For a beginner that wants to learn how to build robots and learn as much as possible is it better to use a PIC and start from there or something more like an Arduino?

I ask because I have this book called The Robot Builder’s Cookbook (2007). It is certainly older but I feel like maybe starting at a lower level might help me learn more. Is this a logical train of thought or should I just try Arduino route?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Understanding what is required from the lowest level is a great learning opportunity. $\endgroup$
    – SteveO
    Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 5:59
  • $\begingroup$ As a beginner, where do you place your self? Are you pre-college or post college. And what type of background might you have? Such as software experience. $\endgroup$
    – st2000
    Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 16:19
  • $\begingroup$ @st2000 I'd say mid-college. Background in tinkering with electronics in general, electricity, and a halfway decent programmer. $\endgroup$
    – Sie
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ On the border then. Perhaps best to start with the Arduino with plenty of examples. Then investigate what it takes to create a driver in C++. Perhaps improving or adding new features to an existing driver (servo or continuous servo for example). After that, see what it takes to start from scratch by switching to a PIC and using an inexpensive PICkit3 programmer. $\endgroup$
    – st2000
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 19:50

1 Answer 1


Assuming by PIC you meant the Microchip PIC

Because you are a beginner - it is suggested you copy rather than invent solutions to your yet to be discovered problems. It follows that Arduino is the better choice because there are many more examples to copy from.

  • $\begingroup$ There are many other issues that could be discussed. For instance page 6 of your book talks about a "programming deck" (an extra bit of hardware to program the PIC processors). Unless you have one, the Arduino solution (a second micro embedded in the Arduino plus some clever firmware) is a much more economical solution for one off projects. $\endgroup$
    – st2000
    Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 13:27
  • $\begingroup$ I think your answer would be right for someone asking what the easiest way to start to learn about embedded and robotic programming. But since the post specifically asks about learning as much as possible, I think the PIC would let the OP learn more about the lower levels of embedded design. Plus there are hundreds of sample PIC programs and designs to learn from, just like there are for the Arduino. $\endgroup$
    – SteveO
    Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 15:17
  • $\begingroup$ Agreed - I'll leave a comment to the question asking where this person is. I think if precollege Adruino is still the best path. But if post college - especially with a software background - then Microchip PIC and other "bare metal" programming would teach more. That said, working on Arduino C++ library code is likely just as good experience as any "bare metal" programming out there. And the Arduino community would benefit. $\endgroup$
    – st2000
    Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 16:17

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