A: Using the PicBasic compiler, PicStic 1-3’s are 100% Basic Stamp 1 compatible. If you have an existing BS1 program, it can be compiled using the PicBasic compiler and executed exactly as before (including time related functions).
The only exception to this rule is the DEBUG command. Because the PicStic uses a compiler, interactive features like debug are not compiled with the program. PicStic 1-3 is also pin for pin compatible with the S1. Of course, PicStic 1-3 have more memory space and additional optional features you may want to take advantage of.
Q: Does PicStic 1-4 have more execution speed than either the BS1 or BS2?
A: BASIC Stamps use a BASIC interpreter which executes the basic program line by line. When using the PicBasic or C compilers, the program is converted into fast assembly-language routines before loading into the PicStic. Compilers are inherently faster than interpreters.
For example, the PicBasic compiler is typically 15 times faster than the BS1 (10.5 times faster than the BS2) and some instructions are 100 times faster.
Q: Can the Parallax Basic Stamp development system be used with the PicStic?
A: No, it may not be used with the PicStic. The Basic Stamps are interpreted BASIC devices, and the development system is a tokenized BASIC downloader. PicStics use an EEPROM-programmable processor with a compiled program. As a compiler rather than an interpreter, it requires different development software. In addition, PicStic uses an EEPROM programmer rather than a simple serial downloader.
So yes you will need a PicStic development system to program a PicStic. Of course, since the PicStic is still BS1-compatible, one of the best ways to develop code for it might be to continue using a regular BS1 with DEBUG and then use the PicStics for volume OEM production.
Q: How generic is the PicStic? Do I always have to use PicBasic?
A: The PicStic uses the PIC16F84 processor with optional ADC or Real Time Clock (RTC) hardware. Even though it is packaged with a BS1 pin-compatible layout, it is still an EEPROM PIC, and it executes PIC assembly-language programs.
PicStic can be programmed with any PIC EEPROM programmer capable of serial-mode programming. A variety of commercial programmers are available.
Q: How fast is the PicStic ADC?
A: The LTC1298 12 bit ADC on the PicStic 3 has a fast conversion time. The ADC can provide 11,000 samples per second should you care to exercise it that often.
Q: How much current can I draw from the PicStic’s onboard regulator?
A: PicStic incorporates a heftier regulator than that of the BS1. It is also reverse voltage protected, unlike the BS1. How much current you can draw from it for powering external devices is a matter of total dissipation. At a 9-V input and 25° C operation, 100 mA of output current is typically available. Please see the chart in the PicStic data sheet for more information.
Q: Why is there 2 more I/O lines on PicStic than on the BS1?
A: PicStic has the same eight general-purpose I/O lines as the BS1 supported in PicBasic. Because it is not serial programmed, the two programming lines are no longer required. One of them (pin 4) is always available, while the other (pin 3) is shared with the Real Time Clock on the PicStic 2. Therefore, PicStics have 10 lines of I/O.
Q: Does PicStic support interrupts?
A: Yes, provided you are using assembly language or an assembly-language call from PicBasic or C. The Pic16F84 has 4 interrupts sources available.