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PICList Thread
'[PIC]: Piclist Beginners Kit (PBK)'
2002\08\04@010653 by Shawn Mulligan

picon face
>Take one more crack at it. If not then I'll solder up a THVP (adding the
>13V
>Vpp circuit), test it, and mail it to you.
>
>BAJ


Big Up to Byron! Given a schematic, I would be happy to run a few panels of
PCB's that could be offered to newbies for $5 or so each. If another party
could compile that information on 16F628s that everyone has been talking
about, we might construct an excellent package for beginners and end the
beginner's debate once and for all.

Rather than arguing every few months about what is best for the beginner, we
might pool our strengths and make a "Piclist Beginners Kit." I would be
happy to freely offer my design services to whatever project was selected by
the majority. A parts kit with PCB could be offered, perhaps with the
documentation for a few simple projects that demonstrate good design
practices, authored by the list's "heavy hitters." I would be happy to
distribute the kits, or be just as happy to hand my PCBs off to someone
else.

Just an idea. Any supporters?

-Shawn

>Take one more crack at it. If not then I'll solder up a THVP (adding the
>13V
>Vpp circuit), test it, and mail it to you.
>
>BAJ


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2002\08\04@011933 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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Shawn,

> Just an idea. Any supporters?

I have a factory in Taiwan, and I'd be happy to produce a FINISHED
programmer at reasonable cost - complete with power supply, cable, manual,
software and ship anywhere in the world.

I'd be happy to wear all development costs at my end as my contribution to
the list as a thank you for all the support I have received on the list.

So how about it? How about between us all we develop a "STANDARD" PICList
Programmer. We should all have one - particularly the list Gurus and that
should save a lot of their time answering the same questions over and over
again.

Deciding on that "standard" seems to be the biggest challenge.

IMHO - it should be compatible to MPLAB - like the Warp-13, but do not know
how difficult this is to do.

Regards,

Sean

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2002\08\04@041712 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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Russell,

>> I have a factory in Taiwan,
>
> Now that's an interesting comment.
> Where do I get one of those ? :-)

Wanna buy it? :-)

> Seriously though, do you mean, "use a factory in Taiwan", or are you in
> large scale manufacturing yourself?

No. I mean "I have a factory in Taiwan"

Long story. I am an Aussie who has lived over 25% of my life in Taiwan.
Found myself without the right to work about 12 years ago and decided to
start a company instead. Figured that one hand of the government would not
know what the other hand was doing...." The rest is history.

> I do design work for a New Zealander who lives in Taiwan. He gets product
> manufactured there and sells in Europe. We may have some commonality of
> interests?

Oh, OK. In all my years there, I never met another Kiwi and only one other
Aussie. Plenty of Americans and Europeans. What type of products do you
design? We may be interested in utilising your services also.

Let me know how I can help. I am not trying to advertise my services - I
simply see some of the frustration what I call "gurus" on this list trying
to help the newbies get started.

As I am no longer a newbie, but certainly not a guru, I just feel that it
may be something that I can do to help. I do not know what sort of dollars
this proposed "PBK" would have to end up at, but I am sure it would have to
save everybody some time.

Keep in touch,

Regards,

Sean

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2002\08\04@102220 by Shawn Mulligan

picon face
What a great offer!

Sean Alcorn wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2002\08\04@104756 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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> From: Shawn Mulligan <EraseMEmulliganshawnspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTHOTMAIL.COM>
> Reply-To: pic microcontroller discussion list <PICLISTspamspam_OUTMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
> Date: Sun, 4 Aug 2002 08:21:08 -0600
> To: @spam@PICLISTKILLspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Subject: Re: [PIC]: Piclist Beginners Kit (PBK)
>
> What a great offer!

Thanks Shawn,

I don't know how viable it is. It's just up to everybody else on the list.
If we can put together a "GNU Programmer" if you like.

Another way would be to approach an existing manufacturer and ask if I could
license an existing design for manufacture. However, I can not see them
being too keen, as our (hopefully) cheaper kits would erode into their
rgular sales. Also any royalty or upfront fee would drive up the final
price.

Surely someone on the list has or can come up with an efficient (most chips
per dollar) design that could use existing software such as MPLAB that they
would be willing to contribute to such a project.

Hell, we don't need to support it! The list is doing a fine job of
supporting a heap of programmers already!

Regards,

Sean

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2002\08\04@105636 by Shawn Mulligan

picon face
Right. This would have to be a low-cost, public domain design where none of
the participants made or lost money. A public service. We'll know in the
next week if anyone else is prepared to join the bandwagon.
-Shawn

{Quote hidden}

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2002\08\04@111119 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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Shawn,

> Right. This would have to be a low-cost, public domain design where none of
> the participants made or lost money.

I'm already proposing to lose money! :-) Like I said - my contribution to
the list. As long as our ongoing costs are covered, I won't care.

We can buy can buy very good locally made ZIF sockets and all other hardware
is a no-brainer for us. We would supply a compact switching power supply
(like a mobile phone charger), short 9-pin to 9-pin serial cable, ICSP
cable, a CD-ROM full of goodies and some type of manual. All shrink wrapped
into a box.

We'd need an agent in the US to keep shipping costs down.

> A public service. We'll know in the next week if anyone else is prepared to
> join the bandwagon.

I hope so.

Regards,

Sean

BTW: Great original suggestion for such a concept!

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2002\08\04@111937 by Shawn Mulligan

picon face
Sean Alcorn wrote:

>We can buy can buy very good locally made ZIF sockets and all other
>hardware
>is a no-brainer for us. We would supply a compact switching power supply
>(like a mobile phone charger), short 9-pin to 9-pin serial cable, ICSP
>cable, a CD-ROM full of goodies and some type of manual. All shrink wrapped
>into a box.
>
>We'd need an agent in the US to keep shipping costs down.

I'ld say that you have defined the important elements of the project here.
The seed has been planted. -Shawn

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2002\08\04@111951 by Dominic Stratten

flavicon
face
Hey - put me down for interested (UK Based and planning to distribute PIC
based products)

Cheers

Dominic
{Original Message removed}

2002\08\04@112604 by Scott Dattalo

face
flavicon
face
On Mon, 5 Aug 2002, Sean Alcorn (SYD) wrote:

> > From: Shawn Mulligan <mulliganshawnEraseMEspam.....HOTMAIL.COM>
> > Reply-To: pic microcontroller discussion list <EraseMEPICLISTspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
> > Date: Sun, 4 Aug 2002 08:21:08 -0600
> > To: RemoveMEPICLISTEraseMEspamEraseMEMITVMA.MIT.EDU
> > Subject: Re: [PIC]: Piclist Beginners Kit (PBK)
> >
> > What a great offer!
>
> Thanks Shawn,
>
> I don't know how viable it is. It's just up to everybody else on the list.
> If we can put together a "GNU Programmer" if you like.

BTW, James has a similar programmer project called CUMP. I'm sure he'll
chime in any moment.


I'll gladly host a beginner's programmer on http://www.gnupic.org/pbk.html

Scott

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2002\08\04@113852 by Wouter van Ooijen

picon face
> Hey - put me down for interested (UK Based and planning to
> distribute PIC
> based products)

Me too, but Dutch based and already selling PIC stuff - but not that I
have a programmer KIT of my own that I sell.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2002\08\04@114059 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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> From: Dominic Stratten <EraseMEsalesspamspamspamBeGonePICBITS.COM>
> Reply-To: pic microcontroller discussion list <RemoveMEPICLISTKILLspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
> Date: Sun, 4 Aug 2002 16:20:09 +0100
> To: PICLISTSTOPspamspamspam_OUTMITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Subject: Re: [PIC]: Piclist Beginners Kit (PBK)

Dominic,

> Hey - put me down for interested (UK Based and planning to distribute PIC
> based products)

You realise we are talking not for profit or as low as possible profit type
product here?

We could probably look at a "Starter Pack" and a more advanced version
perhaps.

Regards,

Sean

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2002\08\04@114114 by Shawn Mulligan

picon face
Scott Dattolo wrote:
>BTW, James has a similar programmer project called CUMP. I'm sure he'll
>chime in any moment.

All the better if someone's already there. Anything that would fit into a
'beginner's kit' model -- programmer, easy-to-understand documentation,
starter projects. Of course, most of this can be achieved by reading David
Benson's Easy PIC'n and PIC'n Up the Pace books.


-Shawn

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2002\08\04@114946 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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> From: Scott Dattalo <EraseMEscottspamEraseMEDATTALO.COM>
> Reply-To: pic microcontroller discussion list <@spam@PICLIST@spam@spamspam_OUTMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
> Date: Sun, 4 Aug 2002 08:25:06 -0700
> To: spamBeGonePICLISTspamKILLspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Subject: Re: [PIC]: Piclist Beginners Kit (PBK)

Scott,

> BTW, James has a similar programmer project called CUMP. I'm sure he'll
> chime in any moment.

James and I have emailed each other on a similar concept, but I do not know
how far he got with it. He was having trouble getting a secure source for
some of the items. As I recall, it was quite a complex unit - lots of
components. For us to seriously look at it, it would have had to have been
modified.

For us to be interested, we really need to be involved from the design
stage. We would want the opportunity to dump certain components or ask for
alternatives in the early stages. We need to ensure that all components
selected are cheaply and readily available in Taiwan - preferably from a
local source - rather than imported!

> I'll gladly host a beginner's programmer on http://www.gnupic.org/pbk.html

What? That page is already there? This thing is VapourWare! :-)

You mean you will make it available for sale on your site?

Regards,

Sean

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2002\08\04@120946 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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Hi guys,

> Me too, but Dutch based and already selling PIC stuff - but not that I
> have a programmer KIT of my own that I sell.

It keeps getting called a "kit" - but I thought the original concept was for
a fully tested and functional unit that the newbies couldn't screw up?

I mean, if they can be confident that the programmer works, they can
concentrate on working out why their first PIC program does not. We should
supply a number of ASM and/or C and HEX files for various Flash chips that
they can burn straight out of the box. Maybe even a little demo board too.
If that works, they know the programmer and setup all works and get on with
their own project(s).

Let's clarify this in the early stages.

Sean

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2002\08\04@121604 by Shawn Mulligan

picon face
>It keeps getting called a "kit" - but I thought the original concept was
>for
>a fully tested and functional unit that the newbies couldn't screw up?
>
>I mean, if they can be confident that the programmer works, they can
>concentrate on working out why their first PIC program does not. We should
>supply a number of ASM and/or C and HEX files for various Flash chips that
>they can burn straight out of the box. Maybe even a little demo board too.
>If that works, they know the programmer and setup all works and get on with
>their own project(s).
>
>Let's clarify this in the early stages.
>
>Sean

You're exactly right Sean. The idea is to get the beginner going in one
evening or weekend. If the project gets too complex, the initial goal will
be missed.

-Shawn

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2002\08\04@121610 by Dominic Stratten

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Yup I realise this. I'm used to working on a minimal profit ( <10% Margin )
from my days running a computer company. There could be plenty of "spin
offs" to this product though - especially if there is a "Starter" and
"Enhanced" pack - this could attract visitors to my site to buy other items
i.e. LCD displays (which I've got a good deal on), led's etc etc. Prices for
zif sockets over here are pretty ridiculous ( 10 gbp retail from the main
suppliers for 40 pin zif sockets and around 7 gbp for quantities less than
100 for trade) which puts me off making something like this. I'd be tempted
to supply this item as a  component kit as well as a ready built and tested
kit.

On to programmers - comparing a P16Pro design and the original Tait design,
the only real difference (apart from using inverting and non inverting
buffers) is the use of D4 on the printer port for enabling 40 pin
programming through a zif. It seems that just about any 16F8xx part can be
programmed from this design (reading newsgroups - please everybody feel free
to correct me). This extra pin could be enabled/disabled using a jumper
making this a Tait/P16pro compatible programmer for a couple of pence (cents
;) ) extra. Ideally if we could distribute a complete kit with a 40 pin zif
in the UK with the psu and software and leads for 20 ukp (19.99)  inc taxes
(and maybe make 5 ukp profit after shipping/taxes etc to keep us going) it
would be good.

An advanced programmer could consist of a serial interface, "intelligent"
flash upgradable bios, bootloader, MPLab compatible, monitoring software etc
etc and could retail at around the 39.99 ukp as a complete package without
ripping people off.

Please kick me if I'm being out of line here, treading on anyones toes or
being unreasonable wanting to make a 5 ukp profit out of newbies starting
out on their programming ;-)

All input is welcome whether negative or positive.

