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PICList Thread
'[OT]: Universal programmer'
2001\05\27@231634 by James Newton. Admin 3

face picon face
Err... I'm confused, you are saying that you like spending more money for
programmers that you can't debug because there is no source available and
can't expand to program new parts because the manufacturer has chosen not to
support them? And you like hoping that the mfgr won't dump the product
and/or go out of business (in this very competitive world) thereby removing
your only means of support?

Wow.

The only reason for buying a commercial product (and it is NOT a bad one) is
that you don't have the time or desire to learn how or the equipment to make
the product yourself. I'm not suggesting we fab our own processors!
Commercial products are just fine. If I had to program a bunch of different
PICs on a regular basis and I had no patience for debugging, I'd probably go
buy a Picstart Pro or a Warp-13 or some such.

People have been making and debugging and extending open source Tait style
programmers for a long time now. David Tait is not involved with PICs
anymore. There are multiple sources for kits or assembled units and those
companies are (presumably) making money on that. You can even get MPLAB
support for them. And you don't like that? You would rather have to wait on
a closed source companies tech support to track down the bug in the noppp?

I agree that there is no direct monetary justification for trying to build
your own programmer or using an open source "free" design. You will end up
spending enough time and/or money on parts to have justified purchasing a
"pro" unit. But you will have:

A) learned. And THAT is another thing we need to see more of on the PICList,
Dan, along with "realism based upon hard experience"

B) the assurance that you are not dependant on someone's "trade secret"
profit motive.

C) supported companies that are supporting open source, open designs and the
hacker ethic through the purchase of kits, parts and possibly improving
their products with your feedback. Guys like Don at Dontronics.com (tons of
source, ideas and musings posted right on the site for all to read.) and
Tony (now that he is open sourcing) and even Dan (who has a few really nice
app notes up).

D) advanced the cause of engineers everywhere by standing for truth, freedom
and the hacker way. <GRIN>

And before I get lambasted by some redneck blowing off steam about
"un-American commie pinko free-love socialists" please keep in mind that

A) I have no problem with companies making money and keeping secrets... I'm
just amazed that so few people care to learn the secrets and share them.
Also, basing a company on trade secrets seems like a very nerve wracking way
to live. Always worrying that someone else will figure it out and tell the
world...

B) The USA recognized a long time ago that trade secrets held back
innovation and slowed the rate of technical progress. As well as being an
ineffective way for a company to protect its development investment. The
patent system was the result. It's good for US and its been good for the
world. And I know its not a very good system, but the goal was wise and it
has done a lot of good. In fact, I would be willing to bet that the patent
system deserves most of the credit for the position of the US in the world
today.... That and the fact that we are just as ruthless if not more so than
everybody else. <GRIN> That ought to generate a flame war or two (I hope
not).

C) At the same time that everybody does not seem to understand that the
internet makes all the informational barriers (i.e. trade secrets. e.g. MP3
encoding) go away, we are not getting that the internet does NOTHING, zero,
zip, nada, for the physical world. For a company to do well, it only has to
get the physical items (parts, kits, finished goods, etc..) to the customer,
faster, better, cheaper, etc.... We all love Radio Shack right? But they are
making more than we are because they have a store (or 100) in every city.
They are physically present. ACE made use of the physical presence of small
hardware stores at the same time they made use of ACE's purchasing power.

Err... thinking out loud: What if all the PIC consultants and hobbyists
formed a purchasing and distribution alliance? All orders funneled through a
central bulk purchasing "co-op"? Rush pick up from the local inventory of
one consultant by another in the same area? We do this already, but we
aren't organized about it. Just thinking out loud.

I make a lot of money as a consultant. And I owe part of what I make to what
I've learned from the PICList. And in all the time that I have been here,
I've never had a job taken away from me by having to compete with another
PICList consultant. Not that it couldn't happen, but the PICList has had a
positive effect on my bottom line. People have reported that a prominent
link from the piclist.com site to their product listing has increased their
site traffic by as much as 10 times and orders have doubled. Does anyone
really think that a group design for a really good programmer (and the sales
of kits, etc...) that it would generate for any company on the list, would
be a bad thing for business? How many more programmers could a company sell
if it did more and did it better? Take the base unit, apply your own "trade
secrets" to it, like a better PCB layout, extra features, better support or
lower cost or whatever.

Man, I do run on... Sorry.

James Newton, PICList Admin #3
spam_OUTjamesnewtonTakeThisOuTspampiclist.com
1-619-652-0593 phone
http://www.piclist.com

{Original Message removed}

2001\05\28@004106 by Alexandre Domingos F. Souza

flavicon
face
       Uggghhh...I shouldn't have eaten so much... :os

>Err... I'm confused, you are saying that you like spending more money for
>programmers that you can't debug because there is no source available and
>can't expand to program new parts because the manufacturer has chosen not to
>support them? And you like hoping that the mfgr won't dump the product
>and/or go out of business (in this very competitive world) thereby removing
>your only means of support?

       Sometimes it's better than build something that you will have to debug all night long, to program a device and after, debug the device :o) I've passed by it, it's not funny :o)

>Wow.

       Wow! :o)

>The only reason for buying a commercial product (and it is NOT a bad one) is
>that you don't have the time or desire to learn how or the equipment to make
>the product yourself. I'm not suggesting we fab our own processors!
>Commercial products are just fine. If I had to program a bunch of different
>PICs on a regular basis and I had no patience for debugging, I'd probably go
>buy a Picstart Pro or a Warp-13 or some such.

