A PICAXE micro-controller is designed to be the brain of an electronic project. Originally designed as an educational system for schools, the PICAXE system has now been widely adopted by hundreds of thousands of hobbyists hackers and makers due to its ease of use.
The various different PICAXE chip sizes (8, 14, 18, 20, 28 and 40 pins) give great flexibility on how the system can be used - simply select the chip size required for your project. On PICAXE chips, almost all of the pins can be user-configured to be an output, a digital or analogue input or a touch sensor. Advanced features such as PWM, I2C, SPI, RS232 and 1-Wire interfacing can also be easily set if required.
PICAXE BASIC is much simpler to learn and debug than traditional micro-controller languages such as assembler code or 'C'. The BASIC programming software is completely free, and also includes a powerful on-screen simulation for testing your program.
A PICAXE chip is a standard Microchip PIC microcontroller that has been pre-programmed with the PICAXE bootstrap firmware code. The bootstrap code enables the PICAXE microcontroller to be re-programmed 'in position' directly via a simple 'three wire' download cable connection. This eliminates the need for an (expensive) conventional PIC programmer, making the whole download programming system a low-cost USB cable. The same software and download cable is used for all PICAXE chip sizes and project boards.