Regards

Dominic

{Original Message removed}

2002\08\04@121613 by Katinka Mills

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On Mon, 5 Aug 2002 00:06, you wrote:
> Hi guys,
>
> > Me too, but Dutch based and already selling PIC stuff - but not that I
> > have a programmer KIT of my own that I sell.
>
> It keeps getting called a "kit" - but I thought the original concept was
> for a fully tested and functional unit that the newbies couldn't screw up?
>
> I mean, if they can be confident that the programmer works, they can
> concentrate on working out why their first PIC program does not. We should
> supply a number of ASM and/or C and HEX files for various Flash chips that
> they can burn straight out of the box. Maybe even a little demo board too.
> If that works, they know the programmer and setup all works and get on with
> their own project(s).
>
> Let's clarify this in the early stages.
>
> Sean


Although I do not use the pics, I have an idea, why not jumper the signals for
programming over to a socket for the pic to sit in. then when the jumpers are
removed, you have say 8 smd switches and 8 smd leds that runn of the pic, all
port pins avaliable on headers (say 10 way (2x5's) which are 8 data bits and
a +Vcc and gnd) the same as the AVR STK 300 / 500 etc.


Regards,

Kat.

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2002\08\04@121827 by Shawn Mulligan

picon face
Just a note: when I initially suggested the idea of a PICList Beginners Kit
(PBK), by kit I meant a programmer, with documentation and projects.
Something that was plug and play for the first few projects, then ready for
anything.
-Shawn

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2002\08\04@122156 by Dominic Stratten

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Demo boards are cool as are prototype boards - maybe variants with 28pin,
40pin with space for an xtal, power socket,7805, capacitor, diode etc and a
nice little area with plated holes for additional components to be soldered.
The boards would cost pence to make and could be sold for a couple of ukp
and still make profit.
{Original Message removed}

2002\08\04@133620 by Roman Black

flavicon
face
Sean Alcorn (SYD) wrote:

> I'm already proposing to lose money! :-) Like I said - my contribution to
> the list. As long as our ongoing costs are covered, I won't care.
>
> We would supply a compact switching power supply
> (like a mobile phone charger),


Great idea of making the super-simple finished
programmer you guys. :o)

Could I suggest swapping the switchmode wallwart
for a "proper" one? ie one with a transformer?
I've had to replace the caps in my Microchip
PSU twice now, I hate those cheap switchmode things,
it's the last thing a beginner needs is a dodgy
PSU every few months...
-Roman

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2002\08\04@135637 by Alexandre Souza

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> Could I suggest swapping the switchmode wallwart
> for a "proper" one? ie one with a transformer?
> I've had to replace the caps in my Microchip
> PSU twice now, I hate those cheap switchmode things,
> it's the last thing a beginner needs is a dodgy
> PSU every few months...
> -Roman

       Nah Roman, blame the quality of the picstart plus PSUs, but don't
you blame the quality of ALL the switched PSUs on this face of earth
;o)

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2002\08\04@142642 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
On Sun, 4 Aug 2002, Shawn Mulligan wrote:

>Just a note: when I initially suggested the idea of a PICList Beginners Kit
>(PBK), by kit I meant a programmer, with documentation and projects.
>Something that was plug and play for the first few projects, then ready for
>anything.
>-Shawn

Then you do not need a ZIF socket at all, just a universal board wired for
ICSP and a programmer with a ICSP cable.

Peter

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2002\08\04@152958 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
> It keeps getting called a "kit" - but I thought the original concept was
for
> a fully tested and functional unit that the newbies couldn't screw up?
>
> I mean, if they can be confident that the programmer works, they can
> concentrate on working out why their first PIC program does not. We should
> supply a number of ASM and/or C and HEX files for various Flash chips that
> they can burn straight out of the box. Maybe even a little demo board too.
> If that works, they know the programmer and setup all works and get on
with
> their own project(s).
>
> Let's clarify this in the early stages.

Before you guys get too far, I sorta remember somebody on this list already
developed a PIC programmer and it was being sold thru piclist.com.
Something like the "PIC Pocket".  You might want to check the archives.

Personally, I find the Picstart+ a bargain.  Guaranteed to work, supports
the whole product line, integrated into MPLAB, and at a cost of a small
fraction of a man-day it is cheaper than even the labor to build one
yourself.  The math may be a little different for hobbyists, but many of
them with real day jobs will want to get on with their projects instead of
spending time building tools.  Unemployed students are probably the prime
target for your concept, but the number of them that don't have other access
to a PIC programmer is probably limited.  While I don't want to diffuse your
enthusiasm, I suggest you investigate the demand for the project you are
considering, even at its low cost.  I think it will be hard to justify the
effort rationally.  You will collectively spend more resources than you will
save the limited number of people that will make use of it.  Of course if
you want to do it just because you want to, then rationality need not
apply - go have fun.  OK, I'll shut up now.


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2002\08\04@154306 by Scott Dattalo

face
flavicon
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On Mon, 5 Aug 2002, Sean Alcorn (SYD) wrote:

{Quote hidden}

The operative word on the webpage is "Future"

> You mean you will make it available for sale on your site?

Whatever it takes. The only thing I'm unable to do is to support the
manufacturing part; e.g. stocking components, building boards, etc.

The GNUPIC web site fits well with the theme of PBK. So I'm willing to
support and maintain a web page that serves as a focal point. If you or
James Newton wish to do this instead, then that's fine with me too.

Scott

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2002\08\04@180359 by Shawn Mulligan

picon face
Olin Lathrop wrote:

>Personally, I find the Picstart+ a bargain.  Guaranteed to work, supports
>the whole product line, integrated into MPLAB, and at a cost of a small
>fraction of a man-day it is cheaper than even the labor to build one
>yourself.  The math may be a little different for hobbyists, but many of
>them with real day jobs will want to get on with their projects instead of
>spending time building tools.

I use the Picstart+ for all of these reasons. If a hobbiest can appreciate
(and afford) the value of the initial investment -- it is the clear winner.

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2002\08\04@201926 by Benjamin Bromilow

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From: "Dominic Stratten" <RemoveMEsales@spam@spamspamBeGonePICBITS.COM>

> Please kick me if I'm being out of line here, treading on anyones toes or
> being unreasonable wanting to make a 5 ukp profit out of newbies starting
> out on their programming ;-)
>

Well I paid 20 quid for a programmer kit from a manafacturer and it never
worked :( Never did work out why- I tried so many different things! I gave
up in the end.

I'd be tempted to make it a few pounds more and include a floppy with the
programming software and example HEX files and a 16F84 (lets not get on the
16F84 vs 16F826 argument- 16F84s are simpler and if the newbie can't get a
programmer to work, they're going to find the 16F84 pdf file easier to
understand)....

Ben

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2002\08\04@205516 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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Roman,

> Could I suggest swapping the switchmode wallwart
> for a "proper" one? ie one with a transformer?
> I've had to replace the caps in my Microchip
> PSU twice now, I hate those cheap switchmode things,
> it's the last thing a beginner needs is a dodgy
> PSU every few months...

You got a switching PSU with yours? I just got a normal transformer with
wallwart with mine (smaller, lighter & I can travel with it), and I replaced
it with a switching type. Never had any problems.

Of course we'll do complete testing on the PSU and the finished package.

Your input is well noted though.

Thanks,

Sean

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2002\08\04@210806 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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face
> I use the Picstart+ for all of these reasons. If a hobbiest can appreciate
> (and afford) the value of the initial investment -- it is the clear winner.

I agree - I bought a PICStart+ before I knew there were any alternatives and
never had a problem. It worked out of the box, got me going and it was one
less thing I had to worry about. We now have many larger, more sophisticated
production programmers, but if I did it all over again, I would probably
just buy a WARP-13 - cheaper, compatible with MPLAB and supports some AVR
stuff.

But obviously US$99 and the current cost of a PICStart+ is still a stretch
for some people on this list. Either they simply can't afford it or they are
working with false economies - trying to save a buck and spending a fortune
in their own, (IMHO) more valuable time.

Sean

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2002\08\04@211220 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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Ben,

> I'd be tempted to make it a few pounds more and include a floppy with the
> programming software and example HEX files

What the hell is a floppy? We'll supply a CD-ROM loaded with stuff.

> and a 16F84 (lets not get on the 16F84 vs 16F826 argument- 16F84s are simpler
and if the newbie can't get a
> programmer to work, they're going to find the 16F84 pdf file easier to
> understand)....

Maybe by the time this comes to fruition there will be an extensive source
of sample projects for the 16F628? :-)

We could definitely supply one Flash chip - and like you, I do not want to
get into the argument of which one it should be.

Regards,

Sean

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2002\08\04@213139 by Shawn Mulligan

picon face
>We could definitely supply one Flash chip - and like you, I do not want to
>get into the argument of which one it should be.
>
>Regards,
>
>Sean
>
Sean, that's one nasty argument! -Shawn

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2002\08\04@233639 by myke predko

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Hey folks,

This is a great idea and I would love helping to support it.

I would just like to make a few comments regarding the feedback that I have
received along with some of the discoveries that I have made.

1.  Bound the operating systems you will support very strongly.  I'm saying
this because Windows 95/98 were very easy to work with, Windows NT/2000 were
more difficult, but still similar and Windows XP is different to the
previous ones and you cannot count on the APIs used previously to be
available in XP.  Unfortunately, you can bound your software, but Microsoft
will proceed as they desire without any regard for anyone else.  Ideally,
the programmer software would work on Linux and the Mac.

2.  The software should be written in C/C++ (I'll refrain from specifying
which brand) and should produce native code.  This will give the maximum
amount of flexibility for different operating systems and avoid the need for
different device drivers (like Visual Basic).  Personally, I would push for
C++ to allow dialog box control of the programmer.

3.  I would like to see the programmer software would interface directly to
the MPLAB IDE.

4.  I can't believe what kind of variability there is in parallel ports.  I
have really done a lot to support all the different ones out there and it is
an daunting undertaking.  The differences are based in logic I/O and
timings.  This can be mitigated by using the standard parallel port device
drivers built into Windows, but it is challenging to choose a driver (with a
simulated printer) that will allow comprehensive bi-directional
communications.  The basic drivers will just round up all the handshaking
bits and report the printer is out of paper.

Right now, after my experience with the "El Cheapo" and the hours I've put
in trying to find solutions that will work for *everyone* and not take away
from people that already have working programmers, I probably will not
design another parallel port programmer.

5.  Serial ports are better, but I just discovered that very few new laptops
have serial ports built into them.  There are USB to RS-232 converters and
these work very well, but I want to experiment with the USB to Palm Pilot
Serial converters as these are cheaper and would probably be ideal for an
RS-232 based programmer.

6.  New users are looking to use the PIC16F62x and PIC16F87x, not the
PIC16F84.  Yes, the PIC16F84 is simpler, but it doesn't offer the advantages
of the other parts, one of those advantages being LVP.  Supporting just
these parts with LVP will make the power supply issues for the programmer
simpler.

7.  Another advantage to the PIC16F87x is the In Circuit Debugger (ICD).  I
think it would be increadibly useful for new users (as well as experts) to
be able to see how their applications are working.


Looking back over these points, I would end up saying that Microchip's
MPLAB-ICD just about fits the bill perfectly.  The issues I have with it
are:
a) Cost
b) Speed (Single stepping is too painful to even be considered)
c) Lack of programming support for other products (ie the PIC16F62x)
d) Serial Port interface (see above), while not a *big* issue it can be a
problem for people that have PCs without serial ports.  A USB interface
would be preferable - the MPLAB-ICD 2 has a USB interface (and I believe can
be used with the PIC16F87x as well as the PIC18F4x2 - can anybody confirm)?
If you were to come up with a version of MPLAB-ICD that eliminated these
issues, then you'd have something that is perfect for just about everybody.


Looking over the list of questions I have gotten this year, programming is
not the number one problem for most new users.  The list of questions I have
gotten from new users are:

1.  Power supplies (Do I have to buy a bench supply, How do I use a 78(L)05,
can I use batteries).  I would recommend that the beginner's kit programmer
has enough current left over to power most applications.

2.  Oscillators (don't run.)  Ideally, I would like to see the PICmicro MCU
built into the programmer and the entire assembly being being inserted into
the application, with the clock built in and providing current to the
external devices.

3.  Programming.  Where do they find one, which one is best.

4.  How does the individual get {Insert project available on the Internet
here} to run.  Many projects available on the Internet or written up in
different books are designed for obsolete parts or low-level (PIC16F5x)
parts which are not programmable by ICSP programmers.


