An LED is a semiconductor light source, when forward biased, it emits light. LEDs are used mainly to indicate the status of electronic circuits, for example to indicate that power is on or off but nowadays they are used in many applications including lighting and beam detection. In this article we will learn how to connect and switch on and off various LEDs to a microcontroller using Flowcode Compiler. This is the simplest project a beginner in embedded programming can start with before attempting any complex projects. As with most programming languages, our "Hello world" program here it's just a simple switching ON and OFF an LED connected to PORT B bit 0 of a microcontroller.
In this article we will go through some steps on how to start a new Flowcode project, save a project,discuss the various Flowcode icons and components. To start a new flowcode project, depending on your operating systems, Start -----> All Program ------> Flowcode V5 -------> PICmicro -------> Flowcode V5 for PICmicros or Double click on Flowcode V5 icon on the desktop.
Flowcode is one of the World’s most advanced graphical programming languages for microcontrollers. It allows you to create complex microcontroller applications with advanced peripheral interfacing which make it easy to connect wide range of devices such as switches, LCD displays, analogue sensors, SD cards, Real time clocks, RS232/RS485, GPS, GSM, Bluetooth and so on by just dragging and dropping icons onto a flowchart. No prior knowledge of programming is required to start this course but a basic knowledge of PIC microcontrollers is necessary. In this article we are going to get a quick introduction to Flowcode v5.
The MPX4115A is an atmospheric pressure sensor powered by 5V and delivers and output from ~0.25V to ~4.75V based on the pressure detected at room temperature (25°C). The device provides a linear output based on pressure. It can measure pressures between 15kPa and 115kPa. Note that 1 atmosphere of pressure at sea level is equal to 101,325 Pa or 101 kPa. This sensor is ideal for microcontroller based barometer, altimeter, data logger or weather station applications. In this article, we're gonna create a simple Digital Barometer using MPLAB XC8 compiler.
The SPI or Serial Peripheral Interface is a synchronous serial communication and allows multiple devices to communicate with a micocontroller(s). There are many devices that support the SPI protocol and can easily communicate with a microcontroller via SPI: A/D converters, D/A converters, SD Cards, DS1306 Real Time Clocks, MAX7219 serial display drivers, 25LC256 Serial EEPROM, etc. The devices don't have to be identical as long as they support SPI protocol. In this article we are going to configure the SPI Peripheral with MPLAB Code Configurator and PIC18F Peripheral Library.
The I²C or Inter-Integrated Circuit is a serial communication and allows multiple devices to communicate with a micocontroller(s) over only two wires. The devices don't have to be identical as long as they support I²C protocol. In our illustration, the first device with address 1 is a digital temperature sensor, the second one is a real time clock and the third one is a serial LCD display and the bus could carry on even more devices. Communication takes place from the master (PIC) to the individual selected slave only as shown in this illustration. Configuration with PIC18F Peripheral Libraries and MPLAB Code Configurator are discussed in this article
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 MPLAB XC8 Compiler using the PIC18F Peripheral Library and MPLAB Code Configurator.
Temperature sensors are very important in many projects especially in temperature logging devices and alarms. In this article we are going to design a digital thermometer using MPLAB XC8 compiler. This digital thermometer is built around the LM35 which is a precision integrated-circuit temperature sensor whose output voltage is linearly proportional to the Celsius (Centigrade) temperature. Its output changes by 10 mV per °C so there is no need for calibration. It can measure a wide range of temperature from −55 to +150°C
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. Any sensor which can generate a voltage between 0V and a maximum 5V can be used. If the output voltage is higher than 5V, a method to step it down should be used such as a voltage divider with resistors.