[sdiy] Microchip.. for futur projects, choice to do.. PICs or Arduino

Ben Stuyts ben at stuyts.nl
Wed Feb 24 22:48:30 CET 2021

Hi Jean-Pierre,

Some things to consider:

The Arduino environment does not support debugging as far as I know. So if you want to set breakpoints, single-step, examine variables, etc, look for a better environment. You can use printf’s to the serial or rs232 port though.

If you’re up to it, maybe now is a good time to step up to a 32-bit micro. They are often cheaper, much faster, and with more memory and peripherals than the Atmel AVR’s used in the basic Arduino’s. But they have a steeper learning curve than a simple PIC or AVR. A problem might be that they are almost exclusively available only in SMD package. But there are many ready-made boards available with headers for the I/O’s. If you want to try it out, some options are:

- Cheap Arm boards like the Teensy. They could also be programmed by the Arduino environment if you like that... https://www.pjrc.com/teensy/

- A Microchip ATSAM Xplained board. These use Arm Cortex micros from formerly Atmel. For example: https://www.microchip.com/DevelopmentTools/ProductDetails/PartNO/ATSAMD20-XPRO

- A ST Discovery or Nucleo board. For example: https://www.st.com/content/st_com/en/products/evaluation-tools/product-evaluation-tools/mcu-mpu-eval-tools/stm32-mcu-mpu-eval-tools/stm32-nucleo-boards/nucleo-g070rb.html

Both Microchip and ST boards have an on-board debugger. They have free development environments with support for debugging.


> On 24 Feb 2021, at 22:10, Jean-Pierre Desrochers <jpdesroc at oricom.ca> wrote:
> Hi list,
> This is off synth DIY topics (but not as much..)
> But I'm at a crosspoint here.
> I've been a Microchip PIC user for many years so far.
> I've designed many projects around 8 bits PIC16Fxxxx devices.
> In these last years I used Microchip's development IDE
> MPLAB IDE then updated to MPLAB X IDE for the last years.
> These environments are well constructed to work in assembly
> Or (in my case C code).
> To me the weak part of Microchip environments has always been
> Their debuggers (ICD2-3, PicKIT3, etc..).
> I'm telling that because in the last 4 days I struggled to make
> my ICD3 debug a PIC16F1783 as it should without success.
> I posted my issues on Microchip's forum and had 'some' replies
> Like did you correctly connect your ICD ?
> or what length of ICD to board cable are you using ?
> but then... complete silence there..
> It seems that the interests are mostly aimed to 16 & 32bits PICs.
> And... I remembered seeing many posts and videos about how easy
> it is to use Arduino as a 'bridge' to get a small project done.
> Free user interface/programming environment available.
> Final projects on Atmel micros ??
> I'm stuck with Microchip unreliable debugging hardware so far.
> Maybe there are MPLAB IDE compatible hardware debuggers 
> but I doubt it.
> So I'd like to hear you about what should I use for my future needs..
> Again I'm a 8 bits micro user programming in  C.
> If a good choice of Arduino board would help me to faster
> develop small projects that would interest me..
> Your opinions welcomed.
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