The original PIC was intended to be used with General Instrument’s new CP1600 16-bit central processing unit (CPU). Whilst most people considered the CP1600 a good CPU, it had poor I/O performance, and the 8-bit PIC was developed in 1975 to improve performance of the overall system by offloading I/O tasks from the CPU.
Today, a huge variety of PICs are available with various on-board peripherals (serial communication modules, UARTs, motor control kernels, etc.) and program memory from 256 words to 64K words and more (a “word” is one assembly language instruction, varying in length from 8 to 16 bits, depending on the specific PIC micro family).
PIC and PICmicro are registered trademarks of Microchip Technology. It is generally thought that PIC stands for Peripheral Interface Controller, although General Instruments original acronym for the initial PIC1640 and PIC1650 devices was “Programmable Interface Controller“. The acronym was quickly replaced with “Programmable Intelligent Computer“.
In future this section will be described several projects with PIC’s as well some basic information about programmers.