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How to Interface Keypad with PIC16F877A PIC Advanced Development Board

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PIC16F/18F Advanced Development is specifically designed to help students to master the required skills in the area of embedded systems. The kit is designed in such way that all the possible features of the microcontroller will be easily used by the students. The kit supports in system programming (ISP) which is done through USB port.

Microchipโ€™s PIC (PIC16F877A), PIC16F/18F Advanced Development Kit is proposed to smooth the progress of developing and debugging of various designs encompassing of High speed 8-bit Microcontrollers.


A keypad is a set of buttons arranged in a block or “pad” which usually bear digits, symbols and usually a complete set of alphabetical letters. If it mostly contains numbers then it can also be called a numeric keypad. Here we are using 4 X 4 matrix keypad.

Interfacing keypad

Fig. 1 shows how to interface the 4 X 4 matrix keypad to two ports in microcontroller. The rows are connected to an output port and the columns are connected to an input port.

To detect a pressed key, the microcontroller grounds all rows by providing 0 to the output latch, and then it reads the columns. If the data read from the columns is D3-D0=1111, no key has been pressed and the process continues until a key press is detected. However, if one of the column bits has a zero, this means that a key press has occurred. For example, if D3-D0=1101, this means that a key in the D1 column has been pressed.

After a key press is detected, the microcontroller will go through the process of identifying the key. Starting with the top row, the microcontroller grounds it by providing a low to row D0 only; then it reads the columns.

If the data read is all 1s, no key in that row is activated and the process is moved to the next row. It grounds the next row, reads the columns, and checks for any zero. This process continues until the row is identified. After identification of the row in which the key has been pressed, the next task is to find out which column the pressed key belongs to.

 Interfacing Keypad with PIC16F877A PIC Advanced Development Board

Fig. 1 Interfacing keypad to Microcontroller

Interfacing keypad with PIC16F877A

We now want to scan a keypad in PIC16F/18F Advanced Development .In case of 4X4 matrix Keypad both the ends of switches are connected to the port pin i.e. four rows and four columns. So in all sixteen switches have been interfaced using just eight lines.

1Keypads arranged by matrix format, each row and column section pulled by high or low by selection J15, all row lines(PORTB.0 โ€“ PORTB.3) and column lines(PORTB.4 to PORTB.7) connected directly by the port pins.

Pin Assignment with PIC16F877A

Circuit Diagram to Interface keypad with PIC16F877A

Source Code

The Interfacing keypad with PIC16F877A program is very simple and straight forward, that scan a keypad rows and columns. When the rows and columns are detected then it will display in PC through UART0. The C programs are developed in Mplab software with Hi-Tech Compiler.

C Program to 4 X 4 matrix keypad using PIC16F877A

// Define PIC Registers
// Define I/O functions __CONFIG(0x3f72);
// Select HS oscillator, Enable (PWRTE,BOREN),
// Disable (CPD,CP,WDTEN,In-circuit Debugger)
#define FOSC 10000
#define BAUD_RATE 9.6
//9600 Baudrate #define BAUD_VAL (char)(FOSC/ (16 * BAUD_RATE )) - 1;
//Calculation For 9600 Baudrate @10Mhz void SerialInit(void);
//Serial port Initialization Function void ScanCol(void);
//Column Scan Function void ScanRow(void);
//Row Scan Function void DelayMs(unsigned int);
unsigned char KeyArray[4][4]= { '1','2','3','4', '5','6','7','8', '9','A','B','C', 'D','E','F','0'};
//Keypad value Initialization Function unsigned char Count[4][4]={0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0};
int Col=0,Row=0,count=0,i,j;
void main()
//Enable PORTB Pullup values while(1)
// Enable the 4 LSB as I/P & 4 MSB as O/P PORTB=0;
// Get the ROW value ScanRow(); TRISB=0xf0;
// Enable the 4 LSB as O/P & 4 MSB as I/P PORTB=0; while(PORTB==0xf0);
// Get the Column value ScanCol(); DelayMs(150);
// Count the Pressed key printf("[%c] Pressed:[%d] Times\n\r", KeyArray[Row][Col],Count[Row][Col]); DelayMs(200);
void ScanRow()
// Row Scan Function
case 0x07: Row=3;
// 4th Row break;
case 0x0b: Row=2;
// 3rd Row break;
case 0x0d: Row=1;
// 2nd Row break;
case 0x0e: Row=0;
// 1st Row break;
void ScanCol()
// Column Scan Function {
case 0x70: Col=3;
// 4th Column break;
case 0xb0: Col=2;
// 3rd Column break;
case 0xd0: Col=1;
// 2nd Column break; case 0xe0: Col=0;
// 1st Column break;
void SerialInit()
// RC7,RC6 set to usart mode(INPUT) TXSTA=0x24;
//Enable Serial Transmission, Asynchronous mode, High Speed mode SPBRG=BAUD_VAL;
// 9600 Baud rate selection RCSTA=0x90;
// Enable Serial Port & Continuous Receive printf("Press Anyone Key:\n\r");
void putch(unsigned char character)
// Wait for the TXREG register to be empty TXREG=character;
// Display the Character
void DelayMs(unsigned int Ms)
int delay_cnst; while(Ms>0)
for(delay_cnst = 0;
delay_cnst <220;

To compile the above C code you need the Mplab software & Hi-Tech Compiler. They must be properly set up and a project with correct settings must be created in order to compile the code. To compile the above code, the C file must be added to the project.

In Mplab, you want to develop or debug the project without any hardware setup. You must compile the code for generating HEX file. In debugging Mode, you want to check the port output without PIC16F/18F Advanced Development.The PICKIT2 software is used to download the hex file into your microcontroller IC PIC16F877A through USB port.

Testing the Keypad with PIC16F877A

Give +12V power supply to PIC16F/18F Advanced Development.The serial cable is connected between the PIC16F/18F Advanced Development and PC.Open the Hyper Terminal screen, select which port you are using and set the default settings. Now the screen should show some text messages & it display which key is pressed in keypad.If you want to see more details about debugging just see the videos in below link.

โ˜žHow to create & Debug a Project in Mplab using PIC16F using Hi-Tech Compiler.

General Information

โ˜žFor proper working use the components of exact values as shown in Circuit file. Wherever possible use new components.

โ˜žSolder everything in a clean way. A major problem arises due to improper soldering, solder jumps and loose joints.

โ˜žUse the exact value crystal shown in schematic.

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