Lab 10: Programming the PIC Microcontroller

By now, you should be familiar with the workings of the 68HC12 and how it can be used to perform
computations and interface to peripheral devices. Although the 68HC12 is a popular microcontroller
used in many industry, research, and hobbyist projects, it is important to learn about how other
microcontrollers work to get a general understanding of how they may be used to accomplish various
tasks. For example, you may find that certain microcontrollers cost less than others, one may have
desirable processing capabilities (such as Digital Signal Processing functionality), or perhaps the
company you work for uses a specific brand of controllers. This lab will introduce you to another
common family of microcontrollers, the PIC my Microchip Technology Inc. You should find that much
of the knowledge you have acquired about the 68HC12 will carry over to the PIC microcontroller, but
you will also notice some fundamental differences between the two. This lab should help you apply
your knowledge of microcontrollers and the 68HC12 to any other family of controllers.
The PIC Microcontroller
The PIC microcontroller relies on a minimized architecture to save power and maintain a compact
footprint. It includes only a single general purpose data register but has many memory-mapped
registers. Because the PIC has only one register, the instruction set does not explicitly encode which
register is being used (though RAM addresses mapped registers are explicitly specified). The PIC also
uses mapped I/O, and RAM addresses can be used freely as operands to instructions. Unlike the Von
Neumann architecture of the HC12, the PIC utilizes the Harvard architecture, where program code and
memory occupy different data space. The instruction set of the PIC is similar in nature to the HC12,
although slightly reduced. The PIC can be programmed in assembly, however C is the most common
programming language for the PIC18.
The C Programming Language
The C Programming language grew out of the language B (which grew out of another language called
BCPL) in the 1960s at Bell Laboratories. It was originally created by Dennis Ritchie (later Brian
Kernighan wrote a book along with Ritchie, though he was not the main contributor to the language). C

ECE 331 Rev. S13
p. 2
was developed to help generate the UNIX operating system, which had become too cumbersome to
write entirely in assembly code. Because an operating system needs to run as quickly as possible, C
was designed to map directly onto assembly code. In this lab, we will also investigate using the C
programming language to control the PIC.

Common PIC microcontrollers in different package formats.

Pre-lab Assignment:

Read this entire lab assignment so you know what to expect in the lab.
• Complete the steps described in the Pre-lab sheet at the end of this document. Each student
must complete his/her own pre-lab before coming to the lab and show it to the TA at the
beginning of the lab.

Laboratory Assignment:

• Print the check off sheet. Where indicated, you must record your results on the check-off sheet.
After you successfully finish each section of the lab, show the TA your results and get your
check-off sheet signed.

Part 1: Getting Started with the PIC

Part 1 of this lab, will get you started programming in the C language with the PIC microcontroller. You
will learn how to use the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for the PIC, an integral part of any
programming system which allows quick development and debugging.

Environment Preparation:

  1. To open the IDE, under Start->All Programs, pick Microchip->MPLAB IDE v8.43->MPLAB
    IDE. Once the application starts, select Project, start the Project Wizard. The select Next.
  2. You will be using the PIC18F4520. Make sure
    this device is selected, and hit Next.
  3. Make sure the Active Toolsuite is set to
    Microchip C18 Toolsuite. Select Next.
  4. Under “Create New Project File”, select
    Browse. Create a new folder titled LAB10EX
    on your M: drive. Save the project file as
    LAB10EX in this folder. Select Next.
  5. The window will prompt you to add an existing
    file. You need to select the file located in C:\

Program Files > Microchip > MCC18 > bin
LKR > 18f4520_g.lkr. Select Add. Your

screen should look like the figure to the right. Check the box next to the file name you just added and click Next. In the next window, click Finish. 6. Verify the library search path. Go to Project > Build Options > Project. Under the Directories tab, select “Library Search Path” next to where it says “Show directories for:.” The path should be C:\Program Files\ Microchip\MCC18\lib. If it is not, click New and browse to the directory to update the path. Click Apply then OK. 7. Go to File > New. Enter the block of code below into the new window. #include #pragma config WDT=OFF long int count; void main() { TRISD = 0x00; PORTD = 0; while(1) { PORTD = 0x01; } } Note that “0x” is a format notation for C indicating a hex value. 8. Go to File > Save. Type the file name as LAB10_1.c in your M:\LAB10EX\ directory. Select the check box at the bottom labeled Add File To Project. Click Save. You can also add files from Project > Add Files to Project in case you forget to check the box.

