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PICList Thread
'[PIC]: PBK Questionnaire'
2002\08\15@232848 by myke predko

flavicon
face
Hi Folks,

I've been off this discussion for a week because of work and I have been
pushing to fix two tough problems in BASIC87x (they'll both be fixed in
Version 0.83, which I will put up on my web page tomorrow).  I got
re-introduced to my MPLAB-ICD over the past two days which makes me rethink
my comments dismissing free ICD and bootloaders.

Now, I just wish MPLAB-ICD just wasn't so bloody slow!


Reading through the comments over the past week, it doesn't sound like there
is any kind of consensus as yet to what the PBK is going to be.  With the
"Executive Overview", it looks like there are some general statements that
people are willing to agree to.


To take some of the contention out of the process, I'm proposing that people
reply to me (spam_OUTmykeTakeThisOuTspampassport.ca) directly, answering the following questions:

1.  What PICmicro MCU part numbers did you learn on?  What do you recommend
to others to learn on?


2.  What type of PC do you have?  (Processor, Speed, (S)DRAM, Operating
System)


3.  Do you have any free Parallel Ports on your PC?  If so, which type (ie
Motherboard/PCI/ISA/USB and SPP/EPP/...)?


4.  Do you have any free Serial Ports on your PC?  If so, are any of them
driven by USB?


5.  Is your PC capable of using USB ports?  (Operating systems that can do
this are: Windows/98, Windows/Me, Windows/2000, Windows/XP, Mac, Linux
(Redhat 7.1+))


6.  What type of programmer do you use now?


7.  What is the development system that you use?


8.  What language do you write your applications in?


9.  Do you use MPLAB-ICD or an Emulator?


10.  How did you learn to develop PICmicro MCU applications?  For example:
     - Reading manuals thoroughly, trying out applications on the
simulator, finally doing applications
     - Trying to design my own applications and getting background material
to do the job
     - Trying to build other people's applications that you found on the
Internet




I have tried to avoid asking opinions, instead, I'm trying to find out what
people are actually using and what they use to help make the decision.  What
I'm hoping to find are answers that will allow us to start making some
concrete decisions based on the user base out there.

Please reply directly to me (and not the PICList) and I will summarize the
information as I get it.  I hope that both lurkers as well as regulars reply
so that the votes don't get too skewed artificially.

myke

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2002\08\16@041011 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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face
> -----Original Message-----
> From: myke predko [SMTP:.....mykeKILLspamspam@spam@PASSPORT.CA]
> Sent: Friday, August 16, 2002 4:28 AM
> To:   PICLISTspamKILLspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Subject:      [PIC]: PBK Questionnaire
>
> Hi Folks,
>
> I've been off this discussion for a week because of work and I have been
> pushing to fix two tough problems in BASIC87x (they'll both be fixed in
> Version 0.83, which I will put up on my web page tomorrow).  I got
> re-introduced to my MPLAB-ICD over the past two days which makes me
> rethink
> my comments dismissing free ICD and bootloaders.
>
> Now, I just wish MPLAB-ICD just wasn't so bloody slow!
>
Have you got the latest firmware in it?  I upgraded mine a few weeks back
(with the hex that came with MPLAB 5.6x I think) and it made a huge
difference to the programming speed.

Regards

Mike

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2002\08\16@054854 by Alan B. Pearce

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>Have you got the latest firmware in it?  I upgraded mine a
>few weeks back (with the hex that came with MPLAB 5.6x I
>think) and it made a huge difference to the programming speed.

Well that is what I use and it still is horrendously slow. I suspect it is a
combination of the ICD and the fact that MPLAB is a 16 bit application. I am
surprised that it cannot do things faster, as there cannot be that much
processing to do, especially when the source code file is already open to
debug.

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2002\08\17@124331 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Thu, Aug 15, 2002 at 11:28:13PM -0400, myke predko wrote:
> Hi Folks,

Hi Myke. I've decided to send my survey separately. I however have a few points
that I wanted to continue in a public discussion format.

>
> Reading through the comments over the past week, it doesn't sound like there
> is any kind of consensus as yet to what the PBK is going to be.  With the
> "Executive Overview", it looks like there are some general statements that
> people are willing to agree to.
>
>
> To take some of the contention out of the process,

Actually the contention has been useful as it has helped us reach several of
the listed points.

There seemds to be two major points of contention that still floating around.

* The primary programmer vs. development board and...
* Simple/cheap/reliable vs. comprehensive/standardized/reliable.

