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PIC programming. What's best?

:: EPE Chat Zone ­:: ­Radio Bygones Message Board :: » EPE Forum Archives 2007-2009 » Archive through 05 July, 2008 » PIC programming. What's best? « Previous Next »

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jimbo
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Registered: 03-2008

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Posted on Wednesday, 30 April, 2008 - 02:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'd like to build some of the EPE projects involving PICs but have always purchased the 'pre-programmed' ICs until now. I've seen advertisements for several programmers [Tk3, Vellerman and so on] and at a wide range of prices too! The current Tk3 kit from Magenta appears to have an LCD display as well. Is this for reading/stepping through the program once installed to check the progress, or what? Is the programmer the only piece of hardware that's needed to do the task or are stand-alone emulators/simulators all part of the armoury as well?

I probably need to read every back issue of EPE since about 1997 to catch up on all of this, but would be grateful if anyone could suggest one/some of the consolidated tutorial disks advertised in EPE as a way to start the learning process.

Thanks for your help
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atferrari
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Posted on Wednesday, 30 April, 2008 - 03:20 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

For the programmer itself: I always used PICstart plus but now I would go straight to the PICkit2. You get a lot for little money.

In my personal case, I never was interested in building programmers (albeit I did!!). There is the risk that who did the design decides to stop updating it for new micros.

Happened to me with the excellent one by Fred Eady (Pic replicator).
Agustín Tomás - Buenos Aires - Argentina
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glen_williams
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Posted on Wednesday, 30 April, 2008 - 05:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I not happy with my PICkit 2 programmer, its the low pin count demo board type, as there some PIC
it will not program, eg PIC16F54, 16F628 or am i missing something.}}
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joe
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Posted on Wednesday, 30 April, 2008 - 05:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Jimbo,

The TK3 isn't a bad programmer as they go, but it is now a bit limited in some of the devices it will program; some of the new funky 18F parts for example.

The LCD you can see is just an LCD module that is connected to the PCB for you to use as you wish. Theres no real-time debugging built in; you would need somthing like an IceBreaker for that.

What Magenta's version of the TK3 gives you is a simple parallel port programmer, software (and you get the source code for it as well), a small bread board experiment area, access to all the pins on the PICs (and it supports most foot print of PIC types), some LED's and switches you can use with your own circuits and some other bits and bobs.

Untill very recently I used mine all the time but as I say, not supporting some of the newer 18F parts is a limitation for me.

Joe
Do one thing each day that scares you – work here !
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oz1lqb
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Post Number: 11
Registered: 12-2005

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Posted on Wednesday, 30 April, 2008 - 06:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi There..
to glen_williams with the new software ver 2.50
it programms both pic16F54 And pic16F628
and not only that it can be used as a 3 channal logic analyser and be used to programm without
a pc connected.
i am verry happy with mine and do not use my ICD2 anymore..
by the way if you are interested there is somone selleng pickit with demoboard on ebay for 35£
and he is in england..
73 de oz1lqb / Claus
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glen_williams
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Posted on Wednesday, 30 April, 2008 - 10:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Many thanks to oz1lqb
I have updated doth MPLAB IDE & PICkit 2 to the new software 8.10 & 2.50,but when I select device PICkit 2 is still RED, can you help?}
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oz1lqb
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Post Number: 12
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Posted on Wednesday, 30 April, 2008 - 11:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi Again Glen..
i have read somwhere that mplab 8.10 is not complete updatet with pickit2 ..
i am only using the pickit 2.50 software myself
and it works for both pic16F628 & pic16F628a.
73 de oz1lqb / Claus
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oz1lqb
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Post Number: 13
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Posted on Wednesday, 30 April, 2008 - 11:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi Again Glen..
i just startet my mplab 8.10 and
it seems that mplab 8.10 ONLY supports
the pic16F628A with the pickit2.
73 de oz1lqb / Claus
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eagre
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Post Number: 232
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Posted on Thursday, 01 May, 2008 - 02:39 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Claus -

Just save the MPLAB output as a hex file (no need to select a programmer) and then load it into the PICkit 2 software for programming.

As far as accomodating various PICs to PICkit 2 output, Sure Electronics sells a board that plugs to the PICkit 2 and has zif programming sockets for 8, 14, 18, 20, 28, and 40 pin PICs. A few minor mods are required for 18 pin and some other older PICs.

