Help choose a PIC programmer.

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Hi,

I am thinking about buying or building a PIC programmer and would
appreciate some advice in choosing one.  I've never laid hands on one
so am I not sure what to look for.

I am a hobbyist and would like to program the occasional IC just to
simplify my circuit building.  It would be nice to program a wide
variety if chips but in reality I would probably just pick a few that
I was comfortable with and stick to them.  My programming skills
aren't all that great.  I'm comfortable with editing VB script or
using graphical programs.  If I have to I could probably learn basic
or c.  The less code I have to write the better.  I would like to keep
the price tag under $60.  I've read that it's best to get one that can
be debugged in place so that would probably be good too.

Anyone have any ideas which programmer might be best for someone like
me?

TIA

Re: Help choose a PIC programmer.


On Tue, 23 Feb 2010 15:28:40 -0800 (PST), coldfeet

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I'm assuming from the context here that by "PIC" you mean "any
microcontroller" and not specifically the PIC-series of microcontrollers
manufactured by Microchip.

I'd recommend that you start out with one of the Arduino boards. The
platform is open source both hardware and software, so the dev boards
are cheap and the software is free. It's also aimed at beginners and so
is pretty easy to get started with.

Their home page is over at http://www.arduino.cc/. There are links there
to many vendors that sell Arduino boards, compatibles, and expansion
boards (called "shields" in their nomenclature).

--
Rich Webb     Norfolk, VA

Re: Help choose a PIC programmer.



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I can recommend PICkit 2, works without problems for me. Some time ago
there were problems reported for PICkit 3, but maybe they have fixed it
meanwhile.

I think PICkit 2 has a debugging interface, too, for devices with ICD
support, but I didn't need it so far, because in C usually some printfs or
LED blinking are sufficient, and for assembler you can simulate the program
in the MPlab IDE without hardware.

--
Frank Buss, fb@frank-buss.de
http://www.frank-buss.de , http://www.it4-systems.de

Re: Help choose a PIC programmer.



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I'm still hearing people griping about the PICkit 3 - quality control
problems with the boards, is what it sounds like.

Last year I bought a PICKit 2 clone, and a "universal programmer
board", from a Chinese vendor on eBay (seller name
"sureelectronics2").  The programmer appears to be a near-exact clone
of the original, and is presumably based on the design that Microchip
published.

I've only used it briefly (first time was last week, in fact) but it
worked out fine... programmed an 18F2220 on the first attempt, and the
chip works in the circuit.

I've used it with some open-source programming tools, released on the
Microchip website.  The clone was "seen" by the software, I was able
to upgrade it to the latest PICkit 2 firmware from Microchip and
program an identifying name into it, and haven't had any difficulty
using it.

The "Universal programmer board" has three ZIF sockets for various
groups of PIC processors, and connects to one of the cables provided
with the PICkit 2 clone.

--
Friends of Jade Warrior home page:  http://www.radagast.org/jade-warrior
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Re: Help choose a PIC programmer.




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Get the Microchip ICD2. It will allow you to step thru code as a
emulator would.

Cheers
 



Re: Help choose a PIC programmer.



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This is expensive and Microchip recommends ICD3. I think it has some nice
features like real time debugging, but you'll need such features nearly
never and then for bigger projects, only. Of course, when you need it for
difficult problems, you really need it :-) Standard debugging with break
points and single step is possible with PICkit2, too.

--
Frank Buss, fb@frank-buss.de
http://www.frank-buss.de , http://www.it4-systems.de

Re: Help choose a PIC programmer.


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The only thing I really miss with the PICkit2 is watchpoints.

Cheers

Phil Hobbs

--
Dr Philip C D Hobbs
Principal
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Re: Help choose a PIC programmer.


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See:
http://www.eevblog.com/2010/02/22/eevblog-63-microchip-pic-vs-atmel-avr /

Get the PICkit2 or PICkit3, don't touch the build-it-yourself programmers,
they are not worth the trouble.

But it sounds like you are talking about microcontrollers in general, not
just PIC.
In which case the PICAXE orArduino are worth considering:
http://www.eevblog.com/2009/11/21/eevblog-45-arduino-picaxe-and-idiot-assembler-programmers /

PICAXE doesn't even need code, you can program them using flowcharts if you
want.

Dave.

--
================================================
Check out my Electronics Engineering Video Blog & Podcast:
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Re: Help choose a PIC programmer.



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HEY IDIOT YOU ONLY NEED 1 RESISTOR:
 http://home.earthlink.net/~davesullins/software/pic18f.html

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
LOL

WHOOOOOOHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
LOL
ahahha
jippi!!!

fun fun fun.
Save a couple of dollars.
LOL

Re: Help choose a PIC programmer.


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For a hobbyist I'd have thought a kit might be ideal. The suggestion
below is a bit too minimalist and unsafe for my liking. YMMV
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Provided that you don't mind the risk of damage to your parallel port.
The design is totally unbuffered, voltage dependent and may not work,
and some of the suggestions there are likely to wreck a PIO if used by
the unwary.

Older chips also want a higher programming voltage applied. But there
are cheap DIY PIC programmer kits for hobbyists about.

It is quite cute to make designs fully in circuit programmable.

Regards,
Martin Brown

Re: Help choose a PIC programmer.


On a sunny day (Wed, 24 Feb 2010 12:16:55 +0000) it happened Martin Brown

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Unwary should not program PICs.


