I've had a few people ask me recently about the best way to get started programming PICs. Apparently my Getting Started with PICs page needs a lot more work and I plan to add more information there soon. But in talking to these people they convinced me that I should be promoting my Programming PICs in BASIC book with the CHIPAXE 8-pin module instead of the larger CHIPINO. First off its a cheaper option and second it's less intimidating to start with an 8-pin chip.
So I updated my recommendation at the bottom of the Getting Started with PICs page to show this package. It's
My son plays Goalie for University of Massachusetts - Lowell and I can't be at many of the games so I watch them online. I've found the best way to watch is to use my iPad mini to get the game and then use AirPlay to broadcast it to my Apple TV box so I can watch the game on the big screen 42" TV. It works great as both the picture and sound come through without glitches.
So when I saw that Microcenter had the iPad 2 on a Black Friday special for $279.95, I jumped at the chance to get one for my in-laws (who need the bigger screen to see) so they could watch the same way we do. But to display the image on
My Demo-Shield kickstarter project hit my funding goal in less than 7 days. This is my 3rd successful kickstarter project and I've been asked by many people what is the secret to success on kickstarter. Before I get into that I first want to offer thanks to all the Demo-Shield supporters who visit my blog and have helped the project cross that important minimum funding goal. If a project doesn't meet that goal, I don't get funded and the supporters don't get their rewards.
The early success shows there is interest for the updated design Demo-Shield. This also shows that a unique design like this may not be a high volume product Sparkfun or Adafruit company would want to carry but it is something that a niche number of people find useful.
It also shows that if you price your project correctly, you can be successful. I see too many people ask for way too much money.
I've backed several projects on kickstarter to support other
Just launched my latest Kickstarter project. Its for the next generation Demo-Shield. When we took over Howtronics.com we ended up with the design files for many of the CHIPINO shields. The Demo-Shield needed an update so I went to work. But would there be interest in it was the unknown.
So that is where Kickstarter is great. People vote with their wallet and get a early bird deal in the process. I designed the new version to eliminate the jumpers for disconnecting components. I've used the original Demo-Shield for years and never once had to remove one so I designed those out. I also brought it up to date with UNO style headers with the extra pins.
Check it out and determine if you'd like to see this product become more than a prototype. I use the original one often for teaching beginners programming so I hope it's a successful campaign.
The book poll in my last blog post has less votes than I hoped for especially when I see the traffic is up on the site. But I still appreciate those votes I did get and it showed what I expected despite the small sample size. C programming is still a more popular topic than BASIC. And PICBASIC vs Great Cow BASIC were even as I write this.
So I conclude one thing from this poll. There is enough interest in all three topics so my plan is to produce a version for each language. The books will use the same projects but the code will be different. I'll get to work on this and we'll see where it goes.
My Programming PICs in BASIC book uses the sample version of PICBASIC Pro that is limited to 31 commands. I'm planning an update to the book for the new PICBASIC PRO 3 using the Student Version without any command number limit (other than the memory size of the PIC).
I'm also considering a similar book for Great Cow Basic and one for Embedded C. Both using the 8-pin PIC12F683 and a PICkit 2 clone programmer.
So I'm asking you, my readers, which would you prefer to see first. Please vote below to give me your choice.
The Microchip Free Sample site I wrote about in a previous blog post has been updated a little. Its still at microchip.com/samples. The step by step views are shown in the gallery below. You will need to create a login and then you will see your order limits in the lower left hand corner of the screen. Just follow through the checkout steps and you will receive an email with the confirmation of your order.
The Samples available will have a little grey icon in the Sample column. I suggest you select parts that have a /P or /SP part number since that indicates DIP package.
You can get new sample orders every month and sometimes get more than one per month. If you aren't using this system to stock your own lab and develop with Microchip PICs then you are missing out on a great opportunity. I don't know of very many companies that make it this easy and Free!
I often have so many little projects I'm working on that I get confused on what I should write about, what I already wrote about and what anybody may care about. I hope I'm getting the last one right more than once in a while.
When you factor in all the clones and how long its been released, I believe there are more PICkit 2's in the world than there are Arduino's. Unfortunately I don't have the numbers to back it up. But who really cares, the fact there are so many of both of these hobbyist tools being used everyday is awesome.
It's been amazing to watch the growth of home electronics hobbyists/makers/inventors/etc. over the last 30+ years. I learned about microcontrollers back in high school; programming my first one on a healthkit trainer. I was writing machine language (1's and 0's) back then entering hex code not assembly code. Assembly code was a higher level language.
When I graduated college I had learned 8080 and Z80
I launched this information type site about one year ago under the elproducts.org domain name while I maintained a commercial site for my books at elproducts.com. But then the opportunity presented itself to partner up with my brother and take over Howtronics.com. I jumped at it and then found elproducts.com wasn't needed anymore so this site is now the home of the elproducts.com domain.
Howtronics.com (How-To-Electronics) actually started out as