Ed
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oz1lqb
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Posted on Thursday, 01 May, 2008 - 05:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi All..
eagre that is the way i always do it when i use mplab..you know i am a bit lazy and program in c or basic..anyway it wasent me having the problem ;-)
73 de oz1lqb / Claus
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glen_williams
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Posted on Thursday, 01 May, 2008 - 08:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi All
I give saving my program as a hex file & loading it into PICkit2 to program the PIC chip a try & look up Sure Electronics.
Many thanks for help folks.}
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obiwan
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Posted on Friday, 02 May, 2008 - 12:51 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have the ICD2 and the PICStart programmer, and I like the ICD better because of the in circuit debugging.

Most of the projects here have the connections (almost all) for the ICD already, just add one more and you're done. All set to go for ICD. (I don't remember which is missing, +5VDC I think it was).

So if you're using MPLAB already, you're all set to do single stepping, break point etc...

Now, having said that, I have not looked at the PICKit and don't know what it does (I have enough programmers thank you, so never looked at it).

I see it as long as the connections are already there, just use the right (RJ45?) connector and you're ready to use the ICD just as is.

If you needed, you could make a special board just for programming devices, I did something similar on just a breadboard.

But the only thing about it, is it's apparent limitation on chips. Sometimes, you need an adapter board/chip. But I have not found that to be a big deal as of yet.

Since you only have a few lines to use on smaller chips, you need to either use an adapter to get them back, not use them.
Do Not Hit The Fly That Lands On The Tigers Head.
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barry
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Posted on Sunday, 04 May, 2008 - 12:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hi
I also have the PICStart+ and the ICD2

I use the PICStart when I have a few devices to program as the PICStart has a ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) socket.

The ICD2 for development - as you can use the debug faciliies, but also as you don't keep having to move the chip from programmer to the developing PCB

I also have the Magenta Ice breaker, but had been unable to use it as their software has not been compatible with MPlab IDE since V7.21 (cof file?)- eventually I modified it and can now use it with all MPLab including 8.10.
They told me a couple of years ago that they were not going to update their software, so I cannot understand how they can still sell it. Perhaps someone can enlighten me?

Barry
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pgamble
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Posted on Saturday, 10 May, 2008 - 06:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have a Mikroelectronika EasyPIC5 which is superb.
I also ordered and built a Wisp648 which works with USB to serial convertors ... does in circuit programming and is compatible with Microchip debuggers like ICD2 ... it is also powered from the target circuit (unless you want to provide your own power.

Elektor have released a book called PIC Microcontrollers - 50 projects for beginners and experts that uses the WISP as the standard programmer. It only costs about £25 as a kit .... and it comes with all the cables (well you make them up your self with supplied plugs, sockets and wires - even two sizes of heat shrink cable ... superb.
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keith
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Post Number: 42
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Posted on Friday, 30 May, 2008 - 01:15 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I use a Willem programmer, if you own one of these you don't need any other programmer for anything, they will do just about anything you can throw at it even down to a 2716 for my Nascom, although it won't do a 2708 because of the voltages required for those.

If you want to have a look at them go here http://www.willem.org/ and click on programmer shop
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atferrari
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Posted on Friday, 30 May, 2008 - 01:58 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hola Keith,

The "supported..." is not including any of the 18F family, not to speak of 24F or 30F. Not a good thing nowadays!

Picstart+ is still being updated regularly. Pickit2 also.

That's why after the 16F877 (Pic replicator stopped there) I learnt to stay away of third party programmers. (It was an excellent programmer, have to admit!)
Agustín Tomás - Buenos Aires - Argentina
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hackinblack
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Posted on Friday, 30 May, 2008 - 08:07 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

i got bitten myself buying a warp 13a from newfound electronics;a few weeks after receiving it they released the fatally flawed firmware chips (courtesy of a silicon bug,curtousy of microchip...)so no more updates,no more support.
JUST GREAT if all you want to use is MPLAB 5 and 12C508's

luckily i got a PICstart plus from a playstation chip 'producer' for £50 still boxed; i was lucky it upgraded with the new firmware card without problems,some early ones wouldnt (although M'chip bless em offered to exchange any that wouldn't)

i dread the day when microchip make MPLAB without support for the promate2 they say they will supply parts 'for the immediate future' but then they have said that for 3 years
i just wish that adaptors where a LOT cheaper,i'm stuck with 28/40 pin or ICSP cable.
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stylers
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Posted on Friday, 30 May, 2008 - 09:04 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

