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'ETI BASIC microcontroller'
1995\08\03@114110 by CHP3HOWARNJ

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The September issue of Electronics Today International begins a new series
by Robin Abbot (he of the ETI universal PIC programmer) detailing a BASIC
microcontroller. Rather than pass judgement, I'll just snip out the relavent
bits for your perusal:-

Next month ETI will be sold with a free PCB which is specially designed for
the ETI BASIC microcontroller ..... The PCB will also be useful to anyone
designing with 18 pin PIC devices since it can act as a PIC prototyping board.
It will
hold any 18 pin PIC with crystal oscillator, a 5V regulator, a low cost RS232
serial interface and an I2C interface for 8 pin I/O devices........ Any 18 pin
device may be used 16C54, 56, 58, 71, 84 etc The lower 4 bits of port A are
used for the I2C interface and for the external serial interface [me - a
brownout circuit is also provided] All 8 port B lines and RTCC are available
for I/O ..... The EEPROM may be up to 8k in size, allowing programs of up to
about 1,000 lines of BASIC code to be developed...... The system is based on
the Windows development system which allows multiple files to be edited,
assembled and linked, and for programs to be downloaded and tested. Finally,
an autoboot facility allows the module to automatically run programs when it
is powered up, allowing stand-alone systems to be developed.... code for
interfacing to a 24LC16 and for interrupt driven serial port is also given.

Me again

Unfortunately, I have no experience of the Parallax STAMP gear so I've no
idea what advantages (if any) Robin's unit has. (anyone help here???) I
would suspect cost might be a factor though ;-)
Also, an ongoing article by Bart Trepak describes how to design a PIC based
project. (an alarm clock)

This magazine really is the dogs whatsits for the PIC hobbyist.

Now, about my years free subscription .........

Oh BTW, the address for ETI wordwide is in the FAQ.

TTFN

Nick Howard
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Content-Identifier: ETI BASIC mic...

1995\08\03@120425 by Ray Bellis

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Is there any indication of how much the preprogrammed PIC containing
the BASIC interpreter is going to be?  A few months ago Everyday &
Practical Electronics (EPE) ran a couple of articles on a PIC
programmer/simulator but you had to fork out somewhere around 50 quid
(might even have been more) for the PIC which actually controlled the
programmer.  What looks like a low cost project suddenly doesn't
look so attractive.

I stopped buying ETI (and EPE since) when they started running so many
projects which appeared to be an excuse for the designer to sell the
extra software needed to actually use the device.  I seem to recall
seeing something similar a while back in Electronics & Wireless World
with a Teletext decoder. :-(

Ray.

--
Computing Officer, MRC Research Centre in Brain and Behaviour, Oxford
<http://www.mrc-bbc.ox.ac.uk/~rpb>  <spamBeGoneRay.BellisSTOPspamspamEraseMEpsy.ox.ac.uk>

1995\08\03@133743 by Tom Mornini

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face
> Is there any indication of how much the preprogrammed PIC containing
> the BASIC interpreter is going to be?  A few months ago Everyday &
> Practical Electronics (EPE) ran a couple of articles on a PIC
> programmer/simulator but you had to fork out somewhere around 50 quid
> (might even have been more) for the PIC which actually controlled the
> programmer.  What looks like a low cost project suddenly doesn't
> look so attractive.

I think this in reference to a BASIC Stamp. Assuming this is correct:

Pricing of Stamp interpreter PICS is as follows.

PBASIC14 (BS1) in 16C56

QTY     PRICE
---     -----
  1    18
  5    13
 10    10
 25     8
100     6.50
250     6
1000     5


PBASIC20 (BS2) in 16C57

QTY     PRICE
---     -----
  1      30
  5      24
 10      20
 25      17
100      15
250      13
1000      12

Parallax, Inc. is now sponsoring a BASIC Stamp mailing
list. This list is intended for discussion of the Parallax
BASIC Stamp products, peripherals and derivative products,
the programming of those items, and hardware integration.

