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What do you do if a PIC fails?

In response to your February 2008 editorial, microprocessors have been a part of projects from the 1970s, including some ambitious computer circuits. Microcontrollers are easy to deal with and they let the builder put something together that’s more sexy than a Morse code buzzer without being blindingly complex.

One thing that concerns me with pre-programmed PICs is what do you do if the PIC fails? Perhaps there’s a third party role there, like supplying PC boards, where a company holds the software and can program a replacement PIC.

Educationally, your PIC-based articles have a good history of setting out the explanation of both the role of the PIC and the role of the interfacing circuitry. If you wanted to reinforce this training you could set out a circuit with optional PIC or discrete sections, eg, an analog-driven alarm for the tank level kit. I see this as a training exercise.

From a trade/industrial perspective, these projects don’t expose the builder to some of the standards used in such environments. Industrial microcontrollers are expensive but you have advertisers who market more modestly-priced modules. Perhaps SILICON CHIP could showcase either real applications of these or some tertiary skills training using such boards?

Some of your other projects using simple discrete designs, butchering consumer electronics or using surplus parts round off your electronic skills environment. Well done, SILICON CHIP!

Kevin Shackleton,
Dandaragan, WA.

Comment: it is possible to obtain programmed micros from www.rcsradio.com.au who also supply PC boards for our projects.

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