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01 – How to start with PICAXE Microcontrollers?

What is the best way to start with PICAXE Microcontrollers and learn the basics? For a newbie the best way will be to download the free PICAXE Programming Editor software from PICAXE and install it. 

When you install the Programming Editor soaftware the following three manuals will also be installed into the editor folder and it is accessible from the ‘Start’ menu.

  • PICAXE Manual 1 – Getting Started
  • PICAXE Manual 2 – Basic Commands
  • PICAXE Manual 3 – Interfacing Circuits

You can start by reading up on PICAXE in the PICAXE Manual 1 from page 12 onwards. This will give you a good background and understanding of what a PICAXE microcontroller is. It covers all the different sizes and pin configurations and it can be a bit intimidating if you are a newbie. 

You will also need PICAXE hardware to experiment with, the manual covers a wide range of PICAXE starter packs that you can select from. At TechnologyTutor we have selected the following options for our training and workshops:

Schools Experimenter Board (AXE092K)
The schools experimenter board is a affordable way to start with PICAXE microcontrollers. The experimenter board uses the PICAXE-08M microcontroller and we have developed a range of interesting tutorials for it that comes in the form of an Ebook.

PICAXE-20X2 Microbot robot (BOT120)
If you are more interested in robotics the PICAXE BOT120 robot is an affordable option. The robot is modular and a ranges of sensors can be fitted to experiment with. It can even be programmed to be remote controlled with the infrared sensor addition.

PICAXE Experimenter Kit (AXE091U)
The AXE091U PICAXE experimenter kit is the one to select if you really want a board that can do everything. It can take the whole range of PICAXE chips and it has place for extra memory, real time clock (optional IC), a DS18B20 digital temperature sensor, place to plugin a computer keyboard, infrared LED and sensor, breadboard and more. Definitely the kit to get if you are serious about learning it all.

Build your own kit on Breadboard
You can always build your own kit on Breadboard if you want to do something more personal and flexible. TechnologyTutor will have a breadboard option available in the near future that includes all the basic components to get you started.

Hopefully you now have an idea where to start and what to do. In the next section we download and install the PICAXE Programming Editor software.