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'WHY USE PICs???'
1999\03\10@055827 by Russell McMahon

picon face
Intentionally provocative (but serious) question :-)
This isn't just meant to be a shootout - its a real question.
Given the following comparison, why should I keep using 16F84's or
any 14 bit core PIC?
12 bit core MAY still have a place where price is paramount.

Make Microchip's day - tell me (and everybody else)why.

As well as using other processors, I have been using PICs for some
while.
Initially because a Customer felt he had to use PICs for good but
irrelevant reasons and subsequently due to the 16F84's Flash
programmability, eerom, robust and good drive i/o and a few other
reasonably good reasons.

I am investigating the AVR - especially the AT90S2313. I have of
course been aware of AVRs for some while but have not spent any time
on them.

In the following I'll say "AVR" when I mean AVR90S2313 unless
otherwise noted.

The AVR has

UART,  full duplex
ISP,
1K word (16 bit)Flash, (1K cycles)
128 byte eeprom (100K cycles)
128 bytes true RAM
Comparator,
2 external interrupts,
PWM (8,9 or 10 bit)
2 timers
   8 bit with own prescaler.
   16 bit with own prescaler and compare & capture     , 16 bit has
autoreload)
Watchdog
15 i/o in 20 pin skinny DIP (or various smd's)
External/internal clock
1 MIP almost per MHz
Vcc = 4 - 6v at 0 - 10MHz (10 MIPS ish)
Vcc = 2.7 - 6v at 0 -4 MHz

**** Linear non-paged address spaces which scale up to larger members
of family ****
(hooray, hooray!!!!)

etc

**** COSTS $NZ4.80 =~ $US2.75 in SMALL quantities ****

AVR has real instruction set (much like a 6809!!! :-))
Real ROM read for tables(none of this RETLW stuff).
You get the idea.

AVR i/o drive inferior to PICs
No doubt other "gotcha's" that I have yet to find out about.
Also needs external anti-brownout cct for safety (unbelievable in
this day and age).

Demo board / programmer / floppy & CD software etc for $NZ105 =~
$US55
Demo board has 8 lights / switches, RS232 buffer with drivers,
parallel port connection to pc, misc other useful features, more
sockets for programming variants than you would believe they could
fit on the board etc.

Can have software free and build own programmer for about $0 (as per
PIC)

To me this seems to be an extremely impressive feature list compared
to eg 16F84 or any other comparable PIC. Versions with more pins and
more Flash and a few more features are available for more $.

I have been unhappy with 16F84 prices of late - this AVR leaves them
for dead.
Price seldom matters vitally in hobbyist volumes but for small run
production it can and for real volume ...



regards

           Russell McMahon

1999\03\10@062837 by Tjaart van der Walt

flavicon
face
Russell McMahon wrote:
>
> Intentionally provocative (but serious) question :-)
> This isn't just meant to be a shootout - its a real question.
> Given the following comparison, why should I keep using 16F84's or
> any 14 bit core PIC?
> 12 bit core MAY still have a place where price is paramount.
>
> Make Microchip's day - tell me (and everybody else)why.

One word : legacy
We went deep pocket on some of our developments on PIC$,
and to recoup those costs we *have* to sell plenty of them.

In future, we won't use PIC$ on any new development
unless they wake up and cut (read : slash) the prices.

The competitive advantages of Mchip have withered.

To be fair : the pricing on the 12CXXX's is good, and
we'll probably use them for (very) low-end apps.

--
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1999\03\10@071939 by Holger Morgen

flavicon
face
Hi -

Perhaps it just me, put are we not missing an important thing - pin count. I
love the 'F84 because it is very easy to make PCB.
Even better is the '509 (no X-tal). Yet they are advanced/fast enough to
require very few extra components.
This must be an issue both on hobby and small to medium sized productions.
(As in KISS - Keep it simple S.)

But hey - It all depends on your application(s). Use the PIC for that is
made for (Peripheral Interface Controller).

/holger
{Quote hidden}

1999\03\10@073222 by Andres Tarzia

flavicon
face
Microchip has been around 20 years ago. Most of its products are
back-compatible (the 16F84 for example, is compatible with the popular 16C5X
line). AVR90S2313 on the other hand entered full production just last month.
So many of us learned to work with PICs when there was nothing else close in
terms of price, performance, I/O capability and small pin count. Is not to
say that some of us are "hooked" with PICs, but when presented with a
project, is second nature to imagine a PIC design. Thinking about an AVR
desing means a new assembler, a new programmer, new tools, etc, that will
add up to the project delivery time.

On the other hand, if you are "new" to microcontrollers, there is now a much
wider selection than just a few years ago.