These are my opinions, based on the feedback I have been receiving and my
own experiences.  I'm curious to see what everyone else thinks.

I honestly do believe that a beginner's kit would be a useful thing and
something I would be happy to help on and support.  I just want to make sure
that the problems I experienced with the El Cheapo are avoided and people do
not get locked into a mode of perpetually supporting something they don't
make any money off of.

myke

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2002\08\05@001654 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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Myke,

Great to have you onboard. Your books were a huge help to me as a
newbie! :-)

Do we need programming software, or can we easily get the programmer to
be MPLAB compatible?

Regards,

Sean

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2002\08\05@003553 by Alexandre Souza

flavicon
face
> 1.  Power supplies (Do I have to buy a bench supply, How do I use a
> 78(L)05, can I use batteries).  I would recommend that the beginner's
> kit programmer has enough current left over to power most
> applications.
> 2.  Oscillators (don't run.)  Ideally, I would like to see the
> PICmicro MCU built into the programmer and the entire assembly being
> being inserted into the application, with the clock built in and
> providing current to the external devices.
> 3.  Programming.  Where do they find one, which one is best.
> 4.  How does the individual get {Insert project available on the
> Internet here} to run.  Many projects available on the Internet or
> written up in different books are designed for obsolete parts or
> low-level (PIC16F5x) parts which are not programmable by ICSP
> programmers.

       I Agree in many points with Mike, and add: I still think the easier
way to a newbie come to the PIC world is 16F84, in a "module" with
the programmer. Or a complete lab, with buttons, leds, etc. The
hassle of knowing "is the oscilator working?" is annoying for the
ones without a frequency counter or scope.

       I'd do what I did to myself: A small module, with a NoPPP and a PIC
16F84. A 6 pole x 2 positions push button, keying the programming
pins and xtal. Push the button, program. Push the button, run. Be
happy with it. We are talking about N E W B I E S, and although the
higher end PICs would have more "bang for the buck" I still think the
NoPPP is the easiest/cheapest/more bang for the buck programmer
avaiable around. Period. Easy assembly, cheap parts, easy testing (it
gives you the state of each pin, easing the test) and works in EVERY
parallel port I've tested (and I tested it a lot, you can be sure).

       Also, a good "begginers' manual" would be nice. Something like the
"projects.PDF" you can find in Tony's page. these are nice projects,
simple as it could be, aimed for the begginners. Step by step, it
will bring fun and insight on the architeture of the PIC.

       The best books are that ones that FIRST gives you something to play,
and AFTER teaches you how does it works. If you see a LED flashing,
the first time of your life, you will be in a deer joy. After that,
you can learn how you can play it faster or slower, or else light up
at your control.

       And congratulations to everyone for this nice idea ;o)

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2002\08\05@004430 by Tony Nixon

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picon face
This is all sounding a lot like my Experimenters kit and associated
software, although it is not free.

(Yet).


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Tony

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2002\08\05@055450 by Bond, Peter

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face
> > We would supply a compact switching power supply
> > (like a mobile phone charger),

> Could I suggest swapping the switchmode wallwart
> for a "proper" one? ie one with a transformer?

Actually, I'd recommend against it being there at all.

A) They are heavy (for international post).
B) They are invariably region specific.
C) If you avoid mains devices, certification becomes less of an issue (e.g.
CE marking in Europe).
D) Local sourcing is - to my mind - the best option.  Rectified, fused
inputs - to avoid CP neg/pos problems amongst other things.

Peter
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2002\08\05@060209 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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> From: "Bond, Peter" <spamBeGonePBond@spam@spamTANDBERGTV.COM>
> Reply-To: pic microcontroller discussion list <RemoveMEPICLISTEraseMEspamKILLspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
> Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2002 10:54:33 +0100
> To: spamBeGonePICLISTspam_OUTspamRemoveMEMITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Subject: Re: [PIC]: Piclist Beginners Kit (PBK)

> Actually, I'd recommend against it being there at all.
>
> A) They are heavy (for international post).

Not the ones we use. I'll give you a weight tomorrow.

> B) They are invariably region specific.

You name it, we'll ship it.

> C) If you avoid mains devices, certification becomes less of an issue (e.g.
> CE marking in Europe).

All certified - CE, C-Tick, UL, TUV etc.

> D) Local sourcing is - to my mind - the best option.  Rectified, fused
> inputs - to avoid CP neg/pos problems amongst other things.

Yes. Exactly the reason we will supply them.

If they don't like it, they can throw it away, but I guarantee they wont.

Sean

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2002\08\05@073056 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>>BTW, James has a similar programmer project called CUMP. I'm sure he'll
>>chime in any moment.
>
>All the better if someone's already there. Anything that would fit into a
>'beginner's kit' model -- programmer, easy-to-understand documentation,
>starter projects. Of course, most of this can be achieved by reading David
>Benson's Easy PIC'n and PIC'n Up the Pace books.

As you are suggesting having a CD in the box, is it worth getting permission
from appropriate places to redistribute the MPLAB environment, and maybe the
HT-Lite C compiler on it? You would need to include the necessary web links
to the original sites on some form of documentation page, but this could be
an html page on the CD anyway.

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2002\08\05@081236 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
----- Original Message -----
From: "Benjamin Bromilow" <.....btbromilowspamRemoveMELINEONE.NET>

> lets not get on the 16F84 vs 16F826 argument-

And then you proceeded to anyway!

> 16F84s are ...

Oh, I see.  YOU want to be able to argue the point, you only want EVERYONE
ELSE to refrain!


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2002\08\05@084957 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>but if I did it all over again, I would probably
>just buy a WARP-13 - cheaper, compatible with MPLAB
>and supports some AVR stuff.

If you are really going to go with a beginners kit, could I suggest that
MPLAB compatibility would make things a lot easier for the beginner?

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2002\08\05@085612 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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face
Hi Alan,

> If you are really going to go with a beginners kit, could I suggest that
> MPLAB compatibility would make things a lot easier for the beginner?

Yes. That's the way I'm thinking, but that's where we need help - developing
the programmer that MPLAB can talk to! :-)

Regards,

Sean

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2002\08\05@091718 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Mon, Aug 05, 2002 at 01:38:23AM -0300, Alexandre Souza wrote:
{Quote hidden}

I guess it's time to step back in...

The whole point of this discussion was to create an environment that
facilitated the accellerated use of the newer better chips.

There are already a million 16F84 based kits, programmers, packages, and
tutorials out there. Shawn proposed a package that allowed users to quickly
get up to speed with the newer parts.

You can't do that with a 16F84. It needs to be let go.

>
>         I'd do what I did to myself: A small module, with a NoPPP and a PIC
> 16F84. A 6 pole x 2 positions push button, keying the programming
> pins and xtal. Push the button, program. Push the button, run. Be
> happy with it.

Actually I'd take an entirely different tack. I'd like to see:

* A 16F876 or 16F877 with a bootloader in it.
* A MAX232 serial interface.
* Onboard single LEDs, a couple of 7 segments, and an LCD, each with jumpers
 so they can be disabled.
* A couple of buttons, a pot, and an opamp for A/D experiments.
* Jacks for ICSP and external I/O
* A breadboard prototyping area

The key thing here is that there's really no need to bother with a programmer.
That's traditional thinking. the 16F87X and 18FXXX (eventually) don't need
traditional programmers on an ongoing basis. Once a bootloader has been
installed into them, programming becomes as simple as plugging into a serial
port.

What I'd really like to see is a combination of Wouter's Wloader and WISP
in a single package. Both are chip programmers. Wloader is a self programming
bootloader and WISP is a PIC based ICSP programmer which can program other
parts. It falls into the same philosophy that I'm trying to get across: make
it trivial to get started but have enough headroom that when you want to do
something else, the facilities are there. I see 3 phases:

NEWBIE: Plug in serial. program the onbard 16F87X part using the onboard boot-
       loader. So the board is the target.
Intermediate:
       Plug in serial. Use ICSP to program external target. Retain this
       mode for chips that cannot bootload, like the 16F628.
Advanced:
       Use the programmer to clone the bootloader. Then the user can build
       a target that exists completely independantly of the original board and
       is self programmable.

Again you don't need to show them all at first, simply make the facilities
available and then explain their usage at a later time.

I really like bootloaders. They cut the tether of a programmer. They are
largely platform independant. They offer a really good independant debugging
channel. They are simple to clone. And they only cost as little as 1 I/O pin
(which can be user choosen) whereas ICSP will cost a minimum of 2, and those
are fixed.

>  We are talking about N E W B I E S, and although the
> higher end PICs would have more "bang for the buck" I still think the
> NoPPP is the easiest/cheapest/more bang for the buck programmer
> avaiable around. Period. Easy assembly, cheap parts, easy testing (it
> gives you the state of each pin, easing the test) and works in EVERY
> parallel port I've tested (and I tested it a lot, you can be sure).

You've missed the point again. This package will deliver a completed working
programmer. Therefore to the user its design isn't really relevant because
they won't be assembling it.

And as must as it continues to pain me to say it, using the newer parts isn't
solely about "bang for the buck". The 16F87X and 16F62X families are no more
difficult for a beginner to start out with than a 16F84. And since the whole
point of the package is to bundle a tutorial about the chips, any arguments
about working code and lack of information falls by the wayside.

Each and every component loaded into a PIC has great utility. So the best bet
is to start with the chip that has the most features, not the least. The
tutorial can examine each feature in turn.

Somehow the arguments have been presented that if a chip has a USART, MSSP,
PSP, multiple timers, A/D, and CCP that either a new user will be overwhelmed
by the complexity at the beginning, or that it's irrelevant because they will
never need those features. The latter is definitely untrue as some subset of
those periperals will be used in any non toy project. The former is easily
mitigated because the tutorial doesn't have to present everything at once.

I posit that it's best to show the utility of all the hardware, and then
explain how it can be done in software. When doing serial show the hardware
USART, then show bitbanging. When doing timing, show the hardware timer, then
show how to do delays in software. Explain how the hardware timer will operate
independantly of your code and how it can tell you when some time interval
has elapsed.

I know I keep going at this like a run on sentence. But if you get to an
intermediate project doing serial, a couple of timers, A/D, and PWM all at
the same time, the hardware is really really helpful.

Illuminate the novice to the possibilities. Do not subjugate them to having
to code every interface by hand and try to manage them.

>         Also, a good "begginers' manual" would be nice. Something like the
> "projects.PDF" you can find in Tony's page. these are nice projects,
> simple as it could be, aimed for the begginners. Step by step, it
> will bring fun and insight on the architeture of the PIC.

So why not update and use it? Tony has already said he's on board. Right Tony?

>
>         The best books are that ones that FIRST gives you something to play,
> and AFTER teaches you how does it works. If you see a LED flashing,
> the first time of your life, you will be in a deer joy. After that,
> you can learn how you can play it faster or slower, or else light up
> at your control.

I'd only like to add that any such manual should do two more things:

* Extend into intermediate projects.
* Show both the hardware and software only mechanisms for solving problems.

Think along the lines of the midrange manual with a real project associated
with each of the peripheral chapters.

Note that these are in addition to all of the beginner projects. It can
be separated into to major sections even. But they should both be there.

>
>         And congratulations to everyone for this nice idea ;o)

Agreed.

BAJ

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2002\08\05@093911 by Spehro Pefhany

picon face
At 09:16 AM 8/5/02 -0400, you wrote:

>Actually I'd take an entirely different tack. I'd like to see:
>
>* A 16F876 or 16F877 with a bootloader in it.
>* A MAX232 serial interface.
>* Onboard single LEDs, a couple of 7 segments, and an LCD, each with jumpers
>   so they can be disabled.
>* A couple of buttons, a pot, and an opamp for A/D experiments.
>* Jacks for ICSP and external I/O
>* A breadboard prototyping area

You've essentially described the PICdem2, which Microchip throws in for next
to nothing with the cute ICD2. I picked up one at the Masters and was
surprised at all the stuff in it (18F452 based). It is built on a nice
4-layer board as well, with a cute little COG LCD panel, cermet trimpot,
serial port, ICD socket, power socket, prototyping area, SEEPROM, sockets
for 18 and 28 pin parts, etc.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
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2002\08\05@100342 by Dale Botkin

flavicon
face
On Mon, 5 Aug 2002, Alan B. Pearce wrote:

> >but if I did it all over again, I would probably
> >just buy a WARP-13

Ditto.  I like my EPIC+, but still ditto.

