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'[PIC]: Piclist Beginners Kit (PBK) - Round 2'
2002\08\06@234645 by myke predko

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face
Hi Folks,

There were a few responses to my last (huge) email, I just had a few points
to get back on:

From: "Byron A Jeff" <spam_OUTbyronTakeThisOuTspamCC.GATECH.EDU>
> > 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.
>
> 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.

This is a discussion I've been having with McGraw-Hill for about a year now.
When I did "Programming Robot Controllers", we had a lengthy discussion
about putting a CD-ROM in the book.  The publisher's position that virtually
*everybody* has internet access now, so why spend the money on the CD-ROM?

Personally, I like having a CD-ROM with a book, but being able to download
the latest tools and code is an advantage.  With what we're discussing here,
we're talking a minimum of 20 MBytes.

What are people's comments on this?

> > 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.

I prefer a 4.7k resistor, 1N4148 diode and 2N3904 NPN transistor wired as a
pulled up open collector for this function.  It will handle both a "real"
RS-232 as well as a "simulated" RS-232 and invert the signal to boot.

> > ??  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.
>
> 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.

Fair enough.

> > 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.
>
> 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!

How about initially putting up a set of beginner applications with some
basic instructions and see what the questions are?  Let the PICList come up
with the answers.

> > 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
{Quote hidden}

These projects are great, but I would expect that they will generally be
well down the list.

I would think that you would want to start with:

1.  Turning on an LED.
2.  Flashing said LED.
3.  Controlling LED with a button.
4.  Debouncing the button and toggling the LED on and off.

I haven't given this a great deal of thought, but I think this is the level
you would want to start at.

> 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.

Fair enough.


From: "James Newton. Admin 3" <.....jamesnewtonKILLspamspam@spam@piclist.com>
> 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.

I totally agree James, but...  I don't believe that a newbie could build the
ICD for themselves and program the device.  If they can't build the ICD
themselves then somebody has to either kit it up (with a pre-programmed
PICmicro MCU) or put the parts together (including the pre-programmed
PICmicro MCU) and sell it.

> 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?

Actually, I have seen it and I don't believe that it is appropriate in this
situation for the same reasons as the ICD.

> 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

The problem with the programmers on the list (including my "El Cheapo")
design is that they don't all work without some tweaking on the part of the
user and a great deal of support by the person who's writing the software
when new hardware and O/S's become available.  What I've been discussing is
trying to figure out how to get around that...

> 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.

I honestly believe that this tool will be the basis for starting Newbies on
their way.  The current checklist needs to be expanded and thought out quite
a bit better, especially in the area of initial applications for newbies.
Personally, I believe that the ones on there are much too complex for most
newbies and they will get very easily discouraged with them.  Please don't
take this as a an unreasonable flame of the work that has been done - I will
be happy to pass along initial applications for the tutorial along with
instructions.



From: "Byron A Jeff" <byronspamKILLspamCC.GATECH.EDU>
Replies/comments to my original checklist:
> > 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.

I don't think there are any definite decisions made yet.

I'm recommending against a prep-programmed chip simply because of the cost
and logistics involved.  Some people have said that they are willing to sell
the kit at cost with no profit.  Does this mean that they will buy parts
programmed by somebody like Future-Active or Digi-Key?  If they don't, will
they buy programmers and set aside bench space to do the work?  How will
they absorb NRE and inventory costs?  How will they plan order volumes if
they order parts pre-programmed?

For a small company, it is one thing to hold onto 1k PCBs which are $0.25 to
$0.50, it is another when you are talking 1k PIC16F877s which cost $8.00
each.  NRE for pre-programming starts at $200 not including shipping costs
for first articles.  If you aren't prepared for them, the costs can be
alarming.

> > 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.

This is why I'm recommending the PIC16F877 which has a plethora of pins
available.  I wouldn't even pass out any of the PORTB pins.  I would use
PORTA, PORTC and PORTD instead - These 20+ pins should be more than enough
for a newbie to learn to program the chip on.

> > 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?

I am amazed at how often a part that I can easily in North America that is
impossible to find in other parts of the world (the opposite is rarely
true).

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

Sorry, I meant to say that I would like to see the PCB equipped with a
series of pins so that it can be plugged into a breadboard, with the
PICmicro MCU installed and the applications run from it.

> > 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.

I don't have any concerns with this so long as the newbie just has one
executable file to install.  Don't count on somebody that wants to learn
about the PICmicro MCU being able to install a device driver before an
application.

> 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.

Fair enough.

> > 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.

I think you're right.


From: "Brendan Moran" <.....bmoranKILLspamspam.....MILLENNIUM.CA>
> 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.

I can live with this.



One last point.  I've been around the block enough to know that somebody
that is willing to donate their time and provide the kits without profit is
going to loose money.

For Shawn and the others that have offered to support this without a profit,
I know I speak for all of the list when I say the gesture is appreciated,
but really think about what you are saying.  You have inventory costs, NREs,
equipment costs, insurance, salaries, rent as well as lost opportunity time,
all of which have to be paid for somehow.

If and when we get something together, I strongly recommend that you come up
with a strong business case that covers all the foreseeable costs as well as
some reasonable contingency and some money for your time.  It doesn't help
anybody if providing the kits costs you so much money that you can't afford
to keep going.  If you have to raise your price to cover the costs and get
some of your losses back you will get flamed because you are an awful
person, now asking for money for something that used to be free.



Back at you for round three,

myke

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2002\08\07@004820 by Tony Nixon

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picon face
myke predko wrote:

> Sorry, I meant to say that I would like to see the PCB equipped with a
> series of pins so that it can be plugged into a breadboard, with the
> PICmicro MCU installed and the applications run from it.

Sounds like the ROMzap PCB and bootloader concept.


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Best regards

Tony

mICros
http://www.bubblesoftonline.com
EraseMEsalesspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTbubblesoftonline.com

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2002\08\07@005441 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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Myke,

This is starting to get away from our initial idea. We will build a
programmer in our Taiwan facility at little or no profit. We just need
to kow what the hell we are going to build. :-)

> I'm recommending against a prep-programmed chip simply because of the
> cost
> and logistics involved.

We can program inhouse. We program from 10 to 10000 pieces at a time, no
problem.

> Some people have said that they are willing to sell
> the kit at cost with no profit.  Does this mean that they will buy parts
> programmed by somebody like Future-Active or Digi-Key?

No. Not at all.

>  If they don't, will
> they buy programmers and set aside bench space to do the work?

Already available. Yes.

> How will
> they absorb NRE and inventory costs?

I thought of that before I made the offer.

> How will they plan order volumes if
> they order parts pre-programmed?

We don't.