Regards,
Andres Tarzia
Technology Consultant, SMART S.A.
e-mail: EraseMEatarziaspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTsmart.com.ar

{Original Message removed}

1999\03\10@082743 by Andy Kunz

flavicon
face
At 09:32 AM 3/10/99 -0300, you wrote:
>Microchip has been around 20 years ago. Most of its products are
>back-compatible (the 16F84 for example, is compatible with the popular 16C5X
>line). AVR90S2313 on the other hand entered full production just last month.
>So many of us learned to work with PICs when there was nothing else close in
>terms of price, performance, I/O capability and small pin count. Is not to
>say that some of us are "hooked" with PICs, but when presented with a
>project, is second nature to imagine a PIC design. Thinking about an AVR
>desing means a new assembler, a new programmer, new tools, etc, that will
>add up to the project delivery time.

Which is a VERY big reason for me to use HiTech C for just about
everything.  I can usually port a project from one processor to another
with very little problem, often still using a HiTech (or Avocet) product.
I test my PIC C code on my PC using MSVC to get the algorithm down, then
tweak a little if necessary for PIC operation (usually no tweaking needed).

Andy


  \-----------------/
   \     /---\     /
    \    |   |    /          Andy Kunz
     \   /---\   /           Montana Design
/---------+   +---------\     http://www.montanadesign.com
| /  |----|___|----|  \ |
\/___|      *      |___\/     Go fast, turn right,
                              and keep the wet side down!

1999\03\10@091528 by Lawrence Lile

flavicon
face
Russel Wrote:

>This isn't just meant to be a shootout - its a real question.
>Given the following comparison, why should I keep using 16F84's or
>any 14 bit core PIC?
>12 bit core MAY still have a place where price is paramount.
>
>Make Microchip's day - tell me (and everybody else)why.
>


Most of my projects are so blasted simple that the AVR's feature set is just
too much.  I've done several using the 12C508, 16C54, and 16C505, all are
less than US$1 in small quantities and the '505 reaches the US$0.50 range
pretty easily.  I don't need IIC, don"t need RS232, don't need 128 bytes of
RAM, don't need 4K of memory, don't need flash, and don't need a/d ports.
These small micros beat the pants off the competition.  AVR hasn't broken
into this market yet, IMHO.

Also there's the issue of inertia - unless I find a microcontroller that has
signifigant advantages, I'm unwilling to spend time and energy learning it
and acquiring development tools, however cheap.

On the high end, Microchips parts become less cost effective.  Take for
example the PIC with a built-in LCD driver.  I can buy a regular PIC and a
dedicated LCD driver chip together for a couple of bucks less.

1999\03\10@094203 by jamesp

picon face
Russell,

IMHO, if that's what you want , go for it.  No one that I know
of is going to try to force you to use something you don't want
to use.  But, if you use the AVR, you'll have another learning
curve, then there the investment in time, and of course the
building of the programmer, etc.  I have tried some of the AVR
parts, and didn't really like them.  But to be fair, I am so
used to the PIC line, that I may not have given the AVR parts a
fair trial.  So what this all boils down to I guess is, that
this is a decision you have to make regarding what you want out
of the part, what you need the part to do, and what you feel
personnaly.   After all, you're the one designing what ever it
is you're designing, and only you can answer the question of
whether the AVR parts meet your needs as well as or better than
the PIC parts, for whatever reason.

Okay, that's my two cents worth.    Don't be mad at me.

                                 Regards,

                                    Jim


{Quote hidden}

1999\03\10@100019 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face
I'd take the question more generally, but it does seem like, at least
in the hobbyist world, that the assumption is if you are going to use
a micro, it will be a pic, without even considering what resources the
project needs, or what other processors might bring to the table. (or
a basic stamp (yuk!))

There is some perception that only the pic is easy to use, which
couldnt be farther from the truth.
I took the $50 development kit, and in 6 weeks developed a barcode
recognition system which I sold to a major manufacturer of in-store
barcode equipment.  Granted there are warts on the AVR, as there are
also on the PIC, Z8, and any other part you care to mention. That's
what users groups are for.

FWIW, I've used both in commercial products. I share your frustrations
with the paged memory scheme, and RETLW construct.. I like the AVR
speed, linear memory space, and the extra baud rate generator really
frees up the two timers. If the project needs fast int service, it
will be in the AVR, that's for sure. I've had to deal with an
interrupt stream at 300 kHz on an 8 MHz AVR, and I still had plenty of
time left for foreground and lower priority ints.

1999\03\10@102311 by Marc

flavicon
face
> Watchdog

You can't rely on it.  I got my test device to fail restarting
rarely (I got the XTAL to stop).  It's better than nothing though.

