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Arduino Programming

Introduces Arduino Programming to PICAXE users

There has been a lot of interest in stepping up to the Arduino by PICAXE users. Since the Arduino programming laguage is "C" like and not "BASIC", there are significant differents in the rules and format and it can be a difficult change.

The are a lot of good books out there on Arduino Programmng. I came across one that is a free download and does a great job in explainining how to program the Arduino. 


The book is called "Open Softwear" and was written at  Malmo University School of Arts and Commumication. The book  was written for pwople who want to make "wearable" microprocessor circuits and does go into their construction. But the second part of the book has a great section on programming. 

Here is the link:



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I found out you can actually use arduino c to program bare AVRs, this once you upload the bootloader into the chip of course.

If you have a real* programmer (ISP) you don't even need the bootloader. That has the added benefit of an extra 2k of program space too.

* "real" being a relative term. You can use the big one from Atmel, other ISPs, or even a wad of wires sticking out of your parallel port (if you have one)

Yes, I wish there was a small and cheap arduino-8pin or something like that. Would that be possible?

There is a project out there to port the Arduino environment to smaller AVRs.  There are issues with it (libraries that are written with the current chip in mind.)




I don't know the answer, but it is probably a combination of demand, room on the chip, and marketing.

It is interesting how both systems came into being. 

The PICAXE was developed as a government funded project, back when, as a cheap knock off to the BASIC Stamp, in order to put microprocessors in the hands of 13 year old British school boys. Certain compromises 9 engineering decisions) were made to keep the cost as low as possible, and acknowledgeingg that most projects would be very simple. It was successful for the time and hobbyists found the PICAXE a great introduction to micros. The problem now is that there is a lot of old baggage built into the PICAXE to keep it "backwards compatible" for the school systems. Fortuantely, with new microschip silicon, more can be included to help keep up. Rev_Ed tried to keep a monopoly on chips boards and kits in order to keep their profits up. Therre are some fascinatng horror stories about this.

The Arduino was developed years later with newer silicon as an easy to use open source project for artists to use micros in their works. Expansion wa dione through stackable "shields" avoiding rats nest working and errors. Open source meant software, schemtics and pcb layouts were published and that a large number of manufacuters and end users coud freely make and sell Ardino compatitble products, and it shows with all that is availible ad the amazing gporwth and popularity of Arduino.

Again, both are good products, it all depends on your end use. 


But why would PICAXE users go over to Arduino?

I'm just asking, I'm a arduino user myself and I'm curious to what the pros & cons are.

I use both.

Good question, both are excellent choices. Hving said that, let's not start of Arduino vs PICAXE flame war. It is a personal preference and can be discussed at length.

It depends on what you want to do. For small projects, I'll use a PICAXE 08M or 14M. Once I get to a18 or  28 pin project, its definitely an Arduino. 

The Aduino has arrays, trig functions, strings, double digit precision. Yes all of which have work arounds separately into the PICAXE. 

The Arduino can do POV displays where the PICAXE is just too slow.

There is something very handy about the Aduino stackable shield making expansion and building very easy and clean.

Do a search on Aruino projects vs PICAXE Projects on GOOGLE, Instructabl;es, Hackaday, ets., there are many more Arduino projects and write ups than PICAXE. Chances wre your project hs already been done or you can get a good startng point.

The Arduino is suported by countless manufacturers both large and small, around the world. The PICAXE by just one Rev_Ed. 

Most Arduino vendors supply the schematics and pcb layouts, so you can either buy it to make your own.

That's my 2 cents




Nice find Myc Holmes.

The pdf contains a super guide covering all basic inputs and outputs. (inc sensors)

They have devised some amazing sensor combinations too - which really took my eye......


Just one thing i didn't get about arduino: the language you use to program it is the same used by folks using bare AVRs? ...it would make sense since arduinos have atmegas on them.

If you want to go in the details, the Arduino guys just wrapped the lower level C routines in nice C++ classes.

If you choose to you can program the Arduino in bare C, in assembler or BASIC, or any other language as long as it compiles the right .hex format.