> For a small company, it is one thing to hold onto 1k PCBs which are
> $0.25 to
> $0.50, it is another when you are talking 1k PIC16F877s which cost $8.00
> each.

We already stock many PICs - however MOSTLY in extended temperature
versions. However we do stock the PIC16F877s in the standard temperature
configuration. And I'll let you in on a little secret - they don't cost
us $8.00 each.

> NRE for pre-programming starts at $200 not including shipping costs
> for first articles.  If you aren't prepared for them, the costs can be
> alarming.

???

> I am amazed at how often a part that I can easily in North America that
> is
> impossible to find in other parts of the world (the opposite is rarely
> true).

Yes. But at increased prices. For us to take advantage of our Asian
manufacturing, we have to involved from the beginning of the design
process. A DigiKey or whatever part number is useless to us. Once the
parts are selected, we will choose from our existing inventory or source
an easily sourced (for us) item in Taiwan.

> One last point.  I've been around the block enough to know that somebody
> that is willing to donate their time and provide the kits without
> profit is
> going to loose money.

How can I lose money? I have already gained from help from the list. I
have already produced 4 commercial products that we have shipped
thousands of - due to help that I have received from the list. Why can't
I contribute something back?

> For Shawn and the others that have offered to support this without a
> profit,

It's Sean :-)

> I know I speak for all of the list when I say the gesture is
> appreciated,
> but really think about what you are saying.  You have inventory costs,
> NREs,
> equipment costs, insurance, salaries, rent as well as lost opportunity
> time,
> all of which have to be paid for somehow.

Er, Let's keep lookig at the gift horse in the mouth then? :-)

{Quote hidden}

It was never going to be free. I said from the outset that I would put
up the costs for PC Boards, setup costs - blister pack, box, printing
etc. and maybe even a sexy little plastic enclosure to house it in -
like the PICStart+ and that if we could cover the costs from there, I
would be happy. If we get down to decimal points, yeah I might lose a
bit here and there. There is also a chance we might accidentally turn
out a small profit (produce more than we expected, cost prices fall
etc.) - but from what has been said, I don't expect to be hung by the
list for that either. I would expect that there should be a margin for
distributors, and I have no problem with that either.

I am relying on the list help me support the product. There already
seams to be a commercial interest in the product, and perhaps we could
look at one with more whistles and bells later.

The hard part for me is that there does not seam to be any concensus on
what the product should be. I'll be worn out before I even have to
commit a dime - or New Taiwan Dollar as the case may be. :-)

The offer is there guys, I have my own bean counters. I would not have
made the offer if I didn't think we could do it.

Now it's up to you guys. I originally imagined an affordable "Warp-13" -
I have already approached Newfound Electronics about licensing a version
of the Warp-13a and Jim has shown initial interest and is going to get
back to me.

Back to the List!

Regards,

Sean

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2002\08\07@020121 by James Newton, webmaster

face picon face
source=
http://www.piclist.com/postbot.asp?id=piclist\2002\08\06\234645a

Myke, was that an offer to take over as the editor of the
http://www.piclist.com/begin page? Please?

I must also say that I don't see building the ICD as all that
hard... given a good tutorial, pre-programmed chips and a ready
made PCB, but perhaps that would be a better SECOND step where a
basic programmer for the chip used in the ICD would be a better
FIRST step.

Finally, I can agree that all the existing programmers require
some effort on the part of the beginner, but I honestly don't see
that a new design could be any better. I would AGAIN encourage
people to improve, produce, or better document the EXISTING
designs. Please don't burn cycles re-inventing the wheel when
there are so many good designs that need better documetation,
examples, improvement and PCBs.

---
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jamesnewtonspamspam_OUTpiclist.com  1-619-652-0593 phone
http://www.piclist.com/member/JMN-EFP-786
PIC/PICList FAQ: http://www.piclist.com

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2002\08\07@042827 by Dominic Stratten
flavicon
face
My feelings on the not for profit bit is that the kit should be sold with
minimal profit. If the kit is sold at non profit and there is a problem with
it, the user will expect to return it and a new one sent out. This will
result in someone losing money. I would like to see a minimal profit on the
starter kits so the consumer gets the best value kit possible. What good is
a "bust" distributor to anybody. Everybody should make a little money, the
end user should get a kit that he can afford and everybody should be happy
!!!!!!!!! We could even roll in a couple of dollars (pounds) to donate to
this excellent newsgroup (Piclist ;-) ) as there is discussion about
supporting new users through here. It isn't fair to expect this group to be
paid for by one person, selling our product then pointing the user here for
support while the owner of Piclist picks up the cost.

Just a thought

Dominic
{Original Message removed}

2002\08\07@044749 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>This is why I'm recommending the PIC16F877 which has a plethora
>of pins available.  I wouldn't even pass out any of the PORTB pins.
>I would use PORTA, PORTC and PORTD instead - These 20+ pins should
>be more than enough for a newbie to learn to program the chip on.

This sounds good to me as well. It would also mean that (say) 4 of the port
B pins could be permanently wired to on board LED's for the led blink/debug
functions. With more than one led an illustration can be made of a binary
counter as well.


On the ICD line of thought, would it be worth coming up with software that
ran on a PC (or whatever host) that handled the ICD interface instead of
using a separate Micro the way Microchip do their ICD units. The only reason
I can see for going that way is the high voltage generator, and that is not
necessarily needed, especially as we are considering using LVP.

The voltage measurement functions on the ICD seem to be only monitoring, and
do not lock out the programming mode if they report low voltage due to the
wrong LED being used :)

I do not know if any of the existing bootloaders do the ICD type function as
well, or if they are purely a loader. The extra code for ICD functions
cannot be that much that it will overflow the top 256 bytes.

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2002\08\07@104923 by shawnmulligan

picon face
> For Shawn and the others that have offered to support this without a
profit,
> I know I speak for all of the list when I say the gesture is appreciated,
> but really think about what you are saying.  You have inventory costs,
NREs,
> equipment costs, insurance, salaries, rent as well as lost opportunity
time,
> all of which have to be paid for somehow.

This whole idea has grown so much further than the idea that Sean and I had
last weekend. The original idea included the PCB and parts for a programmer,
a couple of well documented starter programs with included hex files and
perhaps a roadmap to the information available on the PICList and the
Internet.

The idea was to develop a small/inexpensive package that would overcome that
first hurdle for the beginner: getting that first PIC programmed -- and
further, to offer a programmer and documentation that would move the
beginner from the 16F84 to the 'F628 or '877.

The project that has evolved probably won't see reality as it's too much for
any one to commit to, but the original idea could. Sean has offered to
produce the board and I and many others have offered to distribute it. Costs
are minimal, benefits are large.