BTW I see that you've brought the port issue back to the table. It seemed that
it was tabled due to nearly complete agreement to what was outlined in Jason's
design outline. Serial interface with RS232 and USB converters onboard.

The funny thing is that we in fact already have consensus but everyone has yet
to respond to the proposal:

* Brenden and Alan were happy with the Designer as long as it had a 2 socket
 system where the second socket could be controlled via ICD or traditional
 programming. The second socket would be unpopulated upon initial delivery.
 It was fine with me because it facilitated having a dual 16F/18F development
 system for advanced developers without forcing that system upon novices.

* Geert's PICbase in some form can serve as the external final project target.
 Probably 2 PCB boards, one with just the PICbase, and the other with an
 unpopulated Designer layout, Brenden and Geert pointed out that the
 separation in the two complementary products is based on presentation and
 marketing, not technology. I haven't heard any dissention to that proposal.

* The standalong programmer is accomplished by simply having an optional
 board with one or more ZIF sockets that plugs into the manditory ICSP
 interface. The universal programmer is much better covered by Brenden's
 CUMP design, which it much further along than we are anyway.

* The folks who just want a cheap simple programmer, well there are already a
 bunch of existing Designs and PCBS, including your own El Cheapo. So in this
 case all we really need to do is nothing at all and let the existing market
 take care of it.

That covers all of the major viewpoints that I've seen in the part couple of
weeks.

At some point in time soon we'll have to stop discussing and start working on
layout. I'm just trying to figure out if we have a design proposal that in fact
fits everyone's requirements, then what exactly are we still talking about?

Any comments to the above please respond to the list. Any answers for Myke's
survey questions, please send to him offlist.

BAJ

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2002\08\17@143910 by Roman Black

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face
Byron A Jeff wrote:

> * The standalong programmer is accomplished by simply having an optional
>   board with one or more ZIF sockets that plugs into the manditory ICSP
>   interface. The universal programmer is much better covered by Brenden's
>   CUMP design, which it much further along than we are anyway.

You said "optional ZIF socket"?? I think the fact
that Sean stated he can get ZIF sockets cheap in
Taiwan would make it a must-have item. The perceived
value of a ZIF socket to the newbie is high, as it
can be used to program PICs for distribution and for
use in simple designs they got from the net.
ICSP is just NOT as good.

> * The folks who just want a cheap simple programmer, well there are already a
>   bunch of existing Designs and PCBS, including your own El Cheapo. So in this
>   case all we really need to do is nothing at all and let the existing market
>   take care of it.

This point dumbfounds me. I believe that the original
*need* for the standard beginner device was so that
newbies like Kieren wouldn't need to tie-up list member's
time trying to get a home-built programmer working??

So you're saying that after this device consumes a large
amount of list-hours, and become the great device you
mention (which I like BTW!), you do run the risk that
a week after you release the thing you still have Kieren
Mk2 asking which way around to put his transistor
and why it gets so hot?

This *beginner pack* needs to be cheap and *entry-level*
if it is to succeed. For you to state that the new device
fills a higher need, and that the newbies are expected to
keep struggling with transistor orientation in homemade
programmers, seems contrary to the original needs that
prompted the design of a beginner kit. :o)
-Roman

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2002\08\17@144020 by Jason Harper

picon face
BAJ wrote:
> * Brenden and Alan were happy with the Designer as long as it had a 2
socket
>   system where the second socket could be controlled via ICD or
traditional
>   programming. The second socket would be unpopulated upon initial
delivery.
>   It was fine with me because it facilitated having a dual 16F/18F
development
>   system for advanced developers without forcing that system upon
novices.

I think some people may be misinterpreting my Designer proposal slightly:
the "control PIC" in the block diagram is not intended as a development
target at all, in fact there's no reason for it to actually be a PIC - I
only specified it that way since anyone capable of working on the project
would certainly know how to use a PIC, but not necessarily any other
processor.  Its job is solely to to provide pin I/O commands to implement
the programming and logic monitor features.  I would probably put a
bootloader on the chip so that it can be upgraded without needing a
separate programmer, but that would certainly not be the normal usage of
the Designer.

A separate PIC is needed as a development target, inserted in either one of
the LIFs of my original design, or the single ZIF of the update.  One would
need to be supplied with the Designer for it to be immediately usable,
although I can't decide whether that should be a 16F877 for maximum pin
count and ADC features, or a 16F628 for lowest cost.  By the time anything
actually gets built, I suspect that an 18F part might be reasonable for the
included target.

