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danny_isr
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2010/11/27 17:13:27 (permalink)
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Explorer 16 Vs easyPIC6

Hi

i'm new into the PIC controllers.
i'm looking into an easy start.
1) Someone suggested me to go with the Explorer16 package .
i searched the web and saw the easyPIC6 as well.
not sure which one is better ?

someone else suggested just the PICKIT3 with breadboard .

not sure which way to go with this .

2) additionally the compiler is  unclear subject for me.
i'm not sure which one of them arrives with C compiler. i think the explorer 16 comes with some kind of free basic compiler.
and the easyPIC6 with it's "own version" of C compiler ? is that true ? or do i need to buy a separate compiler ?

thanks Dan
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MBedder
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Re:Explorer 16 Vs easyPIC6 2010/11/28 03:15:37 (permalink)
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Explorer16 comes with lots of examples, and it's pretty expandable. You may download a Microchip C30 compiler which is fully functional for 60 days of usage.
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Lurch
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Re:Explorer 16 Vs easyPIC6 2010/11/28 03:28:54 (permalink) ☄ Helpful
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If you're just starting, then the Explorer16 is probably a number too big. It's fine for 16- and 32bit chips, but not for the 8bit chips. You would be better off IMHO to buy a Pickit2 (DV164121) or Pickit3 (DV164131) package with testboard (usually a PIC16F690). These can be found in the Developer Tools area of the website. The Pickit3 is the newer one. Pickit 2 doesn't cover all of the newest chips, but you probably won't be using these anyway - and it's only half the price. And has some extra functions that are not yet implemented in the Pickit3. There are a lot of examples for programming these chips. Both from Microchip and from others ( i.e. http://www.gooligum.com.au/tutorials.html )

To work, you need an IDE - which is free from Microchip. Download MPLAB. This includes the free assembler and helpfiles and support for the Pickitx programmer/debugger.

The "C" compilers come in several different flavors - the full versions cost $$$, The lite versions are free and are perfectly good for starting up and most hobby projects. They just don't optimize the code as well as they could. But for starters, you will want to follow the code with the debugger, so the optimization isn't important.

If you later decide that you want to work with Microchip products, you can always go back and buy the other developer products. Start simple.

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Ian.M
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Re:Explorer 16 Vs easyPIC6 2010/11/28 10:36:45 (permalink) ☄ Helpful
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To add to this, check out [here] what I had to say yesterday to someone else just starting out.  It was a little Linux specific but I would recommend exactly the same hardware for starting with PICs under WIndows.
You should also have a look at the 'getting started' links [here] (in 'General Circuit-Design-Questions').
post edited by Ian.M - 2010/11/28 10:39:05
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danny_isr
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Re:Explorer 16 Vs easyPIC6 2010/11/28 17:58:07 (permalink)
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wow you guys sent me tons of info :) great links ,thanks.

i'm not sure if i'm the usual beginner. i'm a digital design verification engineer (ASICs/FPGAs for about 10 years. i did write years ago a driver
for Intel 960 CPU as well (using C).  but with PICs i'm a complete beginner .

Lurch the Explorer16 is probably a number too big. It's fine for 16- and 32bit chips, but not for the 8bit chips.


can you elaborate more on the down side of using the Explorer 16 with 8bit chips ?

my thoughts where that i will be able to grow together with this board. but if it's tougher for beginners then i will go the route you suggested.

i was thinking going to with a "fancy" development board will make my life easier when debugging for example.
Eliminate at least the hardware issues: connections , power , bad/wrong parts  polarities etc. Till i will have more confidence in
my coding and then i will be able to distinguish between hardware issues to soft.


one more thing , and it's probably the most important thing in my decision :)
why i'm here ....well i want to develop a project that will be controlled via  IP/WiFI  ...i'm sure this fact will change here few things :)
i saw that micropship has a WiFi module. i know i can use the Expolorer 16 with it. will that work with the simpler 8bit PICs ?



but i do agree starting simple is always the way to go .