-Shawn

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2002\08\07@132155 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Wed, Aug 07, 2002 at 02:37:40PM +1000, Sean Alcorn (SYD) wrote:
> Myke,
>
> This is starting to get away from our initial idea. We will build a
> programmer in our Taiwan facility at little or no profit. We just need
> to kow what the hell we are going to build. :-)

> [ Edited for brevity... Sean explains that his plant has all the facilities
   to program, assemble, inventory, and ship a large quantity of product...]

{Quote hidden}

While I know that Myke can explain this himself, I'll take a crack at it.
Like the rest of us, I don't think Myke really realized the type of facilities
that you have available at your plant. We're all used to having to deal with
items on the small scale or facing the exhorbitant fees that large scale
manufacturers impress upon designers.

I think Myke simply wants to ensure that none of us take a bath on this
project. After seeing this post, I think those concerns can be put aside.

>
> > If and when we get something together, I strongly recommend that you
>
> It was never going to be free. I said from the outset that I would put
> up the costs for PC Boards, setup costs - blister pack, box, printing
> etc. and maybe even a sexy little plastic enclosure to house it in -
> like the PICStart+ and that if we could cover the costs from there,

Three comments on this:

* First is that it's totally cool that you have facilities to do this!

* Second is that it may be a bit hasty to simple mark this as a nonprofit
 project. In addition to the project costs, there are several folks around
 here that work very hard to make our list and site work. James and Dale and
 the other admins are an invaluable resource. And I know that James'
 facilities do require funds for bandwidth. I'm just thinking we should
 price so that we guarantee a profit on the sales and plan to invest those
 proceeds into the list infrastructure.

* This is a separate topic that if applicable should be taken up later in
 another thread. Sean, do you think that there may be a win/win situation
 where list member (such as myself ;-) can arrange to have small to medium
 sized runs of product done in your facility? Say from somthing in the low
 100's to maybe 2500 units. The list member would of course have to front
 for materials,assembly, and shipping, and the proceeds of the sale of the
 units be split in some fashion. It could be a win/win all the way around
 as most of us don't have access to large scale manufacturing facilities.
 I'm asking out of the blue because I really don't know the logistics of
 doing a run. But I have a half dozen consumer grade products that I'd be
 interesting in manufacturing. It would even be better if it were possible
 to do small preproduction runs too, say 25 units, for demos and focus groups
 before committing to final production. Please feel free to take this item
 to another thread as it isn't directly related to the task at hand.

{Quote hidden}

Well it's crystal clear to me now what the hardware should be now:

* A preprogrammed 16F877 that serves both as the initial target and as a
 programmer for future PIC devices.

* The part is proprogrammed with a Wloader style bootloader and a WISP style
 ICSP programmer interface. The box interfaces to the PC via a standard serial
 interface. I'd only provide the ICSP interface and leave programming ZIF
 sockets out of the equation. Note that the bootloader/program interface would
 not use the hardware USART. That interface is left free for the user to learn
 and design with. Softwarewise I'd be sure to have a cloner so that the
 bootloader can be transferred to subsequent chips.

* I/O would consist of at minimum LED indicators, 7 segment, LCD, buttons,
 pot/opamp for A/D testing/input, and RS232 serial interface to the hardware
 USART. Also I'd like to see at least one PWM based RC low pass circuit.
 Finally I'd like to propose for the first time adding a canned IR
 demodulator so that IR remote experiments can be performed. Each should
 be able to be disabled via a jumper so that the user can choose which
 onboard devices are active.

* The board must have a prototyping area. My thought is that it should be a
 breadboard for quick prototyping.

* Finally there should be an external interface socket/cable/card connector
 that provides access to the I/O pins of the internal PIC

And one final point that has crystallized with me: This project is much less
a simple programmer than an evaluation style board. In fact I'll take a first
crack at a name to reflect that: The PICLIST Designer (PLD or PD?). Here are
the bullets about the PLD:

* Its purpose is less a programmer and more a tool for learning about the PIC
 and the common types of equipment that a typical design would use. So I think
 it's quite valuable to interface typical I/O devices to the board.

* It should serve as a project prototyping platform in addition to a learning
 tool. How much easier is it to get a project going if everything is already
 wired? Rarely is their educational utility in the process of hooking up
 components. So the PLD will jumpstart project development for beginners
 and grizzled veterans alike.

* I keep pounding the point that the ideal tool grows with you. the PLD will
 have the facilities to do simple tasks (LED work) to the more complex
 (Displays, input, PWM, A/D)

* And finally it'll serve as the platform for designing projects independant
 of the designer. The combination of a ICSP style programmer plus a bootloader
 cloner means that projects large and small can be facilitated via the PLD.

It's worth repeating that none of these facilities will hamper the ability of
novice PIC developer to learn the basics. In fact it'll be enhanced because
they won't have the chores of building/testing a programmer, building a
prototype board for the projects, and the finally getting to programming.
With the designer it'll literally be plug it up and get to programming. So the
novice can focus on what's important in the beginning: the process of building
programs to handle common embedded tasks.

The difference between the PLD and other proposed designs, which seem to fall
into the category of assembled programmers, is that I'd buy one of them because
it will be useful. And that's the point folks: design and deliver a
developement product that will be useful at the beginning and will continue to
be useful as you progress.

Met me know that you think. And Sean I want to tell you how much I appreciate
your offer to facilitate this venture on a large scale.

BAJ

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2002\08\07@135930 by Brendan Moran

flavicon
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Hash: SHA1

From: "myke predko" <@spam@mykeKILLspamspamPASSPORT.CA>
> Hi Folks,
>
> There were a few responses to my last (huge) email, I just had a
> few points to get back on:

And, now for #2?

You mentioned in that immense email in several places that you didn't
think that a pre-programmed IC was practical.  I think it is.  You
said that the costs would be prohibitive eventhough I believe it was
only a week or so ago that someone mentioned that digikey would do
PICs for $0.50 each.  That's not bad.  No worries there, if you ask
me.

Now, as to this ICD thing, I think that there's a better way of doing
it that should make everyone happy.  The main complaint has been
software compatability, I think.  Hear me out for a moment, I think I
have something here.

Would you believe a bootloader cum ICD that all works from an ASCII
dumb terminal?

Here's my idea: use a PIC as an interface to the PIC.  Use something
cheap with a hardware UART, and program into it a bootloader, not for
itself, but for the IC it interfaces to.  So, you have 2 PICs.  One
target, one ASCII interface.  This should allow graduationn from ICD
to true HVP entirely seamlessly.  The interface PIC would handle all
ASCII interfacing, and not be directly programmable except through an
ASCII command for updating firmware.  This is, basically, the CUMP
idea stripped down for a specific application.  It should be cheap
enough... A MAX232, a 16F628? and an 18F452 or 16F877, a few support
components, and away you go!  It should work quite nicely, *I* think.

