• PIC stands for Peripheral Interface controller.
  • PICAXE chips are simply more advanced PIC chips.
  • Both PICAXE and PIC chips are microcontrollers.


  • Cheap.
  • Readily available.
  • Large user base.
  • Wide range of interfaces, physical size and memory capacity.
    • Interface in this case probably indicates the wide range of programs that can be used to programme PIC chips.
  • Extensive collection of application notes.
  • Availability of low cost or free development tools.
  • Can be reprogrammed accurately.
    • I believeĀ  it is this reason which makes them preferable to other components like 555s:
      • 555s need variable resistors or potentiometers which are difficult to program precisely.
  • Very simple to use.
    • Programming them is very easy because the language is easy to learn.
      • There are only a small number of different instructions that must be mastered.
  • PIC allows pre-programming.
  • PIC allows programme revisions/ changes.
  • Greater complexity of programme function:
    • It can perform the task of a decade counter and a 555 astable by itself.
  • More outputs and inputs available.
  • More reliable switching.
  • Faster and/or shorter sequences.
  • Fewer components required.
  • Smaller circuit size.


  • The chips are quite large, so they can be difficult to fit onto a PCB.
  • Require programming knowledge to use.
  • Require special equipment to programme.
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