Dale

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2002\08\05@100352 by Shawn Mulligan

picon face
>As you are suggesting having a CD in the box, is it worth getting
>permission
>from appropriate places to redistribute the MPLAB environment, and maybe
>the
>HT-Lite C compiler on it? You would need to include the necessary web links
>to the original sites on some form of documentation page, but this could be
>an html page on the CD anyway.

Yes. That's exactly the idea. Lots of resources. Lots of advice. -Shawn

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2002\08\05@101943 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Mon, Aug 05, 2002 at 09:46:56AM -0400, Spehro Pefhany wrote:
> At 09:16 AM 8/5/02 -0400, you wrote:
>
> >Actually I'd take an entirely different tack. I'd like to see:
> >
> >* A 16F876 or 16F877 with a bootloader in it.
> >* A MAX232 serial interface.
> >* Onboard single LEDs, a couple of 7 segments, and an LCD, each with jumpers
> >   so they can be disabled.
> >* A couple of buttons, a pot, and an opamp for A/D experiments.
> >* Jacks for ICSP and external I/O
> >* A breadboard prototyping area
>
> You've essentially described the PICdem2, which Microchip throws in for next
> to nothing with the cute ICD2. I picked up one at the Masters and was
> surprised at all the stuff in it (18F452 based). It is built on a nice
> 4-layer board as well, with a cute little COG LCD panel, cermet trimpot,
> serial port, ICD socket, power socket, prototyping area, SEEPROM, sockets
> for 18 and 28 pin parts, etc.

What's the cost?

BAJ

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2002\08\05@102421 by Shawn Mulligan

picon face
>I Agree in many points with Mike, and add: I still think the easier
>way to a newbie come to the PIC world is 16F84

Definitely. -Shawn

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2002\08\05@103051 by Shawn Mulligan

picon face
Myke Predko wrote:

>This is a great idea and I would love helping to support it.
>
Thanks for the support Myke. Really, the idea was based on the PCB that you
include with your book. -Shawn

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2002\08\05@110049 by Josh Koffman

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I'd likely be willing to help out distributing in Canada.

Josh
--
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"Sean Alcorn (SYD)" wrote:
> We'd need an agent in the US to keep shipping costs down.

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2002\08\05@110613 by Josh Koffman

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I don't know how difficult this would be, but I would suggest talking to
Jim Robertson of Newfound Electronics
(http://www.newfoundelectronics.com). I believe his Warp13 is the only
MPLAB compatible programmer other than the Microchip ones. The one
concern I'd have is that with no control over MPLAB, new versions will
come out, and we will need to support many different versions of the
software. If we had our own, we could just make them download a new
version.

Just some thoughts.

Josh
--
A common mistake that people make when trying to design something
completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete
fools.
       -Douglas Adams


"Sean Alcorn (SYD)" wrote:
> IMHO - it should be compatible to MPLAB - like the Warp-13, but do not know
> how difficult this is to do.

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2002\08\05@110833 by Shawn Mulligan

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Maybe 4 distributers: Canada, U.S., Britian, New Zealand/Australia.

Josh Koffman wrote:

>I'd likely be willing to help out distributing in Canada.


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2002\08\05@111633 by Dominic Stratten

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As Hannibal from the A-Team once said (or actually said every episode) - "I
love it when a plan comes together"

We've got a manufacturer, possible distributors now all we need to do is
agree on a design (or two).

As long as we can keep this project "under momentum", something very good
could end up as a result :)

Keep talking everyone

Dom

{Original Message removed}

2002\08\05@112041 by Spehro Pefhany

picon face
At 10:19 AM 8/5/02 -0400, you wrote:

>What's the cost?

Well, the incremental cost (ICD2 + PSU + PICDEM2) - (ICD2 + PSU)
is shown at $21 (Digikey), it was less at the Masters, of course.

DV164006-ND - DV164007-ND =
   209 - 188 =
   $21

The 4-layer board is 6.5" x 4.4"
and has:

- 3 switches
- 5 LEDs (one power, 4 controlled by port pins)
- 2.4 x 1.7" proto area, ports all brought out
  beside it (in order!)
- 2 x 16 COG LCD display (non backlit)
- cermet trimpot
- screw machined sockets for 40/28/18 pin DIPS
- 2 regulators
- socketed 4MHz fully size clock oscillator
- MAX232 equivalent
- 24LC256 SEEPROM
- 32kHz crystal
- two regulators, one of which is the 5-pin TO220 TC74A5
- 9 pin serial connector
- RJ11 ICD connector
- PIC18F452 in 40 pin DIP
- 20mm piezo transducer and driver
- 9V battery snap, 2.1mm coaxial power socket, test points,
  bypass caps and other discretes.

(total about 75 parts)

The ICD2 is pretty impressive too- interesting what it uses for the
USB port CPU. ;-)

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
EraseMEspeffRemoveMEspamSTOPspaminterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com
9/11 United we Stand

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2002\08\05@115140 by Paul Hutchinson

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I was surprised to hear the description of the PICDEM-2 board from
Microchip. The one I have here is only a 2-layer PCB with a lot fewer
parts/features. IIRC it cost about $70.00.

I searched Digi-Key and found that the one being described is a new version,
the "PICDEM-2 Plus". Digi-Key has it in stock for $99.00 as part number
DM163022.

Paul

> {Original Message removed}

2002\08\05@115209 by Bond, Peter

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> If they don't like it, they can throw it away, but I
> guarantee they wont.

Fair enough.
You're starting from a position further along than I had assumed!

Peter
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TANDBERG Television. If received in error please notify the sender and
destroy the original message and attachments.

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2002\08\05@121618 by Spehro Pefhany

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At 11:48 AM 8/5/02 -0400, you wrote:
>I was surprised to hear the description of the PICDEM-2 board from
>Microchip. The one I have here is only a 2-layer PCB with a lot fewer
>parts/features. IIRC it cost about $70.00.
>
>I searched Digi-Key and found that the one being described is a new version,
>the "PICDEM-2 Plus". Digi-Key has it in stock for $99.00 as part number
>DM163022.

Obviously better to buy it as part of the bundle for $20, but beware that
the ICD2 only handles a few 18F series parts at present. OTOH, USB is
*nice*.

Yes, I was expecting that almost useless yet expensive board that came
with the ICD1 so it was a pleasant surprise. ;-)

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
RemoveMEspeffKILLspamspamTakeThisOuTinterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com
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2002\08\05@132512 by myke predko

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Hi Folks,

A few comments back...


From: "Sean Alcorn (SYD)" <spamBeGonesdalcornspam@spam@AVION.COM.AU>
> Do we need programming software, or can we easily get the programmer to
> be MPLAB compatible?

We will need programming software.  Unfortunately, Microchip hasn't been
very forthcoming with coming up with defining a set of APIs/loader
specification that would allow other programmers/ICD devices to interface
with MPLAB.


From: "Alexandre Souza" <RemoveMEtaitospam_OUTspamTERRA.COM.BR>
>         I Agree in many points with Mike, and add: I still think the
easier
> way to a newbie come to the PIC world is 16F84, in a "module" with
> the programmer. Or a complete lab, with buttons, leds, etc. The
> hassle of knowing "is the oscilator working?" is annoying for the
> ones without a frequency counter or scope.

While the PIC16F84 is simpler (and thus easier to program), I would push
back against the PIC16F84 for a number of reasons:
1.  The PIC16F627 is cheaper
2.  The PIC16F62x can be programmed via LVP
3.  The PIC16F62x has more hardware which can be used as the student learns
about the PICmicro and doesn't have to go off and buy a new part.
4.  The PIC16F62x has a built in oscillator (not very accurate, but good
enough to start off)
5  I'm wondering if there are plans to "obsolete the PIC16F84.  I have not
heard of anything definite on this but I am very sensitive of this after
Microchip announced that the PIC16C84 was being obsoleted just as my first
book went to press and I had to go back and change everything to the
PIC16F84.

Just looking at Digi-Key's costs for parts:

PIC16F84A-20/P  - $6.00 for one
PIC16F627-20/P  - $3.43 for one
PIC16F876-20/SP - $8.43 for one
PIC16F877-20/P  - $8.98 for one

>         I'd do what I did to myself: A small module, with a NoPPP and a
PIC
> 16F84. A 6 pole x 2 positions push button, keying the programming
> pins and xtal. Push the button, program. Push the button, run. Be
> happy with it. We are talking about N E W B I E S, and although the
> higher end PICs would have more "bang for the buck" I still think the
> NoPPP is the easiest/cheapest/more bang for the buck programmer
> avaiable around. Period. Easy assembly, cheap parts, easy testing (it
> gives you the state of each pin, easing the test) and works in EVERY
> parallel port I've tested (and I tested it a lot, you can be sure).

I would like the PCB to be pluggable into a breadboard so that there is no
pulling of the MCU and putting it into circuit.  It could also have
buttons/pots/LEDs/LCD interface as well.

>         Also, a good "begginers' manual" would be nice. Something like the
> "projects.PDF" you can find in Tony's page. these are nice projects,
> simple as it could be, aimed for the begginners. Step by step, it
> will bring fun and insight on the architeture of the PIC.
>
>         The best books are that ones that FIRST gives you something to
play,
> and AFTER teaches you how does it works. If you see a LED flashing,
> the first time of your life, you will be in a deer joy. After that,
> you can learn how you can play it faster or slower, or else light up
> at your control.

I've gotten that comment a lot (I find I work best in the opposite
direction, read/learn as much as possible and then start working with the
part).  I'm actually working on a proposal for McGraw-Hill to come up with a
book that starts off with projects and works back to the theory.

Suggestions, as always are welcome.



From: "Alan B. Pearce" <A.B.PearcespamspamRL.AC.UK>
> As you are suggesting having a CD in the box, is it worth getting
permission
> from appropriate places to redistribute the MPLAB environment, and maybe
the
> HT-Lite C compiler on it? You would need to include the necessary web
links
> to the original sites on some form of documentation page, but this could
be
> an html page on the CD anyway.

This is not trivial.  Microchip is very difficult to work with in getting
permissions for placing their tools and datasheets on third party works.
Depending on the situation, it would save a lot of hassle just by pointing
to http://www.microchip.com.


From: "Byron A Jeff" <spam_OUTbyronspam_OUTspamspam_OUTCC.GATECH.EDU>
> Actually I'd take an entirely different tack. I'd like to see:
>
> * A 16F876 or 16F877 with a bootloader in it.
> * A MAX232 serial interface.
> * Onboard single LEDs, a couple of 7 segments, and an LCD, each with
jumpers
>   so they can be disabled.
> * A couple of buttons, a pot, and an opamp for A/D experiments.
> * Jacks for ICSP and external I/O
> * A breadboard prototyping area
>
> The key thing here is that there's really no need to bother with a
programmer.
> That's traditional thinking. the 16F87X and 18FXXX (eventually) don't need
> traditional programmers on an ongoing basis. Once a bootloader has been
> installed into them, programming becomes as simple as plugging into a
serial
> port.

I agree the bootloader would be a nice idea...  The problem is programming
the chips in the first place (which is why I didn't suggest it).

Ben Wirz and I have gone through some major headaches getting PIC16C505s and
PIC16C57s programmed for the "TAB Electronics Build Your Own Robot Kit".
Microchip will do it, if you have quantities over 10K and you can wait 10
weeks (they will treat the parts as separate part number and you can repeat
order without having to resend the object files).  The best vendor we've
found is Future-Active (Digi-Key was surprisingly bad).  We've also worked
through a ton of small, crappy ones.

What I have been toying around with is an RS-232 programmer circuit that can
also be used as an RS-232 interface.  The problem is coming up with
something very simple that will work for LVP.

> What I'd really like to see is a combination of Wouter's Wloader and WISP
> in a single package. Both are chip programmers. Wloader is a self
programming
> bootloader and WISP is a PIC based ICSP programmer which can program other
> parts. It falls into the same philosophy that I'm trying to get across:
make
> it trivial to get started but have enough headroom that when you want to
do
> something else, the facilities are there. I see 3 phases:
>
> NEWBIE: Plug in serial. program the onbard 16F87X part using the onboard
boot-
>         loader. So the board is the target.
> Intermediate:
>         Plug in serial. Use ICSP to program external target. Retain this
>         mode for chips that cannot bootload, like the 16F628.
> Advanced:
>         Use the programmer to clone the bootloader. Then the user can
build
>         a target that exists completely independantly of the original
board and
>         is self programmable.
>
> Again you don't need to show them all at first, simply make the facilities
> available and then explain their usage at a later time.

Sounds good to me.