> From: "Brendan Moran" <KILLspambmoranKILLspamspamMILLENNIUM.CA>
> > 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.
>
> I can live with this.

Glad you like it.

- --Brendan

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2002\08\07@141532 by Roman Black

flavicon
face
shawnmulligan wrote:
>
> > For Shawn and the others that have offered to support this without a
> profit,

> This whole idea has grown so much further than the idea that Sean and I had
> last weekend. The original idea included the PCB and parts for a programmer,
> a couple of well documented starter programs with included hex files and
> perhaps a roadmap to the information available on the PICList and the
> Internet.
>
> The idea was to develop a small/inexpensive package that would overcome that
> first hurdle for the beginner: getting that first PIC programmed -- and
> further, to offer a programmer and documentation that would move the
> beginner from the 16F84 to the 'F628 or '877.


I say go for the small programmer, keeping it cheap
as possible. A larger project takes a long time,
will chew up list resources, and will *cost the
beginner more* (and the generous people donating
their time and money).

Just a simple zif socket and ability to do F84/F628/
F877 etc. Cheap and simple as possible. With a
5-pin header and really simple ICSP tutorial, so they
can even do ICSP with their first project boards.

Once the beginner needs more than that, they can turn
towards some of the proper products that many nice
businesses (and many listmembers :o) ) make their
income from.
-Roman

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2002\08\07@150027 by Benjamin Bromilow

flavicon
face
Personally I'd recommend a HVP non-bootloader approach. After reading the
datasheet, beginners will expect all the program memory to be free, all the
pins to be available etc etc. IE a blank bare PIC.
Won't introducing anything extra onto the chip confuse them?
As I see it, we need a simple (cheap) fool-proof programmer. Having a built
in RC pair (?on the PIC) and a few LEDs for a LED_blink program is a bonus.
Maybe even a switch. That's all I'd want as a newbie (not that long ago).

If I was looking for a new programmer now, I'd like it to have ICSP, built
in LCD debugging, MPLAB compatibility etc etc, but I think it's getting away
from the original aim of the PBK.

I'd go for something like..... NOPPP on a PCB with a 18, a 28 and a 40 way
DIP socket on. A switch, a few LEDs and that's about it. I'd be tempted to
go for two 9v batteries to power it as well. Two regs to supply 12v and
5v...  It could always have an AC adaptor jack for later use once the newbie
knows it's working.

Ben

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2002\08\07@150132 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Wed, Aug 07, 2002 at 08:51:53AM -0600, shawnmulligan wrote:
> > For Shawn and the others that have offered to support this without a
> profit,
> > I know I speak for all of the list when I say the gesture is appreciated,
> > but really think about what you are saying.  You have inventory costs,
> NREs,
> > equipment costs, insurance, salaries, rent as well as lost opportunity
> time,
> > all of which have to be paid for somehow.
>
> This whole idea has grown so much further than the idea that Sean and I had
> last weekend. The original idea included the PCB and parts for a programmer,
> a couple of well documented starter programs with included hex files and
> perhaps a roadmap to the information available on the PICList and the
> Internet.

I think that Sean's (I'm so glad that you two spell your names differently! ;-)
clarification of what can be done in his facility expanded the scope. The
rules change when a completely assembled and packaged product can be done.

>
> The idea was to develop a small/inexpensive package that would overcome that
> first hurdle for the beginner: getting that first PIC programmed -- and
> further, to offer a programmer and documentation that would move the
> beginner from the 16F84 to the 'F628 or '877.

Once we have the project descriptions together the part differences are moot.
There will be no move from the 16F84. The 16F84 will simply be out of the
equation.

>
> The project that has evolved probably won't see reality as it's too much for
> any one to commit to, but the original idea could. Sean has offered to
> produce the board and I and many others have offered to distribute it. Costs
> are minimal, benefits are large.

But I think it still may fall short of the real goal. Successful programming
of a chip is simply the first step. Flashing an LED is simply another small
step.

The problem is twofold: each step has pitfalls that hamper success and just
a simple programmer doesn't offer enough facilities to handle most of the
common tasks that occur in common projects.

Our true two goals: painlessly getting beginning users started and providing
enough infrastructure on the platform to provide long term usage, are both
acheivable with only a moderate amount of hardware. And since Sean is planning
on shipping completely assembled units, there's no complexity issues in terms
of assembly for the end user. So we can add more and get even more benefit.

Take a read of my response to Sean about the PICLIST Designer (PLD). Now let
me give you a couple of snapshots:

Day 1: The Designer arrives! You pull the sleek box out of it wrapping along
with a serial port cable, a wallwart, and a CD. You plug in the wallwart and
connect the serial cable to the Designer and your PC. Pop in the CD and you're
ready to rock! The CD directs you to the welcome and installation page (which
BTW is already done!) and then proceeds to the first project page: LED control.
The project gives an overview of the PIC microcontroller family, describing
the memory model, registers, ports, and pinout. It then shows the first
schematic showing 2 LEDs tied to a couple of PIC I/O pins via current limiting
resistors. Next comes the annontated boilerplate code that will turn one LED
on and the other LED off. Next the page directs you to fire up the designer
software and load the code into it. A couple of clicks it's assembled and
ready to go. Download and run. Success! the Red LED is on and the yellow one
is off. Finally there is an exercise where you are directed to change the code
so that the red LED is off and the yellow on. It's only been 45 minutes and
you're already cooking!

Day 43 (late beginner): You've been exploring the features of the PLD and now
feel pretty comfortable with the LCD, LEDs, swiches and the like. You've
prototyped a project with the designer where a lamp will turn on for 90
seconds when someone opens a door. Well of course you don't want to tie up the
PLD with that simple task even though it was great for prototyping it using
the onboard equipment and breadboard. With the limited I/O required it's
clear from the documentation that a 16F628 would be perfect for the job.
Fortunately the PLD has a full PIC programmer in it. So you drop a blank 628
on the other end of the breadboard from your current project and wire a
connector to the ICSP port of the PLD. You run a couple of quick tests to
ensure that the 628 is programming OK. Make a couple of minor changes to code
you've been developing on the PLD, because it uses a PIC16F877A as its core,
and dump your project into the 628 and test it. It works fine. So you solder
up a protoboard with the project and transfer the parts. Another project in
the can.

Day 206 (advanced): Your 2 chip controller is taxing the limits of the PLD. The
onboard chip is driving all of the I/O for the project while the chip on the
prototype board is running all the heavy computations. It's intense trying
to keep track of which code is loaded into the PLD and which is loaded into
the compengine. There's a race condition in the communications protocol between
the chips. You sure a glad that you didn't have to waste time putting together
a prototype board just to get this project off the ground. Because if you did
it would still be sitting on your ever increasing project to do list. But the
PLD is helping to get that list pared down...

