Programming the PIC Microcontroller

I recently received some of the ancient PIC microcontrollers from my coach that he no longer wanted. I have 2 of the cortexes, 1 of the huge RC controllers, 2 of the yellow radios, and a battery + charger.

However, I don’t have any of the programming hardware kits, and I also don’t have $50 to buy one. Are there any other ways to get a program to the cortex? Would a generic usb-to-rj12 adapter do the trick? If not are there any other ways to program the PIC Microcontrollers without it?


Not as far as I know.
Even if you buy one of the new programming adapters, I’m not sure if the old versions of ROBOTC (you would need 3.65 or earlier) etc. even support that newer adapter with the pic, someone who has a system would need to test for you and verify (and no, I don’t have a pic anymore so can’t help).


Do you know anyone with a working PIC that could test it?


Not any more.
The only ones our team had around I think were scrapped.

and just to clarify what I said, prior to 2012 (I think) we used a different programming adapter, different driver needed on the PC etc. I know both old and new work for the cortex, but I don’t know if we ever tested the new one with a pic from ROBOTC.

@Foster was a big fan of the pic, perhaps he can help.

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So what would I need to acquire to make the PIC system work? I currently have:

  • 2 PIC cortexes
  • 1 big RC controller
  • 2 yellow radios
  • 2 battery
  • A computer on which I can install any necessary software

@Foster would you know anything about this?


You need the small crystal for the yellow radio and the yellow cord to plug it into the cortex.
You need the big (L shape) crystal for the back of the RC radio.
You need a serial/usb to RJ connecter programming cable.

The crystals is how you pick what channel to run on. There is 30 pairs, 10 pairs were public channels, 20 pairs were used only for competitions, that is how they kept robots from interfering with each other.

The VEX RF channels are crystal controlled. The basic kit comes with channel 61, the add on transmitter/reciever uses channel 89. There are two kits of 4 channels each that can be purchased. The transmitter is FM modulated
Channel 61, 75.410 Mhz - Starter kit
Channel 63, 75.450 Mhz - Upgrade kit B
Channel 65, 75.490 Mhz - Upgrade kit A
Channel 67, 75.530 Mhz - Upgrade kit B
Channel 69, 75.570 Mhz - Upgrade kit A
Channel 81, 75.810 Mhz - Upgrade kit A
Channel 83, 75.850 Mhz - Upgrade kit B
Channel 85, 75.890 Mhz - Upgrade kit A
Channel 87, 75.930 Mhz - Upgrade kit B
Channel 89, 75.970 MHz - Additional receiver kit

The competition kit is not sold, it is only for events.
Channel 62, 75.430 Mhz - Competition kit
Channel 64, 75.470 Mhz - Competition kit
Channel 66, 75.510 Mhz - Competition kit
Channel 68, 75.550 Mhz - Competition kit
Channel 70, 75.590 Mhz - Competition kit
Channel 71, 75.610 Mhz - Competition kit
Channel 72, 75.630 Mhz - Competition kit
Channel 73, 75.650 Mhz - Competition kit
Channel 74, 75.670 Mhz - Competition kit
Channel 75, 75.690 Mhz - Competition kit
Channel 76, 75.710 Mhz - Competition kit
Channel 77, 75.730 Mhz - Competition kit
Channel 78, 75.750 Mhz - Competition kit
Channel 79, 75.770 Mhz - Competition kit
Channel 80, 75.790 Mhz - Competition kit
Channel 82, 75.830 Mhz - Competition kit
Channel 84, 75.870 Mhz - Competition kit
Channel 86, 75.910 Mhz - Competition kit
Channel 88, 75.950 Mhz - Competition kit
Channel 90, 75.990 Mhz - Competition kit

In terms of software, easyC might be better. It has a usercode feature for text, but I know it supports the PIC.

Foster, do you know if the new style (2012 and later) programming cable works with the PIC ?

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I have 2 crystal things that say 61 on them


Which port does the programming cable plug into?


The orange cable plugged into the serial port.

Would something like this work for programming?

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It is serial not ethernet.

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I don’t know, I box all the stuff that works to the stuff that works. I can mess around with them and see what works.

I’ll most likely send @Sylvie a cable that does work.

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You might find the Inventor’s Guide helpful. There is a rather impressive amount of customization you can do, including using sensors, even without programming. Its a free download.


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I know exactly who could help you!

This guy knows everything about programming PIC microcontrollers:

Sorry, I couldn’t resist! :smile:

I have no idea what it takes to program them, but I hope you can get them to work. :heart:


Or post to @Quazar, he know a lot about the PIC 0.5 setup.

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