8 Sep 2005 svo   » (Master)

Assembled Akipaki again last night. The new construction is much sturdier and easier to disassemble/assemble than previous duct-tape-and-wire one. Pics are on the project page.

Decided to think about batteries later and focus on the PID control loop instead, while using external power. The RC servos seem to brilliantly withstand +12V without much trouble. The current was limited during the test though, so I'm still not sure yet. But anyway it's very nice to see that L6204 bridge is not heating, fully lobotomized servos spin and the controller is getting its +5V well refined and without spikes.

I wonder why it's next to impossible to buy raw gearhead motors, at least here? I have to buy a servo and rip it apart. Weird. Don't RC models of some kind need motors too?

Now I can get back to the firmware. That's the part I've been avoiding for quite a while.

RANT ON

The reason is the crippled PIC16 architecture. Strange use of flags coupled with anti-intuitive skip-instead-of-branch conditionals make arithmetics a little complicated. And those banks.. did they really have to spread all registers across all 4 available banks? Could not they just stay in one bank? The code on a multipage PIC (like the 16F873A i'm using) consists mostly of BANKSEL instructions, each of which is translating into 2 bit set instructions.. And since it's barely possible to know which bank was selected beforehand, it makes it 3 cycles per instruction (user register file is banked too), so where's the advantage of RISC??? Microchip, tell me? It's great that I haven't yet crossed the first program page boundary - the day when my code spans across 2 pages is the day of doom - all calls would have to become long-calls. And it's not really surprising that there's not a single decent C compiler for this abomination of computing, let alone freeware one.

The only thing that's great about PIC's is documentation though. I guess that's how they get people hooked. At least that's how it happened to me - first one's free.

AVR. AVR. AVR.

RANT OFF

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