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'[PIC:] Beginning with F877'
2004\01\12@093209 by Mike Hord

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If that's not a loaded post, there never was one.

Look at http://www.voti.nl for Wouter VanOoijen's Wisp628.  Or look
at http://www.melabs.com for a whole slew of others.  Or at Digikey
for a few more.  Wouter's is probably the best for a simple
project, since it is relatively straight forward and inexpensive.

Write your code in assembly.  That'll give you the best results,
and let you keep your head in the game.  It's not the best idea
to try writing a high level language right off.

At Microchip's website, you can download MPLAB, the free IDE.

Mike H.

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2004\01\12@094546 by Rick C.

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Also, spend as much time on the http://www.piclist.com
Plunder through the website and archives. You will learn much of what you need
there.
Rick

Mike Hord wrote:

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2004\01\12@101200 by John J. McDonough

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Mike had a lot of good advice.

If you are a typical impoverished student, you may prefer to build a
programmer.  They are simple and cheap and there are hundreds of circuits
out there. Most of the circuits are for the F84, but the only difference is
the socket.  Better yet, design your project circuit to allow in-circuit
programming.  This is much more pleasant than constantly moving the chip
between the programmer and the test circuit.  Also recognize that most of
the free software out there will work with the 877 but not the 877A.

On another thread today there was an opinion expressed that directly
programming from the PC (without another processor in-between) was
irresponsible.  Given that you have a single chip target, and probably a
single project, or just a few projects, I disagree with that.  The vast bulk
of the programmer circuits out there don't involve a lot of hardware because
you don't need it most of the time.

There are a few caveats, however.  If you can free up a parallel port, build
a parallel port programmer.  They are less hassle than anything else.  If
you can't get a free parallel port, but can use a serial port, drag out your
voltmeter and check how much voltage you get from your serial port.  Serial
programmers that don't require an external 12 volt supply typically need 15
volts from the serial port.  Once upon a time that was common, but these
days it's very unusual.  Most will need around 9 volts from your port, which
is fairly common.  Quite a few PC serial ports, however, put out less than a
volt. Only a few serial programmers will work with these ports.

If you must use a USB port programmer then go buy one.  The parts cost more
than most of the programmers.  In general, using a USB to serial adapter
doesn't work, although there are some combinations that do.  If you must go
that route, expect to try out several converters before finding one that
works.

I'll get some flame for this, but Windows 3.1/95/98 is less hassle than
NT/W2K/XP, but not a huge advantage.  Linux is a major hassle and locks you
out of some of the best development stuff.  You need to go a few versions
back on MPLAB for Win 3.1/95 or for 98OE, but you really don't loose a lot
of features.  The latest version of MPLAB is really nice, but most of the
important features are there as far back as 4.12.

Bottom line is that you can program that thing for $200, or for $10,
depending on how flexible you are and how handy you are with a slobbering
iron.  If you have even a modest junk box there's good odds you already have
all the parts to build a programmer - there's nothing unusual required.

72/73 de WB8RCR    http://www.qsl.net/wb8rcr
didileydadidah     QRP-L #1446 Code Warriors #35

{Original Message removed}

2004\01\13@200434 by James Nick Sears

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> Look at http://www.voti.nl for Wouter VanOoijen's Wisp628.  Or look
> at http://www.melabs.com for a whole slew of others.  Or at Digikey
> for a few more.  Wouter's is probably the best for a simple
> project, since it is relatively straight forward and inexpensive.
>

I have been planning to try a Wisp628 but it hasn't happened.  I have had
relatively good luck under WinXP with a P16PRO (picallw.com) and WinPicProg
(http://www.winpicprog.co.uk).  I was in a pinch to get a school project done when
I got it so I ordered it assembled but you can get a kit or also a pdf
schematic to roll your own.  If you have much assembly experience it
shouldn't be too hard to wire point to point - it basically is a simple
power supply circuit (which could be simplified further if you knew you were
going to run from a DC supply), a 7406 buffer IC and 4 transistor switch
circuits.  There are around 30 components all together, probably all of
which could be gotten at Radio Shack (not sure if they would have a 7808
regulator).  Almost any small-signal PNP transistor will substitute for the
BC557 in the design.  I have had a couple of accidents that killed a few of
my transistors and I have replaced them all with 2N3905 with no problems.

My programmer works reliably with a chip in the socket and almost reliably
with an ICSP cable with the target circuit powered from its own supply and
almost not at all with ICSP trying to use the programmer's power.

I'm not trying to sell the P16PRO over the Wisp other than the fact that you
could most likely have one working in a few hours from locally available
parts without needing a preprogrammed chip to get started.

> Write your code in assembly.  That'll give you the best results,
> and let you keep your head in the game.  It's not the best idea
> to try writing a high level language right off.

I wholeheartedly agree.  Then again I've always thought assembly was fun
since my first run in with x86 assembly.  It keeps you on a lower, more
hardware-based level, so I think you get to know the chip and its strengths
and weaknesses better this way.

Have fun.

Nick

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