C Programming for the PIC Microcontroller

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Go beyond the jigsaw approach of just using blocks of code you don't understand and become a programmer who really understands how your code works.

Starting with the fundamentals on C programming, this book walks you through where the C language fits with microcontrollers. Next, you'll see how to use the industrial IDE, create and simulate a project, and download your program to an actual PIC microcontroller.
You'll then advance into the main process of a C program and explore in depth the most common commands applied to a PIC microcontroller and see how to use the range of control registers inside the PIC. With C Programming for the PIC Microcontroller as your guide, you'll become a better programmer who can truly say they have written and understand the code they use.
What You'll Learn
  • Use the freely available MPLAX software
  • Build a project and write a program using inputs from switches
  • Create a variable delay with the oscillator source
  • Measure real-world signals using pressure, temperature, and speed inputs
  • Incorporate LCD screens into your projects
  • Apply what you've learned into a simple embedded program
Who This Book Is For
Hobbyists who want to move into the challenging world of embedded programming or students on an engineering course.


Hubert Ward has nearly 25 years of experience in teaching at the Higher National Certificate and The Higher Diploma in Electrical & Electronic Engineering. Hubert has also worked as a college lecturer and consultant in embedded programming. His work has established his expertise in the assembler language and C, MPLAX, and designing electronic circuit and PCBs using ECAD software. Hubert was also the UK technical expert in Mechatronics for three years, training the UK team and taking them to enter in the Skills Olympics in Seoul 2001, resulting in one of the best outcomes to date for the UK in Mechatronics.

Chapter 1: Introduction
This chapter introduces the reader to the aims and objectives of the book. It then covers some of the fundamentals of what is a micro-processor based system and how a micro-controller is different. It then covers the historic development of the 'C' programming language for PIC controllers.

Chapter 2: Our First Program
This chapter covers the following:
  • Process of creating a project in MPLABX and
  • Writing a simple 'C' program and adding comments to the instructions. 
  • It explain what the configuration words for the PIC are and how to set them. 
  • It explains what the PORTS are and how we use the TRIS registers to set the PORTS. It covers what are the main aspects of a 'C' program. 
  • It covers how to set the internal oscillator. 
  • Simulating a basic program within the IDE and simulating the program with a suitable ECAD software.
After reading this chapter you should be able to create a project and write a program that uses inputs from switches and turns on outputs.

Chapter 3: Updating the Program
In this chapter we will cover the IF Then Else instructions and saving the old program.

Chapter 4: Creating a Delay
In this chapter we will one of the most fundamental aspects of any micro-processor based system. How to overcome the fact that micros go too fast. This chapter covers the following:
  • Controlling the Timer0
  • Creating and calling subroutines
After reading this chapter you will be able to create a one second delay with any of the oscillator source and then create a variable delay. You will also learn how to create and use a subroutine

Chapter 5: Applying What We've Learned
In this chapter we are going to apply what we have learnt in a simple program. It is probably the most common program that all new embedded programmers start with. It will take you through a structured approach to design programs.
After reading this chapter you will be able to program s simple model of a set of traffic lights.

Chapter 6: Real World Inputs
In this chapter we will look at using the PIC to measure real world signals such as signals from pressure, temperature and speed. It will cover the following:
  • Using the three registers that control the ADC. 
  • Receiving an analogue input and displaying it as a binary value.
After reading this chapter you will be able to use analogue inputs.

Chapter 7: How to Use The Liquid Crystal Display
This chapter you should be able to use the LCD it covers the following;:
  • How to set up the LCD
  • How to display text on the LCD
  • How to display numbers on the LCD
  • How to use arrays and pointers

Chapter 8: Creating a Header File
This chapter covers how to create a header file. It then uses a header file in a program to control the LCD in 8 bit mode.

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