Actually, the Designer as I envision it would still be a moderately useful
device even with no target PIC installed, simply for the 24-channel logic
monitor.  For example, you could experiment with the command set of an LCD
display module directly from the computer, before even beginning to write
code for the PIC.
       Jason Harper

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2002\08\17@181620 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Sun, Aug 18, 2002 at 03:55:47AM +1000, Roman Black wrote:
> Byron A Jeff wrote:
>
> > * The standalong programmer is accomplished by simply having an optional
> >   board with one or more ZIF sockets that plugs into the manditory ICSP
> >   interface. The universal programmer is much better covered by Brenden's
> >   CUMP design, which it much further along than we are anyway.
>
> You said "optional ZIF socket"?? I think the fact
> that Sean stated he can get ZIF sockets cheap in
> Taiwan would make it a must-have item. The perceived
> value of a ZIF socket to the newbie is high, as it
> can be used to program PICs for distribution and for
> use in simple designs they got from the net.
> ICSP is just NOT as good.

Yes Roman, I said optional. And it's not an issue of cost. It never has been.
The primary programming interface is direct downloading onto the onboard PIC.
This requires nothing more than plugging the unit into a serial or USB port
and applying power. There's nothing to move and nothing to transfer.

As you can tell I feel that the physical process of programming is an
impediment to the development process. And this preceeded using PICs.
I had the exact same issues with EPROMs on my homebuilt 6809, 68000 family,
and 8031 family projects. Self programming flash based PICs are the best thing
since sliced bread.

I really don't think it's right for us to foist our old style of development
upon new users. That's one of the reasons that Basic Stamps and OOPICs do so
well in that arena, they're just plug and go.

And newbies and hobbyists don't program for distribution. The program for
a series of one off projects.

Finally ICSP is not only just as good, it's better because one doesn't have
to physically move the processor around to do development with it.

This isn't about either small scale or production programming. It's about
getting code into a PIC for development. And by that criteria, the standard
ZIF interfaced PIC programmer falls behind every other method including ICSP,
ICD, bootloading, and embedded programming development environments like
Myke's BASIC87X and the Basic Stamp. It hinders the development process, not
facilitates it.

{Quote hidden}

But they already exists. I don't understand why we want to duplicate devices
that already exist. Wouter's WISP628 costs $17 and you can get it today.
Tony has the Fobbit, the V5Exp, and the Pocket Programmer. None of these are
homebuilt. All of them are already available. So why duplicate the effort?

I stand by my statement. If all we're talking about is a programmer, then
there's not much more to do. I guess I'll get motivated to do a quick PCB
for the TLVP and sell it as a kit to add to the bunch.

A prototyper/designer will be helpful to both new users, and for those of us
who cannot simply whip up a PCB in 15 minutes to try out a design. It lets you
prototype, to noodle with a design, before having to commit time and effort
to the drudge process of laying out and populating a board. That's one reason
why I wirewrap boards. It's reasonably quick and I can easily tear down errors.

>
> So you're saying that after this device consumes a large
> amount of list-hours, and become the great device you
> mention (which I like BTW!), you do run the risk that
> a week after you release the thing you still have Kieren
> Mk2 asking which way around to put his transistor
> and why it gets so hot?

That's a straw man argument. No what it does is negates the 12 other questions
that a new user would have asked about chips, programmers, wiring, board
debugging, which was an LED goes, what value resistor to use, wht the LCD
display doesn't work, and how to filter PWM before getting to the question of
why the transistor is so hot.

> This *beginner pack* needs to be cheap and *entry-level*
> if it is to succeed. For you to state that the new device
> fills a higher need, and that the newbies are expected to
> keep struggling with transistor orientation in homemade
> programmers, seems contrary to the original needs that
> prompted the design of a beginner kit. :o)

It's going to be fully assembled. That's one point we've all agreed on. It'll
have a built in ICSP socket that can either be temporarily wired to the
final target board, or wired to the breadboard. But by the time you get around
to using it, the project will already be designed, the software already written
and tested, the I/O interfaces already working. In short by the time you need
the programmer function, the project will already be finished so you'll only
need to use that connector once (OK maybe twice ;-) per project.

At that insertion rate, one would need a ZIF socket like... never!

BAJ

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2002\08\17@181823 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Sat, Aug 17, 2002 at 02:24:45PM -0400, Jason Harper wrote:
{Quote hidden}

Jason, can I then gently suggest that maybe you come up with another name
for your proposal then as to eliminate confusion. UltraProgrammer, PPP (PICLIST
Prototyper/Programmer and CUMP2 immediately come to mind. ;-). I'll use PPP
for this discussion, but please tell me what name you prefer.

