• PicŪ Basic


  • The Basic Basics

    Here you will find a list of programs and items you will probably need to get your PICŪdevelopment and projects under way.

    Education
    Before you jump in, it is recommended that you gain a bit of knowledge about electronic components, what they do, and also what they look like. There are many free to use online electronic tutors you can work through, simply google for them. Even if it seems a bit overwhelming at first (there are so many different components), rest assured that even the cleverest of the clever doesn't know it all. Getting involved with electronics is a continuous journey of learning and exploring, almost like a game with endless levels.

    Without this knowledge, although even basic at first, you may be wasting your own time and money.
    This is the place to start, believe me.

    What else you will need

    Schematic Editor -
    A schematic editor is a program you will use to draw your circuit diagrams in. It is important to draw the schematic, you may want to refer back to it and in time you may not remember what you did in the circuit. Programs you could look at are

    Rimu Schematic - http://www.hutson.co.nz/
    Crownhill offer a low cost schematic drawing package

    PCB Editor -
    A PCB editor is a program you will use to draw the tracks (conductors) on a PCB with. Using a PCB editor you can create a maze of conductors connecting various electronic components together, and in a limited space too. If you are going to have a PCB made, you have to get a PCB editor such as

    Rimu PCB - http://www.hutson.co.nz/
    Crownhill also offer a low cost PCB design layout package.

    Up to here, you can now design a circuit diagram representing the components and interconnections that will exist on the PCB. You can then place the components (virtually) in the PCB editor and interconnect the components.

    A PCB editors should have the capability to output Gerber files. The gerber files enable a PCB manufacturer to make the PCB's exactly as you layed it out in the PCB editor.

    Gerber files can also be sent to someone that can mill a PCB for you. If you need a once off PCB then this is an option, it is quick to make and very little other costs involved like origination as is in the case with PCB manufacturers.

    Once you have a PCB in your hands you will want to populate it, that is put the components into place and solder them so you have good electrical connection between components. Don't forget the PICŪ;-)

    Proton Development Suite (PDS) -
    This is the program you use to edit or develop the code in. Once the program is written, you compile it and a .hex file is created. The .hex file is 'understood' by the programmer software.

    You can find PDS here and there is a 'Lite' version which is free to download. If you like it you can oder it from Crownhill's web site, or your local reseller, who can be located here.

    And if you get stuck, there's help on the support forum.

    Programmer -
    A programmer is a hardware device you use to read the .hex file with and the information is then transferred into the PICŪ. There are a veriety of programmers on the market

    http://www.microchip.com

    ICD2, probably the best PICŪ programmer there is, program any and all PICŪ and comes with a lifetime guarantee PICŪ kit2, smaller brother to the ICD2, code is made portable using this nifty programmer.
    The PICŪ kit3 and ICD3 are also available now, if you have the money they are very nice. Oh and fast !

    Once the program is transferred into the PICŪ, you have created a little miracle.

    By simply adding a bit of electrical power, a dead as a doornail 'thing' will now come to life and can do all kinds of weird and wonderful things, subject to and limited only by your own imagination and capabilities, oh great creator




    Other equipment you may need -

    Soldering iron and solder,
    A 5V or 3v3 power supply,

    Did we mention you need a PICŪ?

    Oh, the list is endless from here on,
    but you have to start somewhere.