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PIC Prototyping Platform – PR2


In PR1 project, I talked about creating a stable prototyping platform that would save me from the trouble of setting up the microcontroller and all its required components. However, since then, I worked on tidying up this design into a more usable design (I wanted to play around with creating PCB actually 😀 ). So I designed the board sent it for fabrication and finally put it together.

I recommend you do something similar if you don’t already have a PIC prototyping platform. It will save you tons of time, not only to put it together but also from possible mistakes during wiring it up (about 1,000,005 times I forgot the MCLR floating, so the PIC was reseting unexpectedly).

This board is based on a PIC18F4520, a standard microcontroller of the PIC18 family. There is a 5V regulator which supplies power to the board controlled by a sliding switch and status indicated by a green LED. As you can see from the photo, there are also the required pins for the ICSP which is where the PICKit2 is connected to program the micro. All pins of the PIC accessible through male headers, separated into 4 groups which are conveniently directly linked to the actual ports of the PIC.

PIC Prototyping board

Finally there is a reset switch and 2 groups of power pins so you can power any extension board through there.

The crystal is 10MHz (on the board silkscreen I wrote 16MHz by mistake) which if you like you can use the PIC’s PLL to increase it to 40MHz which is a very good speed to work with.

So this is what you need for the hardware. I actually printed 10 boards because that was the minimum so if you want a board I guess I could send you one. Just contact me, I have about 5 left. You will find the BOM at the end of the post.

Now for the software. Personally I like to use free tools out there since I can’t really afford to buy an expensive compiler and IDE. I recently installed MPLABX and I find it pretty easy and clear. It feels a bit slow and bloated but it works. For compiling my code I use Microchip’s C18 compiler which has a free version which is missing some code optimization procedures. As a result my code size is not the best but for most applications I am not running the PIC to its limits so its OK!

Finally I am attaching the EAGLE schematic and board file if someone wants to use it. As always, your comments are welcome.



Parts List

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