To subscribe to the "stamps" email list, send e-mail
to KILLspammajordomospamBeGonespamparallaxinc.com. In the body of the message,
type "subscribe stamps". You will receive a confirmation
that you are subscribed to the list at the address that
you sent the request from.

--  Tom Mornini ----------------------------------------------------------
--  Parallax, Inc.  ------------------------------------------------------
--  Makers of really cool PIC development tools & the BASIC Stamps  ------
--  http://www.parallaxinc.com           ftp://ftp.parallaxinc.com/pub  --

1995\08\04@124448 by Tom Kellett

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On  4 Aug 95 at 11:11,  about Re: ETI BASIC microcontroller,
EraseMECHP3HOWARNJspamEraseMEntu.ac.uk wrote:

> Ray et al.
>
> No price is given for the programmed PIC for this project. I guess we find
> out next month.

Not for the PIC alone, it's true, but the guy offers to program a '57 by
return of post and includes a windows prog. to drive it for 20GBP. If you
have access to a programmer, the .obj code is available for download from;

Protel format drawing + firmware OBJ
ftp://rasi.lr.ttu.ee/pub/sis/CAD/DIY/PROTEL/robin.zip
schematics is now corrected (hopefully)

Freeware viewer for Protel schematics files
ftp://rasi.lr.ttu.ee/pub/sis/win31/viewers/protvw.zip

Evaluation copy of Protel for Windows Schematics 2.0 (2 disks)
ftp://rasi.lr.ttu.ee/pub/sis/softlib/

info. posted originally by: antti @spam@sis@spam@spamspam_OUTrasi.lr.ttu.ee
--
TAK
   Koy schte byde tuka sled edin vek ? Az ne schte.

1995\08\22@082618 by Nick Howard

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face
Some time ago I posted to the list a description of a Stamp like project by
Robin Abbott which features in the September (October ...) issue of ETI. As
promised, I mailed Robin for further details. He subsequently sent a lengthy
reply which has been sitting in my mailbox for a fortnight while I was on
vacation. I have mailed him again requesting permission to forward his comments
to the PICLIST. I can though answer a question raised by Ray Bellis concerning
the price of the PIC BASIC interpreter. Robin will program a device supplied by
the user for 15 pounds sterling. A PCB for the project will be given away with
the October issue of ETI and the Windows software will also be free of charge.

TTFN

Nick

P.S. My vote is to keep the list as it is (no newsgroup access here) :-(

spamBeGonechp3howarnjspamKILLspamntu.ac.uk

1995\08\22@090754 by Ray Bellis

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picon face
> I can though answer a question raised by Ray Bellis concerning the price
> of the PIC BASIC interpreter. Robin will program a device supplied by the
> user for 15 pounds sterling. A PCB for the project will be given away
> with the October issue of ETI and the Windows software will also be free
> of charge

Thanks for the info.  This price is reasonable although it still annoys
me that something featured in an electronics magazine has extra hidden costs.

I'd like to follow up on some of my reasons for this:

All of the projects in electronics magazines have component costs.  Good
articles (IMHO) are those where a circuit idea is sent to the magazine
solely with the intention of sharing the idea.  In this sense I believe
that magazines of this sort should be considered a low-brow [E&WW excluded]
`academic publication'.

Articles such as the one in question really don't appear to have been
written with this in mind.  Charging even `as little' as 15 pounds for
a 2-minute programming operation isn't `sharing the idea', it's thinly
veiled commercialism.  You might compare this with the shareware software
on computer magazine cover-disks but then I'd point out that the computer
magazines don't base their content on the included software.

Ray.

--
 Computing Officer, MRC Research Centre in Brain and Behaviour,
    Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University
 <http://www.mrc-bbc.ox.ac.uk/~rpb>  <.....Ray.Bellisspam_OUTspampsy.ox.ac.uk>

1995\08\30@041814 by Nick Howard

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face
Robin Abbott has given his consent for the following reply to my request for
futher information on the ETI BASIC microcontroller to be sent here, so here
it is...


