and if you run into difficulties then getting assistance is easier with
one of the older chips.  I like the Wisp628 a lot better than I like the
ICD2, for one thing.  There are good programming examples available for
the older chips that don't exist (yet) for the 3013.

That said, however, I will say that so far I am really impressed with
the architecture of the 3013 (and presumably the whole 30F family, but I
haven't looked at the rest of them).  The instruction set is impressive
-- lots of creativity went into the design.  I haven't gotten to the
point of really looking closely at the DSP instructions, but the initial
reaction was just that they wanted to make it easy to do some involved
mathematical calculations.  Doesn't help me, doesn't hurt me.

>> and most of the existing code examples are written for a $$$ compiler
>> not accessible to hobbyists...
>
>
> So don't use the compiler.  The assembler, librarian, linker, debugger,
> simulator, and IDE are free and part of MPLAB just like with other PICs

I agree with Olin on that.   The only reason that I looked at C30 was
because I could try it free for 60 days, and figured I should see what
it had to offer.  You already know my reaction to that.  :-)  But the
material that Microchip makes available at no cost is great, other than
for the fact that it only runs under Windows.  If it ran under Linux
also then it would be nice.

John

2005\08\18@091527 by Jan-Erik Soderholm

face picon face
John Nall wrote :

> ... so far I am really impressed with
> the
architecture of the 3013 (and presumably
> the whole 30F  family...

With your insight, what do you think
about the comming PIC24 (DSP-less
PIC30) ?

And another thing...

What programming tools *are* there
today that supports dsPIC ?

I know about IDC2 and Olins ProProg, but
apart from that ?

I also know about the bootloaders
"floating around",
but you need a tool
to get them into the chip in the first place
anyway...

Jan-Erik.



2005\08\18@093700 by John Nall

picon face
Jan-Erik Soderholm wrote:

>
>
>> With your insight, what do you think
>about the coming PIC24 (DSP-less
>PIC30) ?
>  
>
I don't know as I have that much insight, but thanks for the
compliment.  I have not seen anything on the PIC24 (other than your
postings) so really am not qualified to comment.   Sounds like it will
be a nice chip, though.  Fuel cell cars will be nice, too, when they get
here.  In the meantime, though, the old Toyota has to keep chugging along.

>> What programming tools *are* there
>today that supports dsPIC ?
>
>I know about IDC2 and Olins ProProg, but
>apart from that ?
>  
>
Beats the h--- out of me.  I think that was one of the complaints about
it that I listed.   Sounds like I came across as a champion of the ds30F
line, which was not intended, if so.  I merely gave the initial
impressions that I had so far, since I thought they might be of interest.

John


2005\08\18@103328 by Jan-Erik Soderholm

face picon face
John Nall wrote :

> I have not seen anything on the PIC24...

:-)

Sorry.

What I ment was more like :

What would you think of an dsPIC30
without the DSP engine ?

A nice generall 16-bit PIC, I think.

> >I
know about IDC2 and Olins ProProg, but
> >apart from that ?

> Beats
the h--- out of me.

Sorry again...

That question wasn't *specificaly*
directed to you... :-)

Anyway, I saw that both PIC24 and
dsPIC32 was
discussed at Masters, so they
are not totaly waporware, are thay ?

Jan-
Erik.



2005\08\18@113208 by olin piclist

face picon face
Jan-Erik Soderholm wrote:
> What I ment was more like :
>
> What would you think of an dsPIC30
> without the DSP engine ?

I don't understand the problem with the current 30F.  Yes it has a DSP
engine.  From the programmer's point of view, this adds two special purpose
accumulators and a dozen or so instructions that act on them.  That's it.
They can be completely ignored if not doing DSP.  There are no
initialization issues and no gotchas due to just leaving them alone.  Tear
out the pages in the manual if you like.

I've done several dsPIC projects now and have yet to use the DSP engine or
write a single instruction that uses the DSP accumulators.  I'm not trying
to avoid them, in fact I'd like to do a DSP project with a dsPIC, but it
hasn't come up yet.

The point is that the existing dsPIC is a very capable easy to program 16
bit microcontroller with lots of nice peripherals.  You don't have to wait
for the PIC 24 for the DSP engine to be removed to get the 16 bit
microcontroller.  The only advantage of the PIC 24 will be somewhat lower
cost with the disadvantage of lower max clock speed.  For a hobbyist buying
a small number to have around for general projects, the PIC 30 looks better
since it has the higher max clock speed.  And maybe some day you'll be glad
the DSP engine is there.  In the mean time just pretend it isn't.  I don't
see how that's a drawback.

By the way, I don't think the PIC 24 is such a good idea.  Every one of the
dsPIC projects I've done have been pushing the available cycles.  The slower
PIC 24 would have been useless in all cases.  The PIC 33 sounds interesting
if you can live with the 3.3V max and if they can get the flash retention
life into a reasonable range.


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

2005\08\18@125813 by John Nall

picon face
Jan-Erik Soderholm wrote:

>> What I ment was more like :
>
>What would you think of an dsPIC30
>without the DSP engine ?
>  
>
I think that I could rephrase that as "would a dsPIC30 without the DSP
engine be just as useful other than in exceptional cases?"  And I think
it is too early to be able to know, without some creative thinking and
studying.  I know some war stories where a device designed for
thus-and-thus wound up being very valuable for something other than what
it was designed to do.  The CPU on the Control Data 6600, which was
designed strictly as an arithmetic processor but wound up doing a lot of
the OS work also, comes to mind as a prime example.  So it may just be
that the DSP engine has uses no one has yet thought of.   But I'll
confess that I have not yet looked at it.  :-(

John

2005\08\22@043041 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>I think that I could rephrase that as "would a dsPIC30 without the DSP
>engine be just as useful other than in exceptional cases?"  And I think
>it is too early to be able to know, without some creative thinking and
>studying.

Well I suspect that it is a case of develop using a dsPic, but we found we
didn't need the DSP after all, but the speed is useful, how can we cut the
price?

>I know some war stories where a device designed for thus-and-thus
>wound up being very valuable for something other than what it was
>designed to do.  The CPU on the Control Data 6600, which was designed
>strictly as an arithmetic processor but wound up doing a lot of the
>OS work also, comes to mind as a prime example.  So it may just be
>that the DSP engine has uses no one has yet thought of.   But I'll
>confess that I have not yet looked at it.  :-(

Well, my thinking was along the line of using the wide registers for >16 bit
fixed point arithmetic without having to deal with overflows from one 16 bit
register to the next, and so on.

2005\08\22@051138 by Chen Xiao Fan

face
flavicon
face
I do not think the DSP engine is a problem with hobbyist since
the price difference with PIC24 is not really that important.
For production use, it does matter though.

Are there any datasheet or other information available to the
public? So PIC24F will be slower than dsPIC30F, right? Hopefully
the current consumption will be much lower as well.

What about PIC33? I thought it was dsPIC33. Looks like it is
again outsourced like 18J device (3.3V only and less flash retention
life). Anyway I do not think that is a big problem for hobbyists
as well. The only concern is the price of an ICD2 which is
really necessary. I think ICD2 is a good investment though
for any hobbyists looking into 18F or higher end device.

Regards,
Xiaofan

{Original Message removed}

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