Monday, November 23, 2009

Introduction to PIC

Microchip's microcontroller family called “PIC” for Peripheral Interface Controller (Programmable Intelligent Computer).Microchip prefers the brand name as PICmicro.

The original PIC was developed by General Instruments. The PIC was designed to improve performance of CPU. In 1985, the PIC was upgraded with EPROM to produce a programmable controller. Now a Today, a huge variety of PICs are available with many different on-board peripherals and program memories.

PIC microcontroller family is the most popular, easy to get and easy to use microcontroller family in the market. PIC microcontroller is available in more than 500 variants. Each of the variant is designed to target different applications and available with different memory configurations, peripherals, DIO configurations and packaging. Each variant is built on specific processor family and has unique program register and data memory types and capacities as well as I/O features that are designed to simplify the task of designing an application.

Product Tree

8-Bit Microcontroller


16-Bit Microcontroller


32-Bit Microcontroller


The PIC controllers are programmable using a native Assembly Language. In addition, C language and BASIC compilers have been developed for the PIC. Open-source Pascal, JAL, and Forth compilers are also available for PIC programming.

Microchip also provides MPLAB Integrated Development Environment(IDE) with all features requires for fast development.
This can be downloaded free from the company’s website. The MPLAB package includes an assembler, a linker, a debugger, and a simulator.

The supporting documentation and tools produced by microchip makes the PIC microcontroller developers first choice.
One of the reasons for the success of the PIC is the support provided by Microchip. The microchip's website is full of support documents includes datasheets, application notes, manuals and sample codes. The available documents are helpful to understand and fast development of PIC based applications.

In addition to the documents and products in the Microchip website, the PIC microcontrollers have gained the support of many hobbyists, enthusiasts, and entrepreneurs who develop code and support products and publish their results on the Internet.

This community of PIC users is a treasure trove of information and know-how easily accessible to the beginner and useful even to the professional. One such Internet resource is an open-source collection of PIC tools named GPUTILS, which is distributed under the GNU General Public License. GPUTILS includes an assembler and a linker. The software works on Linux, Mac OS, OS/2, and Windows. Another product named GPSIM is an Open Source simulator featuring PIC hardware modules.

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