You have to enable the wdog in during boot time. A
misbehaving AVR might disable it accidently, or start to misbehave
already before you can enable the wdog.

All this makes the WDOG basically an software assistant, to be relied
on only in a 100% perfect hardware environment. A PICs watchdog
is spec'ed similarly, but in practice often revives a PIC
program after hw incidents, too.

> External/internal clock

The 2313 does _not_ have an internal clock. The 1200 has.
The fuse bit is used for FAST STARTUP on 2313, reducing the oscillator
start up timer to around 1.5ms instead of 20 or something.

BTW, you can't enable the internal oscillator on the 1200 with
serial programming mode. You have to use a parallel programmer, which
most AVR-users don't have. The MICROPRO-51 is such a device.

I program the fuse bits in a SO->DIP socket, then solder the device
onto the PCB.  Then, it can be reprogrammed (and code-protected)
several times, but the fuse bit setting is static.

Probably they did that because one fuse bit can disable the serial
programming mode. The parallel programming mode requires 12V,
rendering a serial-mode-disabled device absolutly safe against
accidental erasure at the customers site.

In some of the parts (mostly 8 pinners) the fuse bits _are_ accessable
via serial programming mode.

> Also needs external anti-brownout cct for safety (unbelievable in
> this day and age).

You can brown out the AVRs into a state where resetting them with
/RESET does not work anymore. This involves really slow voltage
fall/rise times and a bit of bad luck. You have to cycle power to
restart the AVR.

1999\03\10@111639 by Wagner Lipnharski

picon face
For a rule of thumb, I decided that every new project will use a
different kind of microcontroller family.  It is very difficult
to know all the tools before you use it. I think the "waste of
time" to learn and acquire the programming tools worth it.

After 10 years drinking CocaCola, it would be dumb to say you hate
Pepsi, right after trying it by the first time.

It is human to refuse changes, inertia makes part of our way to be.
Lots of advertisement companies use that approach, "... you don't
need to change, you are doing the right thing, keep going...".

If the boss says your job is a trash, you get sad and frustrated,
not only because your "great job" was not well recognized, but
mainly because "you will need to change" something.

"Put an AVR in your PIC's life..."   (: just joking :)
--------------------------------------------------------
Wagner Lipnharski - UST Research Inc. - Orlando, Florida
Forum and microcontroller web site:   http:/http://www.ustr.net
Microcontrollers Survey:  http://www.ustr.net/tellme.htm

1999\03\10@112808 by Andy Kunz

flavicon
face
At 11:14 AM 3/10/99 -0500, you wrote:
>For a rule of thumb, I decided that every new project will use a
>different kind of microcontroller family.  It is very difficult
>to know all the tools before you use it. I think the "waste of
>time" to learn and acquire the programming tools worth it.

You must have a fantastic budget and no time constraints.

Lucky dog.

Andy

  \-----------------/
   \     /---\     /
    \    |   |    /          Andy Kunz
     \   /---\   /           Montana Design
/---------+   +---------\     http://www.montanadesign.com
| /  |----|___|----|  \ |
\/___|      *      |___\/     Go fast, turn right,
                              and keep the wet side down!

1999\03\10@114049 by Wagner Lipnharski

picon face
Andy Kunz wrote:
> At 11:14 AM 3/10/99 -0500, you wrote:
> >For a rule of thumb, I decided that every new project will use a
> >different kind of microcontroller family.  It is very difficult
> >to know all the tools before you use it. I think the "waste of
> >time" to learn and acquire the programming tools worth it.
>
> You must have a fantastic budget and no time constraints.
>
> Lucky dog.
>
> Andy

$50 to $100 for a hardware programming is not that much,
when you can not build one, and most compilers have a free
or shareware version. What you do from midnight to 6am?
                         :)
--------------------------------------------------------
Wagner Lipnharski - UST Research Inc. - Orlando, Florida
Forum and microcontroller web site:   http:/http://www.ustr.net
Microcontrollers Survey:  http://www.ustr.net/tellme.htm

1999\03\10@114903 by Marc

flavicon
face
> interrupt stream at 300 kHz on an 8 MHz AVR, and I still had plenty of
> time left for foreground and lower priority ints.

Huh, complete new view at things. I always considered the main() task
being "background" and the interrupts being "foreground"..

(because they are instantly served when they demand attention, and
main() uses whatever is left)

1999\03\10@115511 by Dave VanHorn

flavicon
face
>> interrupt stream at 300 kHz on an 8 MHz AVR, and I still had plenty
of
>> time left for foreground and lower priority ints.
>
>Huh, complete new view at things. I always considered the main() task
>being "background" and the interrupts being "foreground"..
>
>(because they are instantly served when they demand attention, and
>main() uses whatever is left)

Same thing, different words. The main task (non-int) is the lowest
priority, but conceptually the "front end" of the product.  The ISRs
are high priority, but handle the low level tasks.