       I agree with you in part. Remember that sometimes we just need to get the work done. I have a contract job to produce a small timer with 12C508, and since I hadn't no JW parts avaiable, I had to be SURE that the OTP parts would be programmed in the right way. If the NoPPP95 bug (as an example, since it doesn't do 508 parts) happened in 5 of the 10 OTPs I've bought, not only I had lost some valuable time, but also some valuable money. So it's better to stick to a comercial programmer with no surprises. Note that I HAVE patience for debugging. But I can't do that in this case. Does anyone knows the Willy EPROM Multi-programmer? I lost a great job because of all the debugging I had to do in that circuit. Imagine the sequence of errors: error in schematic -> error in the PCB -> Error in the software -> Error in the final device. Where is the error? :o) Better buy a commercial programmer and mind with the errors after.

>People have been making and debugging and extending open source Tait style
>programmers for a long time now. David Tait is not involved with PICs
>anymore. There are multiple sources for kits or assembled units and those
>companies are (presumably) making money on that. You can even get MPLAB
>support for them. And you don't like that? You would rather have to wait on
>a closed source companies tech support to track down the bug in the noppp?

       No, I'd buy something that
       a) I can buy.
       b) WORKS

       See what I did: I bought the Xeltek Unipro programmer, and I needed to do a job using the 8751. I had some tubes of 8751 lying around. Do you think I'd construct a programmer, to debug it and after program my chips, and if something didn't worked, where would be the error? In the code? In the chip? In the programmer? In the programmer software? What about the "free" programmer cost?

>A) learned. And THAT is another thing we need to see more of on the PICList,
>Dan, along with "realism based upon hard experience"

       It's nice to learn when you have time and money to spend. When you are paid by hour, you are supposed to work, and not learn.

>B) the assurance that you are not dependant on someone's "trade secret"
>profit motive.

       It depends. I'm not dependant on a "trade secret" of the Unipro programmer. I know it works. And that's enough.

>C) supported companies that are supporting open source, open designs and the
>hacker ethic through the purchase of kits, parts and possibly improving
>their products with your feedback. Guys like Don at Dontronics.com (tons of
>source, ideas and musings posted right on the site for all to read.) and
>Tony (now that he is open sourcing) and even Dan (who has a few really nice
>app notes up).

       Ah, nice ponit, and I do agree with you!!! But tell me ONE company that makes an universal programmer as the Unipro or the All-03, that WORKS. It's interesting to remember that NO ONE has this kind of device. Jim makes great programmers for PIC, but I also need a programmer who do flash roms, eproms, tests ICs, processors, et al. Since I'm always in a VERY TIGHT budget and the xeltek programmer was at a "cheap" price, so I got it. And by the way, Xeltek IS an open design. There is a program that comes with it that allows you to toggle ANY pin of the programmer, so creating a test sequence or programming sequence for ANY chip. Xeltek programmers are the only one I know with this capability, and isn't it open design?

>D) advanced the cause of engineers everywhere by standing for truth, freedom
>and the hacker way. <GRIN>

       Wow, that touched me deep in the heart :o)

>And before I get lambasted by some redneck blowing off steam about
>"un-American commie pinko free-love socialists" please keep in mind that

       Epa, I'm Brazilian, have nothing to do with rednecks :o)

>A) I have no problem with companies making money and keeping secrets... I'm
>just amazed that so few people care to learn the secrets and share them.
>Also, basing a company on trade secrets seems like a very nerve wracking way
>to live. Always worrying that someone else will figure it out and tell the
>world...

       Yesterday it was not feasible. Today it's normal.

>Err... thinking out loud: What if all the PIC consultants and hobbyists
>formed a purchasing and distribution alliance? All orders funneled through a

       It would soon be corrupted, as everything that reunes a group and money.

>central bulk purchasing "co-op"? Rush pick up from the local inventory of
>one consultant by another in the same area? We do this already, but we
>aren't organized about it. Just thinking out loud.

       It would be REAL NICE if no one got corrupted.

>I make a lot of money as a consultant. And I owe part of what I make to what

       Lucky you :o)

>I've learned from the PICList. And in all the time that I have been here,

       So do I :o)

>be a bad thing for business? How many more programmers could a company sell
>if it did more and did it better? Take the base unit, apply your own "trade
>secrets" to it, like a better PCB layout, extra features, better support or
>lower cost or whatever.

       It would be nice :o)

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2001\05\29@142520 by Andy N1YEW

picon face
hi
----- Original Message -----
From: "Olin Lathrop" <.....olin_piclistKILLspamspam@spam@EMBEDINC.COM>
To: <PICLISTspamKILLspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2001 11:17 AM
Subject: Re: [PIC]: Universal programmer


> > ...just remember less than $100 please.
>
> That's rediculous!  I guess there is no point in developing such a product
> if even the main proponent of it is only willing to spend $100 to buy it.
> We can all go home now and hopefully stop wasting time on this.
>

really?  that is what linux is about build it and share it :-)  i use linux
but my ISP(Net 0) doesnt support it and i am too cheap to buy internet
access so i am getting a job for cable internet($40/month)

andy(swansea massachusetts)


{Quote hidden}

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