PIC Microcontrollers are quickly replacing computers when it comes to programming robotic devices. These microcontrollers are small and can be programmed to carry out a number of tasks and are ideal for school and industrial projects. A simple program is written using a computer, it is then downloaded to a microcontroller which in turn can control a robotic device. Click on the sections below to view a detailed explanation.
PIC is a family of Harvard architecture microcontrollers made by Microchip Technology, derived from the PIC1640 originally developed by General Instrument’s Microelectronics Division. The name PIC initially referred to "Peripheral Interface Controller".
PICs are popular with both industrial developers and hobbyists alike due to their low cost, wide availability, large user base, extensive collection of application notes, availability of low cost or free development tools, and serial programming (and re-programming with flash memory) capability.
The PIC architecture is characterized by its multiple attributes:
Separate code and data spaces (Harvard architecture) for devices other than PIC32, which has a Von Neumann architecture.
A small number of fixed length instructions
Most instructions are single cycle execution (2 clock cycles), with one delay cycle on branches and skips
One accumulator (W0), the use of which (as source operand) is implied (i.e. is not encoded in the opcode)
All RAM locations function as registers as both source and/or destination of math and other functions.
A hardware stack for storing return addresses
A fairly small amount of addressable data space (typically 256 bytes), extended through banking
Data space mapped CPU, port, and peripheral registers
The program counter is also mapped into the data space and writable (this is used to implement indirect jumps).
This powerful (200 nanosecond instruction execution) yet easy-to-program (only 35 single word instructions) CMOS FLASH-based 8-bit microcontroller packs Microchip’s powerful PIC® architecture into 28-pin package and is upwards compatible with the PIC16C5X, PIC12CXXX and PIC16C7X devices. The PIC16F73 features 5 channels of 8-bit Analog-to-Digital (A/D) converter with 2 additional timers, 2 capture/compare/PWM functions and the synchronous serial port can be configured as either 3-wire Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI™) or the 2-wire Inter-Integrated Circuit (I²C™) bus and a Universal Asynchronous Receiver Transmitter (USART). All of these features make it ideal for more advanced level A/D applications in automotive, industrial, appliances and consumer applications.
There is no distinction between memory space and register space because the RAM serves the job of both memory and registers, and the RAM is usually just referred to as the register file or simply as the registers.
PIC microcontrollers ( Programmable Interface Controllers), are electronic circuits that can be programmed to carry out a vast range of tasks. They can be programmed to be timers or to control a production line and much more. They are found in most electronic devices such as alarm systems, computer control systems, phones, in fact almost any electronic device. Many types of PIC microcontrollers exist, although the best are probably found in the GENIE range of programmable microcontrollers. These are programmed and simulated by Circuit Wizard software.