I hope that you get the idea of the Designer now. It's a platform for
facilitating experimentation and project design. It's greatest strength is that
is removes all the drudgery required just to get started on a project. It
facilitates the process of design and implmentation at all levels an not
just a "here's how to blink an LED." for beginners.

A bootloadable programmer that has much of its I/O packaged onboard and
provides expandable interfaces can be an extremly valuable tool for novices and
experts alike.

BAJ

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2002\08\07@161651 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Wed, Aug 07, 2002 at 08:06:33PM +0100, Benjamin Bromilow wrote:
> Personally I'd recommend a HVP non-bootloader approach. After reading the
> datasheet, beginners will expect all the program memory to be free, all the
> pins to be available etc etc. IE a blank bare PIC.
> Won't introducing anything extra onto the chip confuse them?
> As I see it, we need a simple (cheap) fool-proof programmer. Having a built
> in RC pair (?on the PIC) and a few LEDs for a LED_blink program is a bonus.
> Maybe even a switch. That's all I'd want as a newbie (not that long ago).
>
> If I was looking for a new programmer now, I'd like it to have ICSP, built
> in LCD debugging, MPLAB compatibility etc etc, but I think it's getting away
> from the original aim of the PBK.
>
> I'd go for something like..... NOPPP on a PCB with a 18, a 28 and a 40 way
> DIP socket on. A switch, a few LEDs and that's about it. I'd be tempted to
> go for two 9v batteries to power it as well. Two regs to supply 12v and
> 5v...  It could always have an AC adaptor jack for later use once the newbie
> knows it's working.

So I guess I'll go back to James' question that he asked a few days ago:

If we're only talking about a stock programmer then why develop anything at
all? There are already a bunch of low cost programmers out there (PICSTART,
Warp 13, etc.). What's the value add of coming up with YAPP (Yet Another PIC
Programmer)?

If we go this route then the best bet is simply to use an existing
programmer and not waste effort duplicating what's already done. If there's
no innovation, then there's really no purpose.

A simple programmer doesn't even touch on the first abstractive hurdle that
a novice will face: putting together a test board.

We really need to examine this board as a facilitator of the design process.
One doesn't design programmers, they are just a tool. A novices first board
should have the tools that they're going to use for design. A programmer
provides none.

Think about the concept of a design board with common I/O failities. Something
like the old Radio Shack 60 in 1 experimenters board. Except for PICs. With
a rich enough subset of facilities (LCD,LED,serial, switches, pots, IR) and
development tools (bootloader, ICSP programmer, bootloader cloner) it'll
provide a backdrop that novices and experts alike can use as a springboard
for project development.

Think about it.

BAJ

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2002\08\07@180717 by shawnmulligan

picon face
Byron A Jeff wrote:

> Day 1: The Designer arrives! ..... <good things happen for the beginner>
....

> Day 43 (late beginner): .... <more good things> ....

> Day 206 (advanced): .... <no longer a beginner>

> I hope that you get the idea of the Designer now.
> A bootloadable programmer that has much of its I/O packaged onboard and
> provides expandable interfaces can be an extremly valuable tool for
novices and
> experts alike.

I get it. With the list's IP and Sean's fantastic manufacturing offer, it
'is' possible. -Shawn

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2002\08\07@200248 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

flavicon
face
Brendan,

> You mentioned in that immense email in several places that you didn't
> think that a pre-programmed IC was practical.  I think it is.  You
> said that the costs would be prohibitive eventhough I believe it was
> only a week or so ago that someone mentioned that digikey would do
> PICs for $0.50 each.  That's not bad.  No worries there, if you ask
> me.

This is NOT, and never was an issue. We program inhouse.

Sean

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2002\08\07@203821 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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Byron,

> While I know that Myke can explain this himself, I'll take a crack at it.
> Like the rest of us, I don't think Myke really realized the type of facilities
> that you have available at your plant. We're all used to having to deal with
> items on the small scale or facing the exhorbitant fees that large scale
> manufacturers impress upon designers.

> I think Myke simply wants to ensure that none of us take a bath on this
> project. After seeing this post, I think those concerns can be put aside.

The key point I have been trying to make - "My way of contributing"
{Quote hidden}

Thanks!

> * Second is that it may be a bit hasty to simple mark this as a nonprofit
> project. In addition to the project costs, there are several folks around
> here that work very hard to make our list and site work. James and Dale and
> the other admins are an invaluable resource. And I know that James'
> facilities do require funds for bandwidth. I'm just thinking we should
> price so that we guarantee a profit on the sales and plan to invest those
> proceeds into the list infrastructure.

OK, It would be EASY for me to buy another Hard Disk or pay for new hardware
for the list or whatever. But I have seen that people have done this in the
past. This is MY way of contributing. If you read my earlier posts, I said
that I feel the "Gurus" of the list spend FAR to much time answering
questions about "first PIC" and "which Programmer" and "Why won't my
programmer work?" - If the list got itself into a position where it only
supported one programmer, the aforementioned gurus could simply say "Sorry
Bud, go out and buy the XYZ programmer from your nearest distributor - it's
only $XX and if you still have problems, we'll help. The list would have to
be a little cruel to be kind, but I think follow on effects would be that
list members with LESS experience than the gurus - such as myself - could
start helping the newbies - instead of consuming the gurus' valuable time.
Because we are working to a "STANDARD" and will have probably read all the
answers a dozen times by then.

> * This is a separate topic that if applicable should be taken up later in
> another thread. Sean, do you think that there may be a win/win situation
> where list member (such as myself ;-) can arrange to have small to medium
> sized runs of product done in your facility? Say from somthing in the low
> 100's to maybe 2500 units.

Yes and Yes. But I never started this thread in order to pick up business.
This is another way we can help. I have already been contacted off list with
similar enquiries. I can not make 6 off. It will cost more in freight and
mucking around than you will save. But once you get to 100 to 200 off, then
we can start talking.

To be honest with you, you could not even dream of approaching an Asian
manufacturing company for this sort of quantity. Even if you want to buy
something standard from an Asian company, they want an order for a container
- 1000 pieces at absolute minimum. And you say you want something special?
5000 or 10000 pieces.

We are different. I am Australian, and our company has a very different
culture. Our staff are very well looked after and as a result, we will never
be the cheapest source. We supply products to some of the World's largest
companies and we've had comments such as "We have never seen a product of
that quality come out of Asia" - I don't know if that comment is true, I've
certainly seen some excellent products come out of "Asia" (I am sure they
didn't include Japan). But could certainly be true of our industry - and
perhaps that's the key to our success.