Nick,

Thanks for your letter. I am anxious to distance my latest project from the
Stamp as I think it makes the Stamp look a bit sick  (Modest as ever !).
Although, that said, I think at the same processor speed the Stamp may be
faster.

It is a BASIC interpreter, it runs 15/16 bit arithmetic, and allows variables
which can be in arrays of up to 16 elements, and can be any size from 1 to 8
bits (and 16 bits) and which are packed in memory to save space. Variables can
be stored in RAM, or EEPROM (EEPROM variables will hold their values through
power down, and can be in arrays of up to 1024 elements). Constants, and
constant strings, and arrays of strings are supported to allow messages to be
generated.. The language offers a block structure and supports FOR/NEXT/STEP,
WHILE/WEND, IF/THEN/GOTO and multi level subroutines and functions. On the
larger devices functions will allow parameters to be supplied, and may have
local variables. Finally the newer devices support interrupt routines in BASIC,
which I have been using for timer applications. For the '64 version I am
seriously considering introducing an interrupt driven serial port which would
allow serial comms whilst the program is running.

Currently I have versions for the '84, '71 and am developing for the '57 and '64
- the latter two will obviously be a superset of the '84 version, and will allow
a much larger variable space. .

The BASIC module is much bigger than the Stamp, (7x4cm for 18 pin devices), the
PCB will be given away free on the front cover of the issue of ETI which hits
the streets at the beginning of September. As standard it includes an EEPROM,
cheap & cheerful RS232 serial interface with 9 pin D connector, and 5V power
supply together with the peripheral interface (PORT B, RTCC etc.). However
although the module is large I hope that anyone using the project seriously
would embed the PIC and EEPROM within the application rather than using the
module. The EEPROM used is a 2K or 8K device, and typically will offer about 300
or 1200 lines of BASIC depending on the code, some lines code up to one byte,
some are as many as 15 bytes. The PIC can run at any speed from 4MHz to 20MHz.
The total cost of the hardware is about L1 + L3 for the EEPROM + the PIC.

The development system runs under Windows, it offers multi-file editing in a
project environment, debugging (although only elementary at the moment), error
tracking etc, and downloads/verifiies/runs code on the module. Library routines
can be built up and added to projects as required. The module can be set to
autoboot and run a program on power up. The development system will be given
away on the front cover of the issue of ETI which goes out at the beginning of
October.

If you think there is sufficient interest I could check with ETI and if it is OK
with them, I'll e-mail you the development system, help files, and documentation
and perhaps you could upload them to PICLIST. At present I think it is mainly
bug free (but I thought that about the PIC programmer Windows Software until
people started using it !).

As for costs, I will be programming PIC's at a standard rate of L15/PIC for all
versions, code protected (well I've got to make some recovery for the
development !). The source code (and hex code) for the PIC will NOT be
available. This will be the only cost in the project - I will be making the
development software generally available after ETI publication - probably thru
the Microchip bulletin board. I hope in the medium term to sell BASIC modules in
kit and pre-built form through the various electronics mags. I also welcome
early comments on enhancements for the project, although the '84 and '71
versions have about 5 words of program store free (!), I have all the room in
the world in the '57 and '64 devices - and as for the '74.....

Anyway my link up with ETI may prevent release of too much early information,
but if there is sufficient interest I'll see what can be uploaded before
publication. For information I attach a list of keywords for the '84 version.


Thanks for your interest,

Robin

================================================================================
=
========

List of keywords - some of these are commands, and some are functions which may
be used in expressions:

Keyword                         Summary of meaning
=======                         ==================