> I really like bootloaders. They cut the tether of a programmer. They are
> largely platform independant. They offer a really good independant
debugging
> channel. They are simple to clone. And they only cost as little as 1 I/O
pin
> (which can be user choosen) whereas ICSP will cost a minimum of 2, and
those
> are fixed.

??  Please explain.  I would expect two lines (transmit and receive) for the
boot loader unless you will allow the PICmicro MCU to use a single line for
send and receive.  This will work, but the software to control it is pretty
complex.

As for 2 lines for ICSP, please explain how this is done.  I am looking at a
minimum of three (possible 4 for LVP unless a couple of single-shots are
used to sequence the PGM and _MCLR pins).

> Somehow the arguments have been presented that if a chip has a USART,
MSSP,
> PSP, multiple timers, A/D, and CCP that either a new user will be
overwhelmed
> by the complexity at the beginning, or that it's irrelevant because they
will
> never need those features. The latter is definitely untrue as some subset
of
> those periperals will be used in any non toy project. The former is easily
> mitigated because the tutorial doesn't have to present everything at once.

I agree.  A PIC16F87x can be used just as efficiently running initial
programs (ie flashing an LED) using PORTB as a PIC16F84.

> >         The best books are that ones that FIRST gives you something to
play,
> > and AFTER teaches you how does it works. If you see a LED flashing,
> > the first time of your life, you will be in a deer joy. After that,
> > you can learn how you can play it faster or slower, or else light up
> > at your control.
>
> I'd only like to add that any such manual should do two more things:
>
> * Extend into intermediate projects.
> * Show both the hardware and software only mechanisms for solving
problems.
>
> Think along the lines of the midrange manual with a real project
associated
> with each of the peripheral chapters.
>
> Note that these are in addition to all of the beginner projects. It can
> be separated into to major sections even. But they should both be there.


How many pages are you thinking of?  In "Programming and Customizing
PICmicro(R) Microcontrollers", I do just that (although not in the order
that is being discussed).  With the "Introduction to Programming" and
"Introduction to Electronics" sections printed out, this comes out to OVER
1,500 pages.

With this project, I believe that it is _very_ important to keep it well
bounded.  The programmer software, Bootloader code itself, sample projects,
explanatory text can involve literally person-years of effort even for a
fairly small project.

Let's work at keeping it small at the start and then going bigger from
there...


From: "Ollie Wallock" <Wallockspam_OUTspamstcc.edu>
>    My solution is to use a module that has a power supply (over powered
with a 7805) that is both diode protected and fuse protected(thermal fuse)
and will run on the programmers wallwart. The Pic also has its own xtal and
caps. The module has a ribbon cable that is pin for pin conformal with the
Pic. When programming this ribbon is plugged into the programmer as is the
wallwart. The plug is then put into the application and the wallwart is
plugged into the module which then powers the chip that runs the circuit.
>     The advantages of this system are.
>                      1. The power supply is supplied by the wallwart
>                      2. You cannot burn anything up
>                      3. The timing circuit is all taken care of
>                      4. You never have to touch the Pic (A source of
expense with beginners pending pins and wrong insertion modes)
>                      5. Your development boards need no power supply or
timing circuits relieving the beginner of those types of uncertainties.
>     My favorite saying is that you can make something foolproof but never
student proof. The above system does both as I have used this system for
three or four years in a course that I teach and nobody has ruined a piece
of hardware other than the machined sockets protecting the male ribbon
socket. No ozone or burned odors either.
>     This system is pictorially demonstrated on the hardware page found at
>                faculty.stcc.mass.edu/wallock/me482/index.html
>     Also you should check out the boards of education.
>     This system has lots of easy tweaks.

Thanx for the link and the comments.  I've learned a lot about what students
can do with the 2nd edition PICmicro MCU book.

This is very close to what I am proposing except I would put on a single row
of pins on the Programmer that could be plugged into a breadboard from the
programmer and are connected to the PICmicro MCU's I/O pins.  This would
eliminate the need for removing the ribbon cable from the programmer and
allow new software to be tested without pulling anything.  Berg/3M pins are
also a lot more robust than ribbon connector I/O pins.


From: "Dale Botkin" <RemoveMEdaleKILLspamspam@spam@BOTKIN.ORG>
> > >but if I did it all over again, I would probably
> > >just buy a WARP-13
>
> Ditto.  I like my EPIC+, but still ditto.

This comment has been made quite a bit over the past two days and I honestly
have to agree with it.  There are a number of different low cost programmers
out there that will do similar things, but what makes this one
different/better?

I'm including it because I am a very firm believer in the need for strongly
defining and bounding a project before it is started.


Reading over the comments below, I feel like there is some consensus on what
needs to be done but still a bit of work on how to accomplish it.

To summarize what I think is being discussed (and, quite honestly, what _I_
think should be done), I would define the project as:

1.  Consisting of a programmer design that can be used to program a device
in socket.
1.1.  The device in socket is a PIC16F87x (to allow for bootloader/ICD).  A
PIC16F627 may be used, but this will eliminate the bootloader/ICD capability
and just allow serial communications.
1.2.  The device will be programmed by LVP (to simplify the programmer
circuit).
1.3.  The programmer will be controlled by an RS-232 port to allow
application/bootloader/ICD communications with the host controller.
1.4.  The programmer will be able to reset the PICmicro MCU.
1.5.  The programmer will be built from commonly available parts (no PLDs).
1.6.  The programmer will have a series of pins that will allow it to be
programmed into a breadboard.

2.  Programming software will run under Windows.
2.1.  There doesn't seem to be any calls for Linux or Mac versions.
2.2.  Software to be written in C++ with dialog box control.
2.3.  The software can communicate with the PICmicro MCU in the programmer
via RS-232.
2.4.  The software can detect the presence of the programmer PCB.
2.5.  The software will work with an arbitrary COM port (say up to COM16).

3.  A series of beginner's projects will be created.
3.1.  Will consist of interfacing to LEDs, buttons, other devices
3.2.  Serial communications will be presented.
3.3.  The projects will start with high level examples and then migrate to
assembly language.

4.  Text will be written explaining the projects and the theory behind them.

Questions:

1.  Will the programmer be made available as a kit or as a built/tested
product?
2.  Who will supply the programmer?
3.  What if multiple companies want to supply the programmer/PCB?  Will this
be truly "open source"?
4.  How do we go about making up the list of projects?
5.  How will questions be logged/answered?


I am more than happy to donate space on my web site for this project and I
will be happy to set up a page on it to help out.

myke

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2002\08\05@165709 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Mon, Aug 05, 2002 at 01:23:57PM -0400, myke predko wrote:
> Hi Folks,

Hey Myke!

{Quote hidden}

That's going to be a tough problem. I'm not sure we can presume that everyone
who wants the kit will have effective Internet access.

It always give me a small chuckle because I use the gputils tools. But it's
an issue we're going to have to address somehow.

{Quote hidden}

Sometimes my thinking is narrow because I generally operate in the small. It
never really occured to me that someone would have to actually program a large
number of chips. Even if we're operating on the order of 500 to 1000 units
it still would take a significant amount of time to preprogram each with a
bootloader.

>
> Ben Wirz and I have gone through some major headaches getting PIC16C505s and
> PIC16C57s programmed for the "TAB Electronics Build Your Own Robot Kit".
> Microchip will do it, if you have quantities over 10K and you can wait 10
> weeks (they will treat the parts as separate part number and you can repeat
> order without having to resend the object files).  The best vendor we've
> found is Future-Active (Digi-Key was surprisingly bad).  We've also worked
> through a ton of small, crappy ones.

So what's the scoop on Future-Active then? Lead time? cost? minimum quantity?

>
> What I have been toying around with is an RS-232 programmer circuit that can
> also be used as an RS-232 interface.  The problem is coming up with
> something very simple that will work for LVP.

A serial programmer is a tough game. You really need three usable outputs
though you can get away with only one input. I guess that one output can
be created using a zener and the others with the onboard MAX232.

But honestly it really gets messy compared to simply having the chip
preprogrammed on board.

>
> > What I'd really like to see is a combination of Wouter's Wloader and WISP
> > in a single package.... Both are chip programmers. Wloader is a self
> > [ The rest deleted for brevity - BAJ]
>
> Sounds good to me.

Glad you like it.

{Quote hidden}

The beauty of it is that it's already done. Wouter's Wloader operates exactly
in this manner. The upshot of tying the XMIT and RECV together is that
everything the PC outputs will be echoed. Actually this can be a good thing
because the software gets automagic feedback when the programmer is properly
connected.

>
> As for 2 lines for ICSP, please explain how this is done.  I am looking at a
> minimum of three (possible 4 for LVP unless a couple of single-shots are
> used to sequence the PGM and _MCLR pins).

Sorry Myke, I was unclear. Most of the time I only think of I/O as consumables
with MCLR as a given. So you are correct: 3/4 pins for ICSP and 2 for a
bootloader. And the designer still gets to pick the bootloader I/O pin.

{Quote hidden}

I think we were all thinking in terms of digital media as trying to publish
paper will turn this from a project that can be done to one that's nearly
impossible.

Honestly I hadn't gotten to page counts yet. I'm still trying to get on the
table the concept of offer material up to the early advanced stage, with a
key on keeping it real simple early but adding reasonable and logical
complexity as we progress. Then a newbie can stop at whatever comfort level
makes them happy, with more material to utilize later.

Organizationally we clearly are going to have to distribute the work.
Frankly Myke, I can't see how you get it all done!

>
> With this project, I believe that it is _very_ important to keep it well
> bounded.  The programmer software, Bootloader code itself, sample projects,
> explanatory text can involve literally person-years of effort even for a
> fairly small project.

Absolutely. And the more work that is enjoined the higher the likelyhood that
it won't get finished. Ideally I'd hope to see existing projects polished and
annotated. For example I simply published my thermostat on my web site as
raw source. But there is the basis of several projects in there:

* Driving multiplexed LED displays
* Multiple conversions (DS1620->C->F->BCD->7segment)
* Using a pot and  A/D as a control input
* Driving relays
* syncronous serial interface (DS1620)
* bitbanged async serial (via the bootloader interface)

But organizing it isn't going to be much fun.

>
> Let's work at keeping it small at the start and then going bigger from
> there...

No problem with that.

I'd still vote for the bootloader/ICSP programmer concept if we can figure out
a reasonable way to either preprogram the chip or have the buyer EASILY!!!
do the initial program. Software on the PC may be able to handle it if the
initial programming interface and the bootloader interface were jumperable.

BAJ

[There's too much in one post. I'll tackle Myke's list later...]

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2002\08\05@172811 by Andy Shaw

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face
The new board sounds a lot like a cut down version of the picdem.net board
(which by the way is a great toy to play with if you want to use a pic on
the net!).

Andy

{Original Message removed}

2002\08\05@173422 by Roman Black

flavicon
face
Sean Alcorn (SYD) wrote:
>
> Roman,
>
> > Could I suggest swapping the switchmode wallwart

> You got a switching PSU with yours? I just got a normal transformer with
> wallwart with mine (smaller, lighter & I can travel with it), and I replaced
> it with a switching type. Never had any problems.
>
> Of course we'll do complete testing on the PSU and the finished package.


Hi Sean, yes a "100vac to 240vac" black "brick"
that accpets user supplied mains lead. The "240vac"
rating is somewhat in question, the things cooks
up to "ouch" hot here where my mains is often
250vac+. I think their manufacturer may have skimped
on parts knowing 90% of users would use it on 110vac
they usually do with 100v-240v supplies.

I've had to replace heat damaged electros twice now,
but what really annoys me is that I only use it for
1/2 hour at a time and always unplug it!!! So hours
of use are tiny and it still gets heat damage. Other
people who use that model with 240vac mains have said
similar things. I'm glad they don't use them anymore.
:o)
-Roman

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2002\08\05@175939 by jamesnewton

face picon face
source= http://www.piclist.com/postbot.asp?id=piclist\2002\08\05\132512a

Ok, I'm finally going to have to say something about this.... Sigh.

A. If you want to start newbies off with something that will help them
understand PICs, I really think that people would be better off building an
ICD. We have the entire thing available from the web site (as far as the
partslist, pcb layout, and construction notes) If someone wanted to make a
board, and import it, great, and I doubt Microchip would care. As long as it
gets people buying PICs and they don't have to support it (cause they didn't
sell it) it can only help them.
http://www.piclist.com/freeicd For about $40 and several hours work, they
can actually see what is happing INSIDE the chip and watch the source code
execute from MPLAB and all that good stuff.