Hardware Preparation:

  1. Turn on the LASCAR DC Power Supply. Set this to 5V using the dial. Connect the power
    supply to the protoboard.
  2. Plug the Microchip MPLAB ICD 2 into the
    adaptor on the protoboard. Then plug USB cord
    into the Microchip MPLAB ICD 2. In MPLAB,
    select under Debugger > Select Tool > MPLAB
    ICD 2. The output should look like the figure here.
    If that does not happen, there must be a problem
    in your wiring. Turn off the power supply and
    locate the problem. Setup Wizard may open.
    Click Next. Select USB for your Com Port. Click
    Next. Select “Target has own power supply”.
    Click Next. Select “MPLAB IDE automatically
    connects to MPLAB ICD 2.” Click Next. Select
    “MPLAB automatically downloads the required operating system.” Click Finish.
  3. Go to Project > Build All. You should not get any red errors. If you do, you did not type the
    code in correctly so go back to step 7 and check the code. Otherwise, proceed.
  4. Go to Debugger > Program. This will upload the program to the microcontroller. This can also
    be achieved by pressing button 1 highlighted below. (Disable low voltage programming, if
    necessary, to proceed.)

13. Run the program by going to Debugger > Run. This can also be achieved by pressing button 2 highlighted above. You should now see the red LED lit. 14. Stop the program by pressing button 3 highlighted above. NOTE: You must always follow this pattern when trying new code: STOP > SAVE > BUILD ALL > PROGRAM > RUN If you have any questions about C programming in the Microchip IDE, please talk to the TA before continuing. Part 2: Creating a Moore-type state machine in C Language 1. The general structure of a C program takes the following form: /* * The basic structure of a C program */ #include /* PIC specific definitions */ #pragma config WDT=OFF /* * The code that will be executed when the program starts. */ void main() { /* Insert main code here… */ } 2. You will now modify this program to make the red and green LEDs on the development board continuously flash in the following sequence: red on and green off red off and green on both on When you want to do something over and over again in C, use an infinite loop as follows: /* Example infinite loop in C */ while(1) { // Do something… } There is also a “for” loop in C, which says: initialize a variable to some base value, execute the contents of the loop while some condition is true, and after each run of the loop perform some operation. Typically this is used in the following fashion: /* A for loop in C, count to 500,000 */ long int variable; for(variable = 0; variable < 500000; variable++) { ; /* Do nothing, think of this as a NOP. */ } We want to construct an infinite loop, and in the middle we want to sequence the LEDs. The control output to the LEDs is a memory mapped register, as in the 68HC12. This register is already defined as a variable (actually, a macro) in the header file p18cxxx.h as PORTD. There

s also a Data Direction Register for D on the PIC, TRSID. This DDR functions such that a 0
defines an output bit, and a 1 defines an input bit. So, for example, if we wanted to turn on the
green LED, we would use the following code:
/* Set the DDR on port D to all outputs / TRSID = 0x00; / Turn on green LED by writing a 1 to bit 0 of port D */
PORTD = 0x02;
We also want to wait for a while after turning on lights on the development board: we couldn’t
notice a flash that only lasts a few microseconds. Recall how you achieved this in previous labs
and implement that feature here.

  1. Construct your program to sequence the LEDs continuously. Your program should roughly act
    like the following pseudo code (remember to include the appropriate header file and pragma
    described above!):
    main procedure {
    Set the data direction register appropriately
    forever {
    write the value 0x01 on the output port
    wait for a while
    write the value 0x02 on the output port
    wait for a while
    write the value 0x03 on the output port
    wait for a while
  2. Save and compile the code, and run it on the PIC. When the program is functioning
    correctly, demonstrate it to the TA and have your check-off sheet signed
    Adding Functionality:
  3. Note that the code above implements an incomplete state machine with 3 states (green; red;
    both on: 1,0; 0,1; 1,1; but no 0,0). Now, modify your code so that it implements a Moore-type
    state machine, maintaining a state variable and oscillating through the sequence of 4 states:
    S0, S1, S2, S3, and back again.
    For S0 no LEDs should be lit
    For S1 only the red should light
    For S2 only the green should light
    For S3 both LEDs should light
    To keep track of the states in programs, “state variables” are often used. This can be a simple
    variable such as “state variable” which you can declare as a global variable. For this part of the
    lab, you will have to use a construction similar to the following:
    // Before or at the beginning of the main function
    int currentstate = 0;
    // Somewhere in the main function.
    if (currentstate == 0){
    // display some value on the LEDs
    // pause for some amount of time
    currentstate = nextstate; // where nextstate is some new state
    !!! – Note: You may have noticed that you can accomplish the task above without using a state variable,
    by just putting values on the LEDs, waiting, then setting new values, waiting, etc…, then looping back to
    the beginning. Although this also works, it is not good coding practice and will not work when we use a
    Mealy machine in the next section
  1. Once you have updated your code to the new Moore-type state machine, compile it and run it.
    Debug as necessary until the code is correctly controlling the hardware.
  2. Go to File > Save. Type the file name as M:\LAB10EX\LAB10_2.c. Select the check box at the
    bottom labeled Add File To Project. Select Save. Remember to remove LAB10_1.c from the
    project because you cannot have two ‘main’ functions in the same project. See image below.
  1. Print the code for inclusion in your lab report. Demonstrate functional operation to the TA and
    have your check-off sheet signed
    Checking Compiled Assembly Code:
  2. Go to View > Disassembly Listing in the IDE.
  3. Look at the assembly code that was generated when the program was compiled and note the
    difference between this instruction set and the 68HC12 instruction set. Record a comment of
    your observations on the check-off sheet.
    Part 3: Adding Inputs for a Mealy-type State Machine
    In this part of the lab, your code from the last section will be modified to add the ability to read inputs
    into the PIC. To read an input from a pin on the microcontroller, simply modify the PortD data direction
    register to make bit #2 as an input. You will need the answer to Pre-lab question 4 for your program to
    work correctly!
    Consider how you could make branch decisions based on logic values at the input port. To do this,
    we can read the global variable PORTDbits. This variable is actually a C “struct” datatype. If you
    haven’t taken a course in C, this simply means that the variable PORTDbits is just a collection of
    different variables that share a common name because they are related in some way (for example,
    we could have a structure which described a person and contained name, social security number,
    age, etc…). All you’ll need to know is how to check if bit #2 is a 1 or a 0. For this operation we will
    again use an if-else structure as follows:
    if (PORTDbits.RD2)
    // Then pin two is high, switch is open
    // Turn on the red and green LED, respectively …
    PORTDbits.RD0 = 1;
    PORTDbits.RD1 = 1;
    // Switch is closed, turn off LEDs
    PORTDbits.RD0 = 0;
    PORTDbits.RD1 = 0;
    // Wait a while… and reiterate the loop, if you wish…

