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PIC Programmer

Anyone have a simple project to follow?

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Former Member06/02/2019 10:47:36
724 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

Robert Reeves06/02/2019 10:56:31
6 forum posts

I'd highly recommend starting with Arduino, there's a whole host of official and 3rd party Chinese knock offs of the boards, but I'd go for an Arduino UNO to start with.

All you need is the board itself, a USB lead, the Arduino IDE software (Free of charge from the official website) and a bit of an idea what you want to try.

Have a look at some of the education and beginner kits on eBay, you often get the board, components, projects in pdf format, and the lead.

I use these things for all sorts of DIY projects ranging from interfacing ANPR cameras with gate controllers to full climate control systems for my reptiles, the limit is your imagination.

There's also hundreds, if not thousands, of forums dedicated to the world of Arduino programming.

David Tayler06/02/2019 11:10:44
104 forum posts

I would agree with Robert and suggest starting with an Arduino. PICs are fine but you need a programmer, and to make life easier, a compiler to translate from a language like Basic or C to machine code. The learning curve is much steeper than for an Arduino which is very well supported both by the official site and loads of projects on the web. Even if the mini pro board is slightly bigger than a PIC chip it contains so much more such as Ato D converters and voltage regulators.The uno is a favourite starting board but the Nano is smaller and will do much the same-it is also slightly cheaper. What you can do with Arduinos is maily limited by your imagination. They are fabulous in my opinion.

Plummet06/02/2019 11:26:00
1422 forum posts
41 photos

Depending upon what enthuses you you might also consider the Raspberry Pi.

I know that the PIC and Arduino are much used for simple embedded tasks, The RPi is a much more powerful beast that is capable of computing power similar to a slow laptop, It interfaces to electronic projects easily.

It will support keyboards, mice, cameras, audio and screens, but that of course means buying add-ons. The more recent versions of the RPI have built in Wifi.

Do be aware that they are quite power hungry.

I am currently listening to the radio via the use of a Raspberry Pi Zero W which is a lot better as a web-radio than the DAB radio it replaces - a lot less cut-outs.


John Rudd06/02/2019 12:40:13
96 forum posts
2 photos


There are a number of pic programmers available from various sources on the internet, ebay for one. Beware not all pic programmers will program all currently available pic micros. Pic micros have their own set of instructions, these can be downloaded from Microchips website...

Once your asm code (assembly language) has been compiled, it can be programmed into the chip...Microchip have their own compiler which is a free download....MPLAB is their development environment

Difference between pic and Arduino? The Arduino chips are Atmel based micros too, again have their own instruction set and require a different programner. Arduino chips can be likened to the old pic micros programmed with picbasic and such, but have a different bootloader, again the Arduino has its own development environment...

It really comes down to horses for courses and what you want to achieve.....

Phil Green06/02/2019 13:33:42
1663 forum posts
344 photos

Microchip & Atmel are one company now so things are beginning to merge.
Personally I use both, horses for courses. With PICs, I dont use any higher-level languages, simulators, emulators, debuggers or anything fancy like that - just the MPASM assembler. There are only 35 instructions to remember (not 750+ like the Z80 had) and assembler is so much more efficient in real-time applications. Arduino is good for quick & dirty stuff, less so where speed/response is essential or where you need to take maximum advantage of particular chip features - for example, a PIC can read a servo pulse entirely in hardware using its gated counter/timer - no processing involved - and hence no syncronicity problems.
For PIC programming I would recommend the PicKit 3, I've several of them and the cheap Chinese copies are identical to the genuine Microchip ones:



John Rudd06/02/2019 13:49:11
96 forum posts
2 photos

I thought you might chip in Phil...wink (Chippie.....RCMF..)

Nigel R06/02/2019 14:03:15
4266 forum posts
711 photos


I'm assuming you're a novice at all things electronics and software, if you have background let us know, that may changes things.

If not, forget PIC - try the Arduino project instead.

Mike Blandford06/02/2019 16:58:11
654 forum posts
25 photos

I'd suggest going the Arduino route to start with. By getting an Arduino Nano, all you need to get started is the Arduino IDE (free download as mentioned) and a USB cable to be able to flash the program (called a sketch for Arduino).