1999\03\10@115514 by Shahid Sheikh

picon face
Hi Russell and the rest of the PIClist,

I have to agree with you that the AVR is a very impressive chip in a very
small package and Atmel has an answer for both the 16x84 and 12Cxxx chips.

I started looking into it after someone from the list pointed me in that
direction for my application (model train locomotive control.)

That was about a month or so ago. How far have I gotten? Well lets just say
that I have read the data sheet that I downloaded myself and printed it out
about 3 times.

I haven't been able to get any samples or databooks or even a response from
Atmel or their reps. Apparently they dont have any reps in VA. Only place I
found the chips was at Marshal Electronics and they want me to buy multiple
qtys (I think 16 at a time.)

So eventhough these are great chips, Atmel is lacking when it comes to
support. Like someone else on the list mentioned that if a component doesn't
exist in the DigiKey catalog, it doesn't exist (period.) And the same is
true here cause I'm not going to place an order on Marshal for just one
item.

Now granted I'm just a hobbyist but I was able to get started on PICs much
faster than Atmel AVRs.

Which brings me to my question. Anyone knows of good info sources, mailing
lists, and samples or small qty sources for the AVRs?

Shahid

----------
From:   pic microcontroller discussion list[SMTP:PICLISTspamspam_OUTMITVMA.MIT.EDU] on
behalf of Russell McMahon[SMTP:@spam@apptechKILLspamspamCLEAR.NET.NZ]
Reply To:       pic microcontroller discussion list
Sent:   Wednesday, March 10, 1999 5:54 AM
To:     KILLspamPICLISTKILLspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU
Subject:        WHY USE PICs???

I am investigating the AVR - especially the AT90S2313. I have of
course been aware of AVRs for some while but have not spent any time
on them.

In the following I'll say "AVR" when I mean AVR90S2313 unless
otherwise noted.

The AVR has

UART,  full duplex
ISP,
1K word (16 bit)Flash, (1K cycles)
128 byte eeprom (100K cycles)
128 bytes true RAM
Comparator,
2 external interrupts,
PWM (8,9 or 10 bit)
2 timers
   8 bit with own prescaler.
   16 bit with own prescaler and compare & capture     , 16 bit has
autoreload)
Watchdog
15 i/o in 20 pin skinny DIP (or various smd's)
External/internal clock
1 MIP almost per MHz
Vcc = 4 - 6v at 0 - 10MHz (10 MIPS ish)
Vcc = 2.7 - 6v at 0 -4 MHz

**** Linear non-paged address spaces which scale up to larger members
of family ****
(hooray, hooray!!!!)

etc
........

regards

           Russell McMahon

1999\03\10@120557 by Clark, John

picon face
I am surprised that your experiences with Microchip have been so different
from that of Atmel.  So, Microchip has given you quality support every time
you have called?  I have never had trouble ordering manuals from any
vendor's rep.  If I were to, I would raise holy Cain!  The call would go
something like:  "I have been trying to prototype my project with your
product, but your rep is unwilling to provide me with the necessary
documentation to complete my task.  Do you know of another vendor who is
more willing to work with customers?"  I'll bet you something like this will
get you a phone call from the offending vendor begging you to take as many
data books as you want.


John Clark, Software Engineer
RemoveMEJohnCTakeThisOuTspaminter-intelli.com
(317) 715-8175 (voice & fax)

Interactive Intelligence, Inc.
3500 DePauw Blvd., Suite 1060
Indianapolis, IN  46268-1136
http://www.inter-intelli.com

> {Original Message removed}

1999\03\10@121148 by Andy Kunz

flavicon
face
>$50 to $100 for a hardware programming is not that much,
>when you can not build one, and most compilers have a free

Ah, you're a hobbyist.  I have to pay my bills with programs.

>or shareware version. What you do from midnight to 6am?

I get up at 4:30, so I'm in bed a long time before midnight (usually).

Andy

  \-----------------/
   \     /---\     /
    \    |   |    /          Andy Kunz
     \   /---\   /           Montana Design
/---------+   +---------\     http://www.montanadesign.com
| /  |----|___|----|  \ |
\/___|      *      |___\/     Go fast, turn right,
                              and keep the wet side down!

1999\03\10@122357 by David W. Duley

picon face
In a message dated 3/10/99 2:58:17 AM Pacific Standard Time,
spamBeGoneapptechspamBeGonespamCLEAR.NET.NZ writes:

<<
Intentionally provocative (but serious) question :-)
This isn't just meant to be a shootout - its a real question.
Given the following comparison, why should I keep using 16F84's or
any 14 bit core PIC?
12 bit core MAY still have a place where price is paramount.

