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Tech for Linux Users


PI2COM: Serial and I2C Board for the Raspberry Pi

I finally succumbed and bought a Raspberry Pi. I'd been holding out for quite a while, I had a ARM based NAS box (NAS4220) that I had bought a few years back with the intention of learning a bit more about Linux on ARM and as that was the only real reason I could think of for buying it, I didn't feel the need. A need did however finally present it's self, I wanted a small device to use to do some simple temperature logging. The Pi with a custom expansion board seemed like a fun way to get there and I could have fun doing some hardware development along the way with my etch tank. The requirements would be (fairly) simple:

  • An I2C temperature sensor.
  • An I2C battery backed Real Time Clock (to make logging data worthwhile, the Pi lacks a proper RTC).
  • A transceiver for the serial port (not strictly needed for the scenario in mind, but would make the expansion board more useful).

Using PicStart Plus under Linux

Microcontroller development under Linux at times is still a little problematic. Many applications exist to enable compiling of C, assembly language and for programming many different microcontrollers. Here we will consider how to program Microchip's PIC family of microcontrollers.

A JDM Programmer Variant

I have found the the low-cost programmer provided in schematic form by Jaakko Hyvätti (which is based on the jdm84v23 by Jens Madsen), though slow, to be acceptable for my needs. I currently have the device working with Picprog on a breadboard, however I would like a much more solid version ;-)

Programming PIC Microcontrollers under Linux

Programming microcontrollers under Linux can be some what of a complicated task. The manufacturers of microcontrollers generally sell tools and provide software to program their devices, but these tools are produced only for one operating system. This operating system is not Linux...

So what is a PIC and how do I program it?

So what is a "PIC"? Well, a PIC is a microcontroller sold by a company called Microchip. That's the short answer, the longer answer is that "PICmicro", usually shortened to "PIC" is the brand name for a family, in fact a series of families, of 8-bit RISC-based microcontrollers. RISC or "Reduced Instruction Set Computer" describes the philosophy of designing "a processor whose design is based on the rapid execution of a sequence of simple instructions rather than on the provision of a large variety of complex instructions"[1].

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