PICs in general, PIC language questions, pic hardware questions

: Hi Group,
: Saw some posts here on the PIC, and it got me thinking. I played around with : them back when the 12c508 was the hot ticket. Used the UV eraseable ones,
: and I swear I nearly killed my wrists opening and closing my eraser, not to : mention having 5 or 6 of them so I didn't have to wait for the eraser. Now : they are in circuit programmable, which makes them a lot more appealing.
: I also remember my CCS compiler, which did a servicable job most of the : time, but more often than not, I resorted to writing everything in : assembler, just to get the speed and control I needed, or to circumvent some : pecularity of the software.
The CCS compiler has gotten better, but it still inhales WRT the ISR system that they use. This is VERY annonying on the 18F series that has the two level interrupt setup. You end up writing your own macro to go around their ISR system used by their high level language. This is my biggest peeve with CCS. If you are using the 18F series parts then the Microchip C18 compiler is pretty good. At $400 though it is worth it to wait for a Microchip Masters conference and see if you can get someone to get it for you for $200 when they are there (If you can go to a Master's though you should, 4 days of nerd nirvana in classes, talks and toys.)
: I thought I would revisit these things, and put the results in my N&V : column.
: 1) Whats the "hot ticket" language/environment.
From what I've seen that PIC Basic Pro seems to be the hot item. I prefer C though so I use CCS and C18 in MPLAB. MPLAB is still the best emulator, simulator IDE going (comparing it to Motorola, Cypress, AVR).
: 2) What is involved with in circuit programming, and does it also provide : in circuit debugging?
If you are using the "hockey puck" ICD-2 then you get ISP and ISD all in one for about $150 more or less. (See that Master's Conference thing above.) This works for 16F, 18F and dsPIC families.
: 3) What is the "workhorse" of the PIC world these days?
Microchip comes out with about 50 new parts a year, so that isn't an easy question to answer, BUT for the hobbyist I'd say that the 16F88 and the 18F252 are the ones. These will give you hardware UARTs, ADC and 1 or 2 PWMs as well as hardware I2C. All in 28 pins or less. You can't beat that with a stick.
: 4) Does someone make an edu-board, that also doubles as a programmer?
Depends. Microchip makes the "PICit" boards which are both experimenter boards and limited programming dongle all in one. They have the cool experimentor boards with the "PICtail" addons that make learning about a new device easy in that you can just stick it on the end of the board and not have to buy a whole new, more expensive dev kit board.
: 5) Any comparisons between CCS, HTsoft, MicroElectronics?
I've used C18 from Microchip and CCS, of the two it is hard to say which is better. I find C18 allows better control, but CCS does a LOT more hardware abstraction, which is nice for the newcomer.
: 6) Anything else I may have overlooked?
Sheer breadth of selection. You can get almost ANYTHING in a PIC these days. There is a 16 pin 16F part with 10 10-bit ADC and 4 PWMs, an 8 pin part with 4 PWMs and 5 ADC's, units with CAN, I2C, SPI, USART, and now, even Zigbee and Ethernet as well as a single chip USB. The variety is staggering. One thing to note about Microchip - They _never_ obsolete a part and your upgrade path will even be pin compatable. The AVR, which I like to use in my robot projects is in constant flux with Atmel and they seem to drop chips without notice after only a year on the market, and the upgrade path won't be pin compatable nor even code compatable. Ick.
There is more coming in the 16 bit camp too, higher clock rates, bigger memory, etc. I like the PIC, it isn't usually as fast as the Atmel ATMEGA, but you can count on it being there and being tough.
: Thanks
: Mike
--
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* Dennis Clark snipped-for-privacy@frii.com www.techtoystoday.com *
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wrote:

There is the student version of C18 that many people overlook
http://www.microchip.com/stellent/idcplg ?<IdcService=SS_GET_PAGE&nodeId06&dDocName=en010014&part=SW006011>
Student Edition/Demo The Student Edition has all the features of the full compiler and libraries. After 60 days, the optimizations related to procedural abstraction and to the extended instruction set of the newer PIC18XXXX devices will be disabled. Code compiled after the expiration date will function, but may occupy more memory space.
From the C18 license
2. LICENSE GRANT. Subject to all of the terms and conditions of this Agreement, Company grants You a non-exclusive, non-sublicensable, non-transferable license to install Software on a single computer and use the Software with Company products. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if You downloaded the "Student Edition" of the Software from the web, You may install and use such version of the Software on an unlimited number of computers for commercial or educational use.
So if you can do without the optimisation and extended instruction set after 60 days, you can use the student edition for commerical or educational use.
Alex
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(please make rough estimates)
I am interested but after 60 days I wonder: o How much does the code expand? o How much does the code slow down? o What features drop (take a 18F2420, for example)? o What percentage will continue to use the expired compiler?
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