20th birthday update for PIC suite

If you are designing or developing a piece of hardware and need to use a microcontroller, you will need a way to program it. There are many tools to do this available for other platforms (x86 in particular) – but there is also a solution for RISC OS users in the form of Rob Sprowson’s PIC suite.

PIC Suite is a set of applications that make it possible to develop for Microchip’s range of 8-bit PIC microcontrollers, and it has reached its 20th birthday. To coincide with this, Rob has just released an update for the suite, adding a greater range of supported devices, which now stands at 110.

The software included in the suite comprises:

  • PICbasic – a BASIC assembler, allowing you to program in BASIC using your favourite text editor, but instead of using ARM or 6502 mnemonics, those suitable for the PIC devices are used instead.
  • PICdis – a disassembler for existing projects that can optionally add a header and footer, allowing the output to be fed into PICbasic for assembly again; one way to bring a project into PIC Suite on RISC OS from another platform.
  • PIClaunch – a desktop front-end for the assembler/disassembler, providing the convenience of drag and drop.
  • PICprog – the programmer tool, which is used to burn the assembled code, along with any data and configuration, into one of the supported PIC devices.
  • PICtrace – a simulator that allows you to step through and test simple programs and routines for test purposes, without the need to burn it to the device.
The PIC suite programmer hardware
The PIC suite programmer hardware

A comprehensive printed manual is included, along with a hardware interface for programming the microcontrollers. This uses a parallel interface, which is standard on older hardware such as the RiscPC, and available on some modern systems as an add-on – via a PCIe card on Titanium or a parallel port HAT on the Raspberry Pi, for example.

Note, however, that some PIC devices will require a passive programming adapter to fit into the ZIF socket on the programmer hardware.

For December, the price of the suite has been discounted by £20 to celebrate its 20th birthday, and Sprow can also provide a suitable power supply and a centronics printer lead if needed – full details on his PIC Suite page.

Existing customers should by now have received the application updates by email – but if you are a customer and haven’t (perhaps because you’ve changed your email address), then there is a contact link on the same page.

Related posts