Re: [mowbot] mowbot brains

Byron A Jeff (byron nospam at
Mon, 3 May 1999 14:32:31 -0400 (EDT)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Byron A Jeff <byron nospam at>
> To: mowbot nospam at <mowbot nospam at>
> Date: Sunday, May 02, 1999 2:06 PM
> Subject: Re: [mowbot] mowbot brains
> Hear Hear, I second everything you said avout PICS. I'm probably going to
> build my mowbot brains out of a PIC16C505. I've got a few (a key point - "a
> part in hand is worth two in the catalog") They are a very inexpensive chip
> (US$0.90 for 1, $0.50 for 100,000) and look like they have enough I/O.
> To the fellow using 555's - Microcontrollers are pretty complicated to
> learn. That's why they are so much fun. You're learning curve will be
> easiest if you go with one of the PIC basic add-ons. OTOH, if you ever want
> to make a living programming microcontrollers, study assembler. It is not
> that hard to pick up.

The PIC basic sparked something I forgot. I have been working on (like forever)
a system similar to the Parallax BASIC Stamp. The Stamp is a small PIC based
system that lets you program the board in BASIC. The program resides on a
serial EEPROM while an interpreter lives in the PIC program memory. The PIC
runs by fetching the BASIC program tokens from the EEPROM and interpreting
them. You lose the speed advantage but gain programming in a high level
language, fast turnaround (no need to wait for a part to erase to reuse),
in circuit programmability, and no need for an EPROM eraser.

My system is C based. Called NPCI (Nano Pseudo C Interpreted). It has a lot
of nice features: block structured (no gotos), C-like syntax, bit operators,
and my favorite: assembly subprograms that can be added to the interpreter
and called from a NPCI program.

One problem though is that it's unfinished work. I'm also trying the balance
the nature of Open Source Software, which I love, and basic capitalism,
which I love too. So I'm trying to figure out a license where the code is
freely available for hobby, design, and other not or not-yet for profit
activities, then have a pay scheme when you sell product with NPCI embedded.
King of like a royalty where a royalty of $0.00 is $0.00 but a royalty of
$39.95 (the cost of the NPCI embedded product) is something other than $0.00

I'm hoping to spend a couple of days on it in the next month or so and get it
back into a usable state.

I'll keep you folks posted.