B. MPLAB has been reverse engineered for programmer support by one outfit
that I know of:
http://www.cosmodog.com/pic/ (cached 20010402083839) picp - open source
(free) command line interface for the PICStart+ (read: It writes out the
MPLAB commands to cause the PICStart+ to work Its Open Source. Hint: If you
want to make a programmer MPLAB compatible you would.... BING!) This by the
way is the first item listed in the piclist.com FAQ for programmers. How is
it that all of you have missed it?

C. If you want to throw effort into YET ANOTHER PROGRAMMER... rather than
working on any one of the MANY, MANY existing open source designs, then you
are just doing it for ego and no other reason. The last thing any PIC person
needs is another choice on the list at
http://www.piclist.com/devprogs

D. Put your effort into helping produce or bundle one of the existing
designs with a good tutorial or parts kit. That has been done and much
recognition was received / good was accomplished at
www.piclist.com/techref/piclist/biketut/index.htm
A real help (rather than all the bandwidth used to argue the point) would be
if someone would write a similar tutorial for the '877 or other newer chip.

E. If you want something to argue over, argue over what is written on the
beginners check list.
http://www.piclist.com/begin
In fact, since the current owner of that page is not actively updating it, I
will remove him as owner and put someone else in place if anyone wants to
edit it. Just ask me.

Otherwise, this is a perfect example of group IQ dropping as more people add
their opinion rather than actually doing something useful.

Best of luck.

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2002\08\05@190311 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Mon, Aug 05, 2002 at 01:23:57PM -0400, myke predko wrote:
> Hi Folks,

Round 2. DING!

> Reading over the comments below, I feel like there is some consensus on what
> needs to be done but still a bit of work on how to accomplish it.
>
> To summarize what I think is being discussed (and, quite honestly, what _I_
> think should be done), I would define the project as:
>
> 1.  Consisting of a programmer design that can be used to program a device
> in socket.

So we're definitely abandoning the prospect of a preprogrammed PIC with a
bootloader on board? I'm simply thinking in newbiespeak. They really aren't
too interested in the process of programming, it's a necessary evil. There
are no programming issues if a preprogrammed chip is installed.

> 1.1.  The device in socket is a PIC16F87x (to allow for bootloader/ICD).  A
> PIC16F627 may be used, but this will eliminate the bootloader/ICD capability
> and just allow serial communications.

Agreed.

> 1.2.  The device will be programmed by LVP (to simplify the programmer
> circuit).

If we go with the preprogrammed chip I'd say no. While many of us see the
utility of LVP espeically in terms of putting together a quick programmer,
in newbiespeak what will be glaring is the unavilability of I/O pins. Frankly
PORTB really sucks when RB3/RB4 unavailable.

The device should be HVP if at all possible.

> 1.3.  The programmer will be controlled by an RS-232 port to allow
> application/bootloader/ICD communications with the host controller.

I can certainly live with this. ;-)

> 1.4.  The programmer will be able to reset the PICmicro MCU.

Sure.

> 1.5.  The programmer will be built from commonly available parts (no PLDs).

I still thought we were talking about something assembled. So parts shouldn't
be a big deal right?

> 1.6.  The programmer will have a series of pins that will allow it to be
> programmed into a breadboard.
 ^^^^^^^^^^
 interfaced ???

>
> 2.  Programming software will run under Windows.
> 2.1.  There doesn't seem to be any calls for Linux or Mac versions.

Linux! Linux!! Linux!!!

Not a big deal. As long as the specifications are open, as I'm sure they will
be, generating Linux/Mac/Solaris/Palm or any other version shouldn't be a
big deal.

> 2.2.  Software to be written in C++ with dialog box control.

I call for complete separation of the UI from the control software. I don't
have any problem with one UI or the other. I do have a problem with locking
an application into a particular user interface.

It would be preferable if something crossplatform (wxwindows, Qt) were used.
But as long as the UI can be completely removed from the control, I'd be
satisfied.

> 2.3.  The software can communicate with the PICmicro MCU in the programmer
> via RS-232.
> 2.4.  The software can detect the presence of the programmer PCB.
> 2.5.  The software will work with an arbitrary COM port (say up to COM16).

All cool.

>
> 3.  A series of beginner's projects will be created.
> 3.1.  Will consist of interfacing to LEDs, buttons, other devices

Make sure that an LCD is there.

> 3.2.  Serial communications will be presented.

Preferable hardware serial comms first.

> 3.3.  The projects will start with high level examples and then migrate to
> assembly language.

That's a tough one. If we do high level examples, we'll need a simple,
accessible high level language. Nothing truly fits the bill though Wouter's
JAL seems to come pretty close.

Any language that we use is going to have to have tools on the CD. That
greatly limits the choices.

My gut says that straight assembly is going to be the simplest choice. But I'm
open to suggestions.


>
> 4.  Text will be written explaining the projects and the theory behind them.

Absolutely.

>
> Questions:
>
> 1.  Will the programmer be made available as a kit or as a built/tested
> product?

The latter.

> 2.  Who will supply the programmer?

Sean and the volunteer distributors from what I've read.

> 3.  What if multiple companies want to supply the programmer/PCB?  Will this
> be truly "open source"?

Hopefully.

> 4.  How do we go about making up the list of projects?

Tough question.

> 5.  How will questions be logged/answered?

Here? A web based forum? A mailing list?

>
>
> I am more than happy to donate space on my web site for this project and I
> will be happy to set up a page on it to help out.

Cool.

BAJ

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2002\08\05@191549 by Tony Nixon

flavicon
picon face
Josh Koffman wrote:
>
> I don't know how difficult this would be, but I would suggest talking to
> Jim Robertson of Newfound Electronics
> (http://www.newfoundelectronics.com). I believe his Warp13 is the only
> MPLAB compatible programmer other than the Microchip ones. The one
> concern I'd have is that with no control over MPLAB, new versions will
> come out, and we will need to support many different versions of the
> software. If we had our own, we could just make them download a new
> version.
>
> Just some thoughts.
>
> Josh

As far as I know Microchip have a SDK coming for MPLAB 6.

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2002\08\05@195027 by Tony Nixon

flavicon
picon face
Byron A Jeff wrote:
> >         Also, a good "begginers' manual" would be nice. Something like the
> > "projects.PDF" you can find in Tony's page. these are nice projects,
> > simple as it could be, aimed for the begginners. Step by step, it
> > will bring fun and insight on the architeture of the PIC.
>
> So why not update and use it? Tony has already said he's on board. Right Tony?
>
Here is a list of all my 'stuff' for beginners. It is now used in 51
countries and many schools as a basis for microcontroller courses. Not
too bad for $US84

What I will contribute soon(?) is all this stuff for free if I can find
a host site.

I can't keep up with it lately with a missus to run, 2 young children,
plus work, etc adnauseum..... and a plane to build :-)

So regrettably, after the last of the kits are sold off, I will probably
shut down, although I will be around to offer support for those that
purchased a kit.


[Package]

All the mICro's Software on CD ROM All components for PICmicro®MCU Programmer and Real World Interface
Pre-programmed PIC16F876, PCBs, case, serial cables, plugs etc.
Expansion connector PCB and cable
Serial cable
Bootloader cable
PDF Construction manual

[Experimenter Parts]

PIC16F628-20P
2 x 20 LCD display
93LC46B Serial EEPROM
2 x 7 Segment LED displays
12V relay with driver transistor and diode
3 x 4 Keypad
3mm Red LED
Push Button Switch
Mini Trimpot
11 resistors

These are loose parts that interface the expansion cable and plug with a
solderless breadboard. That way the parts can be used for other projects
as well.

[Programmer]

Benchtop use or portable
Can be powered by the USB port - no external supply needed
Or in portable mode by 2 x AAA cells - That's only 3 volts...
Use it stand alone without a PC
32K storage memory
Programs most PICmicros® including 12Cxxx, 16C5x, 16Cxxx, 16Fxxx, 18Cxxx
ICSP programming
Boot programming
Windows® software
Customizable chip list
"Fly on the wall" mini programmer window that stays visible over other
applications like MPLAB.
Automatically updates HEX files with the latest available before
programming takes place.

[Project files] Over 300 pages

Mnemonics
The Assembler
Labels
Using A Text Assembler
The Flowchart
The Simulator
The Real World
7 segment LED display
The Counter
Using Switches
Multiplexing 7 Segment Displays
RelayPCLATH
FSR Tables
Tables At The Boundary
Using The Internal EEPROM
Keypads
LCD Display
Serial EEPROM
Serial Port
Interrupts

Compatable with MicroSim and MicroPlay animated simulators and
MicroBasic BASIC compiler which are also available on the CD ROM. This
allows you to see your code run with on screen simulation and real life
circuit action at the same time.

Additional documanted projects include digital clock, serial port LCD
controller, voltmeter and more.

All these are documented with working code that is built up stage by
stage until a finished project is created. They have live links in PDF
files to activate MPLAB, assemblers and othe programs easily. All up
around 100 ASM files to work through.

They also make use of the interactive animated PIC tutorials which cover
things such as..

Latches
Using the IO Port
Addressing
Read/Modify/Write
Floating Inputs
Schmitt Trigger
Open Collector
Timers
Pullups
RAM Pages
ROM Pages
Direct Addressing
Indirect Addressing
GOTO-CALL
Modifying PCL
Clock Timing
EEPROM
Reset
WDT
SLEEP
Interrupts

There is also a quiz with hundreds of questions for using a 16F84 but
can also apply to most PICs in general.

You can also design simple circuits on screen with a selection of
components and interact this with working code. This will simulate
circuit and code on screen as well as with the hardware, so your "Flashy
LED" or LCD project will display on the PC as well as in the real world.

-- Best regards

Tony

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2002\08\05@223831 by Dale Botkin

flavicon
face
On Mon, 5 Aug 2002, Byron A Jeff wrote:

> On Mon, Aug 05, 2002 at 01:23:57PM -0400, myke predko wrote:
> > This is not trivial.  Microchip is very difficult to work with in getting
> > permissions for placing their tools and datasheets on third party works.
> > Depending on the situation, it would save a lot of hassle just by pointing
> > to http://www.microchip.com.
>
> That's going to be a tough problem. I'm not sure we can presume that everyone
> who wants the kit will have effective Internet access.

Maybe Microchip could be persuaded into supplying a box of CDs to be
included in the kit -- they do give them away, after all.

Dale

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2002\08\06@153124 by Brendan Moran

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> BTW, James has a similar programmer project called CUMP. I'm sure
> he'll chime in any moment.
>
>
> I'll gladly host a beginner's programmer on
> http://www.gnupic.org/pbk.html

Actually, I'm the one that does most of the chiming on that one, but
I was away for the long weekend, so I missed everything up until now.
I see that James has, however, added his (somewhat annoyed) comments
to the discussion at hand.  I think that the open ICD that he's
mentioned has some advantages, but what might be a better solution
(Oh, no, here we go) is something that will do both ICD and HVP.

CUMP will be capable of that when finished.  It ain't finished yet
(sorry, probably my fault that it's not, I will notify this list when
it is.) As such, CUMP is not a practical option for this endeavor, as
of yet.

- --Brendan

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2002\08\06@155428 by Brendan Moran

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> >I'd likely be willing to help out distributing in Canada.
Me too, but as someone has beaten me to the punch, I'm probably
unnecessary in that vein.

- --Brendan

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2002\08\06@162156 by Brendan Moran

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- From what I've read here, I'd say that I can see two solutions that
would be good. (here come the flames)

1. Use a SMD PIC on a small board with osciallator built in, and ICD
socket built in, and add pins so that it can be used as a 40-pin or
28-pin wide DIP, depending on which PIC is chosen.

2.Use a ZIF socketed through-hole PIC on its own ICD/programmer with
a 40-pin IDC connector, and a ribbon cable to DIP connector on the
other end.  This one should support the up and comming 18F parts,
despite their current unavailability.

For either option,
If it could be made to work with a USB interface, so much the better.
IEEE1394 would be even better, but there is limited support for
that, as far as I have found.  Failing USB/IEEE1394, RS-232 is the
next best thing.  Power supply should be integrated.  As to
switches/LEDs/LCDs etc.  They are unnecessary, but nice to have.

My $0.02

- --Brendan

P.S. I'm interested in helping however I can.  I'm in western Canada,
for the sake of working out distributors.

P.P.S.  When CUMP is finished, this project could, perhaps, be
adapted to use CUMP as a helpful base.

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2002\08\07@013107 by James Newton, webmaster

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source=
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As I've said a hundred times, Tony you are always welcome to a
site on my servers... even with FTP and a seperate domain. Free
of charge, for life. You deserve it.

