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Development board help

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fromansr

New Member
Can anyone recommend a good pic demo board that allows a keypad, a lcd and a few other pheripherals/chips to be interfaced to it?

I'm not really concerned about the microcontroller (16f or 18f series would be ideal). It should be compatible with microchip's in circuit debuggers.

I'd also prefer it to be prebuilt and suitable for beginners.

Thanks for any suggestions and ask if you need more info...


PS. I have 'googled' this, but I'm looking for some experienced suggestions.
 

SPDCHK

Member
Have you tried Bill's site? He's got quite a few creatures there. (I just cant see a hex keypad interface, but then I was only looking at the home page)
 

fromansr

New Member
I was just looking at it!!!

The unicorn seems like an option...but I already have an LCD :(
Bill, if your out there, a recommendation would be helpful.....
 

3v0

Coop Build Coordinator
Forum Supporter
I have a number of Bill's Junebug that I use for teaching. The unit is a PICkit2 clone so it can also be used for programing and debugging.

It also can be programed for use as a simple 4 channel logic analyzer, a TTL to USB serial connection, or 4 bit USB digital IO devices. Microchip provides the software for all the above.

The Junebug has 3 push button, 6 charlieplexed LEDs, 2 pots, and an IR receiver. It is possible to use a serial keypad or LCD. For 4 or 8 bit LCD and matrixed keypads I use a 28 pin processor module on the breadboard and program it with the Junebugs ICSP cable.

I like this setup because the onboard PIC18F1320 allows one to start learning without the need for an additional target. When the IO get complicated a target on the breadboard allows for any IO needed.

3v0
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
You might check my tutorials, I examined and dismissed the idea of a 'development' board and instead went for a far more versatile modular system.

The original boards didn't do ICSP or debugging, but the 16F876 and 16F877 boards are easily modified to do so, and I currently have an 18F2550 running in such a modified 16F876 board, fed from a PICKit2.
 

be80be

Well-Known Member
When I first started I got a pickit2 it had a development' board. But it was limited to what chips you could use. So I made boards for my chips Then I ran in to Nigel's site
And made his boards. The modular ideal works for me. You can just plug in what you need leds, keypad, lcd, IR, max232,RF,I2C What ever you need. I put ICSP on all my boards that why you can program them with the pickit2 or a junebug which is a very nice kit. This is to boards that make a counter one has a 12f683 and one has 3 seven segments and divers on it
 

Mr RB

Well-Known Member
If you can afoord the $129 USD this is fantastic "bang for the buck"...
(EasyPIC5) EasyPIC5 Development Board | mikroElektronika

they sell a lot of cheap add-on devices too, and the C compiler is free but limited in ram size, although the full priced C compiler is still quite cheap.
 

Pommie

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
If you can afoord the $129 USD this is fantastic "bang for the buck"...
(EasyPIC5) EasyPIC5 Development Board | mikroElektronika

they sell a lot of cheap add-on devices too, and the C compiler is free but limited in ram size, although the full priced C compiler is still quite cheap.
Am I correct in thinking that the microElektronika boards only work with their software and will not work with MPLAB?

Mike.
 

Soundguy

New Member
I also have been using the MikroElectronika development board. Mine is an "EasyPIC 3".
It works seamlessy with MPLAB, and can support 4bit or 8bit LCD modules, as well as graphic modules, not to mention the add-on modules that are available.

Andy.
 

be80be

Well-Known Member
The EasyPIC 5 programmer has its own form of debugger built in, but it only works with their languages. It's not MPLAB compatible though
Your right only works with
there software
 

Mr RB

Well-Known Member
The MikroE dev boards come with free compiler, but its limited to the ram amounts etc. Its still usable for smaller projects.

Their free software lets you program the PIC chip fine, you just select the hex file and program it. So you can write your assembler in MPLAB and then with a couple of mouseclicks program it into the dev board.
 

Pommie

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
The MikroE dev boards come with free compiler, but its limited to the ram amounts etc. Its still usable for smaller projects.

Their free software lets you program the PIC chip fine, you just select the hex file and program it. So you can write your assembler in MPLAB and then with a couple of mouseclicks program it into the dev board.
So it only works with their software, I can't use their dev board with a pickit2 or ICD2.

Mike.
 

arhi

Member
Pommie,

Their HW tools (easypic, icd etc) all support ICD (so you can debug) but ONLY via their sw .. so if you want to use easypic to debug app, you can only do that using mikroC or mikroBasic or MikroPascal ..

The tools come with cli version of programmer as long as with stand alone programmer so you can make most of the other IDE's to burn the hex using mikroe tools (for e.g. CSC C ide)...

The software (mikroC, mikroBasic, mikroPascal ...) is not compatible with MPLAB nor with any other ICD but their own, so you can debug only on mikroE devices. You can add tools so you can make easy way to burn HEX directly from MikroC for example using PicKit2 ... but it's not as nice as from mplab :D

That aside, MikroC, MikroBasic, MikroPascal come with HUGE amount of libraries for "EVERYTHIGN" .. the code they generate is nice / fast / small ... and all compilers come in demo version that is liimited to 2K .. the price is not that high (100$ iirc) ... the easy* tools are GREAT .. (I have easyPic4), the amount of additional test boards is cool and they have libraries for all of them in mikroC...

The BAD side is that - everything is closed source ...
- the firmware on their ICD - closed source
- the libraries are closed source (you cannot modify them .. they are what they are and if for e.g. you want to use different pin setup - well .. bummer)

From their forum, I see that they are porting the compiler to LINUX and making cli version of compiler so that they can make compiler and gui separate. There is also info on the forum that they tried to communicate with microchip in order to make their tools compatible with mplab / pickit2 and that microchip was uncooperative (I really do not have specifics) ...

All in all, I have purchased mikroC and it is really great tool .. but I use it only for 16F pic's .. for everything else I use C18 or C30
 

fromansr

New Member
Thanks for the advice...Ive decided on going without a prebuilt 'demo board'.
However, how do I interface two microcontrollers together? I need one for the LCD and keypad and another for some other ICs, as 1 40 pin package is not enough.

Thanks
 

Pommie

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
To interface an LCD and a 4x3 keypad to a pic requires a minimum of 9 I/O pins without any additional glue logic. Surely, the 24 I/O pins left are enough for your needs.

Mike.
 

fromansr

New Member
The 4x4 keypad (8pins) and LCD (7pins) takes up 15 in total, which leaves 16 I/O pins. At the moment, this is just enough to interface my other components (ds1307 etc..), but it doesn't leave much room for expansion. So, I'm just looking for a general description of interfacing 2 micros just in case i need it in the future.

thanks
 

3v0

Coop Build Coordinator
Forum Supporter
Back in the days when it took a handful of chips to support the processor buying a development board saved a lot of time. Not so much anymore.

For a person just starting a complex development board will often be both overkill and confusing.

People who know what they are doing will often find development boards limiting.

I have no idea what your ability is.
 

Mr RB

Well-Known Member
Well... Lcd requires 6 pins, there is no need to read from the LCD so you can tie the r/w pin and save a PIC pin. Also you can use the same 4 PIC pins for the LCD data drivers and the keypad column drivers. So you only need 10 pins total. I believe that's what Pommie was saying.

Interfacing a second micro is almost always the worst way to do it. You can add a very cheap serial->parallel latch chip for a few cents, and these can be chained to give unlimited amount of output pins from just 2 PIC output pins. Likewise some of these latch chips can be used parallel->serial to give 8 more input pins for the cost of 2 PIC pins.
 
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