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Archives for September, 2013

RS232 Serial Communication with PIC Microcontroller – Flowcode

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RS232 serial communication is one of the oldest communication where data is sent or received one bit at a time. This protocol can easily be used to communicate between a PC and various devices supporting this type of protocol like PIC microcontrollers, GPS, GSM modem etc. While other interfaces like Ethernet, FireWire, and USB all send data as a serial stream, the term "serial port" usually identifies hardware more or less compliant to the RS-232 standard, intended to interface with a modem or with a similar communication device. The Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter (UART) controller is the key component of the serial communications between a device and a PC or between devices. UART is also a common integrated feature in most microcontrollers today which is useful for communicating serial data (text, numbers, etc.) to your PC. In this article we're going to learn how to use the RS232 communication with Flowcode.
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Interfacing 7-Segment Display With PIC Microcontroller – MikroC

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The 7-segment display is the earliest type of an electronic display that uses 7 LEDs bars arranged in a way that can be used show the numbers 0 - 9. (actually 8 segments if you count the decimal point, but the generic name adopted is 7-segment display.) These devices are commonly used in digital clocks, electronic meters, counters, signalling, and other equipment for displaying numeric only data. It is not different from an LED in terms of interfacing, by turning the appropriate segments ON and OFF we can display easily the numbers 0 to 9 and optionally the decimal point (DP). The segments of the displays are normally referred to by letters ‘a’ to ‘g’. In this article we are going to learn how to interface a single 7-Segment display with PIC Microcontroller using MikroC Pro for PIC compiler.
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Multiplexing of 7-Segment Displays with PIC Microcontroller – MikroC

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The 7-segment display is the earliest type of an electronic display that uses 7 LEDs bars arranged in a way that can be used show the numbers 0 - 9. (actually 8 segments if you count the decimal point, but the generic name adopted is 7-segment display.) These devices are commonly used in digital clocks, electronic meters, counters, signalling, and other equipment for displaying numeric only data. It is not different from an LED in terms of interfacing, by turning the appropriate segments ON and OFF we can display easily the numbers 0 to 9 and optionally the decimal point (DP). The segments of the displays are normally referred to by letters ‘a’ to ‘g’. In this article we are going to learn how to multiplex two or more 7-Segment displays to be able to display numbers higher than 9. MikroC Pro for PIC compiler is used in this tutorial.

Interfacing a Relay with PIC Microcontroller – MikroC

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A relay is an electromagnetic switch which is used to switch High Voltage/Current using Low power circuits. Relays isolate as well low power circuits from high power circuits, this is a good feature especially for safety reasons a section of the circuit with high dangerous voltage/current could be isolated from the user. When a low voltage is applied to the relay (coil wounded on a soft iron core), this coil becomes a magnet which in turns energizes the soft iron core which closes or open the high voltage/current contacts of the relay. A relay can be used to switch higher power devices such as motors, light bulbs solenoids etc. In this article we are going to learn how to interface a relay to a PIC Microcontroller, we will learn as well how to control devices connected to the relay using MikroC compiler.

Introduction to Graphical User Interface (GUI) for Microcontrollers

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A graphical user interface (GUI) is one of the ways to interface between your microcontroller and a personal computer (PC) operated by a human with a mouse or a keyboard. It is always easy and require less skills to operate a device from a visual representations of the workspace (GUI) by simply clicking a mouse or using a keyboard rather than a command line. GUI can also be used to interface with other external devices located in different places. There are a lot of kinds software which can be use to design a GUI platform, the choice will usually depend on personnel preferences, software capabilities and the operating systems (Windows, Linux, Mac...). Among the popular ones we have Microsoft Visual Basic, Microsoft C#, Labview, Matlab etc.

Creating a new Project in C#

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Microsoft C# is a simple, modern, general-purpose, easy to learn object-oriented C programming language developed by Microsoft within its .NET framework to develop Windows applications. For this tutorial, you are going to need Microsoft Visual studio or C# express version installed on your computer. If you don't have one, you can download an express version for free from Microsoft website. Click on "New Project..." or open File Menu than "New Project..." to create a new project. A Sub window will pop out giving you options of different templates of Visual C# 2010 which includes Windows Form Application, WPF Application, Console Application, Class Library and WPF Browser Application. To design a GUI, select Window Forms Application, give it a name and click OK.

Creating a Serial Port Interface with C#

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A serial port interface is a Graphical User Interface program that runs on a personal computer and can be used to connect to a microcontroller via a serial connection. In this article a detailed step by step description with source code on how to create a simple Serial Port Graphical User Interface (GUI) using Microsoft Visual C# is outlined. From the toolBox on the left-hand side, under the Components sub-section, drag and drop SerialPort Control on the form and it shall appear below it. This control will enable us to send or receive data through the COM Port (Serial port) of the PC.

Interfacing SD Card with a PIC Microcontroller – Flowcode

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A memory card is a solid-state electronic data storage device used for storing digital information. They are commonly used in many electronic devices, including digital cameras, mobile phones, laptop computers, MP3 players etc. They are small, re-writable and are able to retain data without power. This ability to retain data and the ability to re-write many times is the key for flash memory card applications, for example, in digital cameras, where the saved pictures are not lost after the memory card is removed from the camera. Flowcode provides a component for MMC/SDC routines, the FAT Component. This component can be used with any SD / MMC card that is formatted to the FAT16 or FAT32 file structure.

Analog to Digital Converter with PIC Microcontroller – MikroC

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Analog to Digital converters allow analog continuous voltages to be converted into a discreet digital numbers inside the PIC as the PIC can only process digital numbers. This can enable a PIC to be connected to analog sensors such as temperature sensors, pressure sensors, humidity sensors, optical sensors, and power sensors. This is a nice feature to use as most of PIC microcontrollers today have built-in analog to digital converters (ADC) with the number of channels depending on the number of pins a particular microcontroller have. MikroC Pro for PIC