Make Microchip's day - tell me (and everybody else)why.

As well as using other processors, I have been using PICs for some
while.
Initially because a Customer felt he had to use PICs for good but
irrelevant reasons and subsequently due to the 16F84's Flash
programmability, eerom, robust and good drive i/o and a few other
reasonably good reasons.

I am investigating the AVR - especially the AT90S2313. I have of
course been aware of AVRs for some while but have not spent any time
on them. >>
Hello,

You are right in saying that the AVR2313 is a great processor.  I too have
given this MPU a serious look.  I use pics now only because I have many
current designs that already use them.  Any future stuff will use a version of
the AVR.
Microchip has a better 8 pin part though.  AVR's 8 pin part is quite lame as
is the 1200.
The instruction set is great, the built-in UART is great and so is the memory
structure.  They are also very easy to program.

Dave Duley

1999\03\10@122819 by David W. Duley

picon face
In a message dated 3/10/99 4:19:28 AM Pacific Standard Time, TakeThisOuThmoEraseMEspamspam_OUTQ8.DK writes:

<< Hi -

Perhaps it just me, put are we not missing an important thing - pin count. I
love the 'F84 because it is very easy to make PCB.
Even better is the '509 (no X-tal). Yet they are advanced/fast enough to
require very few extra components.
This must be an issue both on hobby and small to medium sized productions.
(As in KISS - Keep it simple S.)

But hey - It all depends on your application(s). Use the PIC for that is
made for (Peripheral Interface Controller).
 >>
Hello again!

The AVR beat this as well.  Most (If not all ..I'm not sure) of the AVRs have
an internal osc as well as the ability to use a crystal.
That means 0 extra parts.  Can't get more KISS than that.

Dave Duley

1999\03\10@124313 by Shahid Sheikh

picon face
Hi John,

I have to say that yes I have gotten good response from Microchip. If I
didn't get the samples right away, I did get an explaination of why its
taking so long.

Do keep in mind that when reps find out that I'm a hobbyist, they lose all
interest because they know they wont be able to make a bulk sale. I may have
to use the technique you mentioned though.

I do think its time for Microchip to wake up and smell the cofee. They have
the benefit of having alot of development tools out there and if they can
come up with a feature packed chip like the AVRs in the same footprint as
the 12Cxxx and 16x84, I think they can seriously hurt Atmel. There are a lot
of small projects that can become much simpler by adding PWMs and UARTs to
the MPU. But again, I'm looking at it from strictly a hobbyist point of
view.

This is not to say that advancement in the Mchip MPUs has stopped. I think
the HVs are a nice touch. Now only if they can come up with an HV with
internal oscillator, PWM, and UART that would eliminate much external
components.

Shahid

----------
From:   pic microcontroller discussion list[SMTP:RemoveMEPICLISTspamTakeThisOuTMITVMA.MIT.EDU] on
behalf of Clark, John[SMTP:JohnCEraseMEspam.....INTER-INTELLI.COM]
Reply To:       pic microcontroller discussion list
Sent:   Wednesday, March 10, 1999 12:03 PM
To:     EraseMEPICLISTspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU
Subject:        Re: WHY USE PICs???

I am surprised that your experiences with Microchip have been so different
from that of Atmel.  So, Microchip has given you quality support every time
you have called?  I have never had trouble ordering manuals from any
vendor's rep.  If I were to, I would raise holy Cain!  The call would go
something like:  "I have been trying to prototype my project with your
product, but your rep is unwilling to provide me with the necessary
documentation to complete my task.  Do you know of another vendor who is
more willing to work with customers?"  I'll bet you something like this will
get you a phone call from the offending vendor begging you to take as many
data books as you want.


John Clark, Software Engineer
RemoveMEJohnCEraseMEspamEraseMEinter-intelli.com
(317) 715-8175 (voice & fax)

Interactive Intelligence, Inc.
3500 DePauw Blvd., Suite 1060
Indianapolis, IN  46268-1136
http://www.inter-intelli.com

> {Original Message removed}

1999\03\10@124743 by Wagner Lipnharski

picon face
Dave VanHorn wrote:
>
> >> interrupt stream at 300 kHz on an 8 MHz AVR, and I still had plenty
> of
> >> time left for foreground and lower priority ints.
> >
> >Huh, complete new view at things. I always considered the main() task
> >being "background" and the interrupts being "foreground"..
> >
> >(because they are instantly served when they demand attention, and
> >main() uses whatever is left)
>
> Same thing, different words. The main task (non-int) is the lowest
> priority, but conceptually the "front end" of the product.  The ISRs
> are high priority, but handle the low level tasks.

