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The Ultimate Guide to Pic Programming vs. Microcontroller Programming

Microcontrollers are inexpensive and easy to get nowadays. They are often used instead of easy logic boards like counters to have more flexibility in design and save space. Some machines & robots use multiple microcontrollers, each dedicated to a specific task. So, Most modern integrated controllers are “System Programmable,” which means you can adjust the program without removing an MCU from its place. This article discusses the distinctions among ARM, 8051 AVR & PIC microcontrollers.

What is a Microcontroller Programming?

A microcontroller is like a small, independent computer that performs pre-programmed projects and communicates with other hardware devices. Despite its size & weight is negligible, it is a powerful device ideal for controlling robots or machines that require intelligent automation. A single microcontroller can manage small mobile robots, washing machines & security systems. Most microcontrollers have the memory to accumulate programs and multiple input/output lines to interact with other tools. So, these lines can read sensor data or control motors, among other things.

How does it work?

The Embedded controller is fast, but not as fast as a computer, so it executes every instruction quickly. When the energy supply is on, the control register enables the quartz oscillator. During the initial few milliseconds, as the setup is underway, the stray capacitance starts charging up.

Once the current level becomes maximum and the frequency of the quartz becomes stable, a writing bits process onto specific function registers begins. It syncs with the oscillator clock, and the electronics start working. All of this happens very quickly, in just a few nanoseconds.

Functions of Microcontroller Programming

Xilinx FPGA Programming

A microcontroller is like a self-contained process with memory, processor & peripherals. For example, the 8051 microcontrollers can be used in this way. Nowadays, most microcontrollers are integrated into machinery like cars, phones, appliances, and computer peripherals.

Advantages and Applications of Microcontroller Programming


 Microcontrollers are inexpensive, small in size, and easy to use to integrate into any device. Learning to program microcontrollers is simple and not very complicated.

 We can use computer simulators to test and visualize the practical outcomes of the microcontroller programming. It is without buying the necessary components & chips for an integrated project. It enables us to see the works of our program and project virtually.

Microcontroller Programming Applications

Microcontrollers have a wide range of uses, including:

  • Mobile Phones
  • Automobiles
  • Cameras
  • Appliances
  • Computer Systems
  • Security Alarms
  • Electronic Measurements Instruments
  • Micro Oven

Types of Microcontroller Programming

· PIC Microcontroller Programming

PIC is a microcontroller element utilized in producing computer robotics, electronics, & similar devices. While the PIC is produced by Microchip technology and based on embedded system design, the code and data are stored in different registers to enhance input & output. The PIC has Internal memory, a dedicated microprocessor & data bus for managing all I/O functions and processes.

· ARM Microcontroller

ARM is the most widely used C language (commonly used for microcontroller programming) in integrated digital systems. Many industries prefer ARM microcontrollers because they offer great features to create products with excellent performance and appearance while being cost-effective. ARM microcontrollers are used in various applications, including Industrial automation systems, wireless networking & sensors & automotive body technology.

· 8051 Microcontroller

In 1981, Intel developed the 8051 microcontrollers. It is the 8-bit MCU that has 40 pins in a Dual Inline Package (DIP), 4kb ROM storage, two 16-bit timers, and 128 bytes RAM storage. The 8051 microcontroller has four 8-bit parallel interfaces that can be programmed and addressed according to the specifications.

· AVR Microcontroller

AVR stands for Alf & Vegard’s Processor. It uses the modified von Neumann architecture, which stores programs and data in separate physical memory procedures. It allows for browsing information from program memory using specific directions. AVR is not an acronym and does not represent anything specific.

· MSP Microcontroller

MSP is an abbreviation for MSP, which belongs to the family of microcontrollers produced by Texas Instruments. The Mixed Signal Processor is based on a 16-bit CPU and designed to be used in embedded systems that require low cost and low power consumption. The MSP’s architecture is designed around a 16-bit parallel bus with seven addressing modes – a reduced instruction set. It allows for shorter and more efficient programming code, resulting in faster performance.

A microcontroller is an integrated circuit (IC) chip designed to execute programs and control other devices or machines. It is a small device used explicitly for holding any other appliances or equipment, which is why it is referred to as microcontroller programming.


PIC Microcontroller Programming 

The PIC is a microcontroller developed by Microchip. Compared to other microcontrollers, such as 8051 and PIC, they are fast and straightforward to program. The programming of accessible and Peripheral communication has contributed to the success of accessible microcontrollers.

A microcontroller is a chip that integrates RAM, ROM, CPU, timers, and counters. Similarly, the PIC microcontroller also includes ROM, RAM, counters, timers, CPU, DAC, and ADC and supports communication protocols such as CAN, SPI, & UART for interfacing with other peripherals. It uses a Segmented Harvard architecture & RISC technology, making it faster compared to the 8051 microcontrollers based on the Stored-program computer.

Difference Between PIC Programming vs. Arduino                 


PIC stands for PIC, a term that is seldom used nowadays. On the other hand, Arduino is an open-source platform renowned for its user-friendly software & hardware. Both devices belong to the microcontrollers but have distinct working mechanisms and architectures. Therefore, their suitability for specific environments is determined by the application’s particular requirements. This article elaborates on the significant differences and similarities between PIC and Arduino, including their definitions, functions, architectures, advantages & limitations.

