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PICList Thread
'[OT] PWM Servo Directions (long)'
1999\05\21@104709 by David Olson

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[tim wrote...]

> i understand where you are coming from and me too.just got started with
pic chips .i have two programmers
> and didn't even power them up yet........ they were given to me by a
friend ..........and he is too busy
> consulting  for the big microchip and he has his own co also..hehe how
nice..... i build small servo systems
> and do it all with an analogue voltage balancing scheme's ......work's
very well........microchip has an
> application note using pic to control positioning of a motor using
rheostat feedback...but I'm a little
> confused as to how the commands are sent to the chip for the
position.......i.e software program
> but if i can be of help ........i will help..............tim

One thing that sorta bothered me starting out is that Microchip doesn't do a
whole lot to give a newbie a push. Their programmer (PICStart) is pretty
good but, their examples suck. You'd think that if they we're gunning for
the mid to lower market, they'd do a better job of getting people hooked. In
my business, we call this "OOBE" - or "Out Of Box Experience" - and theirs
is really poor. If it weren't for this list, I'd probably walk away from
this dream out of frustration.

The low price for their starter equipment isn't enough. There are too many
messages on this list about people looking for the place to start with these
things. In my mind, that's a barrier to entry. It wouldn't take Microchip a
whole lot to make a "package" that, at least, leads a newbie towards a
successful LED. From there, the third-party community can kick in and lead
us through the more complicated procedures. I'm attracted to the PIC world
because of the broad range of available resources, and the PIC community
seems to better "accept" those of us that are learning. Who knows, a
"Getting Started" guide would probably push a lot of us into new territory
that would have us asking more challenging questions.

In addition, their demo boards make it pretty tough to do prototyping beyond
your first LED routine - at least they could have run traces from the ports
to a some sort of terminal block. I mean, even for this PWM/servo idea, I
can't really use their PICDEM1 board without firing up the soldering iron. I
found that I had to take the plethora of third-party material - books,
samples, etc. and "apply" them to the Microchip tools. After a while, I took
David Benson's advice and made his '84 on board' demo board. I also now use
ExpressPCB (http://www.expresspcb.com) for boards once I've created my basic
routines with the general proto boards.

-DO

1999\05\21@193158 by steve

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> One thing that sorta bothered me starting out is that Microchip doesn't do a
> whole lot to give a newbie a push. Their programmer (PICStart) is pretty
> good but, their examples suck. You'd think that if they we're gunning for
> the mid to lower market, they'd do a better job of getting people hooked. In
> my business, we call this "OOBE" - or "Out Of Box Experience" - and theirs
> is really poor. If it weren't for this list, I'd probably walk away from
> this dream out of frustration.

That's because the newbie is of no interest to Microchip or any other
semiconductor manufacturer. They are a company set up to manufacture
components to be designed into products by the thousands, by
engineers skilled (?) in the art. General Motors don't teach you to
drive. Why should Microchip teach you to program ?
The PICstart, app-notes, etc are there to demonstrate features and
hopefully persuade engineers to choose their part for the next
design.
The hobby market has grown out of their low volume pricing and
distribution methods. It gives them a lot of press so they benefit
from it, but that's far from their core business.

I didn't intend this to sound like a flame. - Sorry if it came out
that way.

If you really are struggling you might want to look at the Basic
Stamp. It is very good stepping stone and is intended as a learning
tool. It's also quite handy to have around.

I agree about the OOBE thing. I've been trying to beat that into the
heads of marketroids for years.

Steve.
======================================================
Steve Baldwin                Electronic Product Design
TLA Microsystems Ltd         Microcontroller Specialists
PO Box 15-680, New Lynn      http://www.tla.co.nz
Auckland, New Zealand        ph  +64 9 820-2221
email: spam_OUTstevebTakeThisOuTspamtla.co.nz      fax +64 9 820-1929
======================================================

1999\05\23@170307 by l.allen

picon face
> > One thing that sorta bothered me starting out is that Microchip doesn't do a
> > whole lot to give a newbie a push. Their programmer (PICStart) is pretty
> > good but, their examples suck. You'd think that if they we're gunning for
> > the mid to lower market, they'd do a better job of getting people hooked. In
> > my business, we call this "OOBE" - or "Out Of Box Experience" - and theirs
> > is really poor. If it weren't for this list, I'd probably walk away from
> > this dream out of frustration.
>


When I was a PIC newbee I found Nigel Gardner's books vital.
Namely "Beginners guide to the PIC" and "PIC Cookbook 1+2".
There are many similar books out now but I can say the examples in
the mentioned books actually work. This is not always the case with
some source material I have come across. The projects are real, have
real applications and are much better than "flashing Christmas tree
lights" type apps.
The books are sold through Farnell http://www.farnell.com

No..... I am not on sales commission for this.

Lance Allen
Technical Officer
Psych Dept
University of Auckland

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