Programming PIC Microcontrollers in C

Learning to program microcontrollers seems like an impossible task but with the help and support of a Hackerspace you’ll find that it’s actually simple to get started. The members of Harford Hackerspace set out to learn by starting at the basics and gradually taking on more difficult applications. The key to our quick success was group participation. Most of us had at least attempted PIC programming, but it took a group effort to get the whole picture.

In this tutorial we will teach you what we learned. You can then take this new knowledge to your local hackerspace and put it to good use. Let’s get started!

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We got our 501(c)(3) status!

Harford Hackerspace is pleased to announce that we have received our official letter of approval from the Internal Revenue Service giving us 501(c)(3) non-profit, charitable status.

We started our adventure of becoming a charitable organization in July 2009 with the help of Nick Farr from HacDC. Nick took time out of his busy schedule to visit our Hackerspace and go through the rough draft of our IRS Form 1023. Without him we would have made a few mistakes on our form. A very special thanks goes out to you Nick.

In October 2009 we put the stamp on our envelope and sent our application to the IRS hoping for the best. A lot of hard work went into preparing the application. It’s a 26 page application and several of the questions require written responses. To keep the application reviewer from guessing at what we do we included several project examples and  took photos of us working as a group.

On January 11th 2010 we got a request for more information. Apparently this is standard procedure for all applicants. The questions were fairly straight forward and we were able to call the IRS agent directly and ask her questions. After faxing her our answers the lady quickly reviewed them and told us over the phone that she was recommending us for our 501(c)(3) status.

Today, we finally received our approval letter complete with our 501(c)(3) exemption number. It has been a long time coming but I am sure all the hard work will pay off in the near future.

Talking Dirty to MicroControllers!

Wednesday was the day we finally got together and started the tedious process of mastering microcontrollers.  What began with just some simple LED illumination evolved and progressed throughout the evening.  In the end we had individually, but collectively, written programs for interpreting analog inputs, displaying binary values, and performing counting and reset operations.  The evening was pretty fulfilling for some less experienced members and refreshing for the remainder.  Another microcontroller experiementation session is being planned for the near future.