Differences between PIC Programming vs. Arduino

The following points outline some significant variations between PIC and Arduino:

· Arduino

As previously mentioned, an Arduino is the kind of microcontroller that comes in various forms, whether a 28-pin package or a greater modern SMD one. This compact integrated circuit houses all the components for computing projects, including a microprocessor, timer, memory & I/O ports for communicating with external digital devices. The microcontroller serves as the primary element on the Arduino circuit board, responsible for performing the device’s primary functions. The remaining components on the board, as well as the Arduino tool, assist in interfacing with the microcontroller. 

· Raspberry Pi 

It operates differently from an Arduino, functioning more similarly to a computer. The device contains a Broadcom System on the Chip (SoC) that includes a CPU & graphics unit (GU).

At the heart of the Raspberry Pi lies the Broadcom processor, which is linked to the board’s RAM, ports, & external storage. An American organization headquartered in San Jose, California, produces the CPU. The company name is Broadcom Inc. The company operates as a manufacturer, developer, designer & worldwide supplier of various semiconductor and infrastructure software products.

The primary purpose of a Broadcom Central Processing Unit is to execute a working system that oversees the fundamental operations of the computer, launches applications, regulates the USB, HDMI, and RJ45 ports, and delivers the interface for users to interact with.

The Raspberry Pi’s architecture allows it to perform tasks beyond the capabilities of the Arduino & its microcontroller. However, there are specific uses where a computer of this magnitude is unnecessary. For instance, consider the circuitry in a computer keyboard, which is utilized to monitor the set for activity and report keystroke events to the computer. Similarly, there is numerous microcontroller-controlled equipment in homes that complete their tasks affordably and efficiently.

· History

It is an open source electronics platform that comes with a tool package utilized to agenda the device’s hardware components. Its development aims to provide designers, hobbyists & students with an easily accessible platform for creating interactive and electronic-based objects, including automobiles. Massimo Banzi developed the Arduino concept, which is programmable and straightforward to deploy. On the other hand, PIC, known initially as Programmable Computer, was created in 1976 & is commonly used in integrated circuits.

· Structural design

Board processor for Arduino adopts the Harvard architecture, which employs separate memory for code and data. The memory is divided into data storage & data memory, and the flash program stores the data code. It consists of 2kb SRAM & 32kb Atmega328 MCU, with 1 kb EPROM that runs at a 16MHz speed. In contrast, the PIC MCU architecture features stack registers that save & return the work of Access Memory.

· Operation

Arduino uses digital read & write pins to handle input/output data. The mode pin sets the I/O mode, while analog read & write hooks take the input/output of analog data. The COM is responsible for configuring the bit rate for serial communication. In contrast, PIC is designed to support PDP computers in managing external devices. It has a user-friendly and straightforward operation, making programming a breeze compared to other controllers. PIC’s architecture is similar to Harvard architecture, and it can be easily programmed using flash memory.

· Qualities & Disadvantages

PIC Programming MCU is known for its adaptability and is less prone to faults. They operate on RISC architecture, making them highly efficient. Additionally, they consume minimum power and have a user-friendly, programmable interface, along with straightforward interfacing to all analog circuits. On the other hand, Arduino is an platform that allows users to construct their kits. Operating systems like Linux, Windows, and Macintosh support it. It is easy to understand, making it ideal for beginners. However, it should be noted that the code length of Pic controllers is limited due to its RISC architecture.

Difference between AVR and PIC

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ic programming services

An MCU is a compact Integrated Circuit (IC) that operates like a small, standalone computer & is designed for performing specific tasks in embedded systems. It consists of a processing unit, a small memory amount (RAM, ROM, etc.), and Some I/O for peripherals & timers. Two popular types of microcontrollers are AVR and PIC, which have varying architecture, instruction sets, speed, cost, memory, power consumption, bus width, and other features. In the following sections, we will explore the differences between these two microcontroller families in greater detail.

· AVR micro-controller : 

Atmel corporation micro-controllers were first introduced by Atmel in 1996 and are based on the ISA, also known as Advanced Virtual RISC. The first microcontroller in the AVR family was the AT90S8,515. AVR MCU is famous for its affordability and is widely useful in various robotic applications.

PIC microcontrollers, on the other hand, were by Microchip Technology Inc. in 1976. The acronym PIC stands for Programmable Intelligent Computer. These microcontrollers are based on Harvard architecture and are famous for their efficiency, minimum energy consumption, and ease of programming. They have reasonable prices and are useful in diverse industries.

The abbreviation “PIC” originally stood for “Peripheral Interface Controller,” and Microchip produced this type of MCU. Moreover, It is also easy to program and interface with various peripheral devices.