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2002\08\07@102249 by Josh Koffman

flavicon
face
We could share y'know :)

Josh
--
A common mistake that people make when trying to design something
completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete
fools.
       -Douglas Adams

Brendan Moran wrote:
> > >I'd likely be willing to help out distributing in Canada.
> Me too, but as someone has beaten me to the punch, I'm probably
> unnecessary in that vein.

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2002\08\07@180708 by Brendan Moran
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Fine with me :)

- --Brendan

> We could share y'know :)
>
> Josh
> Brendan Moran wrote:
> > > >I'd likely be willing to help out distributing in Canada.
> > Me too, but as someone has beaten me to the punch, I'm probably
unnecessary in that vein.

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2002\08\13@034740 by Dominic Stratten

flavicon
face
I dont see why anybody should have exclusive rights to distribute in any
country. As long as a country specific price is agreed upon, there should be
no problems or arguments. This would also stop a country distributor
artificially inflating the price of the sold product. I would prefer it if
there were two or three distributors per country for this reason.

Comments anybody ???

Thanks

Dominic
{Original Message removed}

2002\08\13@040651 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> I dont see why anybody should have exclusive rights to
> distribute in any
> country. As long as a country specific price is agreed upon,
> there should be
> no problems or arguments. This would also stop a country distributor
> artificially inflating the price of the sold product. I would
> prefer it if
> there were two or three distributors per country for this reason.

As one who is potentially interested in distributing I wonder why 'agree
on a country specific price'? In some countries it might even be against
the law, and it cetrainly runs against free trade, and a few other free
world ideals. And why should a distributor be bound to one country?

Wouter van Ooijen
----------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products

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2002\08\13@050924 by Jason Harper

picon face
I've been thinking about the PIC Designer idea, and have come up with a
rough design proposal for it.

There were two issues that didn't seem to have been adequately discussed:

1. I get the impression that the people pushing for a wide variety of
included peripherals were expecting them to be permanently connected to
specific PIC pins.  I see that as a disaster - it forces people to
compromise their designs to fit this common pinout.  For example, if a text
LCD is included and is connected to Port B, but I want to use the Port B
interrupt features for something incompatible with that connection, then
the LCD becomes utterly useless to me.

2. I don't recall seeing any discussion about oscillator options.  Again,
if the device forces an oscillator choice on the user, it unnecessarily
limits what can be designed with it.  And don't forget about the possibilty
of an external oscillator on Timer1 of many PICs...

Here's a block diagram of my proposed design:
       http://pobox.com/~JasonHarper/PICDesigner.gif

Here's an artist's misconception about what it would look like:
       http://pobox.com/~JasonHarper/PICDesigner.jpg

Features:
* Should support every DIP PIC in existance, even the parallel-programmed
16C5x ones.
* Computer interface via serial and optional USB ports.  The serial port
can be switched to be driven by the target PIC instead of the Designer
itself.
* No pinout decisions are forced on the user - all peripheral connections
are made via a breadboard.
* Oscillators (both main and Timer1) are plug-in modules for unlimited
flexibility.
* Includes a logic monitor/stimulator covering all of Ports A, B, and C.
This will largely eliminate the need for individual LEDs and switches for
basic I/O.  (Some people have been referring to this feature as a "logic
analyzer", but the performance will be nowhere near the level needed to
justify that name.)
       Jason Harper

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2002\08\13@051320 by Dominic Stratten

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I made this comment because I think distributors should make a minimal
profit. I.e. maybe 15-20 percent to cover returns and overhead costs. If a
price is agreed upon then it will stop some of the less scrupulous
distributors from shoving this product out at cost purely to generate site
traffic/secondary purchases. If this were to happen, other distributors in
the same country may see fit to drop the product as it isnt selling or is
unprofitable to stock as a business due to having to foot the cost of any
returns/customer service problems etc. This would leave the unscrupulous
distributor free to charge what they wanted for the product as they now had
the sole market for this product open to them.

Just my thoughts (again ;) on the matter.

Cheers

Dom
{Original Message removed}

2002\08\13@233452 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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Hi Guys,

I'm back! I might look like a young Forrest Gump, but I'm at my desk and
being productive!

Run Forrest, Run!

Well, I've got to say, I just love the amount of time and effort that
Jason Harper put into his proposal.

You may not all agree with him (of course), but he shares a number of
ideas that I have had;

1) I have always wanted to have a series of plug in oscillator modules. I
think this is a must.
2) I wanted to see a header to an expansion board - with all the other
goodies that you guys have been talking about. Be it an Option or included
with the original kit. I was thinking of a 40 Pin or maybe 50 Pin header
(allowing a few spare for supply rails etc.) - but I must say that the SIP
header facing down is simply brilliant and must be considered.
3) I have seen some negative comments about the multiple sockets - and I
wonder if Jason realises that I can buy ZIF sockets quite cheaply.

Is there any way we can have a 40 Pin WIDE ZIF socket accomodate ALL
available PICs?

On a related note, you guys are all pushing heavily for an LCD. I have
seen that you often talk about LCDs for around $30 or so. But you are also
suggesting that this full kit will retail for around $20~$30. I hope that
everybody realises that I can not even begin to look at costings until we
have a final rough design.

I think Jason has given us much to consider.

Cheers,

Sean

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2002\08\14@030306 by Jason Harper

picon face
Sean wrote:
> 3) I have seen some negative comments about the multiple sockets - and I
> wonder if Jason realises that I can buy ZIF sockets quite cheaply.

Even if you could get ZIF sockets for as cheap as LIF, they would take up
more room on the board - about half an inch more length than LIF, plus
space for the handle when it's down.

> Is there any way we can have a 40 Pin WIDE ZIF socket accomodate ALL
> available PICs?

That's quite doable for programming only, but will inevitably result in
some pins that need to be connected to Vdd/Vss for some chip sizes, but are
normal I/O pins for others.  Not a problem for a programmer, since the
unused I/O pins are inputs during programming, but it wouldn't be very good
for prototyping to have some of your I/O permanently connected to the power
supply...

The main reason I didn't go for a single-socket design is that it couldn't
give any sort of meaningful names to the breadboard connections - they
would mean entirely different things depending on the size of chip
installed.  HOWEVER, it has just occurred to me how to fix this - a
single-socket programmer/prototyper would have to have some sort of
personality module anyway, to route power to only the appropriate pins for
any given chip size, and that could also handle routing all of the port
pins to the appropriate pins on the breadboard connector!

So, here's my current idea:
* One 40-pin ZIF socket, plus the 6-pin ICSP connector as before.
* A slot for a personality card, parallel to the ZIF - it looks like it
will need about 80 pins.  Could be edge connector, dual-row header, SIMM,
etc.
* One personality card for each size of PIC - 8, 18, 28, 40 pin.  They will
primarily just consist of traces connecting the ZIF pins to the Designer's
bus, plus one or two OSC connectors as appropriate for the PIC size.  The
only actual component likely to be on the personality cards is a bypass cap
for the target PIC, this is the closest it could possibly be mounted to the
PIC under this scheme.  Cards other than the 40-pin would have silkscreen
on the side facing the ZIF socket showing how the PIC should be aligned in
the socket.
* Since the personality cards are solely responsible for connections to the
PIC, they could also contain a socket themselves rather than using the ZIF.
This would be useful for later development of cards for PLCC, SOIC, or
other non-DIP PICs.

This scheme adds another interesting possibility - developing with multiple
smaller PICs that will fit simultaneously into the ZIF.  Let's say that the
normal position for a PIC is at the top of the ZIF socket.  The 18-pin
personality card would route the topmost 18 ZIF pins to Vdd, GND, Vpp, and
ports A & B of the Designer's bus.  It could also route the bottommost ZIF
pins to Vdd, GND, and ports C & D of the bus, allowing both PICs to be run
simultaneously (perhaps to develop some sort of communications scheme
between them).  You just wouldn't be able to directly program the second
PIC.  The only cost for adding this feature would be an additional OSC
connector on the personality card!  The 8-pin personality card could
likewise support up to four PICs (multidrop busses, anyone?): I wouldn't
even bother with extra OSC connectors in that case since such PICs are
normally used with INTRC.

The only downside I see to all this is that the oscillator pin connections
are getting rather long: PIC -> ZIF -> personality socket -> personality
card -> OSC connector -> OSC module -> crystal or whatever.  The added
capacitance is certainly going to affect the osc frequency, especially with
the RC module.
       Jason Harper

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2002\08\14@041541 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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Jason,

> Even if you could get ZIF sockets for as cheap as LIF, they would take up
> more room on the board - about half an inch more length than LIF, plus
> space for the handle when it's down.

No. I meant one 40Pin Wide ZIF - which I see further you understood.

And as for your forthcoming idea.... we must be totally in sync. I just
spent an hour training my kid's soccer team (yes, with a broken leg) and
came up with this EXACT idea. I pictured just the edge connector. I think
they come in 2 x 40 Pin wide don't they?

> The only downside I see to all this is that the oscillator pin connections
> are getting rather long: PIC -> ZIF -> personality socket -> personality
> card -> OSC connector -> OSC module -> crystal or whatever.  The added
> capacitance is certainly going to affect the osc frequency, especially with
> the RC module.

Where are you considering to put the oscillator module? Can we have a
combined "personality/oscillator" modules?

Only one question at this stage. What do we do with the SIP connector when
not in use? Do we need to isolate it at all?

The rest of the list is awkwardly quiet! :-)

Regards,

Sean

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2002\08\14@051552 by Dominic Stratten

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My thoughts on all the talk about personality modules will add cost to the
production of this product. Extra connectors, personality boards - we're
going from a single simple solution to a modular (plenty of bits to lose)
design. There appear to be only 4 or 5 different variants on the pinouts
where programming voltages and programming pins are concerned on HVP
programmers. Why not go back to basics, look at a HVP design with a slider
switch with 4 positions (or dip switches) and go for some cheap logic /
transistors to select whether a 8/18/28/40 pin chip is in the Zif (which I
would really want on any programmer) socket. Its nice getting very technical
on this but a P16Pro or Tait compatible programmer is more than enough for
95% of people that will be starting out with Pic controllers.

I don't mind flicking a switch on a programmer to say which chip is
installed ! There are USB to parallel convertors which can be picked up for
10 bucks (if you're in the computer trade), the majority of machines still
have a parallel port (although I've seen quite a few recently that are
missing the serial port).

Maybe have this style of programmer in the PBK and a USB version with ICD
and all the trimmings in a professional version.

The original aim for this project was to give the beginner a cheap quick
start into the world of PIC controllers and I feel we're getting bogged down
with designing an all singing, all dancing complex programmer/development
kit.

In fact - lets have two switches on the board, one for selecting the type of
chip being programmed and the other for "development/programming" switch.
When in development mode, the programming circuit is totally isolated from
the rest of the board, when in development, the Pic is reset, the clock is
routed through to the appropriate pins (according to the setting on the chip
type switch). In programming mode, the relevant pins on the pic are isolated
from the development side. All easily achievable through simple 74xx logic.

I was taught a very useful principle at college - KISS - keep it simple
stupid - works every time ;-)

Just a thought.

Dom


{Original Message removed}

2002\08\14@064224 by Jason Harper

picon face
Sean wrote:
> Where are you considering to put the oscillator module?

They pretty much have to go on the personality card.  My current idea is to
have the personality card just in front of the ZIF, with the OSC module(s)
sticking out horizontally as low as possible (to minimize trace length to
them).  The silkscreen chip insertion diagram would be above them.

> Can we have a combined "personality/oscillator" modules?

Too wasteful.  Remember that all but the 8-pin personality card will have
options for a Timer1 oscillator as well - covering all of the reasonable
permutations for all the chip sizes results in about 36 total cards
totalling 1.5 square feet...

> Only one question at this stage. What do we do with the SIP connector
when
> not in use? Do we need to isolate it at all?

I don't see any need to worry about it.  The four spacers should be
somewhat longer than the pins: the idea is that the Designer and the
breadboard should sit flat on a common surface when connected together.  (I
wanted a separate breadboard so that I could keep multiple sets of
peripherals wired up on different breadboards - or the other edge of the
same breadboard - and simply swap them around as needed rather than having
to tear down and rebuild every time I switch projects.)

What are the manufacturability concerns with having through-hole parts
mounted on the bottom of the board (such as the breadboard connector)?
Some of my ideas for laying out the personality & osc cards would also have
that feature, and I need to know how strongly to resist them...
       Jason Harper

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2002\08\14@085831 by Eoin Ross

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Refer to Olin's [PIC]:PBK thread - I really like the idea he had.

