Introduction

MicroCode Studio is a powerful, visual Integrated Development Environment (IDE) with In Circuit Debugging (ICD) capability designed specifically for microEngineering Labs PICBASIC PRO™ compiler.

The main editor provides full syntax highlighting of your code with context sensitive keyword help and syntax hints. The code explorer allows you to automatically jump to include files, defines, constants, variables, aliases and modifiers, symbols and labels, that are contained within your source code. Full cut, copy, paste and undo is provided, together with search and replace features.

  • Full syntax highlighting of your source code
  • Quickly jump to include files, symbols, defines, variables and labels using the code explorer window
  • Identify and correct compilation and assembler errors
  • View serial output from your microcontroller
  • Keyword based context sensitive help
  • In Circuit Debug (ICD) support. View variables and see which code lines are being executed as the program is running

Compilation and assembler errors can easily be identified and corrected using the error results window. Just click on a compilation error and MicroCode Studio will automatically take you to the error line. MicroCode Studio even comes with a serial communications window, allowing you to debug and view serial output from your microcontroller.

In Circuit Debugger (ICD)

The MicroCode Studio In Circuit Debugger (ICD) enables you to execute a PICBASIC program on a host PIC microcontroller and view variable values, Special Function Registers (SFR), memory and EEPROM as the program is running. Each line of source code is animated in the main editor window, showing you which program line is currently being executed by the host microcontroller. You can even toggle multiple breakpoints and step through your PICBasic code line by line.

ICD Animation

Using the MicroCode Studio ICD can really help accelerate program development. It's also a lot of fun and a great tool for learning more about programming PIC microcontrollers. The MicroCode Studio ICD does not require any special hardware to host the microcontroller. However, you will need a host board that supports RS232 serial communication. Many other boards will support the MicroCode Studio ICD. All you have to do is connect your chosen board to the computer running MicroCode Studio using a suitable cable.  For example, a USB to serial converter cable. Alternatively, you can build your own board that will connect to the MicroCode Studio ICD.

The above diagram has an optional software reset circuit. This is really useful when using a bootloader.

The MicroCode Studio ICD communicates with the microcontroller using its hardware USART. You should refer the the Microchip data sheet for the microcontroller you are using if you are unsure which pins the device uses for its USART. For example, the PIC16F628A uses PORTB.1 for RX and PORTB.2 for TX. The PIC16F877A uses PORTC.7 for RX and PORTC.6 for TX.

The ICD will work with microcontrollers running at different clock speeds.  However, it is essential that your PBP code has the correct oscillator setting defined. By default, this is 4MHz. If your target device is running at a different speed, you must make sure the appropriate define is used in your PICBasic code. For example, if you have a microcontroller running at 20MHz, use the following statement at the beginning of your program:

DEFINE OSC 20

Failing to set the correct oscillator setting causes problems for the ICD. In short, if the setting in your code does not match the actual speed of your PIC microcontroller, the ICD will not work.