>
> A separate PIC is needed as a development target, inserted in either one of
> the LIFs of my original design, or the single ZIF of the update.  One would
> need to be supplied with the Designer for it to be immediately usable,
> although I can't decide whether that should be a 16F877 for maximum pin
> count and ADC features, or a 16F628 for lowest cost.  By the time anything
> actually gets built, I suspect that an 18F part might be reasonable for the
> included target.

OK. Good. Now explain why you have it setup this way? Run this discussion
by a new PIC user (NPU):

"NPU: Ok The PPP has an onboard PIC that's used to program the target PIC.
right?"

"PICLIST (PL): That's correct."

"And I can program the second PIC which I supply, but I can't program the PIC
that comes onboard?"

" PL: That's also correct."

" NPU: Now why can't I program the onboard PIC?"

And that's my exact question. Brenden gave a couple of cogent arguments about
needing every available memory and I/O resource. Alan pointed out that a 2
chip system would enable a 16F/18F coprocessor setup. But both of these are
unusual cases.

> Actually, the Designer as I envision it would still be a moderately useful
> device even with no target PIC installed, simply for the 24-channel logic
> monitor.  For example, you could experiment with the command set of an LCD
> display module directly from the computer, before even beginning to write
> code for the PIC.

Brenden has opined that option also. But I'm really strugging to understand
why a perfectly good onboard PIC should not itself be the primary target.

I have a couple of thoughts as to why, but I'll keep them to myself until I
hear what you have to say on the subject.

BAJ

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2002\08\17@210604 by Jason Harper

picon face
BAJ wrote:
> OK. Good. Now explain why you have it setup this way?

Ignore the fact that the onboard processor is a PIC.  I'll stick a "Pentium
7" label on it if that will make you happier!

It's INFRASTRUCTURE.  Asking why the user can't program it directly makes
exactly as much sense as asking why they can't directly use the power
supply filter capacitor in their project.

The device (whatever you want to call it) is made much more powerful by the
presence of an onboard dedicated processor.  In particular, you'll be able
to directly monitor or supply input to up to 24 of the target PIC's pins,
WITHOUT having to wire up a bunch of LEDs or switches for each project.
How could you possibly do anything like that with only a single processor?

This approach means that you can use every single word of program space for
your program, if that's what it needs.  Or you can choose to install a
bootloader, if you want to be able to conveniently update the target PIC's
code after it has been moved to a permanent home.  Either is an equally
valid use of the system.
       Jason Harper

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2002\08\17@211208 by myke predko

flavicon
face
Hi Byron,

> Hi Myke. I've decided to send my survey separately. I however have a few
points
> that I wanted to continue in a public discussion format.

> > Reading through the comments over the past week, it doesn't sound like
there
> > is any kind of consensus as yet to what the PBK is going to be.  With
the
> > "Executive Overview", it looks like there are some general statements
that
> > people are willing to agree to.
> >
> >
> > To take some of the contention out of the process,
>
> Actually the contention has been useful as it has helped us reach several
of
> the listed points.
>
> There seemds to be two major points of contention that still floating
around.
>
> * The primary programmer vs. development board and...
> * Simple/cheap/reliable vs. comprehensive/standardized/reliable.
>
> BTW I see that you've brought the port issue back to the table. It seemed
that
> it was tabled due to nearly complete agreement to what was outlined in
Jason's
> design outline. Serial interface with RS232 and USB converters onboard.

I asked because I was curious for two reasons.  The first was, I wanted to
find out what people *actually* had.

I don't have a problem with RS-232/USB but you should be aware of some
issues that I've discovered with USB to RS-232 converters.  I have a Belkin
USB to 4 RS-232 port converter and it does not work as you would expect -
data is sent in blocks, not truely asynchronously.  I gave up on it for my
BASIC87x testing because after typing in a command/statement, I would have
to wait for a second to see the results on Hyperterminal.

This is not a problem for a COMx port built into the PC.

Along with this, the Belkin converter works fine for my PICStart Plus, BUT
it does not work at all for my MPLAB-ICD.  I've just gotten a USB to Palm
serial converter that I want to try out as well.

This is just the results on one system and I'm curious to find out if
anybody else has had similar experiences.

