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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm wondering, with the increasing importance of PIC technology in modifying our cars, if there is a way to gain more understanding of the PIC design and programming process. There seems to be a variety of on-line courses available from various sources, all unevaluated except by dubious user rating.

I learned a bit by reading this link:

I also see that there are a number of reasonable cost on-line courses listed here:


If anyone has any comments or suggestions of educational sources, I for one would certainly appreciate some pointers.

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Learning C or assembler etc from scratch to program PIC's is a big ask.
Do you have any programming experience? If so in what?

I had a reasonable background in simple electronics, along with BASIC and Z80 assembler gleaned from fifteen years or so programing the Sharp-MZ80 range of machines in the early 1980's. This helped me transition to the PIC and PBPro reasonably smoothly once I discovered Honda Insight's and PIC's in the mid 2000's

I use Pic Basic Pro (Gold) $270 for all my projects...
There is a free student edition though that supports one of the chips I use a lot, the PIC12F683.
Pic Basic Pro

It has a pretty good support forum..
Pic Basic Forum

It's a compiled BASIC which means it's fairly easy to learn some stuff.
Below flashes an LED once a second.

Code:
FlashLed:
    High LED
    Wait 500
    Low LED
    Wait 500
    goto FlashLed
It isn't perfect and has taken me 15 years on and off to reach the stage of writing the 'BCM Replacer'
which has about 3000 lines of code so far.

However the 'BCM Interceptor' based on the PIC12F683 for instance only has ~70 lines of code.
It's quite well documented and the source code is attached..

People use lots of different systems including PIC, Arduino, Raspberry PI, Maximites etc etc

All have quirks, gotchas, steep learning curves etc..
Different programming languages are also available for all sorts of different hardware.
If you ask 50 people what stuff to use you will get 50 different answers, it's a bit like the MAC v PC debate.

If you want to look at my Insight stuff or grow your own, then if you use PBPro I can help.
If you use other stuff languages/hardware chips etc I probably can't.

But there are lots of other experts on here let's see what they say.

PS In answer to your original question. I never used any courses, just some prior knowledge, trial and error, 1000's of hours of practise over 10+ years, and helpful forum members.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thank you Peter for your reflections.

As you know, I am quite elderly, but originally a degree electrical/electronic engineer. The integrated circuit arrived just after my BS graduation. Working in government, only the early part of my career involved hands-on development work, and even then mostly RF microwave work. I did take a fortran course, did a bit, and at gradute level, took some sort of machine language course(which I've mostly forgotten.) I think I can recognize the basic landscape of programming, and I understand the basic logic of it. I studied your attached program for the Interceptor and I can kinda follow along.

I'm just kinda exploring, if you will. I have a couple of gadgets in my LTO conversion for which I would like to add some control, possibly make some mods, but it may be a bit late to embark on the sort of learning curve and commitment you outline. After all, do I want to enjoy my remaining days driving my Insight, or scratching my head on projects?? I think your work has been reasonably transparent and adaptable, so maybe that is enough. It certainly has been for the LTO conversion.

I still have the Orion to integrate, but the controls there are mostly a user friendly GUI.

One more question. On an order of magnitude, do you think it easier to learn to do a few unique things with Arduino than with PIC? I have some Arduino books already and have done a tiny bit of programming with it. There seems to be a lot of sensor driven programs available on the internet, which don't even have to be written from scratch.

Thanks.

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Re Arduino I don't know as I don't use them.
It is well supported by an active community with lots of hardware/software libraries.
 

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One more question. On an order of magnitude, do you think it easier to learn to do a few unique things with Arduino than with PIC? I have some Arduino books already and have done a tiny bit of programming with it. There seems to be a lot of sensor driven programs available on the internet, which don't even have to be written from scratch.
I've programed PICs and also use the Arduino Mega 2560 boards for home projects.

Each has their particular advantages and disadvantages.

As Peter posted you can program PICs using the MEL Basic software but you then have to add the peripheral electronics to even get them to work.

Arduino's are ready to use, but in affect use a miss-mash of C & C++ commands to program (as you've probably noticed in the literature you have). From what I've seen, Arduino based boards do have many more features and pin outs ready to use than the common PICs have. And they are quite cheap for what they do if bought on eBay. I seem to remember that there is (at least) one Arduino programming software that uses Basic commands and compiles to the Arduino language when actually programming the board.

Personally I would go with the Arduino because it has so many features built in which you just have to set up in the program to use. The external electronics is usually to add sensors, features and allow you to drive higher current devices.
 
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