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My new EasyPIC6 dev-board arrived!

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Mr RB

Well-Known Member
Hi people, my new MikroElectronica EasyPIC6 development board arrived. (actually I've had it for about a week).

The EasyPIC6 has the new features with the LCD touch screen, the onboard COG text LCD and the 16bit Microchip MCP port expander IC.

If you are familiar with the MikroE development boards you'll notice this one marks the change to SMD construction (finally), and they are making good use of the extra density by adding new peripherals.

8954-ep6_all.jpg


I did a "review" of it here;
EasyPIC6 PIC development board review.


One new feature that looks pretty promising is that they have now added an off-board ICD connector that will let you connect a Microchip ICD2 etc to ICD the PIC on the board, I know lots of people like their Microchip ICD.

AND I believe (but not yet tested) that the ICD port will be able to send programming data out so the EasyPIC6 should be usable as a proper programmer in it's own right as well as just being a dev board.

8955-ep6_icd.gif


Anyway I'm loving it, it's a really nice bit of hardware. :)

PS. I've done a couple of quick projects for it too;
1. Freq/RPM meter
2. 10bit PWM signal generator (to 50 nanoseconds PWM resolution)

You can see the projects here;
Some EasyPIC6 projects
 

Mr RB

Well-Known Member
What's it going to do??? :eek: :eek:

Well its a development board. You can plug any 10F/12F/16F/18F PIC in it, then it has all the cool stuff already attached to the PIC like buttons, keypads, LCD, RS232, USB, etc etc so you can easily write C code to *develop* whatever application you want real easy and quick...

What did you think it is going to do??
 

BrownOut

Banned
Yeah, I use development boards too (although none quite this elaborate). I "develop" all the example systems. Eventually, I want to put them into some kind of service. Just curious what people do with these once they've had their fun with them.
 

Pommie

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
That is good, the fact they have added the (standard) ICSP is fantastic. That makes me more likely to buy one. I have always been in awe of their boards but kept away because you had to use their proprietary debug hardware. Now you can use any compiler means they are just (good) development boards.

Mike.
 

picbits

Well-Known Member
I've always wanted to buy one of the Easypic boards but have never had the funds.

I'm making do with an old Millenium Development board which has seen better days but is still going strong.

One day ...... maybe I'll have an Easypic 10 board lmao
 

Mr RB

Well-Known Member
That could be worth a look into Bill, one of the reasons I use my EasyPIC4 a lot more than my Junebug is because of having a button and LED on every PIC pin. It doesn't matter WHAT the final application will be and which pins are connected, I can still simulate all the inputs with the buttons and see all the outputs on the LEDs. It's one of those features that's hard to turn away from once you've used it.

Maybe you could make a dev board that plugs into the Junebug that has a 40pin PIC, full set of 36 LEDs and buttons, and pin headers to bring the PIC pins out. And an LCD 16pin socket and RS232 port would be icing on the cake. I'm not sure how it would compete with something like the EasyPIC6 that costs $139 though...
 

gerty

Member
we use the EasyPic 4 and 5 here..the students like the fact that it'll let them see right away if the programming changes they made are what they really want.
 

blueroomelectronics

Well-Known Member
I'll start a new thread on this later today. I'm interested in doing a PCB layout for a development board.
Question to RB why would you buy a ez6 If you already have a ez4

I'd like to collect info on what features you consider must have vs could live without.
And what would you add if you could.
 

Mr RB

Well-Known Member
I'll start a new thread on this later today. I'm interested in doing a PCB layout for a development board.
Question to RB why would you buy a ez6 If you already have a ez4
...


A combination of factors really. I've had such huge value for money out of the EasyPIC4, most of the time these days if I need a special test signal etc or special measurement etc for the workshop I'll make it by programming the EP4 and carrying it out to the workshop. So it gets used as a piece of test equipment.

I wanted to start doing apps with the touchpanel and GLCD, interactive icons and virtual pot sliders, bargraphs, on the screen etc. That's some nice stuff! My EP4 doesn't support the touchpanel.

The EP6 has the built in COG text LCD, so this is a step up. Most of my apps these days use text LCD for the application, with the COG LCD I can have that AS WELL as the application LCD. So I can use it for debugging etc. I don't use "proper" debugging because it is too limiting, i do fast real world apps (like power control and signal generation etc) so having the second LCD I can display what ever readings I need without affecting the main application LCD. I've done that in the past by using a 4x20 LCD and using the top 2 lines as app display and the bottom 2 lines as debugging display. having 2 displays is better still. :)

And the other reason, because with 2 dev boards both with LCD I can develop master/slave apps much easier. Even though i've been wriitng Windows C apps for years it's limiting with dev board -> PC comms. Having 2 dev boards and being able to set master code and slave code and test both working together is a big bonus.