post edited by danny_isr - 2010/11/28 18:16:15
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Lurch
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Re:Explorer 16 Vs easyPIC6 2010/11/29 06:40:55 (permalink)
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The Explorer16 uses PIMs (Plug-In-Modules), which are available from MCHP. There are two Explorer16 boards, one uses 100pin PIMs, the other uses 44pin PIMs. Both assume 3.3V and are targeted for 16-/32-bit chips (like PIC24FJ, dsPIC33 and PIC32). For the 8-bit chips, MCHP has other boards (HPC and Explorer18) which are targeted for the PIC18F chips. It depends, as always, on what you want to do.
The usual starting point for people who want to learn PICs from the ground up, is to get, say, the Pickit2 package with PIC16F690 and learn assembler and how the chips are structured. Then try to get an LED to blink.
It is possible, of course, to skip the basics if you only want to do a special project or don't want to use the 8-bitters. The TCPIP stack is pretty large and fits comfortably only in the larger memory of the PIC24 or PIC32 chips. That would mean going for the Explorer16 (100pin version). You'll still need a programmer / debugger. And the TCPIP stack, which is free to download.
In the end you must decide whether you just want to hack the TCPIP library together for your project, or whether you want to work long term with MCHP products.


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Ian.M
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Re:Explorer 16 Vs easyPIC6 2010/11/29 07:18:28 (permalink)
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All the available documentation indicates the two Explorer 16 boards are actually IDENTICAL, (give or take the 'default' chip actually solderd onto the pads in the center of the PIM connector on the board, if any).  For confirmation of this see the documentation of the PIC24FJ64GA004 PIM as supplied  with the 44-pin bundle DM240002.  If anyone has both or is a Microchip insider, perhaps they can confirm this.
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danny_isr
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Re:Explorer 16 Vs easyPIC6 2010/11/29 11:05:13 (permalink)
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oh i had no idea the explorer 16 doesnt supports the 8bit parts.
what about the EasyPic6 that i mention at the beginning ?

If that is the case i will go with the PicKIT Kits. Follow your suggestions of going assembler with simple stuff and move later to the advance chips,
that makes sense to me. i guess it's LED blink time :)

now a question to Ian , i saw on one of your posts  that you not recommending the starter PicKIT2 board because of it cannot take any PIC16 with built in silicone support for debugging .
is that an issue for those 8bit parts ? is that still the case ? which one to get then ?


another thing i saw was you didn't recommend  to get the PicKIT3 . i heard there some issues. but on the other hand i heard the PicKIT2 isn't supported anymore by new parts .
Are those Sirius issues (with the PicKIT3) ? 


thanks guys, very helpful info !


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Ian.M
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Re:Explorer 16 Vs easyPIC6 2010/11/29 11:50:55 (permalink)
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Silicon not Silicone, please! The former is ICs the latter is  'enhanced' 'assets' of models usually viewed with a staple through their middle! LoL

I see an incredible amount of frustration here with novices with the PICkit 2 Low Pin Count demo board.  Usually they have no idea whatsoever why their code is not working.  If you start with a debug capable PIC then at least you can step through the code watching your actual LEDs or pressing real switches and easily see where your code does not match up with your intentions.  You CAN get debug 'headers' that plug into that board but they don't come cheap and the special debug capable PIC..F...-ICD chips on them are not available on their own, so when (not if) you blow one, you are out the whole cost of the 'header'.   

If you are learning, the PICkit 2 will do all you want and is also a valuable backup for any PICkit 3 or ICD 3 you get later.  PICkit 2 support for new parts will lag considerably if it happens at all, but some parts have already been added by the community. 

The number of 'bricked' PICkit 3s here have been declining but I believe the PICkit 2 still has the reliability advantage.  It also has the UART and Logic analyser tools which are I belive not yet ready for release for the PICkit 3.

