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I recently started a project and decided I required a PIC24E. I've been looking for resources to use an Arduino or Serial port to program the MCU, but none of the articles I found support the PIC24E.

Another thing I noticed is that these resources are abundant with providing support of PIC "F" models, such as PIC16F and PIC18F.

Here are the resources I am reffering to:

I was wondering, why is the "F" model so popular? Is it a coincidence that this model is popular among people who program their PICs with Serial ports or Arduinos?

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It's because you're looking at a new chip family. In the 8-bit PICs, the F used to mean flash based (aside from, IIRC, pic16c84 which was the first one) and are therefore more popular than the C series, which had to be erased with UV lights. Some of those didn't even have a window for that, making them one time programmable.

The actual processor families themselves are divided into numbers from PIC 10 to PIC 32 and dsPIC 33; of which 18 and lower are the well known 8-bit PIC family. I think these numbers once indicated the instruction width, but that changed somewhere (pic18f2550 has 16 bit instructions). The PIC24 I haven't looked closely at, but it's some sort of DSP cousin, and PIC32 isn't even based on the PIC processor architecture but MIPS. You'll find the PIC18 and lower are grouped under 8 bit microcontrollers, while the PIC24 is in the 16 bit category along with dsPIC 30 and 33 (yep, that's a higher number than the PIC32 which is 32-bit).

In short, the reason you're finding sample code that doesn't quite apply is because Microchip decided to use its well known PIC brand to market nearly all their microcontrollers. The effect you suffer from is known as brand dilution.

For a comparison, it's like the 10..18 families are like x86 processors from the 386 to the Pentium II, each time adding some instructions but largely similar to program, but the PIC24 is the sudden shift to a dissimilar IA-64 instruction set (Itanium) and the PIC32 is a third party product (like StrongARM). All those were made by Intel, but they avoided this level of confusion by not (at the time) branding the Itanium as a Pentium or Xeon device. AMD, on the other hand, is about to add some confusion with ARM architecture Opteron brand chips.

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In the PIC16 and PIC18 families, the F letter means that the CPU embed flash memory and a C letter means that the chip embed UV erasable memory.

It is much more easier to develop on a chip that can be easily erasable by you programmer, this is why the F version are much more popular for theses families.

For the newer families such as pic24 and 33 the meaning of the letter is not the same, they added E,H,J etc.. Which I don't know the meaning yet.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Im not 100% sure, but according to this document the meaning of the letters stands for: F = low power/low cost - E = "standard" - H = high performance \$\endgroup\$
    – PetPaulsen
    Oct 31, 2012 at 6:18

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