Conceptual words, mostly of the time background is the most
important and what really rules, take a look at politics.
--------------------------------------------------------
Wagner Lipnharski

1999\03\10@124930 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
how about "only the pic is routinely available from typical hobbyist
distributers." ??

BillW

1999\03\10@125951 by Wagner Lipnharski

picon face
Shahid Sheikh wrote:
>... I think they (Microship) can seriously hurt Atmel. There are a lot
> of small projects that can become much simpler by adding PWMs and UARTs to
> the MPU. But again, I'm looking at it from strictly a hobbyist ...

Whaaaat??? PIC doesn't has internal UART? duhhh! Grade: -E

Wagner

1999\03\10@133231 by Keith M. Wheeler

flavicon
face
There are concerns driving the specification of components other
than performance and capability.

We've specified and developed with all sorts of processors, from
lil PICs to embedded x86.  Use what works.  But then, (excuse the
Clintonese) what do you mean by "works"?  Does the part do the job?
Sure.  Does the manufacturer support it?  Hmmm...

My experience with Atmel has been less than exciting.  Yes, I like
Atmel parts.  I've used Atmel flash and uC's (89C2051), and I really
like the looks of the AT45D081 flash/ram that I learned about on this
list (thanks to who ever!).

So what don't I like about Atmel?  Well, I'm sure plenty of you guys
are in this situation.  I had the "guy smiley" folks come in, and they
had *no* interest in talking low volume.  A good number of our clients
are people *developing* a product, not producing tons of 'em.  Atmel
seems to be infected with the "mega score" disease.  Yes, they would
sell us parts, but the support just didn't seem to be there.

Microchip?  Problems?  Sure, but aren't there always?  Support? Low
volume?  It's there, no probs at all.  Now maybe this is just because
of some personalities, and my situation, but, that's my point:  pure
performance numbers are only a small part of specification of a chip,
there's questions like "does the rep like you?" and "what do I have
tools for?"  Everything from emulators to production programmers.
Spec'ing a great performing part is meaningless if the production
floor has to be changed because new device programmers have to be
bought, installed, and debugged.

Tools, tech, availibility, costing, lead times...

One question for everyone:  processor arguments many times come
to performance.  How many of your applications are *really* pushing
the part?

-Keith Wheeler
ARMA Design                             http://www.ARMAnet.com/

1999\03\10@133234 by Keith M. Wheeler

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face
At 01:24 PM 3/10/99 +0200, Tjaart van der Walt wrote:
>
>In future, we won't use PIC$ on any new development
>unless they wake up and cut (read : slash) the prices.
>
>The competitive advantages of Mchip have withered.
>
>To be fair : the pricing on the 12CXXX's is good, and
>we'll probably use them for (very) low-end apps.
>

Tjaart,

This is something you've commented on many times, that PICs are
overpriced.  I'm curious:  what pricing and volume are you
talking about here?  Which parts?  I've personally seen a number
of projects use PICs because of cost, things like mass produced
consumer items in *very* competitive markets.

I agree, Microchip did something right, and now has a lot
of competition because of it, and will probably have to
change some things, but still...

-Keith Wheeler
ARMA Design                             http://www.ARMAnet.com/

1999\03\10@134307 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
At 12:58 03/10/99 -0500, Wagner Lipnharski wrote:
>Shahid Sheikh wrote:
>>... I think they (Microship) can seriously hurt Atmel. There are a lot
>> of small projects that can become much simpler by adding PWMs and UARTs to
>> the MPU. But again, I'm looking at it from strictly a hobbyist ...
>
>Whaaaat??? PIC doesn't has internal UART? duhhh! Grade: -E

only in the =big= parts. i'm really looking forward to the 16f627/8, which
will be the first ones to have an uart in smaller than 28 pins. if they
take too long i might look elsewhere... :)

