Let's Make Robots!

What's the difference between the BS programming language and PIC's Language?

I've been programming a BASIC Stamp II, and so-far-so-good. However, one of the main things that has bothered me about it is its cost. I couldn't afford to build all my robots with a BS II. 


I was wondering, as this is one of my biggest concerns, what's the difference between the BASIC Stamp programming Language and the PIC language? This may seem like a dumb question, but keep in mind that I'm pretty new to all this.

 Seeing that there's a PIC chip inside the BS II, I'm hoping that there's no difference.

 The only BS programing is the editor for the BS II. Can I switch to PIC easily without learning another language? 

And please, just answer the question without a barrage of insults towards the BS Family. I know where many of you stand in this. 


Thank you for your help. One day I might be good at this kind of thing. :)


Isn't there 1 free editor that you can use for all PICs? I got the "Serial PIC Programmer". How does the programming in this editor differ from that of the BS editor?

 Krumlink mentioned PICBASIC. Is that compatible with the axe023, PICAXE 28-X1, and pretty much all the "standard" PICS?

 Can I convert Frits's beginners tutorial code into Swordfish Basic? 

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Checking from Microchips site, the current price for the 18F1320 in PDIP package appears to be $2.95 for low quantities to $2.81 for 100+

 Additionally, there is a needed crystal/oscillator/resonator to get the device to work. Resonators are cheap, found a 40 MHz one for 0.64 from Digikey.

And a voltage regulator to supply the chip. An LM2937ET-5.0 is $2.06 in low quantities at Digikey.

And headers to access the signals easily. A 40 pin strip is $2.43.

And a serial level translator chip, to get TTL level serial to RS-232 levels. A MAX233CPP+G36 costs $7.45 in low quantities and doesn't require external caps.

And there are caps needed for the voltage regulator, as well as a decoupling cap or 2 for good measure. Maybe another $1.

And a PCB to put it all on. Places like ExpressPCB and other sometimes have specials for 3 boards for $99. You could even panelize the device if you wanted to get several more boards. Board cost could go to $2 if you squeeze enough.

In addition to having it assembled, if your time assembling boards is worth anything. Probably $4 for a simple one.

So that comes up to about  $22.53 each to get a PIC 18F1320 up close to the level of a Basic Stamp 2. Not including the shipping of these parts. 

Of course if your time is worthless as far as assembly, and you'd rather use a proto board than have an easy to solder PCB, you could probably get it down to $19 each.

Or you could get a Stamp Stack II from Solarbotics or HVWTech for $35, operating the same as a Basic Stamp 2 in an easier to use package. Or an OEM Basic Stamp 2 in kit from Parallax for $31. Or get a Homebrew Basic Stamp 2 from Dr Peter Anderson  for $24.95 plus shipping.

Maybe there isn't such a big difference...


You know, I don't think I've ever looked at the price of a PIC? Micochip give you them a dozen at a time, and they even pay the postage! So long as you don't get more than 12 per month (who needs more than that?) you can have 3 of 4 different types each month.

Anyway, that aside, you're quite correct: we can always trade off time against money. I know a great shop where you can buy a bipedal walking robot for $800 and you don't need to do any assembly at all, but that's not really robotics...! 

Yes, I agree BOA, samples can be very good to have fun with, to build up. But my main issue was with the comparison of the price of a microcontoller to that of a small development system. 

Can't say I've sampled 12 of any type in a month, but do have a few freebie AVRs hanging about.  I think I've gotten a few h-bridges too, and some other devices.

 Each person does have their own definition of what makes thier hobby. I still have a difficulty calling a remote controlled device a robot, though some Battlebots are very sophisticated. All that craftsmanship, just to see it ripped up in an arena! I did know a robot builder that was trying to smelt his own metal, to put in piece molds for his robot projects. I don't think he ever tried growing silicon crystals though, for making his own ICs or MCUs. Most of my robots are homebuilt, though I do have 2 or 3 kit robots. Oh, and one RC conversion. It is more fun getting something put together as you envision it. Most of these do have microcontroller development boards on, rather than MCU systems I've put together. 

Yes. You have to laugh, though: I wonder if we could create the electrons from which the component parts are manufactured?

Reminds me of this XKCD comic. :)


Lol! so true...

That is incredably biased BTW. I have not checked the price of the 18F1320 since it was 2.07! Digikey buys from the same supplier then adds a dollar to every product they have. Most of your parts are incredably expensive. You can get a 5VDC regulator for a quarter. Caps for 10 cents each. you can get free PCB's done up to 500dollars worth. ST232 for 1.50. Internal oscilliator.

 Also I noticed that you said that it needs a oscilliator to work. You obviously are guessing at what you are trying to get.

Look in the mirror kid, for all the bias you want.



Those prices are not accurate of actual parts either. No way 2 capacitors cost 1 dollar. 7 dollars for a 232?

I did not hide how I found pricing. I generally provide back-up and details for the statements I post. Since you find it difficult to look this up yourself, check these :

MAX233CPP+G36 from Digikey  7.45 just as stated. This was the first 232 transceiver I came across that did not require external capacitors, to allow for an easier hook-up.

 As stated in my post, I figured ABOUT a dollar for 3 caps not 2. For the low drop out reg I posted, a needed 10 uF electrolytic cap at Digikey is a Panasonic ECE-A1CKA100 priced at 14 cents. Additionally, here is a Vishay K104Z15Y5VE5TL2 0.1 uF cap that can be had at 0.066 for a minimum order of 10. Since only 2 would be needed, that comes to a whole 13.2 cents. So yeah, I overestimated by about 73 cents. Congratulations, ya got me in my evil scheme.