> The funny thing is that we in fact already have consensus but everyone has
yet
> to respond to the proposal:

I apologise for not seeing that - I think the volume of emails obscured the
proposal details for me.  Thank you for restating them below:

> * Brenden and Alan were happy with the Designer as long as it had a 2
socket
>   system where the second socket could be controlled via ICD or
traditional
>   programming. The second socket would be unpopulated upon initial
delivery.
>   It was fine with me because it facilitated having a dual 16F/18F
development
>   system for advanced developers without forcing that system upon novices.

Sorry, are the sockets 18 or 40 pin?

> * Geert's PICbase in some form can serve as the external final project
target.
>   Probably 2 PCB boards, one with just the PICbase, and the other with an
>   unpopulated Designer layout, Brenden and Geert pointed out that the
>   separation in the two complementary products is based on presentation
and
>   marketing, not technology. I haven't heard any dissention to that
proposal.

Rather than two PCBs, why not a single PCB that is populated two different
ways?

> * The standalong programmer is accomplished by simply having an optional
>   board with one or more ZIF sockets that plugs into the manditory ICSP
>   interface. The universal programmer is much better covered by Brenden's
>   CUMP design, which it much further along than we are anyway.
>
> * The folks who just want a cheap simple programmer, well there are
already a
>   bunch of existing Designs and PCBS, including your own El Cheapo. So in
this
>   case all we really need to do is nothing at all and let the existing
market
>   take care of it.

Sorry, I seem to have missed this point all together.

> That covers all of the major viewpoints that I've seen in the part couple
of
> weeks.
>
> At some point in time soon we'll have to stop discussing and start working
on
> layout. I'm just trying to figure out if we have a design proposal that in
fact
> fits everyone's requirements, then what exactly are we still talking
about?


For the past week, I've been trying to come up with a plan for presenting
how to teach somebody how to create PICmicro MCU applications.  In the
survey, I'm looking for some good idea about what is the most popular way
people have been learning about our favorite microcontroller.

When I have the results from the survey, I would like to list what are the
methods people use to learn how to develop applications and come up with a
proposed method for people to follow.  I would like to apply this to the
development hardware above and see how well they dovetail together.




> Any comments to the above please respond to the list. Any answers for
Myke's
> survey questions, please send to him offlist.


I have heard from 30 or so people - again, I would appreciate it if as many
people as possible forward your answers to the survey (I've included the
list of questions again below) to .....mykeKILLspamspam.....passport.ca.

Thanx,

myke



1.  What PICmicro MCU part numbers did you learn on?  What do you recommend
to others to learn on?


2.  What type of PC do you have?  (Processor, Speed, (S)DRAM, Operating
System)


3.  Do you have any free Parallel Ports on your PC?  If so, which type (ie
Motherboard/PCI/ISA/USB and SPP/EPP/...)?


4.  Do you have any free Serial Ports on your PC?  If so, are any of them
driven by USB?


5.  Is your PC capable of using USB ports?  (Operating systems that can do
this are: Windows/98, Windows/Me, Windows/2000, Windows/XP, Mac, Linux
(Redhat 7.1+))


6.  What type of programmer do you use now?


7.  What is the development system that you use?


8.  What language do you write your applications in?


9.  Do you use MPLAB-ICD or an Emulator?


10.  How did you learn to develop PICmicro MCU applications?  For example:
     - Reading manuals thoroughly, trying out applications on the
simulator, finally doing applications
     - Trying to design my own applications and getting background material
to do the job
     - Trying to build other people's applications that you found on the
Internet




I have tried to avoid asking opinions, instead, I'm trying to find out what
people are actually using and what they use to help make the decision.  What
I'm hoping to find are answers that will allow us to start making some
concrete decisions based on the user base out there.

Please reply directly to me (and not the PICList) and I will summarize the
information as I get it.  I hope that both lurkers as well as regulars reply
so that the votes don't get too skewed artificially.

--
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ways.  See http://www.piclist.com/#archives for details.


2002\08\18@020647 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Sat, Aug 17, 2002 at 06:49:32PM -0400, Jason Harper wrote:
> BAJ wrote:
> > OK. Good. Now explain why you have it setup this way?
>
> Ignore the fact that the onboard processor is a PIC.  I'll stick a "Pentium
> 7" label on it if that will make you happier!
>
> It's INFRASTRUCTURE.  Asking why the user can't program it directly makes
> exactly as much sense as asking why they can't directly use the power
> supply filter capacitor in their project.

No it's not. In fact it's exactly the opposite. Why doesn't every desktop
computer then have 2 or more CPUs, one for infrastructure and the other
for actual work then? Most programmable systems (desktops, PDA, etc) the
primary CPU provides both the infrastructure (OS) and the target (applications).
All I'm asking is why this system should be any different?

