Eric Wetzel on 17 Jun 2010 05:34:51 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] PIC Programmers?

On Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 5:49 AM, Kyle Winfree <> wrote:
> Hi Tom,
>      Have you ever done any audio projects with either?  Or analog
> output of any kind?  I haven't decided on an mp yet because I'm so
> unsure of analog output support.
> Thanks,
> Kyle

I've had a lot of experience with Microchip's PIC microcontroller and
a little experience with Atmel's AVR family. Microchip doesn't make or
sell a C compiler for their 8-bit micros, so it's assembly or a
third-party C compiler. Their assembler and MPLAB IDE is free as in
beer, but not free as in speech, and only available for Windows. They
do officially support a C compiler for their 16-bit product line (the
PIC24s and dsPICs); it's kindof a bastardized fork of gcc. In my
experience it's been difficult to compile for Linux, but Xiaofan has
done a lot of work and support in this area
( In contrast, Atmel's toolchain seems to
be much closer to stock GNU and much more cross-platform.

For hobbyism, the place where I feel these companies really differ is
in sample availability. Microchip has sampled me many parts quickly
and for free over the years. My three sample request experiences with
Atmel have been atrocious. One came 6 months later, one never came,
and the most recent one (through a distributor) I had to get the
distributor to fill because Atmel wasn't even responding to THEM!

Regarding audio, I've built a breadboard version of Ladyada's MintyMP3
(, which is based on a PIC18. She
uses a 24-bit resolution, stereo audio DAC with an SPI interface from
Texas Instruments that's pretty cheap. Also, TI samples pretty easily.

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