@ Atferrari,

the willem does support pic18 family (at least the version i have does, i used it to program one recently), for anyone who is looking for a programmer for pretty much anything its a great tool. got mine from http://www.sivava.com
with a few adaptors thrown in, if you do anything with 8051's its well worth getting the mcs51 adaptor too.. the 3M ZIF sockets might be "cloned" but they are up to the job.
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keith
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Posted on Tuesday, 24 June, 2008 - 07:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes, I have to agree with Stylers, it does do the pic 18 series, you just need to download ( free ) the correct software to drive the board. The programmer is a live project and is continually being modified to cover new chips, so if you've got a chip today that it won't do have a look at the site tomorrow and you'll probably find the software has been updated.

The other thing is that the Willem is a lot cheaper than buying dedicated programmers from Microchip and has a fantastic backup, the users and the design team are all eager to help with any problems, much much more than you ever get from Microchip.

Keith
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atferrari
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Posted on Wednesday, 25 June, 2008 - 03:57 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Are you sure you can beat the price of a Pickit2?

I doubt that!
Agustín Tomás - Buenos Aires - Argentina
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eagre
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Posted on Thursday, 26 June, 2008 - 01:18 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

stylers -

It appears from the Sivava website that the willem programmer uses a parallel (LPT) port to communicate with a PC, although I can't be sure because it gets power through a USB port. If it does use parallel port communication then it is useless for most people because very few current PCs have parrallel ports and USB adapters are expensive and do not meet all parallel port specs.

Does it use a parallel port?

Ed
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stylers
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Posted on Thursday, 26 June, 2008 - 08:24 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ed,

you're correct, it uses the parallel port for programming, and can be powered either by a separate PSU or from a USB port. I've just looked at a few brand spanking new desktop PC's and they all have parallel AND serial ports, so I don't think the parallel port is a dead duck just yet. I don't think I'd buy a PC or MOBO without one. OK, laptops are a different story but there's good reason for that. Anyway, I wasn't advocating one should buy one for programming PIC's only, there are better and more suitable tools such as the PICkit2, but for the price of it, it will do an awful lot of stuff. i think there is a fully USB version of it on ebay, but i haven't checked lately.

stylers.}
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eagre
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Posted on Friday, 27 June, 2008 - 02:37 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

stylers -

A fully USB version would be interesting - let me know. I don't know about the UK, but in the US very few desktop, and no laptop, PCs offered for sale have parallel and serial ports. The ports can be added to many desktops for 50USD or so, but for laptops (which I rely on) only incomplete USB converters are available.

I completely agree with your evaluation of the PicKit2 and rely on it for almost all of my PIC programming.

Ed
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stylers
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Posted on Friday, 27 June, 2008 - 12:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

the website for the USB willem programmer is http://www.MCUmall.com

It's very similiar to the parallel port willem, they've probably just interfaced the standard willem to a USB - parallel interface and written their own subset of the software.
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eagre
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Posted on Saturday, 28 June, 2008 - 03:28 am:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

stylers -

From the website you specified the USB willem costs 95USD, about twice the cost of a PicKit2.
thus I can see no advantage to the willem as long as you are using PIC MCUs.

Ed
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keith
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Posted on Saturday, 28 June, 2008 - 02:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The Willem is now available in USB format as well as parallel port, as stylers says there is no problem buying a pc with a parallel port but if you have a pc without one there are cards avialable for about £20 or so, alternatively, put the £20 towards the USB version of Willem.

The USB programmer is also available directly from the Willem site http://www.willem.org/ then click on the Programmer Shop link and then the W-USB 1.5 link, you'll find the programmer at the bottom of the page below all the adaptors, it's available for 79 euro's or for a few more it comes with an adaptor kit. If you have any queries contact Willem, he's a really nice guy, I've spoken with him a few times and he's always solved my problems, you'll find he'll give you all the help you need.

Personally I will never buy another programmer simply because I won't need to, the Willem is a live project and as such it's updated for new components as they become available, you simply don't need anything else.

Keith
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graynada
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Posted on Tuesday, 01 July, 2008 - 10:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

For a fantastic IDE I would recommend the Oshonsoft IDE. It incorporates a basic compiler or you can use assembler. You can download it for a 30 go free trial but to be honest it is so good I paid my money for it after about 10 goes.

The IDE has LCD, GLCD, 7 segment, LEDs, UART... the list goes on. It really is one of the best bits of software I have ever used.

For programming/real testing I use an EasyPIC4

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