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PIC Bread Board

:: EPE Chat Zone ≠:: ≠Radio Bygones Message Board :: » EPE Forum Archives 2005-2006 » Archive through 19 April, 2006 » PIC Bread Board « Previous Next »

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Kr0ne
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Post Number: 2
Registered: 02-2006

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Posted on Sunday, 09 April, 2006 - 10:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post

Hi All,

I've recently bitten the bullet and started to learn about PICs. I bought a cheap programmer kit and blagged an introductory book from a friend and set about my way but it has quickly become apparant that I require some kind of protoyping board on which to evaluate circuits, new ICs, displays etc.

Sure there are dozens of development boards available for various PICs but nothing quite right and mainly suited to evaluating a particular aspect. So I started thinking about how I might go about constructing a multi purpose PIC circuit prototyping board and quickly came to the assumption that it was a viable project.

I'm generally thinking along the lines of a board with a ZIF socket to allow different PICs to be quickly interchanged and hardwired circuitry providing clocks, RS232 and USB connectivity with the outside world, in circuit programming, displays, (LCD and maybe some LEDs / 7 segments)
some kind of input (a keypad?) and a solderless breadboard space for quickly developing circuits with I/O lines from the PIC, displays and inputs brought to similar solderless connections allowing them to be quickly jumpered into circuits.

I'd be really interested to hear any ideas about things to consider including on the board or approaches to take when designing it. I'm approaching this as something to learn about PICs on so I want to keep it as generalised and multi-purpose as I can so that I can quickly evaluate new circuits and ICs using building blocks of known 'good' circuits for the donkey work.

Thanks in advance for any suggesions
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Chuckieboy
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Post Number: 60
Registered: 05-2005


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Posted on Sunday, 09 April, 2006 - 11:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post

Hi Krone
I would go for the EasyPIc 3 From Bread boarding systems here in the UK or you can buy it world wide.

I have brought one and it's got a USB on board programmer support 8-40 pin pics it has got USB port adaptor and R232 input/output basically it has got nearly all the stuff you said above.

what I have done with mine is that I have made another GLCD,LCD board (to enable different ports to be used)the same goes for the LED section so you can use different also added to LED board a MAX7219 0-8 digit LED Driver.

Iíve also built a precision A/D converter board using an op-amp, and I shall just keep adding stuff as I need it. Itís all designed just to plug straight into the Easpypic 3 board all connections made by 10 way header no messy connections and your wire popping out of the breadboard stuff, All my boards are made at home single sided with overlay on top, All I do is design my PCB to what I need and then print it out onto photo paper using a laser printer (track layout and top over lay) then just use iron to make it stick to the board. Like you would using the Press-N-Peel stuff but my way loads cheaper,

So basically my advice would be buy your ready made development board then just make simple PCB to add it on. It took me 1Hrs work to design 5 add on PCBíS and etch them out. Iíve tried to design my own development board but when you want to make it suit multi pins making it single sided just becomes that little harder to lay out double sided would be to may viaís and soldering both sides (messy) sure by all means you can just design a simple one with one type of pic

Here are the links so you can have a look at


http://www.breadboarding.co.uk/Merchant2/4.13/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code =1&Product_Code=EASYPIC3STA

http://www.mikroelektronika.co.yu/english/product/tools/easypic3.htm

And heres the schematic for it

http://www.mikroe.com/pdf/easypic3_schematic.pdf

Well that's my 2 pennies worth

chuckieboy
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Obiwan
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Post Number: 361
Registered: 12-2005

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Posted on Monday, 10 April, 2006 - 01:06 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post

If it were me, I'd save my money, and get a regular breadboard and some parts. And purchase a ICD from Microchip.

But if you want a breadboard that has all that stuff on it, there's two that come to mind.

One is from Parallax, the BASIC Stamp company, it's their "professional" breadboard system. Lots of goodies on it.

There there is "Circuit-ED.com". They have two very nice looking boards. It doesn't have a breadboard on it, but it has just about everything else you need. Graphics display, Charater Display, LED's, buttons, switches just about everything. Oh, and sockets for the PICs.

Two prices, $169 for one and $174 for the other (US green-backs). I'm not sure, but I think the price for the Parallax board (with breadboard) was about $145?? But don't quote me on that.

All of them look like very nice boards, and I wouldn't mind having either one.

