use Great Cow BASIC, but unsure where to start? Follow this guide,
and you'll be using Great Cow BASIC in no time. Those who are new
to programming should follow all three steps.
Installing and Using Great Cow
*See "Installing a Programmer" for more on
- First, you'll need to install GCBASIC. See this web page
- Once you've downloaded Great Cow BASIC, just install.
It is best if you allow everything to install to the default
location - don't change any settings unless absolutely necessary.
You might be asked to choose between gputils and MPASM for use with
GCBASIC - choose whichever you have installed on your
- Great Cow BASIC is now usable. You can drag the file that you
want compiled on to "gcbasic.exe", which is found in the folder
where GCBASIC is installed. A file called "compiled.hex" will be
produced - download this to your PIC*, and you're ready
to go! If you don't like compiling things this way, you can install
an IDE. See below for more.
Installing a Programmer
(optional but recommended)
Want to actually do something with the files you compile? You'll
need to have a programmer and some corresponding programming
software to download the output of the compiler to your PIC. There
are many different programmers - this guide covers the installation
of IC-Prog and WinPIC, two pieces of software which both support many free programmer designs and PICs.
IC-Prog supports most free programmer designs that can be
obtained from the internet. A list of supported programmers is
available on the IC-Prog website.
- Download IC-Prog from http://www.ic-prog.com/
- Open the zip file, and extract "icprog.exe" to C:\Program
- Go to the GCBASIC folder, and run IC-Prog. On the configuration
screen that appears, set up the programmer you are using and the
port it is attached to. If you are using Windows NT/2000/XP then
choose "Windows API" for the interface, otherwise leave "Direct
I/O" selected. Click OK.
- Choose the model of PIC that you will be using, and close
- Open the "download.bat" file in Notepad. At the very bottom, add
this command: "icprog -lcompiled.hex" (do not copy the quotes)
- Everything should be set up. Drag-and-drop a file onto
compile.bat - your program will be compiled and loaded into IC-Prog ready to download to the PIC.
WinPic is another program which supports several different free
programmer designs. Unfortunately it requires MPLAB to be installed,
but it can download programs to many chips not supported by IC-Prog.
"C:\Program Files\WinPic\Winpic.exe" compiled.hex
- Download WinPic from here or WinPic here.
- If you haven't done so already, download and install MPLAB. Follow the links from http://www.microchip.com/
- Run the installer for WinPic, then run WinPic.
- Click on the "Options" tab. In the "MPLAB DEV-file
directory" box, enter the directory that MPLAB stores its .dev files
in. This is typically "C:\Program Files\Microchip\MPLAB IDE\Device".
- Click on the "Interface" tab, and select the programmer that you're using in the "Interface Type" box. Close WinPic.
- Open the "download.bat" file, which should be in the same
directory as gcbasic.exe Add this line to the bottom of the file:
- Save and close download.bat. Now, WinPic should
automatically open up after compilation, ready to download the compiled
code to your PIC.
If you have instructions for another programmer, we'd love
to post them here! Please send them to email@example.com
To add another programmer you basically need to install it and then
add the command to call it in "makeasm.bat".
Installing an IDE
Dragging and dropping isn't for everyone - you may like to have a
program where you can edit your program, and then compile it with a
single click. If so you might like to install an IDE and set it up
to work with Great Cow BASIC. This guide covers the installation of
GCB@Syn , Crimson Editor and GCBIDE.
Option 1: Installing GCB@Syn
for lastest news and version of the GCB@Syn IDE.
- Decompress the complete GCB@Syn folder inside the zip to your hard disk. It is recommended to use NOT the "Program Files" folder because of Windows restrictions for this folder.
- Run IDE.exe.
- Review the files displayed when initially starting the IDE.
- Remember, always start with IDE.exe in the root folder. IDE.exe sets an
environment variable with the actual path of GCB@Syn named G@SDir, so
all program locations can be handled as relative.
- When a GreatCowBasic sourcefile is opened, check out the Run-menu.
Through this menu you can access the oneclick commands. Try right
- The Run... commands (F5 - F8) starts a little tool G@Stool.exe which
calls the batchfiles for compiling sourcecode and programming
("flashing") the target microcontroller. By default the batchfiles are
named flashAVR.bat (when the chipmodel is an AVR) and flashPIC.bat (when
the chipmodel is a PIC). The chipmodel is autodetected by G@Stool.exe!
- By editing the batchfiles you can configure the programmer software for
your own needs. They are located in the G@Stools subfolder.
- If there is a batchfile "FlashThis.bat" present in the same folder as
the sourcefile, this batchfile is used for flashing. This may be useful
for project-specific flashing.
- Included programmer-software is avrdude for AVR and PICPgm for PIC. You
can add PicKit2; see hints in the PicKit2 subfolder. PicKit3 may work
similar, but its not currently tested (at Feb 2014).
Option 2: Installing Crimson Editor
- Download Crimson Editor from http://www.crimsoneditor.com/,
and install it.
- Add support for GCBASIC highlighting by downloading
this file, and extracting it to "C:\Program Files\Crimson
Editor" (Thanks to Internet Lam for the extension.gcb file.)
- Open Crimson Editor
- Click "Tools > Configure User Tools"
- First, set up Crimson Editor so that
it can compile GCBASIC programs. Enter the settings as shown in
this screenshot, then click "OK":
- Next, set up Crimson Editor to use the GCBASIC syntax
Option #3: Installing GCBIDE:
- Click "OK". Crimson Editor is now set up to work with Great Cow
- Open a Great Cow BASIC demo file. Click "Document > Syntax
Type > GCBASIC" to colour-code it
- Press F9 to compile your program. If you've set up a programmer
to work with GCBASIC, then your program will be sent straight
across to your PIC!
GCBIDE is an IDE written by Emile Tredoux for GCBASIC. Installing it is simple:
- Download GCBIDE from here: http://gcbide.googlepages.com/.
- Extract the contents of the archive to C:\Program Files\GCBASIC, and run GCBIDE.exe
- Click "Settings", and select the GCBASIC.EXE file.
- GCBIDE should now be set up, and ready to edit programs
Note that GCBIDE requires a recent version of GCBASIC to be installed
for the chip pinout related features to work. Releases after
October2007 or later must be used.
If you have
instructions for another IDE, we'd love to post them here! Please
send them to here.