Note that, “if (a)” is equivalent to “if (a ==1)”

  1. Modify your program to make a full Mealy-type state machine, where the next state and output
    are determined by the current state and the input. Your Mealy-type state machine should have
    the following state transitions:
    X = 0: S0 → S1 → S3 → S2 → S0 → …
    X = 1: S0 → S3 → S2 → S1 → S0 → …
    where the X input is the switch input connected to PortD bit 2. For example, if we start the PIC
    with the switch open (X = 1), we should start in the S0 state, then the S3 state, then S2, etc… If
    we then close the switch (X = 0), we should go in the sequence S0 → S1 → S2 → S3 → …
    Our output to the LEDs should be the current state: for example, if the current state is S0,
    neither LED should be lit, and if the current state is S3, both LEDs should be lit.
    To simplify your coding, start with the code from Part 2 and modify it to implement the following
    S = 0 // The state variable…
    forever {
    if current state is S0 and X = 0 {
    current state = new state // S0 → S3, for example
    Set the LEDs accordingly.
    Pause for a while
    else if current state is S0 and X = 1 {
    current state = new state
    Set LEDs
    else if current state is S1 and X = 0 {

  2. Save, compile, test, and debug the Mealy-type state machine. Ensure that the state machine
    works with both the X = 0 and X = 1 states.
  3. To demonstrate that you know how this code is working, add comments to your code to clarify
    its operation. Include comments for all hardware-related elements (which ports are used for
    what, what “magic numbers” such as data direction register inputs mean, etc…).
  4. Print the final working code for inclusion in your lab report. Demonstrate functional operation to
    the TA and have your check-off sheet signed.
    Final Tasks and Notes
    • You will need printed copies of the final C code for Parts 2 and 3 for your report.
    • Turn off the power supply and anything else that you might have turned on.
    • Disconnect and return the microcontroller interface board to the lab closet or TA.
    • Clean up around your lab bench.
    Lab Reports
    As this is your lab ECE331, you may not see your TA again. Please submit your reports to the
    instructor at the beginning of class on the Wednesday of the week after your lab (i.e., next week).

Discussion Points

As explained in the Lab Report Guide, you should address these discussion points in a designated
section of your report.

  1. In Part 2 of the lab, a delay was added to hold the LEDs in a state long enough to be observed.
    How could the program be modified so that the hold delay was increased each time the state
    sequence of repeated?
  2. In Part 3 the LEDs were turned on using the PORTDbits structure. Why was this done one bit
    at a time rather than just writing a byte value Port D once?
  3. How could you write directly to Port D instead of using the PORTDbits structure? (Hint: C has
    bitwise operators & and | that perform a bitwise AND and OR, similar to the HC12 ASM
    instructions. How could you use the “bitmask” concept to make this work?)
  4. Based on your observations of both C code and its compiled ASM code, do you expect that
    compiled code runs more or less efficiently than original ASM code? Try to explain why this
    might be true.

Source: Lab 10: Programming the PIC Microcontroller

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