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'[PIC]: Brand new Promate II'
2001\03\14@152345 by David VanHorn

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Does anyone know any "magic tricks" to get the Promate II to start working
reliably?

I was doing ICSP with the Picstart, which was a little flakey, but then
again, it's not really supported that way..
So, now I have this brand new Promate II, with ISCP module.
My troubles are over, right?

Wrong.

Mostly, it insists that devices are code protected, but sometimes it will
program them.
Then it locks up in "erasing now".

I've loosened/tightened the screws on the module, cleaned both sides of the
zebra strips, and the contacts they hit.

I've double-checked my cable, and called the factory guys and run it past them.

There's nothing on the target attached to the programming pins, other than
a 100k pullup on /MCLR.

Yes, I am programming with the target's power supply off, and no I'm not
getting VPP or VCC overcurrent LEDs.

I've had probably four succesful program cycles out of 50+ attempts, on
three different target systems (16F627)

As high-dollar programmer experiences go, I'm underwhelmed.

I'm ready to go back to my AVRs, and the 6-wire-off-paralell-port
programmer that's never failed me yet.


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2001\03\14@153006 by Mark Bishop

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Do you have the secondary line voltage plugged into the module?

-----Original Message-----
From: David VanHorn [spam_OUTdvanhornTakeThisOuTspamCEDAR.NET]
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2001 3:19 PM
To: .....PICLISTKILLspamspam@spam@MITVMA.MIT.EDU
Subject: [PIC]: Brand new Promate II


Does anyone know any "magic tricks" to get the Promate II to start working
reliably?

I was doing ICSP with the Picstart, which was a little flakey, but then
again, it's not really supported that way..
So, now I have this brand new Promate II, with ISCP module.
My troubles are over, right?

Wrong.

Mostly, it insists that devices are code protected, but sometimes it will
program them.
Then it locks up in "erasing now".

I've loosened/tightened the screws on the module, cleaned both sides of the
zebra strips, and the contacts they hit.

I've double-checked my cable, and called the factory guys and run it past
them.

There's nothing on the target attached to the programming pins, other than
a 100k pullup on /MCLR.

Yes, I am programming with the target's power supply off, and no I'm not
getting VPP or VCC overcurrent LEDs.

I've had probably four succesful program cycles out of 50+ attempts, on
three different target systems (16F627)

As high-dollar programmer experiences go, I'm underwhelmed.

I'm ready to go back to my AVRs, and the 6-wire-off-paralell-port
programmer that's never failed me yet.


--
Dave's Engineering Page: http://www.dvanhorn.org
Where's dave? http://www.findu.com/cgi-bin/find.cgi?kc6ete-9

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2001\03\14@155253 by David VanHorn

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At 03:29 PM 3/14/01 -0500, Mark Bishop wrote:
>Do you have the secondary line voltage plugged into the module?

Yes.
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2001\03\14@161142 by D. Schouten

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I've experienced similar problems too with my 6 months old Promate II,
however not as bad as you do Dave. My problems are related to about 1%
of failures when programming 16C73B PIC's. These failures are coming
with the message 'device code protected' while they're brand new
PIC's. My good old PICstart programmer never had problems like that.
I also do ICSP with the Promate II using a selfmade (just hardwired
from a 40pins DIP socket) adapter. The PIC (16C73B/SO) I'm
in-circuit-programming is totally isolated from the electronics on my
board. Here the same story, about 1% failures. Only now the Promate
message with failed devices is 'mem failure'. I have to desolder the
PIC in this case which is not my hobby. I guess it's time for flash
devices....

Daniel...

{Original Message removed}

2001\03\14@170957 by Andrew Warren

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David VanHorn <PICLISTspamKILLspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU> wrote:

> Does anyone know any "magic tricks" to get the Promate II to start
> working reliably?
> ....
> Mostly, it insists that devices are code protected, but sometimes it
> will program them. Then it locks up in "erasing now".
>
> I've loosened/tightened the screws on the module, cleaned both sides
> of the zebra strips, and the contacts they hit.

   Keep trying.  EVERY ONE of the problems I've had with my ProMates
   has eventually been fixed by loosening/realigning/tightening the
   socket modules.

   I don't think the screws are supposed to be tightened more than
   just barely finger-tight; if you've really cranked down on them,
   the strips may be deformed and not making good contact. Still,
   realignment might be all that's necessary.

   Good luck...

   -Andy


=== Andrew Warren --- .....aiwKILLspamspam.....cypress.com
=== IPD Systems Engineering, CYSD
=== Cypress Semiconductor Corporation
===
=== Opinions expressed above do not
=== necessarily represent those of
=== Cypress Semiconductor Corporation

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2001\03\15@155443 by Mike Mansheim

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> Does anyone know any "magic tricks" to get the Promate II to start
> working reliably?