ge

1999\03\10@141828 by Lynx {Glenn Jones}

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I just started with microcontrollers last summer. after my experience in
the MIT media lab, i thought i would use PIC's for the robot i have been
working on. i planned to build one of those low cost DIY circuits. LUCKLY
(looking back in retrospect) it didnt work. I then heard about the AVR
starter kit which has all the features below for only $50. where as a
professional PIC start plus would have been an impossible $200. Granted
the PICstart Plus has features with the AVR starter kit does nto. After i
began using the AVR's i began to realize how imposible, not to mention
more expensive my robot would have been. For example, i was originaly
designing around a 16F84 because i didnt want to have to get UV eraser
etc.. and have to wait for it to erase. I make lots of mistakes in my
code, thus it would have been a real pain to have to UV erase chips every
5seconds. with the AVR's, i can go through several reprogramings in the
time it takes for UV erase. Then there is the issue of cost. I use
AT90S1200's and AT90S2313's which cost me $2.09 and $3.09 respectively,
compared to $6-$7 for a 16F84. (these are low quantity.) Also, my robot is
designed around the I2C bus, and while the atmel products have no hardware
implementation for I2C, their shear speed makes it pretty simple to
implement. In fact, even the baseline AT90S1200 can do fast mode (400kHz).
For features and cost reasons, ill take AVR over PIC anyday.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A member of the PI-100 Club:
3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971693993751
058209749445923078164062862089986280348253421170679

{Quote hidden}

1999\03\10@142243 by Lynx {Glenn Jones}

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face
I agree, its like the wire-wrapping vs. breadboarding discussion of a
little while back... just stick wiht what your used to, unless you see
significant advantages in changing.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A member of the PI-100 Club:
3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971693993751
058209749445923078164062862089986280348253421170679

On Wed, 10 Mar 1999, Mr and Mrs James Paul wrote:

{Quote hidden}

1999\03\10@151128 by mwalsh

flavicon
face
Keith M. Wheeler wrote:

> ...
> So what don't I like about Atmel?  Well, I'm sure plenty of you guys
> are in this situation.  I had the "guy smiley" folks come in, and they
> had *no* interest in talking low volume.  A good number of our clients
> are people *developing* a product, not producing tons of 'em.  Atmel
> seems to be infected with the "mega score" disease.  Yes, they would
> sell us parts, but the support just didn't seem to be there.

It must be those particular REP's.  We are what I consider to be a low to
medium volume user and I've had excellent response from the distributor
All American, the local Atmel rep, and Atmel itself.

I had some problems with AVR power consumption at low frequencies
(the Data book only showed down to 1 MHz) and my extrapolation was
overly optimistic.  They suggested work arounds that we are in fact using
now.

I was running out of memory in one of the smaller chips and was sent a
preliminary data sheet for a part they hadn't even announce yet.  I didn't

use that part, but they were willing to try and help.

I found a bug in their ICE with one of the comparator functions.  The day
after I reported it via email, I was called twice by one of their
engineers to
make sure I had a workaround until it could be fixed.

Perhaps I've been lucky.  I've had good response from Microchip as well
on occasion, but I have also had pretty rotten service from Microchip.

Mark Walsh

1999\03\10@161216 by Gabriel Gonzalez

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face
One of my main reason for sticking to PICs is this great discussion list.

If there was something similar with as many great contributors for the AVR,
I will surely consider it for my next projects.

Gabriel

1999\03\10@183611 by Bob Drzyzgula

flavicon
face
As suggested by many: Microchip and the PIC are just so
beginner-friendly. After hearing about the AVR so many
times, I went to Atmel's website. Complain all you want
about Microchip's overdone website, it does draw you in
and invite you to explore. Atmel's has a couple of hooks
on the front, but you pretty much can't find out anything
of substance without downloading a pdf and it isn't obvious
which ones you need to download. Adding up the page counts
on their "reference library" page, there are well less
than 300 pages of background documents available; Microchip
offers thousands of pages of documentation and technotes.
There's no "Easy AVR'n", and I could find only two books
on Amazon.com that specifically covered the AVR (and this
includes Myke's Handbook of Microcontrollers). You can
get prices and ordering information from multiple mail-order
houses including Digi-key and Jameco. PIC-related websites
as well as tool and accessory vendors are everywhere.

None of this, of course is relevent to a production shop
like what Andy K. or Tjaart are doing. But I think that it
is one major reason to *start* by using PICs.

--Bob

--
============================================================
Bob Drzyzgula                             It's not a problem
RemoveMEbobspam_OUTspamKILLspamdrzyzgula.org                until something bad happens
============================================================

1999\03\11@045520 by wwl

picon face
On Wed, 10 Mar 1999 12:58:15 -0500, you wrote:

>Shahid Sheikh wrote:
>>... I think they (Microship) can seriously hurt Atmel. There are a lot
>> of small projects that can become much simpler by adding PWMs and UARTs to
>> the MPU. But again, I'm looking at it from strictly a hobbyist ...
>
>Whaaaat??? PIC doesn't has internal UART? duhhh! Grade: -E
Why pay for that extra silicon when you can do it so easily in
software?

1999\03\11@051349 by Vincent Deno

flavicon
face
I hate to sound like I'm whining but...

