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About Easypic5 To Reynard

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Hello Reynard,

I happen to know from your post on the topic "External Switches And The Picdem2 Plus" that you use EasyPIC5 demo board from Mikro. When I searched for it I found out that it has a lots of features. I always wanted to ask a few questions regarding these stuff, but was reluctant to because I thaught ppl around here would think of me as a real idiot. But better idiot then illiterate!

1. So my first question is What is a difference between an debugger, simulator and emulator alternatively what do they do? (Microchip say lots of things abt those but it just passes from over a mile above my head! So you got! I need some simple explanation.)

2. For now I populate all the components of a project circuit on a general purpose PCB and make use of the pickit2 as a programmer. I have a picstart plus too. While purchasing the pickit2, its significance for me was that I didnt have to unplug the controller from the circuit every time I had to reprogram it. Somehow I now think that its worth more than that becuase it is an ICD too. But what difference would that make to me in my overall project?

3. I have just started exploring the possibilities with PIC and I am doing small projects just for fun which may turn into serious projects in future. Right now I own a very small company in India, manufacturing domestic inverters and UPS systems (PIC based! ofcourse the technology for which is provided by another person and I pay royalty). So do you think should I buy a EasyPIC5 board? Do you think that would be a help for me and last but not least is the EasyPIC5 good with SourceBoost IDE alternatively with BoostC?

I know I am bothering you quite a lot, but I would really really appriciate if you help me out!

Thanks for reading



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Hi Shree,


I got my EasyPIC5 a few months ago to replace my tired EasyPIC2 and I was also curious about the small touch screen that they have so I had to get one to play with.


Simulator generally run a software simulation of a PIC using your program. They are useful for testing the operation of function that do calculations and conversion etc but can be a pain in the butt when you need to provide I/O stimulation that mimics you actual application. You can use plug-ins and stimulus scripts if you have the time and patience to write them.


Emulators (in-circuit) are sometimes special build processors that allow the ICE hardware to probe into the processor to see into registers and modify on-board memory. Bucause they are special build chips they come with a high price. Good if you want to see what is happening in real time and catch something that doesn't happen often but when it does can be difficult to track down without ICE showing you what happened before and after the event.


Debuggers come in different types. You can write some code that allows you to (using HyperTerminal or other PC program) send commands to your processor read/write RAM and registers. If the program is in RAM then you can single step by inserting a software interrupt into the code, but not with PICs.


Some of the newer and larger PIC not come with in-built hardware debuggers which communicat using 2 port pins and have a special serial command set which allows memory examination and modification along with breakpoint etc. To use this feature generally requires an interface like ICD3 and other similar devices.


Back to demo boards.


EasyPIC5 etc. don't alway have the hardware you want such as displays switches on the ports you want or have on your device. For developing functions, modules or libraries is not too much of a problem. For your final application it may be a simple as changing port D to port B. Use the demo board to develope functions etc so that you can have alot of confidence that it WILL work in the final app.


The thing that EasyPIC does not have is a CAN transceiver, but an 8 pin chip and bit of breadboard sorted that out. I use BoostC with EasyPIC5 without any problems. Providing you have the hex file then any compilers should do. On-board programmers make changes quick and simple. It will do ICD if you buy the MicroE software.


I hope this is of some use to you and that others will add their tupence worth.





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