The PIC16F877A (and earlier PIC16F877) are microntrollers supplied by Microchip. It is just one device among many PIC microcontrollers and it is a veteran chip compared with many others. There are lots of articles, projects and circuit diagrams available on the web that use the PIC16F877A so it seems to make sense to use it but should you still use this chip?
I am an occasional user of MPLAB because we mainly use AVR microcontrollers in our products but recently we have done a lot with PIC microcontrollers. This gave the opportunity to compare MPLAB 8.70 and MPLAB X to decide which to use in the future, so we thought we would share our findings with you.
The Microchip PIC microcontroller range looks really daunting at first, with lots of 8, 16 and 32 bit devices to choose from. This article will look at 8-bit PICs as they are adequate for most purposes and far more suited to beginners.
There are different series of 8-bit PIC microcontrollers- PIC10F, PIC12F, PIC16F and PIC18F, all with different features and price bands. The PIC10F and PIC12F are the cheapest and generally have less memory, smaller pin counts and less peripherals.
A common question we get is should I program my microcontroller in C or assembler? This usually means do I bother with assembler or just use C. Sometimes it just means that I do not know the difference. So what is the difference?
PIC microcontrollers are manufactured by Microchip
They cover a huge range of devices, from tiny 8-bit microcontrollers to 32-bit advanced PIC32 devices. All PIC microcontrollers use Harvard architecture, which means that they have separate buses for data and instructions. If a device is called an 8-bit microcontroller, this means that its data bus is 8-bit, a 16-bit device has a 16-bit data bus and, guess what, a 32-bit microcontroller has an 32-bit data bus.
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