The list member would of course have to front
> for materials,assembly, and shipping, and the proceeds of the sale of the
> units be split in some fashion. It could be a win/win all the way around
> as most of us don't have access to large scale manufacturing facilities.

Of course for commercial ventures, we won't be doing these out of the
goodness of my heart. We all have to eat, but I think we can be cheaper than
sources in the west. What is important is that we can find all the
componentnts or modify the design to use more popular components from local
sources.

> I'm asking out of the blue because I really don't know the logistics of
> doing a run. But I have a half dozen consumer grade products that I'd be
> interesting in manufacturing. It would even be better if it were possible
> to do small preproduction runs too, say 25 units, for demos and focus groups
> before committing to final production. Please feel free to take this item
> to another thread as it isn't directly related to the task at hand.

Yes. Can do. Another thread or off list - you call. Again, I am not trying
to advertise here, but if it's another way I can help....

I think I need to sit down and make a page explaining what equipment we
have, what our next invesments are and what our capabilities are.

> Well it's crystal clear to me now what the hardware should be now:
>
> * A preprogrammed 16F877 that serves both as the initial target and as a
> programmer for future PIC devices.

I don't get this.

> * The part is proprogrammed with a Wloader style bootloader and a WISP style
> ICSP programmer interface. The box interfaces to the PC via a standard serial
> interface. I'd only provide the ICSP interface and leave programming ZIF
> sockets out of the equation.

Nah! We can buy these quite cheap. Why leave them off?

Note that the bootloader/program interface would
> not use the hardware USART. That interface is left free for the user to learn
> and design with. Softwarewise I'd be sure to have a cloner so that the
> bootloader can be transferred to subsequent chips.
>
> * I/O would consist of at minimum LED indicators, 7 segment, LCD, buttons,
> pot/opamp for A/D testing/input, and RS232 serial interface to the hardware
> USART. Also I'd like to see at least one PWM based RC low pass circuit.
> Finally I'd like to propose for the first time adding a canned IR
> demodulator so that IR remote experiments can be performed.

Yes!!!!!

<snipped lot's of good stuff, but got tired - will come back to it>

Thanks for your comments Byron,

Cheers,

Sean

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2002\08\07@204243 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

flavicon
face
Roman,

> I say go for the small programmer, keeping it cheap
> as possible. A larger project takes a long time,
> will chew up list resources, and will *cost the
> beginner more* (and the generous people donating
> their time and money).

OK, I agree, but I see the point of people wanting to make it something
more.

> Just a simple zif socket and ability to do F84/F628/
> F877 etc. Cheap and simple as possible. With a
> 5-pin header and really simple ICSP tutorial, so they
> can even do ICSP with their first project boards.

Yes.

> Once the beginner needs more than that, they can turn
> towards some of the proper products that many nice
> businesses (and many listmembers :o) ) make their
> income from.

OK, Here is a point that I had not considered. Maybe I am not as familiar
with what everybody on the list does. I would like to hear from these
people, and if anybody sees this as a threat to their income, then we should
can this project now. Likewise, if those people see this as an opportunity,
then I'd like to hear from them as well.

Like I said. Just because I am prepared to do this for little or no profit,
does not mean that the distributors have to. I think they should make NORMAL
(reasonable) margins on this proposed product. It will still be a cheap
package - I can assure you.

Regards,

Sean

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2002\08\07@234919 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Thu, Aug 08, 2002 at 10:36:23AM +1000, Sean Alcorn (SYD) wrote:

Sean,

I feel the same as the bottom of your post. Too much to tackle at one shot.

So I clipped all of the facilities issues in the thread and give sincere
thanks for you taking the time to respond...

> > Well it's crystal clear to me now what the hardware should be now:
> >
> > * A preprogrammed 16F877 that serves both as the initial target and as a
> > programmer for future PIC devices.
>
> I don't get this.

Let me take a crack at it. I'm trying to steer the objective away from just
another PIC programmer to a platform that facilitates rapid training and
project prototyping. Programming parts is a secondary function. All we need
to be able to do is to get code into the part. Here's my list of ways of
getting code into a PIC listed from most pleasant to least:

* Bootloading
* ICD (I haven't personally done it, but the features would slot it here...)
* ICSP
* Sniffing a dog's butt! ;-)
* Standard Programming

Bootloading only has a single downside: the chip must have the bootloader
programmed into it somehow. After that it's as smooth as silk:

* The designer can now pick the interface (serial, parallel, sync/async,
 ethernet, whatever)
* The chip becomes self programmable. It'll never need another session with a
 standard programmer again.
* Usually requires less I/O pins and a somewhat better selection of which pins
 will be out of commission.
* Can add features like checksumming, encryption, and whatnot.

I now bootload each and every one of my 16F877s when I get them. Because I
can use them even when a programmer isn't handy.

A couple of quick notes: If we do this we should use 16F877A parts because one
of their great new features is that they will accept up to 100K Flash write
cycles minimum. So the chip in the Designer will never wear out.

And finally we should put a chip programmer in there for two reasons:
* So that we can clone the bootloader into other parts
* So that we can program PICS that unfortunately cannot be bootloaded. With the
 advent of the 18F1320 style 18 pin parts, that number of chips will drop to
 near 0 for the developer.

>
> > * The part is proprogrammed with a Wloader style bootloader and a WISP style
> > ICSP programmer interface. The box interfaces to the PC via a standard serial
> > interface. I'd only provide the ICSP interface and leave programming ZIF
> > sockets out of the equation.
>
> Nah! We can buy these quite cheap. Why leave them off?

Because programming is a secondary function. Because then you'll be faced
with the same quandry that every general purpose PIC programmer faces: do you
supply multiple sockets (8,18,28 and 40 pins) or do you attempt to have the
single 40 pin smart socket with the mess of wiring underneath? The correct
answer is neither: Do all programming via ICSP. With the Designer all of the
rapid prototyping will be done on the product. Programming the new chip will
only need to be done at final transfer to the target. So all standard
programming is an ad-hoc activity which merits only a ICSP jack, not a full
ZIF (or worse multiple ZIF).

{Quote hidden}

Finally I'm getting somewhere. This is what will separate the Designer from
the rest of the pack: being a fully populated test platform for quickly
prototyping projects. Some offer the programmer only, others offer an easy
to program module (Stamp, OOPIC). But I haven't seen too many prototyper or
trainer type setups that let's you get right to the task at hand without
having to build infrastructure first.

And BTW it'll program your PIC parts too.

