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PIC basic is compiled and the basic stamp uses an interpreter. The language is the same (or very close) its what happens to your code when its run that is different. PIC Basic is compiled into machine code for the PIC which means that you computer looks at the code and turns it into binary that can be run directly by the PIC processor. You can download this binary file to the PIC and run it. The basic stamp uses an interpreter. You download the basic code to the stamp and it has a program that looks at the code and runs it.
Compiled programs are significantly faster but interpreted programs can provide you with more error handling
Basic stamps are designed for hobbiests- easy to use and learn. PICs are designed to go into products - fast and cheap but more difficult to learn.
About the basic language itself: Basic is quite easy to learn but is a dead language as far as industry is concerned. C is harder to learn but much more powerful and widely used.
I was actually wondering this as well and I just want to make sure I understand the difference. Basicly what you're saying is that with PIC microcontrollers the code is compiled into assembly on a computer and then downloaded into the PIC which then executes the program with no extra electronics needed. However basic stamps don't compile the code into assembly on the computer, the code is downloaded from the computer to the microcontroller as is (in basic) and then when it is run it is turned into usable code by the basic stamp board (which is what all the extra electronics on the parallax basic stamp microcontrolles are for I assume). Am I correct in this assesment? And if so does this mean that a single PIC microprocesser can do all the work of a Basic stamp board as long as you have the correct compiler? Also, can PICs be reprogrammed or are you stuck with the code you download into them the first time? Thanks.
I would like to compare this to using any internet provider againts using AOL. AOL is just easy to use, but the same is tru with any other.
HAving said that... Basic Stamps use a PIC microcontroller (in earlier models) in their circuit What is inside the Stamp. This PIC is preprogrammed from factory with a BASIC interpreter. Once you write the program in the PC, you download it to the EEPROM chip of the Basic Stamp. So upto here you can picture 2 ICs being used. The PIC in the stamp reads the program from EEPROM and interprets it and act accordingly. There is also a voltage regulator so all you do is put the power on.
PICs can store a program inside them, in their own Flash EEPROM. The stored progam will be run from the inside of the PIC without delay. That makes PIC based circuits faster than Stamps. PICs can be programmed using PIC BASIC PRO... a compiler similar to the STAMPs compiler, with lots of power.
STAMPS are also extremly expensive, and if you break one it hurts, BS1 runs for U$29.oo. You can get a PIC up and runnig for less than U$7-9. The down side you must buy/make/get your own programmer, and buy a compiler or learn assembly.
PICs can do more than a Stamp.... since they have more I/O pins, and they are faster...way faster. Since PIC have flash EEPROM (some don't), you can program-and reprogram as many times as you want... (well not really EEPROM has so many re-writeable cycles, but at least if I remember right is in the 100 thousands). PICs also have build in ports, like serial ports, ADC, PWM, comparators. All for a fraction of the STAMP price.
The STAMP's a bastardized version of the PIC system, they take a PIC and made it 100x-1000x slower, and 10x more expensive. I honestly have no idea why someone would buy one if they knew the difference.
All you need is a PIC chip and a crystal (optional for some chips), a pullup resistor on RST, and you've got a system. But you need a programmer- the WARP13 from Newfound Electronics is the best (also cheap!). Costs about what one or two of those STAMPs costs.
I like to program with HiTech C myself. You can download it as a free "demo" too.