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picking a pic

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New Member
Hello all,
This is my first post and I need help picking a pic and some other componants for my school project. To be honest I'm just in my 3rd semester and haven't had assembly language yet but have programmed a couple of eproms. I have a year to complete this project and finding the parts I need is a bit overwhelming at this point with my current knoweledge.

The project that I submitted is a 10 channel power outlet controlled by a pic & real time clock. The ideal is to turn individual outlets on and off at user set times. It will have and LCD interface with about 8 buttons to set time, on/off values, and to load values into memory and so forth. I would like to have 4 on/off settings per outlet. I'm pretty sure of the extremitys of the circuit after the pic, but interfacing the clock, LCD, pic, buttons, and the programming part, I'm still scetchy about.

any way I figure I need a 16 or 20 pin I/O chip with flash and ram built in but am having a problem locating (no, figuring out) which one to use....also figure I need a real time clock chip and crystal.... and a LCD 2x24 lines should so it.

I realize there is a lot to take into account for this project, but since it based on a real time clock, I need to get the LCD, pic, and clock chip just to keep time and go from there.

I would like to have some suggestions on what pics would be good for this project, using assembly language if possible.

I afraid my project might be a bit ambitious, but I'm hard headed and ready to learn this stuff... my instructors tell me that I'll learn what I need to know to figure this out in the next semester or two but I'd realy like to get started on this now.

Sorry for the long post and any help/suggestions is greatly appretiated,


New Member
I'm just getting started with PIC's as well, so I'm not too familiar with all the different ones. Just find a page, you probably can find one at microchip, that has all the features of a variety of microcontrollers listed together. The biggest concerns are probably program space and I/O pins, and you can figure out what you need for those after you get some programming knowledge and design the rest of your circuit.

I'm very book-oriented, so I'd suggest getting a good book or books on using PIC's. Right now I'm reading "Programming and Customizing PIC Microcontrollers" by Myke Predko, and the first few chapters are very information packed, perhaps a bit too packed to tell the truth ;) but from the what I've read it seems to have everyhting you'll need to know for a great working knowledge of using PIC's. It even includes a PCB for a PIC programmer! Go to Amazon and search through, reading the reviews, and find some books that seem to be oriented to your learning style and what you want to learn. edit: the book mentioned also includes a CD, which, among other resources, includes a 100 or so page pdf on programming. Haven't read it yet, but it addresses assembly, basic, and C programming in it.

I'd recomend getting a quality programmer with a ziff socket (makes things so much easier). Then buy a few basic PIC's, like the PIC16F628, which is one I'm using now, do the obligatory LED blink project (microcontroller equivalent of "hello world"), and start making basic project that will do parts of what your final project needs. For example, write a program and create a circuit that turns a power outlet on or off when a button is pressed, then make a clock project, then an LCD project. Then when you're done with that, you should be able make the full project, recycling much of the code you've already written.


New Member
seems like sound advice...thank you.
I have had some C++ and we're getting some programmers at school soon. I guess starting out with a clock circuit is a bit to complex. :roll:
I will probably get a chip with erasable flash memory to work with and a one-shot deal for the final.
It's hard just getting everything together to get started, can't imagine what I'm going to do when I get the stuff :D

BTW... I'm making this for our reef aquarium. It's going to have some other goodities and niceities on it, but that stuff is a little more simple and more at my level of knowledge.


New Member
Popular PICs

well the 16F84 and the 16F877 seem to be the most popular PIC's and I belive Microchip has just released a very low cost ($40) usb based PIC development board, try checkin out their site. Besides that the C2C PIC compiler has been a great invaluable tool for my PIC endaveors ;)

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