Let's Make Robots!

Total beginner with a PIC question

Right so Im a trainee at the university as a technician..


Work's have provided me with a University made microcontroller board with a PIC18F4520 on it...


Im a total newb with electronics and Im finding it hard getting to grips with this board, I really want to follow the tutorial with the 85$ robot and for that it requires a PICAXE board...


What I want to know is, for a first timer would it be hard to do it using the 18f4520, bearing in mind I have nearly zero programming experience or would it be easier to just follow the pre written code and just buy the PICAXE, money isnt so much of an issue up to a point..


Any advice by the way for a first timer would be great


I love the videos and the site and hope to become a part of your community! 


 Sam -UK robot newb!

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True PIC microcontrollers are typically programmed in Assembly or C, which aren't easy to figure out for a new programmer.
I'd suggest starting with the PICAXE, which can be programmed in BASIC (very easy to program in) without the need for special programming gear. This makes the jump from a pile of parts to a working robot comparatively short, after which you can start increasing your skills.
Using a straight PIC gives you more flexibility and capability, but there's a steep learning curve in the beginning and you'll spend ages learning and trying things out before you get anywhere satisfying. Once you've worked with something easier like the PICAXE you can either increase your PICAXE skills, or move onto another type of controller.