We use Promate II's for in-circuit programming a lot.  They work very
well most of the time, but we have had to fight through some problems
that sound similar.  So, here's some general thoughts:

- first of all, we don't even use the ICSP module.  We just use the zif
 socket adaptor (AC164012 in our case), and a homemade cable to the
 target board.  During one of the times we were having problems, it was
 decided that the "official" ICSP module was the cure, so we bought one.
 Never did get it to work reliably, and didn't have time to figure out
 why.  So it now lies in a heap in a corner somewhere.  Knowing what we
 learned since, it should probably be looked at again.
- unless you've isolated it somehow, the promate has to supply the 5V
 requirement for the whole board, not just the pic.  We've run into
 problems with target boards with heavier 5V supply requirements.
- related to that, the promate uses a Raychem polyswitch (or similar)
 type of device for current/temp protection that is too conservative in
 our opinion (downstream of the 78xxx regulator).  So we've bypassed it
 on all of our promates.
- I don't know if this applies to your target chip, but we use the F87x
 and find that we have to ground RB3 when in-circuit programming a chip
 that hasn't ever been programmed.  This whole subject has been dicussed
 extensively on the piclist - I can attest that the problem is real.
- a false code protect error is what the promate will give if you try
 programming with nothing attached.  Nearly every time we get a code
 protect error, it is because of a connection problem.  For example, we
 use 8 pin phone jacks for the board interface, and have had problems
 with conformal coating getting in where it doesn't belong and
 interfering with the spring loaded pins.  Also once saw the RB6 pin
 lifted on a surface mount device.  Incidentally, if the device is truly
 code protected, the promate will allow you to go ahead and program
 anyway.
- verify your target board design - we also discovered that we were
 designing our target boards incorrectly.  We were only putting a diode
 between /MCLR and Vdd to  isolate the 5V supply from Vpp.  However, the
 promate (any programmer, actually) needs to hold /MCLR low to reset the
 chip.  Without a resistor in addition to the diode, this shorts the 5V
 supply.  Amazingly, the promate still managed to program these boards.
 Watching the process on a scope showed that the 5V supply drooped
 dramatically, which must have been low enough to get the pic reset -
 seems a nasty  way to treat the promate though!

The two most important things for us were bypassing the promate's internal
protection and paying attention to RB3.

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2001\03\15@161123 by David VanHorn

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>
>
>- first of all, we don't even use the ICSP module.  We just use the zif
>   socket adaptor (AC164012 in our case), and a homemade cable to the
>   target board.  During one of the times we were having problems, it was
>   decided that the "official" ICSP module was the cure, so we bought one.
>   Never did get it to work reliably, and didn't have time to figure out
>   why.  So it now lies in a heap in a corner somewhere.  Knowing what we
>   learned since, it should probably be looked at again.


That's a cheerful thought.
These protos are SMD, and MUST be programmed in-system.


>- unless you've isolated it somehow, the promate has to supply the 5V
>   requirement for the whole board, not just the pic.  We've run into
>   problems with target boards with heavier 5V supply requirements.

Not a problem here the whole target only draws 3mA, and most of that is the
pic.


>- related to that, the promate uses a Raychem polyswitch (or similar)
>   type of device for current/temp protection that is too conservative in
>   our opinion (downstream of the 78xxx regulator).  So we've bypassed it
>   on all of our promates.

I don't think they're going to run it tight enough to kill me.


>- I don't know if this applies to your target chip, but we use the F87x
>   and find that we have to ground RB3 when in-circuit programming a chip
>   that hasn't ever been programmed.  This whole subject has been dicussed
>   extensively on the piclist - I can attest that the problem is real.

I've hit this too, but these chips have been programmed previously.
I've gotten a few successes, and way more failures, which tells me it's in
the programming system, not the target.

>- a false code protect error is what the promate will give if you try
>   programming with nothing attached.  Nearly every time we get a code
>   protect error, it is because of a connection problem.  For example, we
>   use 8 pin phone jacks for the board interface, and have had problems
>   with conformal coating getting in where it doesn't belong and
>   interfering with the spring loaded pins.  Also once saw the RB6 pin
>   lifted on a surface mount device.  Incidentally, if the device is truly
>   code protected, the promate will allow you to go ahead and program
>   anyway.

Not likely, a problem here..
I AM however, seeing RB7 only achieving 1V during programming. Not sure
who's causing that.


>- verify your target board design - we also discovered that we were
>   designing our target boards incorrectly.  We were only putting a diode
>   between /MCLR and Vdd to  isolate the 5V supply from Vpp.  However, the
>   promate (any programmer, actually) needs to hold /MCLR low to reset the
>   chip.  Without a resistor in addition to the diode, this shorts the 5V
>   supply.  Amazingly, the promate still managed to program these boards.
>   Watching the process on a scope showed that the 5V supply drooped
>   dramatically, which must have been low enough to get the pic reset -
>   seems a nasty  way to treat the promate though!

10k resistor here, they BETTER be able to drive that.



>The two most important things for us were bypassing the promate's internal
>protection and paying attention to RB3.

Hmmm.



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Where's dave? http://www.findu.com/cgi-bin/find.cgi?kc6ete-9

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