;                               Introduces a comment
A[4],B[8],C[8] etc.                     Arrays of single bit varibles
representing port bits
A0,A1,A2,A3,B0-B7,C0-C7 etc.            Single bit variables representing port
bits
ADDPORTA,ADDPORTB etc.          Address of ports
ALIAS name=variable             Defines substitute names for variables.
ASC(string$)                    Return ASCII code of first character of string
BCHGIF                          Constant - Port B upper change flag for
interrupts
CLOCKOUT(PORT,MASK)             Produce a high going clock pulse on a port pin
CONST                           Define a constant
DEBUG()                         Update the debugging window on the host
PC
DEFSERIN                        Default serial input port definition
DEFSEROUT                       Default serial output port definition
DIM var[array].size.[E/L]               Define variables and arrays
EI(mask)                                Enable interrupts
ELSE                            Used with IF
END                             Used to end functions and subroutines
ENDIF                           Used with IF
FALSE                           Constant, equal to 0
FOR var=start TO end [STEP value]       Loop function
FUNC name()                     Used at start of a function
GOTO label                      Transfers program to a label
IF expression THEN                      Conditional program control
IF/THEN/ELSE/ENDIF              Conditional program control (block method)
INCLUDE                         Include another source file
INTCON                          Interrupt control register
INTIF                           Constant - Interrupt (B0) flag for interrupts
MID$(string$)                   Shorten a string
MONITOR()                       Return to monitor control from the PC
NEXT                            Used with FOR (note no variable is supplied)
OK()                            Debugging only (advanced)
OPTIONS(value)                  Set the PIC options register
PEEK(address)                   Return contents of PIC memory address
POKE(address,value)             Set the contents of PIC memory
PORT                            Array of 8 bit variables representing ports on
the PIC
PORTA,PORTB etc.                        Variables representing ports on the PIC
REM                             Remark statement
RETURN value                    Returns a value from a function
RTCC                            Real time clock register
SERIN(port,wait)                        Read a byte using serial protocol
SEROUT(value,port)                      Write byte to port using serial protocol
SEROUTSTRING(string,port)               Write a string to a port using serial
protocol
STEP                            Used with FOR
SUB name()                      Introduces a subroutine
TIMERIF                         Constant - Timer flag for interrupts
TRISA(value),TRISB(value), etc. Define output pins on port
TRUE                            Constant, set to 1
TYPEFUNC name()                 Defines a function
TYPESUB name()                  Defines a subroutine
WEND                            Used with WHILE
WHILE expression                        Loop control

Operators :
========

An operator is used in an expression to perform some action on one or two
numbers or strings. The operators are presented here in order of priority.
For instance Multiply has a higher priority than Add, and therefore the
expressions:

       3*4+7
       7+3*4

both have the same result :  19.

The available operators are shown here in groups, each group has an identical
priority for evaluation:

(       Bracket operations
)

NOT     logical not - if the number is zero then return 1, otherwise return 0.
-       Negate a number
~       Bitwise invert

*       Multiply two numbers
/       Divide two numbers
%       Return the modulus when one number is divided by another

+       Add two numbers
-       Subtract two numbers

&       Bitwise AND
|       Bitwise OR
^       Bitwise XOR

AND     logical and
OR      logical or

=       compare two numbers, return TRUE if equal
>=      compare two numbers, return TRUE if first is >=the second.
<=      compare two numbers, return TRUE if first is <=the second.
>       compare two numbers, return TRUE if first is >the second.
<       compare two numbers, return TRUE if first is <the second.
<>      compare two numbers, return TRUE if first is not equal to the second.
!=      compare two numbers, return TRUE if first is not equal to the second.
================== RFC 822 Headers ==================

1995\08\30@043302 by Nick Howard

flavicon
face
I mentioned to Robin that there is some dissent concerning the fact that what
may seem to be a cheap project is less attractive when one considers the cost
of programming the (PIC) interpreter (he charges 15 UK pounds). His reply
follows. Robin's email address is TakeThisOuT100023.535.....spamTakeThisOuTcompuserve.com

TTFN

Nick Howard
TakeThisOuTchp3howarnjKILLspamspamspamntu.ac.uk
-----------------------------------------------

Nick,

Thanks for your letter, I also was on holiday !

