PIC Programming-What Will You Need
Before we begin with the learning, i will make you a list for the things that you need to have, in order to follow succesivelly the next pages. It is important to have the same things that i use for the tutorials, as it will make your life much easier. Though all the code and theory could be applied to almost any 8-bit PIC micro, they would require most of the times slight changes to operate as in the tutorials. If you feel free doing such changes, then feel also free to use any other material.
At first, the PIC. I will always use the PIC16F88 for the tutorials. This is a medium prize chip. It can be found roughly around $3.5. It has 18 pins, with maximum 16 I/O ports. The reason that i choose this PIC is that it has many capabilities to play with. With this chip and this chip only, except the basic programming and usage of the PICs, we shall learn also how to use the multiple built-in features of the PICs, such as the PWM generator, the analog to digital converter, the capture and compare modules, the asynchronous USART and the SSP. All those features are included in the PIC16F88.
A breadboard of course. Any kind of breadboard can be used. It will host the PIC and the other components of the tutorials. You shall also need some wires for the breadboard. I am a fan of the UTP wires! Fits best for me. Get a meter of FTP wire and operate it.
A set of resistors, capacitors and LEDs
it would make the life over your workbench much easier, if you have a nice set of resistors, capacitors, LEDs and transistors always available. The cost would be less then $25 for such a set. Meanwhile, for the tutorials, some resistors to drive the LEDs would be enough for beginning. As the tutorials goes on, more stuff you will need.
A power supply
A 5 VDC power supply shall be needed. You can use a 7805, a PC power supply (like this one over here), or any other capable to drive up to 2 amperes. Later on, more voltages shall be needed simultaneously, so keep this in mind.
A PIC programmer
The market is filled with those. They vary in speed, connection type, programming capability, socket type, housing, supply type and some advanced capabilities such as the debugging features that goes along with the Microchip MPLAB software. Some programmers carries also programming software and some others only the transfer software. You should select a programmer according to your budget. There are also several schematics in the net with home-made programmers. I had make one once upon a time, but now i use a USB ICD2.2 programmer. Whichever you select is fine by me, but make sure that it is capable to program the PIC16F88 that is used in the tutorials. Also, it would be good your programmer to have the ICSP ( In Circuit Serial Programming) capability. Very helpful in some cases.
MPLAB or another platform
MPLAB is the Microchip's PIC development platform. It is highly recommended to use this platform for your projects. And beause i shall be using it for the tutorials, it would be good to have a same reference point. Feel free though to use any platform you like.
Over the next pages, a "how to" chapter for the MPLAB platform exists. So, even if you are completely new to this program, you will get all the basic knowledge needed to start a new project, add your files, program the PIC and manage other projects.
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