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PICAXE Self Training Course

If you want to learn how to use the PICAXE microcontroller and you want to master it on your own without having to attend workshops or classes, there aren’t that many options available to you. You can purchase one of the training kits or boards but they don’t come with a comprehensive training course only a compact booklet, showing a couple of circuit diagrams. If you’re a beginner you will find it very difficult to get started and even the very basics will be daunting. The PICAXE Self Training Course from Technology Tutor will fill this void. 

Most schools, colleges and universities are on tight budgets and find it difficult to obtain affordable technology training material and equipment. The PICAXE Self Training Course kit is very good value for money and everything possible has been done to keep costs down. The course is designed around the breadboard with loose components. This saves the printed circuit board developing cost and it also has the advantage that all the components in the kit can be used in future projects after you have completed the training course. Most training boards became redundant once you have mastered all the experiments. This is not the case with this PICAXE Self Training Course. After mastering the course the kit components can be used in your very own projects, saving you money.

What is the PICAXE self training course?
The PICAXE self training course is an affordable, value for money, hands-on, practical training course build around the PICAXE-18M2 microcontroller. This course will cover a broad spectrum of experiments intended for beginners as well as other more advanced users. The course will start with basic principals and demonstrate them practically with hands-on experiments. More advanced experiments will build upon knowledge learned in earlier experiments to ensure a solid understanding of how everything fits together.

The following will be covered in each experiment:

  1. The wiring diagram of the experiment
  2. The breadboard representation of the experiment
  3. A Wiring schedule listing every wiring connection in the experiment
  4. The basic programming commands used in the experiment will be explained and demonstrated.
  5. The programming code in basic for the experiment
  6. A conclusion and practical applications of the experiment

Who is the PICAXE self training course for?
The PICAXE self training course is for anybody that wants to learn and master the PICAXE microcontroller. The course starts off with basic electronic concepts so that everyone will be able to master PICAXE even if you are new to electronics and microcontrollers. The course was developed for a wide audience and everyone will be able to master the PICAXE. This include beginners starting a new hobby, school children, college or university students or anyone who wants to use PICAXE microcontrollers for whatever reason. There is currently a new DIY drive on in the world. More and more people want to build DIY technology projects to solve complex problems. The PICAXE is extremely well suited for the new DIY person providing easy, cost effective solutions for complex technology problems.

Experiments in the PICAXE self training course
The PICAXE self training course will cover a number of experiments starting with very basic experiments and slowly building up to more advanced experiments. The planned list of experiments are:

  1. Switch a LED on and off – The goal of experiment 1 is to switch a LED on and off programmatically. That is write a program for the PICAXE-18M2 to switch a LED on for a period of time and then switch it off for a period of time and continue to switch the LED on and off indefinitely. The experiment will also illustrate the two methods to switch a LED on with a high output or a low output.
  2. Read the status of a switch – The goal of experiment 2 is to read the status of a switch as a digital input and make decisions based on the status.  To illustrate this a LED is switched on for 2 seconds every time a button is pressed. Experiment 2 can be downloaded from the download page as an example of the layout and content of the experiments. 
  3. Create a Cylon Scanner – The goal of experiment 3 is to build a Cylon scanner with 8 LED’s. The program switches on the first LED for a time and then switches the first LED off and the second LED on for the same amount of time. The process is repeated until the last LED is switched on. Then the direction is reversed and LED 7 is switched on and then LED 6 until we get to LED 1 and then we start over again. The result is that the lit LED seems to move continuously from left to right and then back from right to left like a Cylon Scanner.
  4. Counting in Binary – The goal is to have a closer look at binary and see how one would count in binary and also learn a how to use the outpins and dirs register to setup and use pins as outputs to display variables.
  5. Dim a LED and change the brightness from off to full on – The goal of experiment 5 is to find a solution to the problem of dimming a LED in a digital environment where the LED is either ON or OFF. Two tactile switches are used, one to increase the LED’s light intensity and the other to decrease the LED’s light intensity. This experiment illustrate the use of PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) to limit power to devices, in our case a LED but it can also be used to control motors and many other electrical devices.
  6. Implementing a parallel 16×2 LCD – The goal of experiment 6 is to investigate the use and implementation of a LCD display on the PICAXE-18M2. Get to know the commands and functions available to control the LCD screen and learn how to use them in your applications. Any decent application on PICAXE will need a LCD display and this is why this experiment is an important building block.
  7. Debouncing a switch
  8. Using the Piezo speaker
  9. Read LDR and display value on LCD display
  10. Switch LEDs on and off with a TV remote
  11. Use a DS18B20 to Read and Display the temperature
  12. Setup a DS1307 real-time clock and display time and date on LCD display
  13. Send text from the PICAXE to a PC
  14. Read and write to the external I2C memory
What is in the PICAXE Self Training Kit?
The PICAXE self training kit was designed with the goal to provide a complete and comprehensive training tool that has all the building blocks and components in it with out the need to purchase anything else. Even the power supply and USB programming cables are included in the kit. This ensures that the PICAXE self training course is very good value for your money.
Item Description Number Function


830 Point Breadboard


For solderless construction of experiments


Breadboard Power supply module. The power supply can be driven from a 6.5-12 V dc or USB power source.


Providing +5V power to both rails of the breadboard. It can also provide 3.3V but we will only make use of the +5V supply.


USB 2.0 Male to Male Cable


Plug into PC’s USB port to provide the Breadboard Power supply with power.


Solderless Breadboard Jumper Wires (70 wires)


Used to construct the circuits on the Breadboard


Serial to USB cable with drivers on a CD


Used to program the PICAXE microcontroller using a USB port instead of a serial port.


Serial Programming Cable


Used to connect the PICAXE to the serial port of the USB to RS232 converter.


PICAXE-18M2 microcontroller


The PICAXE 18-M2 microcontroller IC


16 x 2 LCD display


Parallel LCD display with two lines of 16 characters


DS1307 Real-time Clock


Real-time Clock with a I2C interface


Watch Crystal


32.768kHz watch (clock) crystal required by DS1307


DS18B20 Temperature Sensor


Digital temperature sensor




64K x 8 I2C CMOS Serial EEPROM Memory chip


10K Preset for LCD display


10K Preset resistor for LCD brightness control


Miniature LDR (Light Dependant resistor)


LDR to measure light intensity


Infrared Sensor


Infrared sensor to receive TV remote signals


Infrared LED (5mm)


Infrared LED to send IR signals


Piezo Transducer


Piezo speaker to play sounds




LED’s Used as Output indicators


Green LED


Green LED – Used as Output indicator


Yellow LED


Yellow LED – Used as Output indicator


Miniature Tactile Switch


Push buttons for Digital Inputs


Resistor 22k


One for Programming Interface and one for Serial Comms to PC


Resistor 10k


Used in Digital Inputs and Programming Interfaces


Resistor 4k7


Used in I2C Interface


Resistor 330R


Used in Series with all LED’s to limit current


3 Pin Male Polarized Header


One for Programming InterfaceOne for Serial Comms to PC


E-Book with all the Experiments


Downloadable E-book for the kit