I don't really see the BASIC project as being in direct competition with the
Stamp, and hence don't really see it as a "cheap" solution (those were the words
of the editor of ETI). It is intended to be fitted directly into systems as an
embedded unit rather than the Stamp II's current hybrid module form. It is
slightly cheaper, although not much, because the current version uses the 16C84
rather than the 56. At least the use of the '84 allows EEPROM upgrades at a
later date.  (I will be producing other versions). I really believe that it is
aimed at a different market, the BASIC language is certainly more advanced than
Stamp 1 (I haven't seen the language for Stamp II), and I think the development
system is more user friendly. I see it really being used for prototyping and one
off applications. Anyone interested in quantity is welcome to negotiate with me
directly, the one-off programming charge of L15 holds for any devices.

I originally developed the system from a BASIC interpreter which I wrote back in
1989 on a PC (for producing video subtitling!), and I wrote it at the end of
last year mainly for my own interest to see how it could be done. Eventually it
became a bit of an obsession to shoehorn more and more functionality, hence the
very few words of program memory remaining ! I decided that the time and effort
involved merited at least some return and the price was chosen in consultation
with the editor of ETI with neither of us having any real idea of how much
interest there will be. The development software is free of charge. I am now
wondering whether (and how!) to exploit it commercially.....

I'm sorry if all the above is not in spirit with the free exchange nature of the
Internet, and I half expect angry letters (as I received with the PIC
programmer) from some people who seem to assume that individuals should always
give away the fruits of their labours, or at the very least supply them as
shareware (the same thing to most people) !

I now have a 16C57 version which operates in simulated form, and in the next few
days I hope to try it on real hardware. The '56 version proved impossible to fit
in without what I considered to be unacceptable reductions in functionality, and
I am now wondering what to do with the extra program space in the '57 and '64 !

Anyway please forward any info I've sent to you to the PICLIST or wherever, and
please publicise my CIS address (or snail mail at 37 Plantation drive,
Christchurch, Dorset, England BH23 5SG), I am really interested in any feedback
(positive or negative !) on the BASIC project or programmer. The first article
of the BASIC series hits the streets in ETI next week, (October issue) and the
development software is to be given away free on the front cover of the issue on
sale at the beginnning of October (November issue).

Cheers

Robin

1995\08\30@051316 by Ray Bellis

flavicon
picon face
Hi Robin, you wrote:

> I decided that the time and effort involved merited at least some
> return and the price was chosen in consultation with the editor of
> ETI with neither of us having any real idea of how much interest
> there will be. The development software is free of charge. I am now
> wondering whether (and how!) to exploit it commercially.....

As one of the main `dissenters' on the PIC list, I thought I ought to
clarify my feelings on the matter to you personally.  I have no problem
with commercial exploitation of ideas, especially those where such a
large amount of effort has gone into them.  Indeed, I hope to sell some
of my more sophisticated designs to manufacturers, with the simpler
projects hopefully published *in their entirety* in a magazine such as
ETI.  [Actually, not ETI, I've stopped buying it for exactly the
reasons I'm talking about here].

> I'm sorry if all the above is not in spirit with the free exchange
> nature of the Internet, and I half expect angry letters (as I received
> with the PIC programmer) from some people who seem to assume that
> individuals should always give away the fruits of their labours, or at
> the very least supply them as shareware (the same thing to most people) !

The main problem isn't at all related to the `free exchange nature of
the Internet' but more to the `free exchange of ideas' which has always
previously been the principal behind hobbyists' magazines of every
sort.  Projects were published for the purpose of sharing the idea and
to provide recognition for the author.  It was possible to modify them,
to improve upon them, and *above all* to learn from them.  All of these
projects were considered to be in the `public domain'.  The recent
deluge of microcontroller projects are the electronics equivalent of
`crippleware'.

There is no question that you should benefit from the `fruits of your
labours', you are obviously highly skilled.  However I believe that to
*deserve* to do so you should have tried from the start to `make a go'
of it commercially rather than `testing the waters' in what is supposed
to be a *hobbyists* publication.

Ray

--
 Computing Officer, MRC Research Centre in Brain and Behaviour,
    Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University
 <http://www.mrc-bbc.ox.ac.uk/~rpb>  <.....Ray.BellisspamRemoveMEpsy.ox.ac.uk>

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