Virtual breadboard?


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  1. #1

    Default Virtual breadboard?

    I don't have a clue on some advanced things that may be available and have always wondered about simulating simple picbasic projects without going through the processes of actually using the chip. I know I've heard "simulator" for years as part of mplab? but never spent a single minute looking into any of it. Now, I did a search this morning and ran across Virtual breadboard, which has peaked my interest. I glanced at it and it actually looks like a real breadboard (like fritzing) which is pretty neat.

    I'm an advanced hobbyist but in and out of projects (sometimes needing to ask stupid questions on stuff I never retained). I may have a PBP project going on, get distracted and not touch it for months.

    So, what is this world of simulation all about? I thought it would be great fun to put something on the PC near my armchair and create some projects without moving a muscle. Please fill me in. Virtual breadboard? (yes, no?) Other similar simulators to look at? I like the idea of actual virtual parts. Don't want to mess with anything that will be a pain with a lot of setup etc or just doesn't work. THANKS.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Virtual breadboard?

    For analog electronics, many companies offer simulator software to test and refine your hardware using their parts. Microchip has MINDI for testing op amps, comparators, and many other analog ICs. Linear Technologies and several other companies offer their versions.

    A popular simulation suite that allows you to not only test hardware, but an entire PCB board -- including PIC software -- is Proteus. It'll set you back several hundred dollars, and the newest PIC chips in their library are the PIC18FxxK22; rather outdated.

    The MPLABX Simulator doesn't allow you to view I/O's in real time. You have to set break points and check values in Registers at that time.

    I have not heard of Virtual Breadboard so I cannot comment.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Virtual breadboard?

    There are many simulators, the usual problem is that the simulation is never perfect and that not all (a huge understatement) devices are supported. Proteus is good but very expensive (although an oldish version is included in Proton). Micro-Cap is now free, I've never used it so can't say. The only problem with MpLabX is that it sucks the big one.
    George

  4. #4

    Default Re: Virtual breadboard?

    Well, what I mean is a simulator that actually ties into a programmed microcontroller. Knew about the analog simulators and tried a few but something that actually sees code and all the peripherals. Wishful thinking I'm guessing.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Virtual breadboard?

    Well, what I mean is a simulator that actually ties into a programmed microcontroller. Knew about the analog simulators and tried a few but something that actually sees code and all the peripherals. Wishful thinking I'm guessing.
    That is part of the core function of Proteus. It smooths the whole process from create schematic, run and debug code (not sure about PBP support but Proton is supported natively) to create PCB. The main problem aside from imperfect simulation, is that your choosen PIC device may not be supported.
    George

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Virtual breadboard?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    Well, what I mean is a simulator that actually ties into a programmed microcontroller. Knew about the analog simulators and tried a few but something that actually sees code and all the peripherals. Wishful thinking I'm guessing.
    That would be a "Debugger". I know MPLABX can debug, not sure about Proteus or other "simulators".

  7. #7

    Default Re: Virtual breadboard?

    The point about a traditional debugger is that it has no connection with the real world, switches, lights, spi peripherals etc. etc. Having said that you can use Proteus as a single step ot breakpoint debugger.

    Yes you can write stubs to test programmes interaction with hardware but how do you test the stub.

    The point about something like Proteus is that in theory potential errors are reduced because each stage relys upon the previous one rather than a series of steps in a project each independent from each other. Weather thats worth the price can only be decided person who pays.
    George

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