Hans' PComp Journal
I looked into many microcontroller options because I want to be able to use a fully functional programming language with microcontrollers. I don't want to be hobbled by various proprietary versions of BASIC. Plus I wanted to be able to tap into the vast amounts of freely available code out there and using C is the best way to do that.
I chose the PIC16F877 because its fully loaded, and therefore a good platform for learning.
Coming from a UNIX background, I am big into the command line, and free software (GPL, open source, etc.). So this is the route that I am pursuing with the PIC. There are many free compilers, programmers, assemblers, etc. for the PIC. I chose sdcc for the compiler, picp for the programmer, and GNU Pic Utils for its assembler and C library. These tools run under Linux and Mac OS X, and maybe Windows using Cygwin
How to do In-Circuit Serial Programming with the PIC 16F87x or 16F62x.
I spent many many hours trying to figure out why my PIC serial port only output gibberish. My problem ended up being solved by a suggestion from Cindy Jeffers: the 20 MHz crystal is not stable enough.