So my EP6 will be used now as my main dev board and the EP4 will be used for signal generation and comms etc to support the EP6.
 

stormBytes

New Member
A combination of factors really. I've had such huge value for money out of the EasyPIC4, most of the time these days if I need a special test signal etc or special measurement etc for the workshop I'll make it by programming the EP4 and carrying it out to the workshop. So it gets used as a piece of test equipment.

I wanted to start doing apps with the touchpanel and GLCD, interactive icons and virtual pot sliders, bargraphs, on the screen etc. That's some nice stuff! My EP4 doesn't support the touchpanel.

The EP6 has the built in COG text LCD, so this is a step up. Most of my apps these days use text LCD for the application, with the COG LCD I can have that AS WELL as the application LCD. So I can use it for debugging etc. I don't use "proper" debugging because it is too limiting, i do fast real world apps (like power control and signal generation etc) so having the second LCD I can display what ever readings I need without affecting the main application LCD. I've done that in the past by using a 4x20 LCD and using the top 2 lines as app display and the bottom 2 lines as debugging display. having 2 displays is better still. :)

And the other reason, because with 2 dev boards both with LCD I can develop master/slave apps much easier. Even though i've been wriitng Windows C apps for years it's limiting with dev board -> PC comms. Having 2 dev boards and being able to set master code and slave code and test both working together is a big bonus.

So my EP6 will be used now as my main dev board and the EP4 will be used for signal generation and comms etc to support the EP6.


Hey,

I'm pretty new to the uC scene. I picked up an EasyPic6 board about a week ago (well, actually ordered it about 2 weeks prior) and well, I'm thinking it was a hasty purchase. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the board, just that I may have jumped the gun. I'm still on the fence about sending it back. All I'm looking for is breadboarding/designing projects. Will use some I2C, maybe some LCD projects, but not much beyond that in the "learning phase" (foreseeable future). For most of my "learning" I'm just using MPLab and I don't like the fact that I'd need to purchase a separate ICD.

Would love to hear from some experienced users
 

vne147

Member
Mr RB,

Congrats on your new board. I might have to spring for one. I've had the EasyPIC4 for a few years now and man does it make so many thing easy. I know there's more than one way to skin a cat and some might scoff at me for using such a ready-made out of the box soluton but for me it's been invaluable.

Bill,

I'm definetly interested in your impending thread about a DIY development board. I'll be looking out for it.

stormBytes,

The EasyPIC board can do a whole lot more than what you stated you want to learn. I have found in my own experience that once you learn how to use a specific feature, you'll start thinking of other ways you can use it even if it wasn't part of your original plan. My point being even if you only bought the board with the mind set that you only need to learn a few functions, don't be suprised if you find yourself learning and using many more. There are other, cheaper was to learn PICs but not many easier wasy on my opinion.
 

stormBytes

New Member
The EasyPIC board can do a whole lot more than what you stated you want to learn. I have found in my own experience that once you learn how to use a specific feature, you'll start thinking of other ways you can use it even if it wasn't part of your original plan. My point being even if you only bought the board with the mind set that you only need to learn a few functions, don't be suprised if you find yourself learning and using many more. There are other, cheaper was to learn PICs but not many easier wasy on my opinion.

I was sort of thinking along those lines, but I gotta say, at $165 (including S&H) I really want to be sure about keeping this board. I won't be able to purchase another one anytime soon! What bothers me, and some of this could be trivial, is that the board is not MPLab compatible. The programmer (PicFlash) is proprietary ( or so is my understanding) and I'm doing pretty much all my learning so far in MPLab/ASM. Furthermore, their ICD (seemingly) only works with their own brand of compilers, and while I'm sure their products are up to parr, I'm not too fond of being 'locked in' to something like that.

As far as applications go, I've got a long road ahead of me and quite some 'catching up' to do before being able to hold my own in this arena. I plan to prototype both analog and digital circuits, all of which would be custom built. Despite it being a terrific board, I'm just wondering if paying for all of the hardware, PicFlash, etc. really serves my purposes at this point, or if my money would be better spent on an ICD2 clone (around $50). I mean, if I'm not going to use this board anytime soon (or ever for that matter), what's the point in keeping it?
 

vne147

Member
The programmer (PicFlash) is proprietary ( or so is my understanding) and I'm doing pretty much all my learning so far in MPLab/ASM. Furthermore, their ICD (seemingly) only works with their own brand of compilers, and while I'm sure their products are up to parr, I'm not too fond of being 'locked in' to something like that.

