Getting started with PIC Microcontroller: Introduction to PIC and MPLABX
In 1980, Intel developed the first Microcontroller (8051) with Harvard Architecture 8051 and since then Microcontrollers brought a revolution in Electronics and embedded industry. And with the technological advancement over the time, now we have many more efficient and low power microcontrollers like AVR, PIC, ARM. These Microcontrollers are more capable and easy to use, having the latest communication protocols like USB, I2C, SPI, CAN etc. Even Arduino and Raspberry Pi have completely changed the perspective towards Microcontrollers, and Raspberry Pi is not just a microcontroller but it has whole computer inside.
This will be the first part of a series of tutorials that are yet to come, which will help you in learning PIC Microcontrollers. If you are from a electronics background and you always wanted to start with learning some Microcontrollers and get yourself into the world of coding and building stuff, then this series of tutorials will be your first step to begin with.
PIC microcontroller is very convenient choice to get started with a microcontroller projects, because it has excellent support forums and will act as a strong base to build upon all your advanced Microcontrollers that you are yet to learn.
These tutorials are made for absolute or intermediate Learners; we have planned to start with the most basic projects to the advanced ones. We expect no pre-requisites from the learners as we are here to help you out from any level. Every tutorial will have a theoretical explanation and simulation followed by a hands-on tutorial. These tutorials will not involve any development boards, we will make our own circuits using a perf board. So gear up, and make some time every week to enhance you with Microcontrollers.
Now let’s get started with a Simple Introduction on PIC Microcontrollers and some software setups to get us running on our next tutorial. Check the Video at the end for installing and setup the MPLABX, XC8, Proteus and a quick unboxing of PICkit 3 programmer.
PIC Microcontroller Architecture and Applications:
The PIC microcontroller was introduced by Microchip Technologies in the year 1993. Originally these PIC were developed to be a part of PDP (Programmed Data Processor) Computers and each peripheral devices of the computer were interfaced using this PIC microcontroller. Hence the PIC gets its name as for Peripheral Interface Controller. Later Microchip has developed a lot of PIC series IC’s which can be used for any small application like a lighting application till the advanced one.
Every Microcontroller is to be build around some architecture, the most famous type of Architecture is the Harvard architecture, our PIC is based on this architecture as it belongs to the classic 8051 family. Let’s get into a small intro about the Harvard architecture of the PIC.
The PIC16F877A Microcontroller consists of an inbuilt CPU, I/O ports, memory organization, A/D converter, timers/counters, interrupts, serial communication, oscillator and CCP module which to gather makes the IC a powerful microcontroller for beginners to start with. The general block diagram of the PIC Architecture is shown below