THE TOOLS
PIC programming made easy for the beginner in simple basic using GCBIDE, wich is an integrated development environment for the fantastic open source GCBasic compiler by Hugh Considine. The user will need a copy of GCBIDE and GCBasic Compiler installed on their PC. Hardware for programming the MCU is as per your preferred choice.
However, I recommend the hardware as per that section below. For a beginner smooth operation is vital.

SOFTWARE :
Download     
InstallGCBIDE20    
                                                                        

Latest version 21-04-2012
   InstallGCBIDEV3      

Webpage to download the GCBasic compiler
There is a difference between GCBasic and Graphical GCBasic. If you want to use Great Cow Graphical BASIC then GCBIDE or any other IDE has no purpose.

SCREENSHOT FOR GCBIDEV3
The main difference between Version 2 and 3 is :
A better editor with syntax highlighting is implemented.
Another extended method used in the "CHIP WIZARD" procedure.
Format of automated code have changed

Screenshot GCBIDE version 3

RECOMENDED PROGRAMMER SOFTWARE / HARDWARE                       

USB USERS
For PIC's I recommend PICKIT2 software from Microchip  combined with their PICKIT2 hardware or a PICKIT2 CLONE hardware. Microchip allows DIY with the use of their software for private use. (see their TOC)
Go to Microchip to get the free software and learn more about the hardware
Download PicKit2 software : 
PicKit2 without NET Framework support
PicKit2 with NET Framework support

Or Download my DIY version of the above hardware 
Pickit Clone 100.zip
Firmware for PicKit Clone 100
Of course you would need a programmer that can program the PIC18F2550 for the first time. So ask a friend to help out or use another method via the parallel port which I do not want to advise about because of the dangers involved. Google for this dirty method on your own risk. If you are really stuck then the best way is to build a cheap par port programmer as per below to get your first 18F2550 programmed or just close your eyes and buy a complete one from Microchip or their agents/resellers. PicKIt2 is the only one that I can say is really trouble free. If you are new to PIC programming then a good programmer is a must. Newbies often give up because they thought their programming skills are very bad. Not always the case, bad programmer hardware could be the cause.

PicKit Clone 100

PARALLEL PORT USERS

Download WinPic from here 
P16PRO programmer

INSTALLATION     
Run the installation program   
GCBIDE only runs properly on XP and above
On Win7 you might have to give GCBIDE administrator rights to work properly. Same for the Win7 Starter package.
This is done by right click on the exe and pick "properties". Now select "compatibility" tab, change "settings for all users", tick "run this program in compatibility mode" and "run this program as an administrator". Apply changes.
Win7 is designed to be more secure on the internet etc, so it has plenty of advantages, you just have to get used to it. The main problems that I experienced with Win7 is the blocking of programs to write to your hard drive when the program has no admin rights. Most programs has to write at some stage to the hard drive and failure to do so will cause unexpected behavior. Giving admin rights to a trusted program will cause no harm.

 
USEAGE
If you compile "Noname.gcb" then the hex file etc will be in the GCBasic directory. If you saved it in another directory then the hex file etc will be saved in that directory. On successful compilation, the path to the hex and asm file will be displayed in the compiler dialog. Now download your hex file to the  pic on the fly by calling your favorite MCU programmer from within GCBIDE.  GCBasic is catering for the robotic community and is very well supported with documented help, forums and examples. To learn more about how easy PIC programming can be go to the GCBasic webpage.
Other Language users than English has a problem with their PC's directory structure. GCBasic and GCBIDE is not very particular into which directory they are, or whether it was installed versus copied to a directory. The important part is for them to know where they are, so GCBIDE must be setup for the correct compiler path etc. By default English users will have no need to change the path setup.
 
CONTACT 
Use a bit of human brain power for this one  gcbideATmtnloadedDOTcoDOTza
 
DISCLAIMER - USAGE OF THIS SOFTWARE IS AT YOUR OWN RISK AND IT IS NEVER SOLD OR GIVEN TO ANYONE
Usage of any software on this page is per their owner's requirements and copyright 
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