HTH

Ian
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danny_isr
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Re:Explorer 16 Vs easyPIC6 2010/11/29 12:02:57 (permalink)
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haha i should know better regarding the silicon . It can happen when you have to much trust on a your  speller.

yes debug capability as a beginner sure is the way to go.

ok so i got the pickit2 on my shopping cart . now the second thing :

Do you know of a starting board (8bit parts)that does have the debug capability ?

is this what i'm looking for DV164121 ?  (i just noticed that this board supports only 44pin devices . this is confusing ...)


thanks Dan
post edited by danny_isr - 2010/11/29 13:23:16
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Ian.M
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Re:Explorer 16 Vs easyPIC6 2010/11/29 14:11:03 (permalink) ☄ Helpful
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Well there are a LOT of possible boards
  • The DM164120-1 Low Pin Count Demo Board with PIC16F690 (Requires ICD debug header) - SO AVOID IT unless you are feeling rich or have a SERIOUS interest in the baseline parts or really like a 'Hair Shirt' Build, Burn, Crash and Curse development cycle.
  • The DM164120-4 18-Pin Demo Board with PIC16F648A (Requires ICD debug header) - at least for that part and *MOST* 18 pin PICs, but if you plug in a debug capable 18 pin chip such as the PIC16F88 (recommended), PIC16F87, PIC16F818 or PIC16F819 you *CAN* debug on it.
  • The DM164120-3 28-Pin Demo Board with PIC16F886 IS debug capable and is as nice a small through hole board as you are likely to see.
  • The bundled DM164120-2 in the Debug express kit has a 44 pin surface mount TQFP PIC16F877 (which is also available as a 40 pin DIP part).   This is a very easy board to use IF you are confident you can solder some extra parts onto it and is very versatile if you add turned pin sockets and a small breadboard.   WARNING: all its pads for adding sockets or headers are 2mm pitch NOT the far more common and DIY friendly 2.54mm (0.1") pitch.  It also has the best lesson plan for a debug capable midrange PIC.  Because its surface mount it is NOT for the 'scared of soldering' or for programming other PICs for your own circuits.  Its the one I am using here when I need something more portable than a full size BIMBOARD breadboard. 
All the above are supplied with 2 spare bare PCBs for your own projects if purchased separately but not if bundled.

The PIC16F88 is largely compatible with the well known PIC16F84 and is a drop in replacement that can run nearly all PIC16F84 programs with only about six small changes. This makes it an excellent choice for breadboarding with and following any good 'F84 tutorial (AVOID any that DON'T use symbolic names for  ALL the SFRs or don't use the Microchip standard include file for the part)

The next PIC up for breadboarding is probably the PIC16F886 as used on the 28 pin demo board,  It is a reduced pin count variant of the PIC16F887 on the 44 pin board so most of those lessons can be applied with only minor changes.  It is also fairly easy to port PIC16F88 code to.

HTH

Ian
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danny_isr
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Re:Explorer 16 Vs easyPIC6 2010/11/29 14:55:20 (permalink)
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ok then i'm going to order
1 DM164120-4
1 PIC16F88 (it didnt sound it will make any difference for me if i choose the PIC16F886 (28pin) instead...)
1 PicKIT 2

can i use a "turned pin sockets" on it (link?)  ?
i would like to work on a small breadboard if possible,

by the way how do you work with the 10F family if you want ?
i assume directly on a breadboard ?


thanks Dan
post edited by danny_isr - 2010/11/29 14:57:33
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Ian.M
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Re:Explorer 16 Vs easyPIC6 2010/11/29 18:02:20 (permalink)
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The only fly in the ointment for the 18 and 28 pin demo boards is the push-button is connected to /MCLR (Reset). Although that pin on both PICs is dual purpose and can be configured as an input for programs to use the button, /MCLR is a reserved resource for debugging so you cannot use the button while debugging without significantly modifying the board.  It is however easy enough to add one or more buttons on Port B via the expansion connector on the 28 pin board. For the 18 pin board you must get out your soldering iron.  The best source of info for the 18 pin board is [this old topic] and here is a photo of it:


I *STRONGLY* recommend the DM1620-3 as it is far more 'breadboard friendly' as it already has a connector you can stick wires in to access many of the port pins and as an added bonus, it has a header with power, ground and the (logic level) UART signals on for an easy serial interface to your PC via a MAX232 on a small veroboard or a FTDI TTL level Serial <=> USB converter.

