Friday, March 4, 2011

PICAXE 14M Board

I recently bought a PIC-AXE starter kit from Sparkfun in an effort to get more embedded/ microprocessor programming experience. The compiler uses a very simple high-level language (BASIC), so it was easy to pick up.

I wanted to start out with a 'Hello World'-type project. Since interfacing with an LCD is much more complex, i just went with blinking an LED. The logic for this operation was incredibly simple - just 5 lines of code:
main: high 0
pause 1000
low 0
pause 1000
goto main
Building the circuit was slightly more tricky, but still easy. I made a mistake that I had to fix before it worked. Since I'm using the project board, which has all the 14M's outputs going through the ULN2803 (Darlington transistor array), I had to connect the LED in series with a 330Ω resistor, between 4.5V and the transistor output pin. Initially, I had it between the output pin and ground, so it didn't work.

Such a simple circuit, but it represented a big break through for me in the learning process. I'm looking forward into digging more into Picaxe Microcontroller Projects for the Evil Genius. I really like this book so far...(and no, not just because of the title)!

Here's my beautifully soldered board ::toot toot::