>
> <snipped lot's of good stuff, but got tired - will come back to it>
>
> Thanks for your comments Byron,

No problem. I see that I have both Sean and Shawn onboard. I'll check in the
morning as to how the programmer only crowd feels about my "modest proposal".

BAJ

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2002\08\07@235945 by Tony Nixon

flavicon
picon face
Byron A Jeff wrote:

> And finally we should put a chip programmer in there for two reasons:
> * So that we can clone the bootloader into other parts
> * So that we can program PICS that unfortunately cannot be bootloaded. With the
>   advent of the 18F1320 style 18 pin parts, that number of chips will drop to
>   near 0 for the developer.

Just make the programmer a bootloadable application like any other code
that goes into it.

--
Best regards

Tony

mICros
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2002\08\08@005754 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
On Wed, 7 Aug 2002, Brendan Moran wrote:

>You mentioned in that immense email in several places that you didn't
>think that a pre-programmed IC was practical.  I think it is.

I aggree. I think that a LED blinkenlight program burned into the shipped
chip will go a long way for newbies.

Peter

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2002\08\08@013722 by Peter Crowcroft

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>From: shawnmulligan <TakeThisOuTmulliganshawnEraseMEspamspam_OUTHOTMAIL.COM>
>This whole idea has grown so much further than the idea that Sean and I had
>last weekend. The original idea included the PCB and parts for a programmer,
>a couple of well documented starter programs with included hex files and
>perhaps a roadmap to the information available on the PICList and the
>Internet.

Actually my Kit 81 is almost this. You program a 16F84A on the PCB with the
lights.hex program provided, move it to another IC socket on the same PCB
and the 5 LEDs start to flash.

I must admit the documentation needs updating but it sells well.


2. Myke Predko injected a gentle note of realism yesterday with his
posting. New PIC chips are coming out it seems every month. The parallel
and serial ports are disappearing off PC's. And Microchip seem to be
digressing from standard programming algorithms which makes it harder for
the developer (tks Tony.)  Someone has to stay on top of this to modify
hardware AND software; that takes time and time is money.

Bojan Dobaj has consistently kept right up to date over the last 3 years
but he gets paid good money for his work which is why he does it. Anyone
who says they will do the same for free has not thought thru what they are
saying. They certainly have not tried it.

This list is composed mainly of programmers and technicians who can afford
to express altruistic ideas and aspirations. Production and marketing
people cannot do this. I put out three programmers  (Kits 96 P16PRO, K117
and K144, PICALL.)  Kit 96 sells by the 100's: Jaycar in Australia took 300
last week. Yesterday 150 went to Amazon Electronics Inc. in Ohio.  Combined
with Bojans continuously updated software ( http://www.picallw.com   )
these have been terrific sellers since 11/1999.  Sales means profits and
the better a kit returns cash money to me the more effort I give it. Which
is why I have prototypes being made now with a USB connector on board.

Also I make my PCBs in China and most components come from China. Tax for
me is in reality, zero. No one can undercut me if they make their
programmers in the USA. Why do you think most white goods in Walmart come
from China.

Mr. Average Beginner wants  hardware which he sees as known by his peers,
supported and with a Brand name. This is why 'free' programmers will not/do
not gain a following. It is also, unfortunately, why one-off products like
Tony Nixons excellent products did not catch on and he is discontinuing
selling them.





regards,

Peter Crowcroft
            DIY Electronics (HK) Ltd
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2002\08\08@015535 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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Peter,

> This list is composed mainly of programmers and technicians who can
> afford
> to express altruistic ideas and aspirations. Production and marketing
> people cannot do this.

I am all of the above. Least of all a programmer. I can do it, that's
why I have made the offer.

I must have misunderstood everything that has been said on the list
since I subscribed. I was under the impression that there is a need for
a single programmer that the list supports. The responses so far appear
to support this.

> Also I make my PCBs in China and most components come from China. Tax
> for
> me is in reality, zero. No one can undercut me if they make their
> programmers in the USA. Why do you think most white goods in Walmart
> come
> from China.

I don't understand what you are getting at here. I don't know what you
mean about undercutting you by making in the USA. Nobody has proposed
making a programmer in the USA to undercut you. I fear that you saw my
offer as a threat to your sales. I don't see that what we are proposing
is a threat to PICALL sales. I bought a PICALL (from Jaycar) and never
used it. I went straight to the PICStart+

Regards,

Sean Alcorn

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2002\08\08@092249 by Scott Dattalo

face
flavicon
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On Thu, 8 Aug 2002, Peter Crowcroft wrote:

<snip>

{Quote hidden}

Peter,

As a major contributor to Open Source software development for the last
five years, I'd like to provide a perspective that is probably not obvious
to you. In fact, my perspective is not obvious to my peers! The assumption
in Myke's warning and your paraphrasing is that altruism is the objective
of PBK and Open Source software in general. In other words, altruism is
the "end" and free software and hardware development is the "means". The
tacit implication however, is acknowledgment of the fact that altruism as
a goal is fundamentally flawed. Taken to its logical conclusion, altruism
will ultimately deplete the resource upon which it depends. In the end,
there is no resource to support the altruistic acts. Another tacit
understanding is that the "end" should never justify the "means". So when
an open source developer claims to be altruistic, they're labeled as
misguided and doomed to failure. And to degree the above concepts are
explicitly identified, one can go so far as to claim that Open Source
development is evil.

Your's and Myke's assumption is that altruism is the premise of Open
Source development. You're not alone. However, I can tell you from first
hand experience this is not the case. Instead, Open Source development is
an avenue through which people express ideas. In other words, the
underlying premise is intellectual stimulation and *not* altruism.

Now, just so I'm not misunderstood, I'm not calling you, Myke, my
neighbors, and some of my peers "evil". Nor am I suggesting is it morally
wrong to help someone. All I'm saying is that people like myself who
participate in long term projects do not hold altruism as their goal.
OTOH, it's the pure satisfaction of solving challenging problems that is
the primary motivator. And to the degree others can benefit, well "that's
just a good thing" (tm).

The challenge for S[haw|ean]n, BAJ, and others is to motivate people to
work on PBK and ultimately develop .  It may appear that they're the
coaches of team Sysiphus. However, if they have a desire and intellectual
and financial capabilities to achieve their goal then I'm all for PBK!

Scott

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2002\08\08@102757 by myke predko

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From: "Scott Dattalo" <RemoveMEscottTakeThisOuTspamspamDATTALO.COM>
{Quote hidden}

Whoa, when did I say or imply that "altruism is the premise of Open Source
development"?  I would NEVER agree to this statement - I am a big proponent
of open source for many of the reasons that you state.

What I have been doing is trying to caution people against offering to
build/sell a product sans profit without making sure there is a business
case in place to support it.  As I have said, I have been involved in a
number of projects where statements like this were made up front by people
that didn't know what they getting themselves into and at that end, they
ended up wasting a lot of my time or loosing money.