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Indeed:
 http://panteltje.com/panteltje/pic/jppp18/index.html


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Doing that puts restrictions on I/O pins.
Low voltage programming sucks up an other I/O pin.
That is why I use high voltage programming only.
And leave the low voltage stuff to the unwary :-)


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Now life on Enceladus?
Should be easy to do a sample return, not much gravity.
Bring some bugs over here:-)

Re: Help choose a PIC programmer.


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I dunno about that. They are among the cheapest ways for hobbyists to do
small projects requiring modest amounts of data storage and i/o for
minimal cost.

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You might need removable links or live with the restrictions.
I find it useful YMMV.
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Be careful what you wish for.

I favour on site mass spec and FTIR as the best tests for interesting
organic molecules - which from the colours in the gas giants and their
moons are almost certainly present. The big question is are they
sufficiently far down the track of self organisation to count as life.

Self organising catalytic reactions are more common than is generally
supposed. One of the simplest and prettiest is the BZ bromate/malonic
acid/cerium mix which is so tolerant that it is demonstrable in a high
school lab. Very cute behaviour when unstirred in a shallow dish.

Poeple have already done liquid logic with the BZ reaction...and they
are pushing the boundaries with wet chemistry modelling of neurons.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8452196.stm

Regards,
Martin Brown

Re: Help choose a PIC programmer.


On a sunny day (Thu, 25 Feb 2010 11:14:45 +0000) it happened Martin Brown

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That is true, but if somebody wants to wire up one, then they should know
about 5V logic levels, 3.3V logic levels, all that stuff,
else they cannot even *use* the PIC.
So if they know that, then they know about parport interface.
These days it is very simple, you can google parport PC on the net,
and get all the info you want.
In the early days I had documentation from IBM, that was only accessible to us.


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Yes, I used a switch in one case.
You know about the expression 'in circuit programming'?
I work exactly the opposite way:
I use 'in programmer circuiting'.
LOL.
What that means is that I leave the PIC in my noppp programmer,
and simply solder the wires to my circuit under test to it:
 
http://panteltje.com/panteltje/pic/pwr_pic/power_pic-0.1_the_hardware_img_0938.jpg
The little veroboard on the left is the noppp programmer (old version with
16F690 in it).
The 4 wire header on the bottom of that programmer goes to a MAX232 serial
interface box.
When project development is finished I unsolder the wires to the programmer...


 
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Na, we are probably seeded by space resistant bugs, if we are not descendents of
some.
Mosquitos survived on the outside of the ISS for month, the eggs came out OK.
I will not go into how lawyers will survive in space here ...


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Interesting.



Re: Help choose a PIC programmer.


On Thu, 25 Feb 2010 11:14:45 +0000, Martin Brown

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I like Dr. Lovelock's approach, which works well if there is
any substantial amount of live involved.  "All chemistry
works in either direction, releasing or absorbing energy in
the process.  Look for chemical compounds on the higher
potential energy side of the equation.  If life exists, so
will an abundance of those products."

He points to Earth, which has an abundance of molecular
oxygen in its atmosphere as an obvious case.  That wouldn't
be possible without life.  It would get consumed in a natural
lifeless situation here, turning into oxides of various
kinds.

He recommends it isn't even necessary to visit.  One can
figure this out just using spectrographic analysis, where
there is an atmosphere to "look through," anyway.

Likens the idea to looking around at a landscape and either
seeing all the boulders near the bottom of nearby peaks or
sitting at the tops of those peaks.  If you see most
everything in its natural condition near the bottoms, then
there is nothing there rolling the boulders back up.  If you
see boulders at precarious positions everywhere, something or
someone is putting them back there.  Life.

Jon




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Re: Help choose a PIC programmer.


On a sunny day (Thu, 25 Feb 2010 13:03:38 -0800) it happened Jon Kirwan

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 http://panteltje.com/panteltje/space/mars/index.html

Follow the link Dr. Levion's site too:
 to http://mars.spherix.com /
he has some intersting papers,
he is the one who designed the original Viking experiments that were posive.
Also he goes a bit deeper into colormetry for the cameras on mars.

Re: Help choose a PIC programmer.


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Visiting downtown Amsterdam again, eh, Jan?

Cheers

Phil Hobbs


--
Dr Philip C D Hobbs
Principal
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Re: Help choose a PIC programmer.


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Silly childish name changing noted.

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Hey Superjan, I'd suggest you try some more of that meditation:
http://panteltje.com/panteltje/superjan/index.html

Regards
Dave.

--
================================================
Check out my Electronics Engineering Video Blog & Podcast:
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Re: Help choose a PIC programmer.


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   Sorry i cannot help now; i gave away my spare PIC-2 to someone in
England.

Re: Help choose a PIC programmer.


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Get a PICKit2, but make sure that yours has a red pushbutton
and not a black pushbutton, otherwise the single step (or single
breakpoint, you only have one or the other) won't work for you
unless you fit two 4K7 resistors onto the target board.




Re: Help choose a PIC programmer.


On Wed, 24 Feb 2010 08:19:37 -0000, "Somebody"

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Good point to add.  I received two of the newer ones from one
supplier and one of the older ones from another supplier,
with all three orders received within a day or so of each
other.  Clearly, some suppliers still have old stock on their
shelves.  I added the resistors, of course.  But it's work
asking before buying, if possible, and watching out for it
otherwise.

Jon

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