Saturday, 11 October 2014

Oshonsoft PIC simulator getting an update

I received an email from Vladimir Soso the other day.
He's the guy who built the excellent Oshonsoft PIC/AVR simulators - the compiler of choice at Nerd Towers.

Since the Oshonsoft project started up again (it had an 18 month period with little or no development on it, during which time it didn't support some of the newer devices being released by Microchip) I've been meaning to convert some of my old code back over.

Because Oshonsoft didn't support the 16F1825 chips at the time, I had to write my code for reading SD cards in SourceBoost C. SourceBoost itself is a great compiler, but I didn't like the idea of having to keep track of two different compilers, and chop-and-change between them in order to program different chips.

So when the Oshonsoft project got rebooted early this year, I thought I'd spend a bit of time re-writing the serial audio player project, using the PIC Simulator IDE. Of course, I never got round to it.

Then an email arrived, and the guy who wrote the compiler was asking if he could use the code I'd written (using another compiler because his was getting out-dated) in a new version of his compiler - so everyone who used an Oshonsoft compiler could have access to some high-level commands to interface with SD cards.

Of course, I said yes. I've supported Vladimir regularly over the years, throwing a ten euro donation every few months at his website, and buying all the licences, new versions and add-ons for the Oshonsoft range, as they have been released.

But it's quite gratifying to be able to support - even in a slightly indirect way - the development by having some of my own work implemented into some encapsulated SD card routines, built directly into the compiler.

What's particularly interesting is that, whereas my own code only worked with low-volume cards (up to a maximum of 2Gb) Vladimir reckons he can work with a wide range of SD cards - including MMC/SD/SDSC/SDHC. Yep - that's SDHC (high capacity) cards: the holy grail of micrcontroller-to-sd-card interfacing.

There are loads of people who have failed to get SDHC cards to initialise properly, to use them in their own microcontroller projects (me included). So it's exciting to hear that instead of having to scour eBay for old, low capacity cards, and take a punt on them being the right make/brand/capacity, we'll all soon be able to just stick in any old SD card and - using the Oshonsoft compiler - talk to them quickly and easily.

I'm just glad to have been able to help, even in a small way!