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PIC Fun: A keep, quality PIC Microcontroller kit

PIC Fun Kit Extract from BAEC April 2000 Newsletter No.135:

"The PIC series of microcontrollers have established themselves as the front runner of this new breed of electronic component which are ideal for amateur use.

David Ledgard has kindly sent a review of a PIC Fun kit designed to enable a beginner in this branch of electronics to get experience in using PIC's written by Dr. Carole Beeson. The kit comes with two floppy disks that contain a MPLAB compiler and Labtronics download program which runs under Windows 95/98 on your PC. There are four sample programs which can be downloaded onto the PIC chip.

  1. Random LED display which could be used as a dice
  2. LED chaser with three patterns which display in sequence
  3. Binary countdown timer up to sixty four seconds
  4. Reaction timer
The documentation is clear for loading the programs onto the chip and further instructions are given on how to alter them, compile a new program and reload onto the chip. The program itself has further explanations written into it so that a beginner programmer can understand the structure and purpose of the commands.

The board measures 48mm by 60mm and the kit contains all you need except the soldering iron, batteries (3 AA), PC and serial cable (same type that external modems use).

Assembly consists of soldering in the resistors, capacitors, diodes and a transistor. Then a 2 pin jumper plug, the 18 pin IC socket, 6 LED's, terminal blocks and DB9 serial port connector. Then insert the PIC chip, connect up a push button switch, piezo buzzer and the battery pack. It is then ready for use.

Extract by the Editor."

Additional Information:

PIC Fun Kit - Electrically programmable Microcontroller. Doesn't need separate power supply to program. Programming done by serial link to a PC. Comes with a Disk of example programs; 14 Input, Output and Power lines on terminal blocks; 6 LED's; a push button; buzzer; and battery holder. It uses the PIC16F84 IC which has space for 1024 (1K) of machine code instructions, a RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) of 35 instructions, 20MHz clock (divided by 4 internally = 5 million instructions a second) can run at much lower speeds eg. 40KHz meaning delays can be calculated at .1 mS per instruction, 68 bytes of RAM for program variables and 64 bytes of EEPROM. A Microcontroller gives the power of a computer but much more cheaply and in a smaller space.

PICFun Article Dr Carole Beeson.doc for Microsoft Word (140 KBytes) by Dr. Carole Beeson
PICFun_Construction.doc for Microsoft Word (876 KBytes) with Photographs and Circuit Diagrams