[sdiy] PIC basic setup?

rburnett at richieburnett.co.uk rburnett at richieburnett.co.uk
Fri Jan 10 16:25:39 CET 2014

> It's worth considering buying the Microchip development boards.
> They're absurdly cheap.

Yes, some of them are very cheap, but the quality of the pots and 
switches used are very poor.  I can accept this shortcomming on the 
low-end dev boards, but I find it frustrating when every trim-pot has 
become scratchy and every tact-switch unusable on a £100 dsPIC Dem board 
or Mechatronic Demo Board after less than a year of use!  This is 
clearly not acceptable for a development platform.

Dev boards definitely have their uses in helping newcomers find their 
feet, but I would always recommend the serious designer/experimenter to 
commit their design to hardware as quickly as possible.  It's only once 
you've made your first revision of the hardware that you either:

1. Feel comfortable that you've actually designed and built hardware 
that works yourself,

...or more likely...

2. Reveal potential hardware issues that you will need to tackle.

You can also splash out on some decent pots and switches for your own 
"dev board", and then concentrate on writing the software without having 
to endure the crap ones on the Microchip development boards!

Microchip: Excellent semiconductors, great IDE, great 
programmer/debugger, dreadful Dev Boards.  It's a shame.


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