Developing Embedded Application with BASIC Language on the Microchip PIC18F Microcontroller using the Amicus18 Development system
The BASIC (Beginners’ All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) language has been known as one of the popular high level language choice in embedded system today. In fact the born and development of the personal computer (PC) we use today has been influenced by the used of BASIC language. Today there are many of professional BASIC language development tools variant targeting the Microchip PIC microcontroller.
On this project we will focus on the Amicus18 Proton BASIC for Microchip PIC compiler and the Amicus18 development board from Crownhill Associates and learn of how to use the Amicus18 development environment to interface with the Philips PCA8574 I2C I/O Expander connected to 2×16 Hitachi HDU44780U (or its compatible) LCD.
Unlike the Arduino board which is based on the Atmel 8-bits AVR ATMega328 microcontroller, the Amicus18 board is based on the Microchip 8-bits PIC18F25K20 microcontroller, therefore you could not use the Arduino development environment on the Amicus18 board. The other things that make this two board differ is the Amicus18 board use the PIC18F25K20 microcontroller which is based on the 3.3 volt working voltage while the Arduino board ATMega328 microcontroller used the 5 volt working voltage. Because of the working voltage different, make interfacing the Amicus18 board with many of the available Arduino shield board has to be examined carefully in order to make it work correctly.
One thing that bothers me when first using the Amicus18 board is the type A USB host connector used by the Amicus18 board similar to the type A USB host connector used in many PC (personal computer), because we have to connect the Amicus18 board with the computer in order to program it, therefore we have to use the USB cable that has similar type A USB plug on both ends (Arduino use type B USB host connector). This uncommon type of the USB cable and is quite hard to find in the market, so in this project I used the type A USB gender changer and type A USB cable extender as shown on this following picture:
The Amicus18 Development Environment
The Amicus18 development environment is equipped with a free professional grade Proton BASIC compiler which is specially configured to be used with the Amicus18 board or to be more specific, this special edition of Proton BASIC compiler could only be used with the Microchip PIC18F25K20 microcontroller without any restriction and its fully optimized.
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