Brad - Keys In Locked Truck

12.08.2014 – PIC & Truck

It’s interesting that these two words in the title show up together like this.  I didn’t plan it… 🙂  I have some things to say about the PIC24 chip, but first, the truck….

Well, it turns out that I locked my keys in my truck and had to “pick” the lock last night.  And, I even got a pic of it (  pun intended ).  But, seriously…  The last few times I have locked my keys in a vehicle (over 10 years or so), I have #1) always called a locksmith to do it, and #2) the damn keys are in the same freaking place! – I tend to leave them on the front driver seat.  I guess I throw ’em there as I’m hauling out supplies from the back and the passenger seat.  I’m gathering things and I press the auto-lock thing on the door, shut the door… and whoops!  It’s too late.

I remember, in Culver City, California, a long time ago, I did the same thing.  This time at a 7-11 store parking lot right next to a dry cleaning shop.  I figured that would be a good place to borrow a coat hanger, so I went in and got one.  I tried for about 30 minutes and had help from a few other dudes, and we laughed and tried.  But, we couldn’t get it that time.  I called the locksmith from the 7-11 pay phone (my phone was inside ugh).


But, anyway this time, I was home.  I had tools.  And, instead of calling out for assistance, I just figured I’d try to see if I could hack that shit up.  So, I got a screwdriver and a big crescent wrench, wedged them in between the door and the frame with force (I pierced some weather stripping, but oh well).  I got a coat hanger from my closet, modified it, got a light, and spent about 20 minutes getting it placed over the auto-lock button.  I locked it a few times.  Nope not what I wanted.  But, soon enough, I pressed the end of the coat hanger hard enough on the unlock button to pop the lock and open the door and get my keys sitting right there on the seat.  Felt good.

Brad - Keys In Locked Truck

And now for the PIC talk…  So, I just heard that Microchip released a cross-platform version of their MPLAB IDE that goes with PICkit 3, and well… I’m interested.  And, while I usually have been going barebones with my toolchain (like with my ARM and AVR chains from the command line using makefiles), it brought attention back to Microchip as I was looking through the datasheet for the PIC24FJ256DA206.  The -206 postfix means more data memory (96K yess!).  And, there’s so much more that I did not know about.  I officially have this on my watch list.

I am primarily a Mac OS X user and I like to program code from that.  All of my dev tools and habits and quick keys and Unix commands are here.  It’s just how it evolved and that’s my preference now.  And, well, chip manufacturers don’t always make tools for their chip programming/debugging that are that friendly towards Mac users.  Might be a cost thing.  Might be a culture thing.  I don’t know.  It was one thing lacking from both Atmel and Texas Instruments when I used their products in the past.  But, it looks like I might be able to use Microchip’s tools (or guts, if I investigate how to build a barebones toolchain for it from the Terminal).  Their documentation is great, as well.  I’d like to look into this.

Microchip XC16 Compiler Snippet

Their 16-bit compiler is a port of GCC and they’ve gone forward with their support of “Apple OS X” (it says above) in their compiler and toolchain, up the stream, as well.  I’m really loving this.  I might be turning this corner.  And, since I got a really good impression of this chip for my projects, before I even investigated the IDE, I’m really willing to see what can be done, here.  It’s looking promising.

Now that the first of the holidays is over and I’m feeling better from my cold, I can get back in to finishing up my FFT demo, programming the drivers for those other displays, and starting those LED matrix snakes for my paintings. I have that 16-bit PIC24 on my radar, right now… and with projects waiting.  However, first, I have to finish up the site and launch it.  It’s going well so far.