>>> RemoveMEsdalcornspamspamAVION.COM.AU 08/13/02 11:32PM >>>
<snip>

Is there any way we can have a 40 Pin WIDE ZIF socket accomodate ALL
available PICs?

<snip>

Cheers,

Sean

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2002\08\14@091729 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> Is there any way we can have a 40 Pin WIDE ZIF socket accomodate ALL
> available PICs?

Of course, but at a price. Check how PICStart+ does that: with lots of
switching (read: extra ICs).

Wouter van Ooijen

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2002\08\14@092144 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
> Refer to Olin's [PIC]:PBK thread - I really like the idea he had.

Thanks.

> Is there any way we can have a 40 Pin WIDE ZIF socket accomodate ALL
> available PICs?

Yes.  The Picstart+ is an existance proof.

However, implementing it for ALL PICs might be complicated.  I think it is
doable for the hobby PICs, which probably brings along a good chunk of the
product line.  Professionals aren't going to mind paying $100 for a
Picstart+, or even $200 if they are not official Microchip PIC consultants.


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(978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com

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2002\08\14@100908 by Josh Koffman

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Does it cost you to be listed as an official consultant, or is based on
volume or something else?

Josh
--
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completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete
fools.
       -Douglas Adams

Olin Lathrop wrote:
> Professionals aren't going to mind paying $100 for a
> Picstart+, or even $200 if they are not official Microchip PIC > consultants.

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2002\08\14@111729 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
> Does it cost you to be listed as an official consultant, or is based on
> volume or something else?

The local FAEs are the gatekeepers on this program.  They get to know you
and make sure you are really doing this work professionally, not just a kid
or hobbyist looking for free stuff.  You also have to do a certain number of
PIC projects and then submit code for their review.

Overall it's a great program for those it is intended to serve.  There are
people at Microchip whos only job is to provide assistance to the official
PIC consultants.  You also get more attention from the local office.


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2002\08\14@112718 by Jennifer L. Gatza

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face
They also make it clear that they don’t want "moonlighters."  They want, and
in some cases, NEED, consultants to handle the influx of requests for
support and applications engineering.  In the Southeast U.S. (where I live),
they are practically begging for consultants.  However, they want to make
sure that these consultants will be *available* whenever necessary (or at
least during normal business hours), and that they will provide
*high-quality* work.

> The local FAEs are the gatekeepers on this program.  They get
> to know you
> and make sure you are really doing this work professionally,
> not just a kid
> or hobbyist looking for free stuff.  You also have to do a
> certain number of
> PIC projects and then submit code for their review.

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2002\08\14@123521 by Josh Koffman

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face
Interesting...something to think about for the future. Thanks for the
information.

Josh
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completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete
fools.
       -Douglas Adams

Olin Lathrop wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2002\08\14@140042 by Brendan Moran

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

{Quote hidden}

Congrats, you just invented CUMP.

- --Brendan

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2002\08\14@163103 by Mike Singer

picon face
Josh Koffman wrote:
> Interesting...something to think about for the future.
> Thanks for the information.
>
> Josh
> --
> A common mistake that people make when trying to design something
> completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete
> fools.
>         -Douglas Adams


If you think of something to be foolproof, the fools are always greater
then the proof!

       Eduard Teller
       American Nuclear Physicist

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2002\08\15@014019 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Wed, Aug 14, 2002 at 01:32:58PM +1000, Sean Alcorn (SYD) wrote:
> Hi Guys,
>
> I'm back! I might look like a young Forrest Gump, but I'm at my desk and
> being productive!
>
> Run Forrest, Run!

;-) Glad to see you back in the game.. even if your gimpy. ;-)

>
> Well, I've got to say, I just love the amount of time and effort that
> Jason Harper put into his proposal.
>
> You may not all agree with him (of course), but he shares a number of
> ideas that I have had;
>
> 1) I have always wanted to have a series of plug in oscillator modules. I
> think this is a must.

See my other post. Fine for an external target, problamatic for the primary
chip.

> 2) I wanted to see a header to an expansion board - with all the other
> goodies that you guys have been talking about. Be it an Option or included
> with the original kit. I was thinking of a 40 Pin or maybe 50 Pin header
> (allowing a few spare for supply rails etc.) - but I must say that the SIP
> header facing down is simply brilliant and must be considered.

Personally I'm fine with it just as long as the goodies are not optional.
See my post to Geert (jumanji) as to the pitfalls of modular systems for
novices.

> 3) I have seen some negative comments about the multiple sockets - and I
> wonder if Jason realises that I can buy ZIF sockets quite cheaply.
>
> Is there any way we can have a 40 Pin WIDE ZIF socket accomodate ALL
> available PICs?

This point comes down to the core philosophy of the project. And it's not
about cost, it's about presentation and support of the project. It comes
down to this simple question: "Do we have A) a project that is a PIC programmer
that happens to do a lot of other things... or do we have B) a project that
does a lot of things that also happens to program PICs."

It's now a lot less about what functions are available, and more about what
functions are important. It's about priority. I really think that Geert put
it very succinctly the other day. To paraphase: "Users don't wake up thinking
about programming PICs. Users wake up thinking about getting projects done."

Frankly programmers and ZIFs and which and how many sockets to have all focus
on the process of how to get code into a chip. Systems from ICD to ICSP to JTAG
to bootloading have been developed in most part to abstract the process of
getting code into a chip. And since our target audience is a group that may
not be familiar with the process of getting code into a chip, we need to
abstract the process as much as possible.

So to rephrase the core question: Is this a project about getting code into
chips, or is it about getting projects done as efficiently and painlessly as
possible?

The followup question which has been asked before: If this is about getting
code into a chip, how in any way will this project be better, different, or
more useful than the myriad ways that already exists to get code into a chip?
Everything from the PICSTART+, to the WISP628, to NOPPP, to TLVP, to ICD, etc.
If it does what everything else does, then what's the reason d'etre?

>
> On a related note, you guys are all pushing heavily for an LCD. I have
> seen that you often talk about LCDs for around $30 or so.

I've only seen that once in one of Geert's lists.

> But you are also suggesting that this full kit will retail for around
> $20~$30.

Wouter hoped that would be a price point. I had been throwing out a $100 USD
price point or so because I'm hoping that we can get something out the door
that less that a fully assembled programmer (PICSTART+, Warp-13) and is a much
better value than the other prototyping style boards out there (CCS's Software
Prototyper, The millenium board, etc.)

> I hope that
> everybody realises that I can not even begin to look at costings until we
> have a final rough design.

Of course. But in some ways we're like the blind men and the elephant with
everyone having a different perception of what we should have.

Is there a rough mechanism be which we can start ballparking the price of
components? How would one get anything close to an accurate price for an LCD
for example?

BAJ

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2002\08\15@022229 by Vasile Surducan

flavicon
face
On Wed, 14 Aug 2002, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:

> > Is there any way we can have a 40 Pin WIDE ZIF socket accomodate ALL
> > available PICs?
>
> Of course, but at a price. Check how PICStart+ does that: with lots of
> switching (read: extra ICs).
>

Hi list,

 ZIF is not recommended ! You are thinking as proffesional but the
beginners will think just like the beginners.
If you want to have 21 possibilities for inserting a PIC16F628 into an
universal zif socket then use it. The price for that socket will be equal
with the price of my whole board...
And if you have just one pic than things like SPI, RS485,
other synchronously communications can't be tested. Or you want just to
blink a LED ?

Vasile

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2002\08\15@153214 by Benjamin Bromilow

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face
> The followup question which has been asked before: If > this is about
getting code into a chip, how in any way
> will this project be better, different, or more useful than
> the myriad ways that already exists to get code into a
> chip?
> Everything from the PICSTART+, to the WISP628, to
> NOPPP, to TLVP, to ICD, etc. If it does what
> everything else does, then what's the reason d'etre?

Because if the PBK is a ready constructed cheap programmer then beginners
will buy it rather than trying to make their own PCBs up for NOPPP/TLVP etc
etc... Beginners would therefore have less problems with programming. We
could effectively make the other programmers redundant. I counted over 15
parallel port PIC programmers when I was deciding which one to build. If we
made the PBK cheap enough, ready finished and guaranteed to work, then
newbies would go for it. Don't forget most newbies have one specific project
in mind and it's often simple (therefore cheap). They won't spend loads on a
development kit that costs lots more than the rest of the project. They'll
build a NOPPP/TLVP etc and then buy the Designer for the second project
if/when the bug bites (which for sure it will). Or rather they'll build a
NOPPP/TLVP etc still have problems with it and then buy the Designer (for
the second project) by which time they'ld know enough to make a proper job
of building the programmer in the first place making the whole thing
slightly superfluous.
Sure the designer kit sounds great and if the price is right I'm buying one
but thats because I'm no longer a newbie (slightly subjective I agree!).....

Ben

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2002\08\15@162948 by Dominic Stratten

flavicon
face
Hear hear - my sentiments exactly. I've got a Tate style programmer set up
on an experimental board (quick for inserting and removing pics) and I keep
meaning to move it onto a proper PCB (I've got the board/uv box/bubble etch
tanks etc) but cant be assed to at the moment. This programmer has been
rebuilt maybe 10-15 times when I needed the experimenter board but always
ends up back on it. I've got it mastered now - I can build the classic Tate
in 5 mins flat ;-)

I'd still like a "proper" fully built programmer with a Zif socket though.
Maybe when time permits and my house stops threatening to fall down I'll
etch me a couple of boards. By this time hopefully we'll have agreed on a
final design for the PBK and I won't have to ;-)

Keep it simple, keep it compatible, keep it cheap and we'll be onto a
winner. If the PBK sells for $20-$30, its no big deal to buy another if
compatibility becomes an issue (I remember telling people that they'll never
need more than 2mb Ram when selling 286 computers - he he he). Things do
become obsolete, new products do come out and people will accept that they
have to change their equipment. Spending $20 for this change however is a
lot easier to stomach than $200.

I still use 16C84's as well as the old 16C72a's (which I have loads of). I
haven't yet needed to move to the 16F8xx let alone the new 18 series.

Peripherals on the PBK - yes an LCD would be nice but which one ?  I've got
stock of anything between 1x16 to 4x40 inverse backlit. I use them all. I'd
much rather have an IDE type cable (purchased maybe for a couple of quid),
one end with a plug and with  bare tinned ends that I could wire into
whatever LCD I wanted to use. 5V, GND, 4/8 bit connections and w/r etc that
would plug into the PBK. There could be sockets on the board for PortB,PortC
etc and this could be the "universal" I/O connector(s) for anything that
needed connecting off the PBK. I would want 4x7 segment displays
(multiplexed), 2 variable resistors, a thermistor, a buzzer/piezo element,
maybe a 2A 5v regulator (and definitely a fuse or overload protection of
some sort ;-), IR Photo diode, 8 Bicolour Led's, a block type experimental
area and something to make the coffee while its at it :-)

Anyway, thats my wishlist

Cheers

Dominic
{Original Message removed}

2002\08\15@163804 by Brendan Moran

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face
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
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> I'd still like a "proper" fully built programmer with a Zif socket
> though. Maybe when time permits and my house stops threatening to
> fall down I'll etch me a couple of boards. By this time hopefully
> we'll have agreed on a final design for the PBK and I won't have to
> ;-)

http://www.piclist.com/techref/piclist/cump/index.htm

We're getting close, I think.

- --Brendan

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2002\08\16@151321 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Thu, Aug 15, 2002 at 08:38:55PM +0100, Benjamin Bromilow wrote:
{Quote hidden}

You should take a look at Tony Nixon's Experimenter V5 then. You can find it
on http://www.bubblesoft.com

There's really only one issue I want to address here and it's your aside in
the middle of it "(which for sure [the bug] will [bite again])". Here's the
problem I see: A user has already spent the time/money to put together a
working development infrastructure. What impetus would they have to upgrade
to something else?

Ben, I agree with you to a point. Remember that I'm the developer and
maintainer of the TLVP. Reading this really motivates me to get a working
PCB together for it.

But what's missing here is that each and every project requires more
infrastructure beyond the chip and the programmer. They share common elements.
And as you pointed out the bug will bite again. And again. And again.
But the infrastructure cost of getting started again and again is somewhat
high. Getting components, wiring them up, testing the setup are all required
before even getting started on a new project. It's a motivation killer due to
the setup time to get started.

Then of course there's my often repeated standardization argument which I will
not repeat.

You may be right. But I have a gut feeling we could do so much more if we all
collectively invested just a bit more.

BAJ

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