I have a few basic tools that I use for my projects such as an Oscilloscope, Voltmeter and various hand tools but having a logic analyzer would be helpful. I got a chance to evaluate a LOGIC16 module from Saleae and I'm currently putting it through its paces.
The installation was easy, just a USB cable connection and a few jumper wires with mini grippers connected to the main black box. Everything was included in the handy zipper case.
Configuration settings are one of the more confusing topics to someone just getting started with Programming PIC Microcontrollers and often is the hurdle they have to get over to get that first LED to flash. The configuration settings enable the features of the micro. Settings, such as enabling the Debug feature, Low Voltage Programming or setting the Oscillator to internal or external are just some of the options.
They are sometimes called fuses since in older one time programmable parts they were set once and couldn't be changed. But with today's modern flash memory devices, the configuration can be changed every time the part is programmed.
The configuration is really just a set of bits that get set or cleared to enable or disable the feature. These bits are grouped together into a byte or several bytes depending on how many features need to be configured.
I've been testing out the Maximite Computer I put together and learning more about the power of the Maximite BASIC (or MMBASIC) used to program the Maximite. Its the same format at the old fashioned VIC20, C64, TRS80, AppleII style BASIC and I'm having a lot of fun.
I first learned programming by using a teletype machine that was connected to a mainframe through a phone modem and programmed in this same form of BASIC. My first home computer was a VIC20 so I'm bringing back a lot of memories. One thing that I found interesting in an old QBasic book I'm using for examples is a statement from the author that recommends that you write programs that are easier to understand and modify rather than "relying on shortcuts and quick and dirty routines" to make it quicker to write. He says this makes it harder to maintain in the future.........Wonder what he'd think of today's modern C programming code?
I find most professional programmers seem to find every shortcut they can. It does make it harder to read and maintain and thus adds job security to the programmer (though its rarely admitted) because it's actually due the fact that they are always under pressure to get 10 days of coding done in 5.
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.
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
I'm working on an update to my Beginner's Guide to Embedded C Programming book series but it's rewarding to see it's still popular after 5 years on the market. Amazon's recent Best Sellers list shows its #1 in PIC Microcontrollers category as seen in the screen capture below.
Now, to put it in full context, you do have to go through a few categories to get there and this is only a snap shot of sales throughout the year, but being 5 years old, its nice to see this book can still beat out some pretty good books in the category.
So hopefully when the new book comes out, some time next year, it will help even more people get started programming PICs in C.
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Chuck has been programming with PIC Microcontrollers since there were only five devices. Now there are over 700 and growing. He also has a lot of fun 3D printing designs using his Davinci 3D printer and TinkerCad software. In this series of blog posts and occasional videos on his YouTube Channel he tries to help you get started with electronics and 3D printing.
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