The added complexity of the PIC16F886 is NEGLIGIBLE compared to the benefits of not being 'pin-bound' if you want to use several internal peripherals simultaneously.  e.g. on the PIC16F88 SPI data out clashes with UART data in as they share a pin so no serial interface at the same time as using a SPI device like many of Microchip's memories, port expanders and networking chips.  On the 'F886, the SPI and UART interfaces are fully independent.  Here is the board:

Note the connector J1 that you can stick wires to your breadboard directly into.
Here is the manual. You will notice that unlike the 18 pin board it supports a wide range of PIC18 parts, some of which would be capable of at least wired networking with a suitable SPI ethernet chip.   Also it has a 32.768KHz crystal on Timer 1 for RTC and other timekeeping purposes.

To answer your other questions, you can easily populate a row of holes either side of the chip with SIL strips of turned pin sockets for making extra connections to your breadboard OR you could buy another connector similar to J1.  I don't have part numbers to hand right now and it also depends on availability from local suppliers if you want to get them 'over the counter'.

The PIC10 series is supported by the PICDEM LAB kit, but I really wouldn't bother with them in DIL as they are intended as six pin SMDs so two of the DIL package pins are n/c.  The 8 pin baseline PIC12 parts are virtually equivalent and far more suitable for breadboarding + debug headers are available.

post edited by Ian.M - 2010/11/29 18:36:20

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danny_isr
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Re:Explorer 16 Vs easyPIC6 2010/11/29 20:09:52 (permalink)
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thanks for the great info.
ordered the PICKIT2 plus DM164120-3 , should  be here on Friday.
 
Dan
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Ian.M
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Re:Explorer 16 Vs easyPIC6 2010/11/30 00:25:48 (permalink)
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Great.  You will also want at least one, preferably two spare PICs the same as in your board, but you can easily get them from a local supplier and you will probably need a few extra components as well.  Depending on your interests, this might include some 74HC595 chips to act as SPI output ports, a MAX232 chip, and a few other parts to build a logic level <=> RS232 converter to connect to that Pickit Serial analyser header on the right, extra LEDS and switches, maybe some logic level (sensitive) MOSFETs and a 5V DC permanent magnet motor, some ULN2803 drivers if you want to run small stepper motors, relays or lamps, some 7 segment displays and possibly an intelligent character matrix ASCII LCD display module with a Hitachi HD44780 compatible controller chip.  I assume you have a good selection of resistors, capacitors and transistors on hand.    What bench test equipment do you have?  A decent dual trace scope is a BIG help - even if its an antique like the Dynamco D7100 I have here. 

While you are waiting for the board, lets get MPLAB and the Hitech C compiler downloaded and installed so you can hit the ground running.  With your experience level I suggest studying assembler and C in parallel - broadly following the lesson plan for the Low Pin Count board, but unashamedly stealing lessons from the 44 pin demo board when they are easier to convert. For each one, once you have it working in assembler, I recommend re-writing it in C.

You will also want to find the page on Microchip's main site for the PIC16F886 and download the current data sheet and silicon errata.  This week's 'homework' is to read (at least skim so you know where to find stuff) sections 1 to 4 and sections 13 and 14 of that datasheet.

Good luck, and I should be around here if you get stuck . . .