The onboard programmer is proprietary but you can and I have done ICSP with compatible PICs by connecting an external JDM programmer to the proper pins through the I/O headers. Also, the ICD connector allows you to use other external in-circuit de-buggers.
 

Mr RB

Well-Known Member
Hey,

I'm pretty new to the uC scene. I picked up an EasyPic6 board about a week ago (well, actually ordered it about 2 weeks prior) and well, I'm thinking it was a hasty purchase. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the board, just that I may have jumped the gun. I'm still on the fence about sending it back. All I'm looking for is breadboarding/designing projects. Will use some I2C, maybe some LCD projects, but not much beyond that in the "learning phase" (foreseeable future). For most of my "learning" I'm just using MPLab and I don't like the fact that I'd need to purchase a separate ICD.

Would love to hear from some experienced users

You don't need to purchase a separate ICD!

If you REALLY want to work in assembler using MPLAB you can just write your code in MPLAB and use the PICFLash free software to program the HEX code into the PICs on the EasyPIC board. You can even set it up as hotkey so that you can do it direct from in MPLAB, although I haven't done that.

Eventually if you are going to do larger apps with things like I2C and LCD and some of the new peripherals you may end up using C anyway, either the MikroC or one of the other brand C compilers.
 

stormBytes

New Member
Ughhh! I wrote a lengthy, detailed response and somehow I lost it all.... Oh well, here goes (again):

You don't need to purchase a separate ICD! If you REALLY want to work in assembler using MPLAB you can just write your code in MPLAB and use the PICFLash free software to program the HEX code into the PICs on the EasyPIC board. You can even set it up as hotkey so that you can do it direct from in MPLAB, although I haven't done that.

That's true, but going that route I won't have ICD-features as mikroICD only works from within mikroE's compilers. I'd have purchased a $165.00 development board only to use it as an overpriced programmer, and if I wanted ICD I'd still have to supplement the purchase with that of an ICD2/ICSP unit and use it through the ICD port on the board.

Eventually if you are going to do larger apps with things like I2C and LCD and some of the new peripherals you may end up using C anyway, either the MikroC or one of the other brand C compilers.

I expect to get started coding in C pretty quickly. I'm going the ASM route for experience sake. Basically, I'm feeling like the EasyPIC6 was an impulse purchase. Now I'm trying to think things through before sending it back on the very same impulse! :eek:)

Since you brought up I2C and LCD, what does this board offer by way of that? LCD's go for around $10-15 on eBay all the time, but I don't know much about I2C's. What does the board offer in terms of resources for I2C and other development aspects? What are the advantages of using these hardware components on this board vs purchasing/building your own on a breadboard? I've seen some of their add-on boards. Convenient, yes - but more money.
 

stormBytes

New Member
The onboard programmer is proprietary but you can and I have done ICSP with compatible PICs by connecting an external JDM programmer to the proper pins through the I/O headers. Also, the ICD connector allows you to use other external in-circuit de-buggers.

See my reply above -
 

vne147

Member
I'd have purchased a $165.00 development board only to use it as an overpriced programmer

If all you're going to do is use it as a programmer then yes you should return it and just buy a $20 programmer off of ebay. But, there is a full development board there that you can use regardless of whether or not you decide to purchase the MikroC compiler. MikroElektronika does not and cannot control the flow of electrons through the traces of the board. The board won't care if the software you are running on the PIC was compiled by MikroC or not.


Since you brought up I2C and LCD, what does this board offer by way of that? LCD's go for around $10-15 on eBay all the time, but I don't know much about I2C's. What does the board offer in terms of resources for I2C and other development aspects? What are the advantages of using these hardware components on this board vs purchasing/building your own on a breadboard? I've seen some of their add-on boards. Convenient, yes - but more money.

The only thing the board offers is a convienient and easy way to quickly interface with most common peripherals that you might use for a project. You can just buy an LCD off ebay and do the same thing if you are so inclined. Also, you said you don't know a lot about I2C's. I2C is not a thing to be pluralized, it is a communication protocol used for reading and writing data to peripheral devices. This development board will offer nothing along the lines of helping you to learn I2C other than once again offering you an easy way to interface peripherals with your PIC. The MikroC compiler does come with I2C example code and projects that will help you learn but that is sepearte as I'm sure you've realized by now, from the development board.

This board is not the only way to learn PICs. I totally understand and sympathize with your desire to not be "locked" into using a specific software but I don't think that is the case. I started learning PICs with the EasyPIC4 and MikroC compiler but have since moved onto and used MPlab. I use both. There are other cheaper ways for sure but in my opinion this it is easy, quick, and even after you become experienced will provide a method for you to quickly write code and prototype projects. If you are that unsure, go ahead and return it.
 
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