View Full Version : Learning Basic

- 8th November 2004, 01:39
I've been through the PicBasic manual a few times and each time I think I pick up a bit more information.

Seriously, though, there is no way I can learn everything from this one manual. I don't like or want to be begging for code to bang something together that way. In short, I don't want to be a pest.

There must be something out there somewhere that goes into more detail about PicBasic. I'd like to have more understanding of why a command does what it does and how to more effecitively use the commands so I could teach myself something and figure out some of it on my own.

The closest I've come to PicBasic is straight BASIC that I learned in school 20+ years ago. While basic commands such as IF...THEN all look familiar using them is not quite the same in all cases.

Any suggestions for some "light" reading in this area book or online? I've picked up basic HTML from a book and at one time could program in FORTH, but neither really compares to this compiling version.



- 8th November 2004, 02:36
Seriously Bart, that BASIC compiler manual is ALL that you need (and the datasheet for your chosen PIC). You probably could do with a board with an LCD on it. You can then program, bit manipulate and display the results to SEE what you achieved. It's really the ONLY and BEST way to learn. If you're going to be playing with MeLabs compilers, then go chose an MeLabs board to play with... There's tons of code now floating about (eg on MeLabs website) to strip apart and see how it works.

Geting a project done (like your current one) is also a good way to go... you'll stumble and curse and pull hair out, but at the end of it you WILL have succeeded and have learnt a great deal in the process.

At the end of the day, books are a great cure for insomnia... why burden yourself with any more than you have to. You've already got (documentation wise) all that I use every day.

- 8th November 2004, 03:41
there is no better way to learn than to jump in with a kit. A year ago I started working with, but the PIC (not having done any micro work for over 25 years) and screwed around with the assembler. That was more than frustrating, but got an LED to blink... 2 bloody weeks...

so I ordered the PBP Compiler kit from HVW Tech (they are based in Calgary) and the day after i got the kit, I wired up their breadboard and had an LCD hooked up and running.

haven't looked back since, other than regretting how I wasted the first couple weeks dogpaddling in assembler code.

I did not buy any other manual or book, the manual does explain most that you will really need, but there will be a bit of digging. the forum has been a great asset, but ultimately you will have to put in your time.

- 8th November 2004, 03:56
Well, we'll just have to see how long it takes before I drive you all crazy then!

I originally was just going to program a chip with a bit of code that someone else made, but decided it wasn't going to do exactly what I wanted so I want to make the new and improved version. I have only the HEX code and the ASM code so it doesn't really do me much good to see what he did and make changes.

So, I had bought a little programmer board from somewhere else before finding this board. I don't think that matters. The board can program any of the chips I'm interested in and I can breadboard and experiment with what I do have. I'm sure I will be making blinking lights before anything else even if it is only one.

I don't mind the learning either so long as I'm not still trying to do this 3 months from now with no result. I can't help but wonder if we're talking about two different manuals though since the one I'm looking at doesn't do a lot of explaining and either I am really slow or the manual is short of explaination at a level I need. I'm probably slow!


- 8th November 2004, 03:58
IMO, and most user here, the best way to learn something is to work with. In case you want to try before spend any money, you can at least try the demo version on Melabs.com website.... There's also a lot of PICBasic code example on this forum,

and on Bruce Website:

On Melabs website:

The melanie's LCD solution is one of the great way you can do what's happen inside the PIC. BUT, in case you don't want to spend money on that LCD, buy a cheap PIC16f628, use MicroCode Studio In Circuit Debugger, an you'll now see how your program work with variable.. see this link by Bruce


Cost of these :

demo version PicBasicPro : 0$
MicroCodeStudio : 0$
PIC16f628 :2-3$
Max232 :1-2$
Capacitor+resistor: <1$
DB9 cable : 1-2$
total cost max :8$

After that if you're still interest about PICbasic programming, buy the version who match your requirement.


- 8th November 2004, 05:25
I may need to do that. After reading this it also gave me the idea that I can put everything on a breadboard and put an LED on all the outputs and see what lights up when the program runs. If I see the 5 LEDs changing their on/off states I will know the proper combinations are being sent to the multiplexer inputs.

Before all that, though, I think I will make one LED blink then run the thing around town showing it off! :-)


- 8th November 2004, 06:01
For sur stuff on a board will help you.

There's few book who talk about PICbasic programming, you're in saskatchewan so close to HVW tech in Calgary. Here's the link


BUT here's also a few you must know who provide better support + often code example


- 8th November 2004, 16:33
Hello Badrad,

BR>> That was more than frustrating, but got an LED to blink... 2 bloody weeks...<<

<chuckle> You know Badrad, you were not the only person that has gone through this...Welcome to the titanic. I did it back in 1990. and I still (sometimes) do it now. But this is why I have my tag line like it is. To remind me and those of some of the craziest and things us humans do to accomplish a light to blink... or whatever else.

You are fortunate. I did it with Philips microchips...had to use 20 minutes of UV light to erase, and then (to top it off), if the erase didn't work, and you attempted to program it...no good. Chips were 15 to 20 dollars a piece, could only be programmed about 25 to 30 times, and were programmed by assembly.


- 8th November 2004, 19:07
Intel 8080's...
UV EEPROMs with all of 1K storage...
512 Byte RAMS (no K in front of byte)
my long hair...
my eng grad year...

and on the plus side - microsoft hadn't been born yet!
and Disco was king - I luv the nite life!!!

- 9th November 2004, 05:41
Zilog Z80...anybody remind those *powerfull* Sinclair Steven z80, Comodore VIC20....64, 128, Texas instrument TI99/4A,CoCo2, TRS-80 ???

far from Windows... but in '80s ,no programmer has made a windows to tell you "this program perform an illegal operation and will shutdown"

i still don't undertand who's the basta... who did this windows... DO TELL IT TO ME, JUST STOP WORKING

And the guy who make it was pay for that stuff!!!

- 9th November 2004, 06:27
My first computer was the TI-99/4A!

That is where I learned most everything I know about BASIC and where I dabbled in FORTH. Expanded Basic on the 99/4A was pretty powerful. The regular basic not so much. I wish I would have done more with forth even though the language didn't go far. It was easy to learn though.


- 9th November 2004, 09:43
altair 8800 which we copied the pcb layout from a fellow student, and made our own homebrew. complete with those damn beeble leds, and the banks of switches for program load and operation...

- 9th November 2004, 14:38
hehe i begin learning with those i post before for home computer. Dumping/loading program from/to cassette tape, no disk at that time :0)

When i was at college, we uses Z80 Based system to try our *assembly* programs. Yep no cross-assembler to fill target micro, enter each and every lines manually with a 4x5 keypad... was stone age... but working.

- 19th November 2004, 01:39
i could say something about your ages... but i wont!

- 19th November 2004, 01:45
i'm not afraid of my age ... not so old. but i begin young and see a lot of evolution. maybe more interesting to know what was the past to appreciate the present.