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'[PIC]: MPLAB-ICD Experiences'
2001\12\20@231905 by Tim McDonough

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I'm looking for comments, good or bad, on people's experience
with the MPLAB-ICD in-circuit debugger for the 87x series. Is it
a worthwhile tool? How well does it work in a system designed for
the 20MHz parts?

Tim

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2001\12\21@005817 by jim

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Tim, All,

I have used the ICD for about two years or so now, and I think it's very
much worth having.
I have used it to develop software (Firmware) for not only the '877, but for
the '71, 54, 57,
12C672, 12C509, etc., etc.  It's a very good tool as far as I'm concerned.
And the cost is
minimal considering what you get for your money.   This tool, along with a
PIC Start Plus
programmer, and a third party development board make up my basic PIC lab.  I
have done
many jobs with this complement of equipment, both for my own projects, and
for projects
where I work.   I have recently written firmware for a 12C509 in a project
at work.
Including this implementation, I now have 4 PIC designs implemented and
either in production
or in preproduction getting ready for full production.  This all in just
over a year.
So if I were you, I wouldn't hesitate getting an ICD.  I believe you won't
regret it.


Happy Holidays...


Regards,


Jim
{Original Message removed}

2001\12\21@092044 by Al Williams

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Hi Tim,

I have one and I like it (read my review in Nuts and Volts a few months
back). I use it at 20MHz all the time. There are a few "quirks" you have
to get used to:

1) It takes a long time to transfer all the registers at 56kbaud or
whatever it is using. To "fix" this they let you download just some
registers (the really important ones + anything in a watch window).
That's great until you forget and wonder why your registers aren't
changing (they are, you just aren't looking). I wish they'd gray the
registers you aren't looking at or something.

2) Breakpoints happen after the instruction they are on occurs. This
takes a little getting used to.

3) There is no "step over". It is a shame they can't notice a call
instruction and ONLY for the call instruction set a breakpoint on the
next line. This would look like step over but would not break the skip
instructions.

Still well worth the $100 or so. I know that Transdata has a parallel
port version. That would probably be faster to download the registers.
Once you get used to the idiosyncrasies it is smooth sailing.

Al Williams
AWC
* Easy RS-232 Prototyping
http://www.al-williams.com/awce/rs1.htm

> {Original Message removed}

2001\12\21@095019 by Bob Ammerman

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It is wonderful. The best bang-for-the-buck I have seen in a long time. It
works great at any speed, with any clock option because it is not a true
ICE, and thus doesn't have to do anything at full  processor speed.

Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems

{Original Message removed}

2001\12\21@125120 by Jeff DeMaagd

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At 10:02 PM 12/20/01 -0600, you wrote:
>I'm looking for comments, good or bad, on people's experience
>with the MPLAB-ICD in-circuit debugger for the 87x series. Is it
>a worthwhile tool? How well does it work in a system designed for
>the 20MHz parts?

I was skittish before buying the kit that I have.

I do not regret it, although I have been having some minor instability
problems, sometimes the serial link needs to be reestablished & the PIC
reset.  I haven't used it in a while but it easily paid for itself in under
a week, in terms of quicker development & testing.

The other posts describe a few of the limitations but it is still a
worthwhile first or second PIC development tool, my first was the
PIC-Start.  If you do full time work for several months then the in-circuit
emulators may be worthwhile, but even then, starting with the ICD helps get
the bills paid until you can afford an ICE.

The ICD works well for clocks from DC to 20MHz.

Jeff

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2001\12\21@142500 by Don Hyde

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I have used both the ICD and ICE2000, and both work well.

The ICD has a number of limitations -- it is slower downloading code, it can
have only one breakpoint, it takes up some code space, it has no trace, it
has fewer breakpoint modes.  Given those limitations, it works fine, and you
can debug code just fine with it.

I do not recommend it for professional use in our shop.  If you are paying
people competitive salaries to write code, then your tools don't have to
save very much time on a difficult bug to save more than the price of the
ICE2000.  This is especially true if there are other people twiddling their
thumbs on engineer's salaries waiting for the bug to get fixed.

> {Original Message removed}

2001\12\21@233546 by Jeff DeMaagd

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At 01:22 PM 12/21/01 -0600, you wrote:
>I have used both the ICD and ICE2000, and both work well.
>
>The ICD has a number of limitations -- it is slower downloading code, it can
....
>I do not recommend it for professional use in our shop.  If you are paying
>people competitive salaries to write code, then your tools don't have to
>...

I never recommended it for full-blown pro use, but for hobbyists, custom
projects people that only do PICs occasionally and those trying to break
into the market on a budget the ICD is a good start.  It is pretty much how
_I_ started anyway.

Jeff

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2001\12\22@093102 by Bob Ammerman

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I've said it once, and I'll say it again: The most powerful debugging tool
you have is your mind. I have seen too many people depend on fancy debuggers
like the ICE when a little careful thought, and/or a careful reading of the
appropriate datasheet, would lead them directly to the solution of their
problem.

Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems

{Original Message removed}

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