I think threads like this are good evey now and then.  Sometimes it makes
you take a step back and ask yourself, "Why AM I using ___?"  However, as
with anything, there are always alternatives.  You simply have to ask
yourself what is most important to you and fits your needs best.

However, I would like to see the list returning back to the usefullness it
was when I first signed on (talking about hardware, software, and the
annoying glitches that make PICing so fun/frustrating).

Regards,

Vincent Deno
--------------
Design Engineer
Theta Digital Corp.
http://www.thetadigital.com
RemoveMEdenovjTakeThisOuTspamspamemail.uc.edu
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1999\03\11@125723 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
One reason to stay with PICs is that it is a rare project where the
difference in price between a $3 micro and $4 micro is going to make
a significant difference in the total development or even production
price of a moderate-production product (high volume products are different,
but they're not using OTPs in the first place.)

It's not like (most of) the PIC line is priced HIGHER than recent competition
from Atmel or motarola - it's just that the newer parts have "better"
capabilities - flash instead of OTP, more RAM/etc, extra peripherals, and
so on.  You'd be foolish to give up a "known" archiecture $5 PIC part to
move to an new architecture $5 part with extra features, unless you REALLY
need those features.

(although, the competition's flash-based parts at Microchip's OTP prices
are looking pretty attractive.  I hope microchip gets more agressive with
flash.)

BillW

1999\03\11@131532 by ry (Nahum Tchernihhovsky)

flavicon
face
I must disagree with what Bill wrote. From our experience in our market
(security and burglar alarms) we are very sensitive even to cents
difference. I must say that after watching the debate over the last week, I
must agree with those who say that Microchip has to respond and compete
with comparable prices or users like us will have to move to other vendors
and other MCUs.

Nahum Tchernihovsky
R&D Div. Manager Visonic Ltd.
EraseMEcherry.nspamspamspamBeGonevisonic.com




William Chops Westfield <RemoveMEbillwKILLspamspamCISCO.COM> on 11/03/99 19:55:00

Please respond to pic microcontroller discussion list
     <PICLISTSTOPspamspamspam_OUTMITVMA.MIT.EDU>

To:   spamBeGonePICLISTSTOPspamspamEraseMEMITVMA.MIT.EDU
cc:    (bcc: Nachum Tchernichovski/Visonic Ltd.)
Subject:  Re: WHY USE PICs???




One reason to stay with PICs is that it is a rare project where the
difference in price between a $3 micro and $4 micro is going to make
a significant difference in the total development or even production
price of a moderate-production product (high volume products are different,
but they're not using OTPs in the first place.)

It's not like (most of) the PIC line is priced HIGHER than recent
competition
from Atmel or motarola - it's just that the newer parts have "better"
capabilities - flash instead of OTP, more RAM/etc, extra peripherals, and
so on.  You'd be foolish to give up a "known" archiecture $5 PIC part to
move to an new architecture $5 part with extra features, unless you REALLY
need those features.

(although, the competition's flash-based parts at Microchip's OTP prices
are looking pretty attractive.  I hope microchip gets more agressive with
flash.)

BillW

1999\03\11@153129 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
At 09:48 03/11/99 +0000, Mike Harrison wrote:
>>Whaaaat??? PIC doesn't has internal UART? duhhh! Grade: -E
>
>Why pay for that extra silicon when you can do it so easily in
>software?

what's the max bps you get out of a pic/avr/scenix firmware serial
receiver, running in the background (ie. on interrupts) at 4MHz clock? and
how much processing power (%) is left?

ge

1999\03\12@015627 by Mark Willis

flavicon
face
My local Marshall reps have been great at sampling AT45D081's to me
(Which is good as I should be selling those to a number of people, in
time.)  I imagine talking to your local reps from MARSHALL (not Atmel)
would be a good thing to try for microcontrollers, as well!

 Mark

Shahid Sheikh wrote:
> <snipped>
> Which brings me to my question. Anyone knows of good info sources, mailing
> lists, and samples or small qty sources for the AVRs?
>
> Shahid

1999\03\12@022400 by Wagner Lipnharski

picon face
Mark Willis wrote:
>
> My local Marshall reps have been great at sampling AT45D081's to me
> (Which is good as I should be selling those to a number of people, in
> time.)  I imagine talking to your local reps from MARSHALL (not Atmel)
> would be a good thing to try for microcontrollers, as well!
>
>   Mark

What "kill" in using flash memory is the high current required
during a simple read operation, aprox 15mA... Thinking about
portable devices this is almost 5x a whole board consume...!!
--------------------------------------------------------
Wagner Lipnharski - UST Research Inc. - Orlando, Florida
Forum and microcontroller web site:   http:/http://www.ustr.net
Microcontrollers Survey:  http://www.ustr.net/tellme.htm

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