>
> The device (whatever you want to call it) is made much more powerful by the
> presence of an onboard dedicated processor.  In particular, you'll be able
> to directly monitor or supply input to up to 24 of the target PIC's pins,
> WITHOUT having to wire up a bunch of LEDs or switches for each project.
> How could you possibly do anything like that with only a single processor?

But you're defining a behavior that's not going to have major relavence in
the vast majority of project development. How many of us use logic analyzers
on a daily basis? Roman has been complaining about the complexity curve, now
it's my turn.

>
> This approach means that you can use every single word of program space for
> your program, if that's what it needs.

Again how often does that occur? BTW that issue has already been addressed
in terms of adding a second permanent socket to install a target. The
differences are that the second one is optional, and the the mounting of the
second target chip is permanent.

>  Or you can choose to install a
> bootloader, if you want to be able to conveniently update the target PIC's
> code after it has been moved to a permanent home.  Either is an equally
> valid use of the system.

That's all fine. But none of it (except for the logic analyzer) requires a
dedicated chip solely for infrastruture. The internal chip using 1K of
program memory and one I/O pin (probably B7 because it's on the end and has
the least amount of multiplexed I/O impact) has the enough horsepower to
do the vast majority of most design work.

BAJ

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2002\08\18@021040 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Sat, Aug 17, 2002 at 07:57:59PM -0400, myke predko wrote:
> Hi Byron,
>
> > BTW I see that you've brought the port issue back to the table. It seemed
> that
> > it was tabled due to nearly complete agreement to what was outlined in
> Jason's
> > design outline. Serial interface with RS232 and USB converters onboard.
>
> I asked because I was curious for two reasons.  The first was, I wanted to
> find out what people *actually* had.
>
> I don't have a problem with RS-232/USB but you should be aware of some
> issues that I've discovered with USB to RS-232 converters.  I have a Belkin
> USB to 4 RS-232 port converter and it does not work as you would expect -
> data is sent in blocks, not truely asynchronously.  I gave up on it for my
> BASIC87x testing because after typing in a command/statement, I would have
> to wait for a second to see the results on Hyperterminal.
>
> This is not a problem for a COMx port built into the PC.

The discussion has always centered around the FTDI FT232 part that Dontronics
is distributing. Here's a good overview of the product here:

http://www.beyondlogic.org/usb/ftdi.htm

While I don't see a quantity price, It looks like it'll be less than $5 each.
A small price to pay to get USB compatibility.

>
> Along with this, the Belkin converter works fine for my PICStart Plus, BUT
> it does not work at all for my MPLAB-ICD.  I've just gotten a USB to Palm
> serial converter that I want to try out as well.
>
> This is just the results on one system and I'm curious to find out if
> anybody else has had similar experiences.

Certainly a good question. I guess I'll add that I'm interested in seeing
how the FT232 based designs work.

{Quote hidden}

40 pins. The Designer should have the max I/O pins available. The designer can
then choose which ones to use for a particular project.

{Quote hidden}

Size plain and simple. It takes board space for LCDs and switches and
multidigit LEDs and the like. Even unpopulated it'll occupy physical space.
Maybe a single PCB where the core board can be easily separated from the
I/O area.

{Quote hidden}

James made it quite a while ago.

{Quote hidden}

An admiriable goal. That topic was on my goal list when we started this
discussion. But it soon became a weapon: If you have educational junk then
it'll be a waste once your finished the tutorials...

>
> When I have the results from the survey, I would like to list what are the
> methods people use to learn how to develop applications and come up with a
> proposed method for people to follow.  I would like to apply this to the
> development hardware above and see how well they dovetail together.

That's cool. I wish you luck,

BAJ

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2002\08\18@084502 by Jason Harper

picon face
BAJ wrote:

> But you're defining a behavior that's not going to have major relavence
in
> the vast majority of project development.

Displaying output and supplying input doesn't have major relevance to most
projects?

> How many of us use logic analyzers on a daily basis?

Not many, of course.  That's because most of us don't HAVE a logic analyzer
to use on a daily basis!

I'm trying to come up with a system that is an improvement over existing
development techniques, for users of all experience levels.  You seem to
want to drag it down to something that offers nothing over existing
programmers.  Go buy a cheap Tait-style programmer and glue a PIC in the
socket, that appears to fully meet your requirements.
       Jason Harper

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2002\08\18@105654 by Jim

flavicon
face
"Why doesn't every desktop computer then have 2 or more
 CPUs, one for infrastructure ..."