I have used both PIC and Arduino and I think you will get started quicker using the Arduino.

While Phil is correct that assembler is more efficient for real time applications, I find the GNU C compiler (used by the Arduino IDE = "Integrated Development Environment" compiles the code and approaches pure assembler. The Atmel AVR processor (used on Arduinos) also executes code "faster". For the same clock, many PICs use 4 clock cycles for one instruction while the Atmel AVR processor only uses 1 clock cycle for most instructions.
Many PICs operate at 4MHz, so only execute one instruction in 1uS, while most Atmel AVR processors run at 16MHz or more, so execute 8 to 16 instructions in 1uS. If the compiled code is less efficient, the processor compensates. This is a simplified description, as some PIC instructions may need 2 or three instructions on an Atmel do do the same function,but I have looked at the assembly language produced for the Arduino and can confirm it is quite efficient.

John: Being a bit pedantic here, but assembly language is "assembled" while higher level languages (e.g. C, C++, Pascal etc) are compiled.


Former Member06/02/2019 18:15:41
724 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

John Rudd06/02/2019 18:40:51
96 forum posts
2 photos

Arduino programmers are based on USB to ttl UART. Typical chip to use would be an FTDI 232or something similar....An internet search will provide necessary schematics, although you will need the driver for which ever chip you use...

Chris Bott - Moderator06/02/2019 19:19:24
6844 forum posts
1430 photos
1 articles
Many Arduino types such as the Uno and Nano referred to above have a USB socket. So the only "programmer" you'd need is a USB cable from your PC.

Supertigre fan you would likely find my project in RCM&E Dec 2018 as easy a first project as anything else. (That one does need a programer but it's all detailed).
Phil Green06/02/2019 20:26:20
1663 forum posts
344 photos

To get started all you need is this, no more hardware is needed. This will run Chris's code without any changes:


You will need the Arduino IDE software on your PC: **LINK** (half-way down the page)
It comes with easy-peasy examples and demos which the Nano will run fine.
Start with 'blink' which flashes a LED. Change it to make it flash faster, then slower, then twice & three times. Make it flash ' on' for 1500uS and 'off' for 18ms.  Replace the LED with a servo - it will drive to neutral. Slowly slowly, catchey monkey - its all about learning by doing.

At this very early stage, I'd suggest not getting sidetracked into FTDI's, FT232's & such, you dont need it, just use a Nano via its USB with the cable supplied, it will work and you can play with all the other stuff later - the important thing is to get something working quickly whilst the enthusiasm is there... the more you get sidetracked by extra bits & bobs the more likely you are to give up!



PS Chippie 




Edited By Phil Green on 06/02/2019 20:40:23

Nigel R06/02/2019 21:08:38
4266 forum posts
711 photos

wanting to learn lots is good, but, you are best served by focusing on one thing for now, as the lads above say

Dad_flyer06/02/2019 21:49:36
321 forum posts
320 photos
There complete Arduino kits, with instructions for mini projects with sensors (and servos!)
I have used the Elegoo 'UNO super starter kits' from Amazon at home and at work. Cheap way to start, and you can actually do a lot with what is in the kit. The supplied wires are not good, but otherwise there are all the parts you need and I think they would get you started well.
For the Arduino IDE, it is sometimes not obvious that you can download a stand-alone version to your pc. It can look as though you need to register and do everything online with the web-based IDE.
John Rudd06/02/2019 22:12:17
96 forum posts
2 photos


Apologies,( I get carried away at times..) the guys are right, if you use a ready made Arduino platform with in built usb support then no need for an external programner/jnterface... Its when you start programming Atmel micros from the ground up its starts getting complicated...

Stick with Phil 's advice on learning how to blink a led, change a few things around or add more leds and see what happens is the way to go..Its all fun..

Allan Bennett10/02/2019 12:26:06
1775 forum posts
55 photos

PICAXE is what I use for electronic projects. It uses a Basic language and needs no special programming tools other than the special USB cable. It has a good on-line manual, and a support forum.

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