01.AVR is an acronym that stands for Advanced Virtual RISC microcontroller.PIC is an acronym that stands for Peripheral Interface Controller microcontroller.
02.The AVR microcontroller has a bus width of either 8 or 32 bits, which means it can process information in chunks of either 8 or 32 bits at a time.The PIC  MCU has a bus width of 8, 16, or 32 bits, which determines the amount of data it can process simultaneously.
03.The AVR microcontroller is compatible with communication protocols such as USART, UART, SPI & I2C.The PIC microcontroller is compatible with communication protocols, including PIC, USART, UART, Cab, LIN, Ethernet & SPI.
04.The AVR microcontroller’s speed is measured at one clock per instruction cycle.The speed of the PIC microcontroller is measured at four clocks per instruction cycle.
05.The AVR microcontroller uses the RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) instruction set architecture.The PIC microcontroller uses specific characteristics from the RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) instruction set architecture.
06.The AVR microcontroller is designed based on Harvard architecture.The PIC microcontroller is designed using a modified Harvard architecture.
07.The AVR microcontroller comes in different families, which include Tiny, Xmega, Atmega & special-purpose AVR.The PIC microcontroller comes in various families like  PIC16, PIC24, PIC18, and PIC32.
08.Atmel is the company that manufactures the AVR microcontroller.The company Microchip manufactures the PIC microcontroller.
09.The AVR microcontroller is a cost-effective or efficient option.The AVR microcontroller is an affordable option.

Differences between PIC Programming and Arduino

FPGA programming

Raspberry Pi and Arduino are great educational equipment for students, hobbyists, and beginners. However, there are some differences between the two that should be noted.

  • Arduino is a microcontroller circuit board. A Raspberry Pi PCB is a microprocessor-based mini-computer (SBC).
  • The MCI on an Arduino board comprises the RAM, CPU, and ROM, while Raspberry Pi has the features of the computer, memory, graphics driver, storage, and connectors on the board.
  • All the additional hardware on an Arduino board is for power(energy) supply & IO connectivity.
  • Raspberry Pi requires an operating system, while Arduino does not require any functional system. 
  • Raspberry Pi is shipped with the whole functional system is Raspberry Pi. However, you can also use other operating systems. Linux is perfect to use as it is the recommendation of Raspberry Pi. Additionally, It is possible to install Android on Raspberry Pi as well. On the other hand, Arduino doesn’t require a functional system. It only needs firmware instructing an MCon U on what project to perform.
  • Arduino clock speed is 16 meg Hartz, whereas Raspberry Pi has a much higher clock speed of around 1.2 GHz.
  • Raspberry is suitable for producing software Apps using Python. But Arduino is ideal for interfacing with sensors & controlling LEDs.
  • Connecting sensors & LEDs to PCB Raspberry Pi is possible through the 40-pin GPIO. It combines electronic components like buttons, sensors, motors, and LEDs, among others. Similarly, Arduino’s GPIO is Digital IO for digital input & output and Analog IN for analog information. So, Both boards offer options for hardware programming and control.
  • Arduino Shields have plugged in the Pin headers; you can add dedicated features or functionalities such as an Ethernet Connection, Motor driver, SD Card, Wi-Fi, Cameras, Touchscreens, etc., to Arduino. On the other hand, Raspberry Pi is a self-contained board, and you can add external hardware, such as Touchscreens, GPS, RGB panels, etc. 
  • The power needs of Raspberry & Arduino differ significantly. While both are powerable by USB, Raspberry Pi requires more voltage than Arduino. Therefore, a power adapter is essential for Raspberry Pi, whereas Arduino is powerable from a computer’s USB port.
  • Sudden power interruption can cause harm to the software, hardware, or applications of Raspberry Pi. On the other hand, if there is an off power for the Arduino, it will restart automatically. Therefore, it is necessary to properly shut down Raspberry Pi before disconnecting the power to avoid any damage.
  • You can create your own Arduino board using the hardware & software files. However, Raspberry Pi is not open-source, so it isn’t possible to make you have a Raspberry Pi board.
  • The Arduino UNO board costs $23, but there are many clones for a minimum of n $4. On the other hand, the actual Raspberry Pi was priced at around $35, while the Raspberry Pi is available at different price points ($35, $55, or $75) depending on the memory configuration

How to decide between PIC Programming and Arduino?

ic programming

Between the two, it is essential first to determine the requirements and objectives of your project.

  • As per the above discussion, it can be concluded that Arduino is good for performing repetitive tasks such as garage doors, turning lights on and off, reading temperature sensors, and controlling motors according to user needs.
  • The previous discussion highlights that Raspberry Pi is suitable for performing various tasks, driving complex robots, playing videos, connecting to the internet, interfacing with cameras, and similar applications.
  • An illustration of using Arduino is to build an application that tracks Humidity & Temperature readings from the DHT11 Sensor and exhibits the outcomes on the LCD screen.
  • If your objective is to track the Humidity & Temperature data from a DHT11 Sensor, email with readings, compare the data with an online weather report, and exhibit the outcomes on the LCD screen. So, Raspberry Pi would be the appropriate option.
  • In basic terms, beginners employ Arduino beginner-level projects and speedy electronics prototyping. In contrast, Raspberry Board Pi is suitable for more complex tasks that the Pi can effortlessly manage.

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