The requirements when I initially investigated a development board for doing some PIC training was I required a system that could cater for a variety of different PIC microcontrollers if possible and also had various peripherals on board that could be used for quickly writing some examples and learning about PICs, typically these are LEDs on board, LCD connector, switches on board and all I/O pins go to headers for easy connection to other boards, sensors or modules.
After a bit of searching I discovered the QL200 board, the range of features available ticked all the boxes for my requirements and on top of this there were many other additional features that made it a must buy. Lets look at these
LEDS on 3 different PORTS – 24 in total.
4 x 4 Matrix keypad using push buttons
8 Push buttons
A DS1302 RTC with on board battery
2 pots on board for testing analog inputs
I2C and SPI EEPROM support, both populated
IR reciever on board
Stepper motor support on board
An onboard buzzer
3 x dual 7 segment displays
Here is a picture of the development board, you can see some of the onboard features quite clearly
Sockets for a DS18B20 temperature sensor, 10 Bit DA, LCD 1602 and 12864 connectors. MMC/SD card slot.
On top of this the board has a built in programmer so no requirements for an external programmer like a pickit.
The kicker for me was the PIC microcontroller support, over 100 different micros are supported using chip socket for PIC Microcontroller of 8PIN, 14PIN, 18PIN, 20PIN, 28PIN, and 40PIN, on-board PIC10 series. A software CD / download is available which contains the programming software and also code examples in C and ASM.