Let's do the CPU count embodied in most desktop PCs today:

  Keyboard - 1
  Modem    - 1 (excluding Winmodems)
  Monitor  - 1

How many more did I miss?

RF Jim



{Original Message removed}

2002\08\18@110920 by Alexandre Souza

flavicon
face
> Let's do the CPU count embodied in most desktop PCs today:
>    Keyboard - 1
>    Modem    - 1 (excluding Winmodems)
>    Monitor  - 1
> How many more did I miss?

       1 or more processors in the video board (yep, 3d video board has
microprocessors - even dedicated ones)
       1 in the mouse
       1 in the keyboard input (it is handled by a 80xx microcontroller)
       1 in the IDE HD
       1 in the CD-ROM
       1 in the CD-RW
       1 in the floppy

       And the list goes on, depending of your peripherals ;o)

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2002\08\18@114150 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
> Let's do the CPU count embodied in most desktop PCs today:
>
>    Keyboard - 1
>    Modem    - 1 (excluding Winmodems)
>    Monitor  - 1
>
> How many more did I miss?

Disk drive?  CD-ROM drive?  Power supply?  Graphics processor?


*****************************************************************
Embed Inc, embedded system specialists in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com

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2002\08\18@151106 by Bob Ammerman

picon face
Power management - 1
Keyboard controller - 1
Mouse - 1
Scanner - 1
Printer - at least 1

etc, etc etc

Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems

{Original Message removed}

2002\08\18@154859 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Sun, Aug 18, 2002 at 08:43:26AM -0400, Jason Harper wrote:
> BAJ wrote:
>
> > But you're defining a behavior that's not going to have major relavence
> in
> > the vast majority of project development.
>
> Displaying output and supplying input doesn't have major relevance to most
> projects?

You must have missed the context. I was specifically and only referring to the
logic analyzer function, whose job isn't either displaying output or
supplying input.

>
> > How many of us use logic analyzers on a daily basis?
>
> Not many, of course.  That's because most of us don't HAVE a logic analyzer
> to use on a daily basis!

It's interesting that we're on agreement with that assesment.

>
> I'm trying to come up with a system that is an improvement over existing
> development techniques, for users of all experience levels.  You seem to
> want to drag it down to something that offers nothing over existing
> programmers.

Are you sure that you're talking to me? Or was that directed to Roman? ;-)

We have the same aspirations.

>  Go buy a cheap Tait-style programmer and glue a PIC in the
> socket, that appears to fully meet your requirements.

Not even close:

* It still has a programmer.
* It doesn't have the right interface.
* It doesn't have any I/O interfaces onboard
* It doesn't have a prototyping area.
* It would still require transfer of the chip from the programmer to the target.

It's 0 for 5 in my book.

Jason, I'm simply trying to apply Occam's Razor to the problem at hand. You're
proposing a 2 chip system against my 1 chip system for a task. Your proposal
adds more development and usage complexity. It also adds more potential failure
points. In my esitmation there needs to be a significant daily benefit to
offset that additional complexity. All I'm asking for is a clear definition
of those benefits. So far you've given 3:

* Full I/O use
* Full memory use
* Logic Analyzer

Now given the fact that both design proposals includes alternative programming
ports, the first two become a wash.

So all that's left is the LA. I see both implementation and usage issues:

* Insufficient sample rate
* Problems with storage of samples
* Hardware triggers
* What's the display mechanism going to be?

Usagewise it just adds a more complex component to the process.

Just some thoughts.

BAJ

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2002\08\18@164832 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
On Sun, 18 Aug 2002, Jim wrote:

> "Why doesn't every desktop computer then have 2 or more
>  CPUs, one for infrastructure ..."
>
>Let's do the CPU count embodied in most desktop PCs today:
>
>   Keyboard - 1
>   Modem    - 1 (excluding Winmodems)
>   Monitor  - 1
>
>How many more did I miss?

   Mouse    - 1
   Accel. graphics card - 1 or 2

Peter

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2002\08\18@223215 by Jason Harper

picon face
BAJ wrote:
> You must have missed the context. I was specifically and only referring
to the
> logic analyzer function, whose job isn't either displaying output or
> supplying input.