HTH

Ian
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Ian.M
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Re:Explorer 16 Vs easyPIC6 2010/11/30 03:32:05 (permalink)
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Lesson 1 re-written for the DM-164120-3 28 Pin Demo Board
This is a WORD97 .doc file, but this forum does not permit .doc attachments so rename '28 Pin Demo Board Lesson 1.doc.txt' without the .txt when you save it before opening.
Also attached are the .asm file and a .wtch MPLAB Watch window file that can be used with the simulator or the PICkit 2 debugger.  Both need the .txt stripped off their names before use.
post edited by Ian.M - 2010/11/30 04:02:14
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danny_isr
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Re:Explorer 16 Vs easyPIC6 2010/11/30 19:11:48 (permalink)
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I will need to buy some tools , like Oscilloscope , soldering gun . good power supply , i have a voltmeter .
regarding components , i'm short on those too. Time to build a little lab :) i see how this goes...
you buy a cheap little KIT and it becomes a complete lab. but it's ok , its about time for me to
go back to the real electronics. I did it when i was a kid 12-13 , and was away for many years.
My current "electronics - Job" is so high level , it's basically just a code.

i tried to change the order and add few parts but it was too late. It's going to be here on Thursday.
i will start with the files you sent me. It's funny how it works , i worked on million gates chips
but i cannot wait to see a blinking LED on this thing :)  way more exciting .


i have few projects in mind.
One of them is digital gauge for my motorcycle.
i will need to read the pulses( i assume those are pulses will be nice to have a scope to check that out) from the rear wheel , calculate the speed and  drive it into big LCD display.  Transmission "status" will be nice too. Maybe a separate  7 segment that will show me which gear i'm at.


thanks !


post edited by danny_isr - 2010/11/30 19:26:41
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danny_isr
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Re:Explorer 16 Vs easyPIC6 2010/12/02 20:01:59 (permalink)
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i got it an hour ago. 
i went over the data sheet , i'm amazed how big it is and how much hardware you get
for such little money.

i just run the demo software that came with it. Going to try to do my first blinking LED in assembler (in my hotel lab ! LoL ) .

post edited by danny_isr - 2010/12/02 20:11:07

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danny_isr
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Re:Explorer 16 Vs easyPIC6 2010/12/05 14:48:20 (permalink)
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Hi Ian

i got finally to the blinking LED .
it wasn't easy as i thought it will be :)
but it's ok.

anyhow i wanted to turn ON and OFF more then just one. and it doesnt work.
not sure why.
the code is here below , but i always get just the last LED in that list to turn ON.
and the weird thing ,if i write turn OFF LED 0 while LED 3 was ON. it will turn OFF LED 3.

what am missing here ?

BTW , now i see why you guys recommend to start with Assembler , yes it's a pain. but you sure do learn how this thing get configure etc

     
#include <p16F886.inc>
    __CONFIG _CONFIG1, _LVP_OFF & _FCMEN_OFF & _IESO_OFF &_BOR_OFF & _CPD_OFF & _CP_OFF & _MCLRE_ON &_PWRTE_OFF & _WDT_OFF & _INTRC_OSC_NOCLKOUT
    __CONFIG _CONFIG2, _WRT_OFF & _BOR21V
    org 0

 
cblock 0x20
 Delay1              
 Delay2             
endc

Start:
BSF STATUS,RP0 ;select Register Page 1  
BCF TRISB,0 ;make I/O Pin C0 an output
BCF TRISB,1 ;make I/O Pin C1 an output
BCF TRISB,2 ;make I/O Pin C2 an output
BCF TRISB,3 ;make I/O Pin C3 an output
BCF STATUS,RP0 ;back to Register Page 0 

BSF PORTB,0 ;turn on LED B0
BSF PORTB,1 ;turn on LED B1
BSF PORTB,2 ;turn on LED B2
BSF PORTB,3 ;turn on LED B3

OndelayLoop:
     decfsz    Delay1,f     
     goto      OndelayLoop  
     decfsz    Delay2,f      
     goto      OndelayLoop 


BcF PORTB,0 ;turn off LED B0


OffdelayLoop:
     decfsz    Delay1,f        
     goto      OffdelayLoop   
     decfsz    Delay2,f   
     goto      OffdelayLoop 


GOTO Start

END

post edited by danny_isr - 2010/12/08 12:44:02
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Ian.M
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Re:Explorer 16 Vs easyPIC6 2010/12/05 15:34:42 (permalink)
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