But for the money you'll end up spending anyway, I'd go for a breadboard from AllElectronics.com, and some parts like LCD's, LED's and buttons, and a few resistors, pick the rest up as you need it ( you can do that with the LCD's too). Then get the ICD to debug and program your devices. Very handy for learning and trouble shooting.

You really don't need much to get going. They (the chips) have built in programmers, so really only a RS232 port and some wires, and you have a programmer. And a breadboard to make some circuits up, and you're good to go.

The ICD will really come in handy for troubleshooting and single stepping through your program. It's also a programmer, so you don't need to make one of those.

You'll find that you're starting out slow at first, things like a single LED or a single button. You won't get to a keypad or LCD for a while yet (unless you already know how to use them in the first place and want to be silly about it like me and dive right in)

So that will give you a bit of time to start out slow and pick up parts as you need them. Plus, you won't bust your budget in one big board, only to find out that you blew some parts up on it because you didn't know what you were doing.

The best thing you can have is a place like thks where there are a bunch of people that can answer your questions, and don't mind doing so. Heck, some of them even enjoy it!

Also, check out the download site and look for John Becker's tutorial's on the PIC, very good. I remember seeing two of them, one was sort of quick, and one was a big three part deal.

I think the link was just recently posted. May go back and look for it, sorry I don't have the link.

There's also some other goodies out there as well, like John Becker's tutorial on using the LCD. You just need to broswe around and see what looks interesting and then download it.
May the Force be with (most of) you.....
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Obiwan
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Post Number: 362
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Posted on Monday, 10 April, 2006 - 01:09 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post

I think the Easy PIC is the same one as the second one I mentioned, if not, it's dang close!
May the Force be with (most of) you.....
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Dave_squibb
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Post Number: 46
Registered: 04-2005

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Posted on Monday, 10 April, 2006 - 09:35 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post

I bought my Easy Pic direct from Mikroelektronika on the internet. About 30% cheaper and arrived in less than a week.
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Violin_m
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Posted on Monday, 10 April, 2006 - 02:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post

Hi. Although Iíve built many prototyping boards consisting of ZIF sockets and DIL sockets which are soldered on pieces of stripboard, to interconnect to various modules (some soldered down Ė some on breadboards) via jumpers,. - As already suggested if you are just starting out in learning about pic microcontrollers I feel it is best to first get the understanding of then with a development kit. My personal recommendation, as already suggested, is the ICD2, with picdem2+ development kit. You can really learn much from this kit. It is also easy to adapt the Picdem2+ board utilizing SIL sockets (in my case DIL sockets cut in half) for extension to other modules not connected to the board, using its ports. Either soldered down modules or breadboard modules. Ė A small note, it is ICD2 and not ICD, which is also known as ICD1, an older version of this type of programmer/debugger. Obiwan forgot to add the 2 onto ICD. Regards. Violin.
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Kr0ne
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Posted on Monday, 10 April, 2006 - 08:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post

You are almost certainly right about the cost and benefits of buying a ready built board but I guess I'm itching for a project to get my teeth into... Perhaps something I neglected to mention initially.

I'd seen the EasyPic boards in EPE but hadn't looked all that closely at them. I have to say, having read a bit about it, I will seriously consider buying the EasyPIC 3 or similar when the long nights start drawing in again after the summer... - thanks for those links Chuckieboy, I had never really tried to find out about them in any detail.

I only really returned to the hobby with any conviction towards the end of last year and am really enjoying the satisfaction of creating the tools that I need to work with...

I've completed a few test gear projects now, mainly based on on datasheet implementations but with enough thought required to keep me interested. This has led me on a course of manically buying up stocks of components on eBay, however and I have a couple of LCDs lying around, buckets of LEDs, line and display driver ICs, logic chips etc and would quite like to use them on something interesting and worthwhile.

Having said all that though, you have given me something to think about with the EasyPIC boards so maybe we could continue this with another question that continues to feed my inital thoughts:

What PIC Development systems have you used and what features made them the most useful to you?
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Obiwan
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Post Number: 363
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Posted on Tuesday, 11 April, 2006 - 12:51 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post

I've only used the PICDEM2 and PICDEM4 dev boards.

But to be honest, the biggest thing for me, is the ability to single step through the code with the ICD2.

I don't know that the EasyPIC boards do that, I guess you could connect a ICD2 to it and single step.