The logic monitor (NOT "analyzer", that implies capabilities that it
doesn't have) in my design IS for for displaying output and supplying
input.  Think of it like one of those clip-on monitors that have a LED or
LCD element per IC pin, except that it displays on the computer screen
instead, and has the ability to set individual lines as outputs (with
automatic reversion to a hi-Z input if there's a conflict).  Think of it as
a LED on every port A, B, and C pin of the target PIC, except that you
don't need all those LEDs (I did specify at least one actual LED on the
device, just for real-world experience), and aren't loading the pins nearly
as much as a LED would.  Think of it as an optional pushbutton or toggle
switch on any of those port pins, except that you don't need physical
switches (again, one actual pushbutton specified for real-world experience
with debouncing).

Sample rate?  Tens of times a second perhaps, this is for human-rate I/O.

Storage of samples?  Hardware triggers?  Nonexistant, that's not what this
feature is for.

Display?  This would be the main window of the software that accompanies
the device, available any time except when loading code into the target.
There would be a grid of pin indicators, limited to the pins actually
present on the selected target PIC, with editable project-specific labels
in addition to the normal pin names.  Each would display the pin's current
state (0, 1, or X if the pin isn't being externally driven), and a popup
for setting the pin's mode - digital input, analog input (where possible),
toggle output, momentary high output, or momentary low output.  Advanced
features might include contact bounce simulation for the output modes, and
the ability to bit-bang a serial stream to any target pin.

Does that make what I'm talking about any clearer?
       Jason Harper

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2002\08\19@070243 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>No it's not. In fact it's exactly the opposite. Why doesn't every desktop
>computer then have 2 or more CPUs, one for infrastructure and the other
>for actual work then?


Well they do actually Geoff. Theres one in the Keyboard, theres one in the
RTC, theres one in each disk controller..... :)

If these are not "infrastructure" serving the main CPU, what is? You cannot
get at them to program them without going through a lot of hassle.

I see a real need for an extra processor on the board, beyond any target
processors, to handle serial interface with the PC, and deal with the
programming/ICD side of the operation, but cannot be touched as a target
processor. The cost of including a 16F876/SO for this purpose to keep things
simple for the hobbyist must be minimal. Having ICD capabilities available
will be a whole gigantic leap for the beginner instead of having to surmise
and experiment/crash and burn to find out why his code does not work.

Sure the ICD as implemented in the ICD 1/16F87x is not great in that it
stops the peripherals when it stops execution, but it is still in another
league than the crash and burn cycle if you cannot figure what is going on.
I will be interested to see if the ICD2 is any faster or better in this
respect.

I have not got through the whole of the weekends mails yet, so may have more
to say later.

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2002\08\19@145911 by Brendan Moran

flavicon
face
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> > Actually, the Designer as I envision it would still be a
> > moderately useful device even with no target PIC installed,
> > simply for the 24-channel logic monitor.  For example, you could
> > experiment with the command set of an LCD display module directly
> > from the computer, before even beginning to write code for the
> > PIC.
>
> Brenden has opined that option also. But I'm really strugging to
> understand why a perfectly good onboard PIC should not itself be
> the primary target.
>
> I have a couple of thoughts as to why, but I'll keep them to myself
> until I hear what you have to say on the subject.

That was why I proposed an included hex file that allowed you to
implement a LA on the onboard PIC, but not keep it there permanently.
Allow it to be either a target or a design assister.

- --Brendan

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2002\08\19@151816 by Brendan Moran

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-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

> "Why doesn't every desktop computer then have 2 or more
>   CPUs, one for infrastructure ..."
>
> Let's do the CPU count embodied in most desktop PCs today:
>
>    Keyboard - 1
>    Modem    - 1 (excluding Winmodems)
>    Monitor  - 1
>
> How many more did I miss?

Graphics Card -1 (2 on the VooDoo 5)
Any decent sound card -1
Chipset -min. 1
USB controller -1

Isn't the PCI bridge one too?

- --Brendan

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2002\08\19@200721 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Sun, Aug 18, 2002 at 10:30:02PM -0400, Jason Harper wrote:
> BAJ wrote:
> > You must have missed the context. I was specifically and only referring
> to the
> > logic analyzer function, whose job isn't either displaying output or
> > supplying input.
>
> The logic monitor (NOT "analyzer", that implies capabilities that it
> doesn't have) in my design IS for for displaying output and supplying
> input.  Think of it like one of those clip-on monitors that have a LED or
> LCD element per IC pin, except that it displays on the computer screen
> instead, and has the ability to set individual lines as outputs (with
> automatic reversion to a hi-Z input if there's a conflict).

[The rest deleted for brevity.]

> Does that make what I'm talking about any clearer?

Yes. Finally. Crystal. See my concession speech for more details...

BAJ

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