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Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by sjb, Sep 8, 2006.

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  1. sjb

    sjb Guest

    Hi all,

    Well, I'm on my way to making a career change back into electronics. Been
    out for a while, but I'm currently brushing back up on my digital
    fundamentals, with the intent on learning PIC's, MPU's, etc. in the near
    future. What I've been seeing out there is confusing the heck out of me.

    While I have a vague idea about what's going on with PIC's, my question is

    When programming PIC's (VHDL, CPLD, FPGA's, or for that matter MPU's...) is
    there a "standard" software that one can use on all of them? Or, is each
    chip manufacturer specific as to what software you have to use to accomplish
    the tasks? For example, could I use my old Borland C (Ver 3.21) to write
    code, compile, and then assemble it using the Turbo Assembler (TC), then
    load it onto a chip? Or, for that matter, just write assembly code with the
    TC and expect to be able to load it to a chip?

    I have an M68HC11 MPU that looks like there are several options for
    generating code. They mention "resident language support" for Forth?, Basic
    interpreter on EPROM, Small C compiler, and Assembler. I thought these would
    be programs that one would use to write code. What do they mean resident on
    the chip? I'm hearing talk of Boot Loaders, etc.

    I just thought that one would be able to write a program, assemble it, and
    then load it.


    If anyone can set me straight, and put it in a nutshell, it'd be much

  2. I assume that some support code can be added to the chip.
  3. jasen

    jasen Guest

    C is about as standard as it gets.

    Most microcontollers have atleast one C compiler.

    Programs written for processor would one are unlikely to run unaltered on
    a different micro.
    AFAIK they don't place artificial restrictions on what software can be used
    for authoring software. or for loading the program into the chip.
    but it's most unlikely that software designed for one brand of chip would
    be any good for a different brand.
    If it was an 8086 compatible chip you could. (AFAIK that all that BC3 can
    compile for)
    that's what they mean... plug the chip into a serial port and use a terminal
    program to enter code. with a chip that has a PROM that can only be written
    once this is one way to try out many different programs without using up a
    whole chip for each attempt.
    with the newer flash based micros you can do that...
    set the code up on a pc and then squirt it into the chip using a programmer

  4. sjb

    sjb Guest

    Thanks've confirmed what I've been thinking. I just wasn't sure
    that the software I was seeing available was "mandatory."

    Take care,

  5. The term "PIC" as used in this newsgroup refers to a family of
    microcontrollers manufactured by Microchip.

    An MPU is, to me, a microprocessor - the heart of any computing system
    - built on a single integrated circuit. (When I started in this
    business, a CPU or MPU would occupy a 15" x 15" printed circuit
    board.) An MPU or CPU requires program and data memory and I/O
    devices to make a useful computer.

    A microcontroller is a single integrated circuit that contains a CPU,
    program and data memory, and I/O devices.

    VHDL is a programming language used in preparing configuration files
    for CPLDs (Complex Programmable Logic Devices) or FPGAs (Field
    Programmable Gate Arrays). CPLDs and FPGAs are ICs that contain logic
    gates, flip-flops, etc, that the user can interconnect in various ways
    - the interconnection may be specified using VHDL, AHDL (Altera's
    version of VHDL), or by drawing schematic diagrams.
    For CPLDs and FPGAs, you usually have to use the manufacturer's tools.
    No. Borland C will produce machine language code that will run on
    8086-compatible processors. Each microprocessor or microcontroller
    family will use its own machine language, so you will have to use a
    cross-compiler or cross-assembler that will produce code for the
    processor you wish to use. (A cross-compiler runs on one processor,
    such as your PC, and produces code for some other processor, such as
    your 68HC11.)

    The C language is often described as "portable", meaning that the C
    source for a program can be compiled to run on many different
    processors - unfortunately any useful program will have many things
    that are dependent on a particular operating system (or, particularly
    with microcontrollers) the specific hardware, so the program probably
    won't run on another system without a significant re-write.
    Peter Bennett, VE7CEI
    peterbb4 (at)
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  6. sjb

    sjb Guest


    THANKS for your extended explanation! It has certainly cleared things up a
    bit for me...

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