But I would like to have just about everything that they have on those boards. LCD, LED, switches, buttons. Maybe a temp sensor and real time clock and a extra RAM chip, a few interface type things would be nice.

One issue I see with those boards is that they're it, you can't really add much stuff to them. And once you get past the switches and buttons and LED's, you need real world stuff to interface to besides just the LCD. You need devices.

So see if one of them has an assortment of devices. Or at least a way to add them easy.

It's nice to have a lot of stuff built in, but you know what, it's never enough, or never all that you need. You'll always need more, or something they don't have.

If they have an interface bus like an edge connector or something you're in good shape. If they don't bring the lines out, it's going to be tough going afterwards.

But they do look like a good way to get started, I mean they do have a lot of stuff on them.
Do Not Hit The Fly That Lands On The Tigers Head.
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Mike_b
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Posted on Tuesday, 11 April, 2006 - 01:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post

I think you just need to experiment - get used to designing blocks of useful code that you will find you use time and again if you stick with using PICs. I did all my work like this just using an ordinary breadboard - its cheapish, flexible and worked ok for me.

I have built up a library of code and a library of little pcb modules. That enables me to stich together say a lcd, rs232, DtoA, and temperature sensor in just a couple of nights.

Elecktor magazine have taken this approach, but everything is complicated with that magazine and very expensive.

rgds

mb
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Chuckieboy
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Posted on Tuesday, 11 April, 2006 - 08:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post

I originaly got the Proton development board becasue i do my PIC programmin in basic, The proton board is ok but the draw backs are to cost a lot for what it is your restricted to 40 Pin PIC only, I have done and spent plenty of time searching and looking at development boards i decided to buy teh Easypic 3 which has plenty of stuff on it and supports loads of PIC (8-40) pins plenty of scope. If i had thought about before i would have gone for it sooner the starter package with LCD,GLCD and a temp sensor for 99 +vat compared to proton for 79 +vat no LCD,GLCD but it has come down to 67 +vat now and that all i use now is the easypic 3

Here is a link that start from the basics all home made and plug in type have a look it might be just what your looking for until you get better and need more

http://www.winpicprog.co.uk/pic_tutorial.htm

chuckieboy

I forgot to say as well it was beacuse it had a USB on board programmer so it can be powered by both wall socket/ USB which is ok for testing

(Message edited by chuckieboy on 11 April, 2006)
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Joe
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Posted on Saturday, 15 April, 2006 - 01:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post

IMHO I wouldn't bother with buying a dem type board as they quickly go out of date.
Buy standard prototype plug boards, stack them together to make a proto area as big as you like.

You can then make standard modules that plug in.
The picture shows a homemade carrier that accepts a PIC16F877 (or equiv). On-board it has a programming socket (yellow cable on left), 2 Dip switches to isolate the RB6/7 pins from the circuit incase my project uses these pins and they interfere with the programming cycle, a socket for a crystal, the 2 caps for the OSC, a reverse protection diode, just in case, a small 5v regulator and a couple of smoothing caps just for good luck.
When I want a PIC, just plug in the carrier board, wire up some power, select the desired xtal attach my programmer cable and thats is. I've got a load of these boards for various PICs, switches, LEDs, sockets all sorts of things. Makes prototyping really simple and if I need to host a new PIC or some strange connector, I just make another plug in PCB.

Do one thing each day that scares you Ė work here !
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Kr0ne
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Posted on Sunday, 16 April, 2006 - 12:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post

Another great link Chuckieboy, loads of very useful building blocks along with clear tutorials covering sensible and useful topics - bookmarked.

Obiwan makes a very good point as well about the ability to single step through a program when debugging. I am new to microprocessors but have some experience in programming in higher level languages and this is something you usually have to write into your code during development to aid with debugging when things start to not quite go your way...

I've not read a whole lot about ICD, I understand it uses the same pins as ICSP. I will make this my next port of call as these two features would combine to provide a comprehensive interface to the developent PC and sound like an interesting project for a few days.

I am also very interested in serial communcation protocols so want to be able to quickly evaluate new driver ICs on breadboard while having a standard 'toolkit' available at all times. Looking around, most of the boards available are quite limited to what is on the board in this respect but many of you have shown considerable ingenuity adding your own external modules to the boards that you have so, again, food for thought...

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