please dont rip this site

Tony Nixons Pocket Programmer

{ed: Tony moved on, the web site is closed, but all the files are here:

Also available are Unix tools for the Pocket Programmer by Brandon Fosdick}

HOT! Tony Nixons Pocket Programmer. The Pocket Programmer is a stand alone serial programmer that can program most of the PICmicro®MCU range of microprocessors. (12C6xx, 16Cxxx, 16Fxxx, 18Cxxx) It works from a single 18VDC supply or with 2 X 9 volt batteries. Combine this with 64K of on board EEPROM which can store upto 32 HEX files and you have a truely portable programmer / patcher.

This unit is a must for field work!

Here is the schematic from the pdf file as a huge gif or png. The source code for this programmer is open so that the user can customize it for their own purposes or read it to learn how a PIC can program a PIC. Customise the software yourself if you like. PLEASE consider sharing your modifications...


The original kit did have a few SMT components, but the pads were oversized and so it is not as hard as you might think. Took about 2 hours to put together. The assembly instructions in pdf format (cached 20010523135942) and CSS HTML 20010904105856 and everything else is installed by the Win32 specific install program in the download .zip file (cached 20010523135942). The biggest problem was that the board did not have a solder mask or component placement silkscreen.

Andrew Sorriaux sent some pictures of his version.

New Kit !

With Tony's blessing,, in cooperation with, is producing a new kit with an easy to assemble board (no SMT, with solder mask and component silkscreen) and all parts (except the ZIF socket) for $70. (we are looking for a good, low cost, ZIF socket... please let us know if you know of one). Some possible sources include:

The boards are excellent! has done their normal great job! The clear silkscreen and parts list (see below) makes assembly a snap. Pin one is clearly marked on the silkscreen for all polarized components. The PIC16F876 comes pre-programmed so the unit is ready to go when you power it on. Just do a complete check of the parts for correct orientation and give the PCB another look over and check for possible shorts and joints that have not been soldered before you apply power and switch it on. The LCD is probably still blank, so turn the contrast pot away from the RS232 socket to make the display visible. When turned on without operational data available, the Pocket will display this message.


Turn off the power, download from, run the setup program, edit  pocket.dat so that it contains the number of the com port you will use
and run pocket.exe from your installation directory. Read through the help to discover how to set up and calibrate the programmer and then how to use it. DO NOT USE A NULL MODEM CABLE TO CONNECT THE POCKET TO YOUR PC! The correct connector wiring is straight through: Pin 1 to pin 1 etc...

The new pocket programmer kit is available for in the US through this site. Proceeds support the site.

Pocket Programmer: Kit
$80.00 (+ s&h + tax in CA)
Out of Stock!
Sorry! You can place an advanced order for the next shipment, or order the board below:
Pocket Programmer:
Printed Circuit Board

$22.00 (+ s&h + tax in CA)
Out of Stock!

Here is the schematic gif (very close to the same as Tony's original) and the board layout pdf and here are some pictures of the first board:

Note: the ZIF is not included with the kit. The one in the picture I scrounged.




Description and notes
R1   - 82 ohm 1/4W 5%
R33   - 100 ohm 2W 5%
R27,R28   - 220 ohm 1/8W 5%
R17,R23   - 1K 1/8W 5%
R30   - 1.5K 1/8W 5%
R29   - 2.7K 1/8W 5%
R32,R34   - 4.7K 1/8W 5%
R18   - 6.8K 1/8W 5%
R19   - 10K 1/4W 5%
R20,R21,R22,R24   - 10K 1/8W 5%
R2   - 18K 1/8W 5%
R10,R11   - 22K 1/8W 5%
R6   - 33K 1/8W 5%
R8,R9   - 47K 1/8W 5%
R7   - 82K 1/8W 5%
R35   - 470K 1/4W 5%
C9,C10   - 22pF 25VDC NP0 10%
C4   - 10nF 25VDC 10%
C2,C3,C6,C15   - 100nf 25VDC 20%
C5 - 1uF 25VDC 20%
C1   - 2.2uF 25VDC 20%
C11,C12,C13,C14 - 4.7uF 25VDC 20% (for MAX232: originally 1uF)
C7   - 10uF 16VDC 20%
C8   - 47uF 16VDC 20%
Q1   - quartz resonator 4MHz
L1   - green LED 3 mm
L2   - red LED3 mm
D5   - 1N4004 (or 1N4001)
TR5,TR4   - BC337-40
TR1,TR2,TR3   - BC327-40
U10   - 74LS06
U9   - 74HC126
U5   - LM7805
U6   - LM7808
U1,U2,U3   - 24LC256/P on DIL8 sockets
U11   - LM358
U8   - MAX232
U4   - PIC16F876-04/P on DIL28 socket
LCDdistance   - 2x10pin female distance connector
LCD1   - 1x6pin male connector to LCD pins 1-6
LCD2   - 1x4pin male connector to LCD pins 12-14
PWR-JACK   -Plug in power supply jack
40PINZIF   - ZIF socket 40 pins or 4 pcs 1x20pin female row sockets
PARALAX   - 8pin male connector
ICSP   - 6pin male connector
RS232   - DB9 9 pin female connector
K1, K2, K3, K4   - push buttons

Assemble the unit by matching the parts to the parts list above and then inserting them into the space for each part as labeled on the PCB.

If you are satisfied that all is well, apply power and switch it on. The LCD is probably still blank, so turn the contrast pot away from the RS232 socket to make the display visible. When turned on without operational data available, the Pocket will display this message.


If the display has not responded with that message then you have done something wrong. Please go over you work again and make sure that 5 volts appears on the correct power pins on each chip.

Turn off the power, download the software from or, run pocket.exe from your installation directory and open the help file. Read through it to discover how to set up and calibrate the programmer and then how to use it.

How to wire up a suitable serial connection for the PC: With a male to femail DB9 serial connector, just wire pin 1 to pin 1, 2 to 2, etc... Do NOT use a "Null modem cable" Since this will swap pin 2 with 3 etc... and cause the RS232 drivers on the Pocket to possibly burn out.


MGP says: "I've got one and it works great. I bought it for it's low cost and features but I've found it quite handy for updating software in the field." +



See also:

file: /Techref/microchip/pocketprog.htm, 36KB, , updated: 2013/7/24 13:11, local time: 2016/10/24 22:01, owner: size111-hotmail-,

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