I have not mentioned how software is to be distributed other than to say
that I assume that it will be freely available.

Personally, I would like to see the source available to everyone, but in any
case I feel that the object/executable code must be free otherwise the PBK
project simply won't fly.

myke

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2002\08\08@124714 by Brendan Moran

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Byron,


{Quote hidden}

I made a suggestion yesterday for how to do a PBK, but it appears
that it was ill recieved.  Since it seems to have a lot in common
with your idea, I will outline the basics once more.

The way that I would handle the PBK is to abstract the interface from
the target PIC.  I would say that the best solution would provide
both a USB and RS232 interface.

Here's what my board would comprise:

A PIC target in a ZIF socket
A PIC with software loaded into it that is capable of ICD and
programing.
An RS-232 level converter
Miscellaneous peripherals (I liked the IR tranciever btw)

This way, the entire debug/bootload interface could be complex and
elegant, without the compromise of taking up code space.  And USB
drivers would be fairly trivial as well, if the USB PIC were used for
the interface.

The other advatage is that with both USB and RS232, this device will
be current for a long time. (so long as USB2.0 is backwards
compatible ;)

Other than that, I like your modest proposal.

- --Brendan

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2002\08\08@153719 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Thu, Aug 08, 2002 at 01:56:39PM +1000, Tony Nixon wrote:
> Byron A Jeff wrote:
>
> > And finally we should put a chip programmer in there for two reasons:
> > * So that we can clone the bootloader into other parts
> > * So that we can program PICS that unfortunately cannot be bootloaded. With the
> >   advent of the 18F1320 style 18 pin parts, that number of chips will drop to
> >   near 0 for the developer.
>
> Just make the programmer a bootloadable application like any other code
> that goes into it.

The only thing is that while the programming function will be secondary for
the Designer, the process shouldn't vary significantly fron bootloading.
In one example I described an interaction between the internal bootloaded
PIC and an externally programmed one communicating. By making the programming
software bootloadable it'll complicate such a process. Not a big deal for sure
but certainly worth of debate.

How about a compromise: The bootloader is updatable. So have bootloaders with
the features that interest you: programmer included or excluded. That way
the designer can choose the appropriate form.

But I really don't think it's a big deal one way or the other.

BAJ

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2002\08\08@155728 by Dale Botkin

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Now I really do understand why there are so many programmers, programmer
kits, and starter/experimenter kits on the market.  Everyone's got their
own opinion on the perfect starter setup, and they're mostly if not all
correct -- for someone.

I wish I had something to add, but I simply don't.  I see problems at
every turn.  Parallel port?  None on many new PCs, none on Macs, often
only one and it's used by a printer.  Serial port?  Vanishing breed.
USB?  You just left out all NT users, and anyone with older hardware.
Bootloader?  Great, but now the newbie has to ALSO wrap his head around
how that works and how his program has to change to accomodate it.  Now
add in which chip to use, how many parts to include, how much/what type of
prototyping area, etc.  There are a thousand ways to do it, and I think
there's probably someone selling at least one version of each.  Add to
that the fact that many list members make at least a small part of their
living selling and supporting these products...  well, it's a minefield
I'd rather stay clear of personally.  Anyway, I'm in no way trying to
discourage anyone from doing this, just letting you know why I'm sitting
this one out.

Good luck,

Dale
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2002\08\08@162040 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
On Thu, 8 Aug 2002, Sean Alcorn (SYD) wrote:

>Peter,

Can you please specify which Peter you mean ? Not me this time I think. I
seem to lose focus on this thread.

(another) Peter

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2002\08\08@162250 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Thu, Aug 08, 2002 at 09:46:23AM -0700, Brendan Moran wrote:
{Quote hidden}

I just checked the archives. I didn't see that type of response. Sean pointed
out that preprogramming isn't an issue.

>  Since it seems to have a lot in common
> with your idea, I will outline the basics once more.
>
> The way that I would handle the PBK is to abstract the interface from
> the target PIC.  I would say that the best solution would provide
> both a USB and RS232 interface.

I'd only vote for USB if it presents itself as a standard serial interface
that the common OS's (Windows, Linux) will pick up without special drivers.
If it requires any additions or changes to the host OS to work, it'll be more
trouble than it's worth.

>
> Here's what my board would comprise:
>
> A PIC target in a ZIF socket
> A PIC with software loaded into it that is capable of ICD and
> programing.
> An RS-232 level converter
> Miscellaneous peripherals (I liked the IR tranciever btw)

Thanks on the IR.

>
> This way, the entire debug/bootload interface could be complex and
> elegant, without the compromise of taking up code space.  And USB
> drivers would be fairly trivial as well, if the USB PIC were used for
> the interface.

It adds a lot of complexity for a relatively small gain I think. And frankly
any ZIF programming socket gives me the willies because of all of the different
packages. You're stuck either limiting to one or two, or trying to figure out
how to wire all possible packages into one 40 pin ZIF. I find neither
palatable.

Sorry to keep yapping, but the more I write the clearer it becomes to me
(and hopefully to you good folks too...)

The Designer is the Anti-programmer. Programming is a hinderance to the
development process. It slows you down. It either wastes our time by having
to physically transfer the chip from the programmer to the target, or it wastes
our resources by occupying I/O pins and connector space to do ICSP. I will
admit that ICD probably gives enough back to make it worth the effort but
in the end programming is a costly endeavor.

Our goal is to program as little as possible. Make it a little used necessary
evil as opposed to a core component of the design process. Bootloaders
facilitate this:

* No programming hardware is required. Everything is onboard.
* No physical transfer of the part is required.
* We get to define the interfaces and are not bound by the default ones.

The last is a biggie. With ICSP/ICD you must tie up RB6 and RB7 to use them.
With a bootloader you can pick the where and how of the interface. This is a
distinct advantage. Plus you get a really cool debugging back channel.

The only real cost is a bit of program memory real estate. But 1k out of 8k
or 16k isn't really that high a price to pay. And your application can reuse
the serial interface parts of the bootloader for debugging for free.

Folks, we need to reduce our thinking about traditional programming. The 16F87X
and 18FXXX parts will make traditional programming obsolete.

The only thing we really need to think about is how to limit the use of
resources when programming to a small target. When the 18F1320 type parts
are fully online even this will be further reduced.

The Designer is about loading code into the Designer, not about loading code
into a target. To design one simulates in software, then tests be downloading
code into the Designer, and finally program the final target a small handful
of times. This last step doesn't require ZIFs or a traditional programmer,
just the Designer and a short cable.

Bredan, other than the two chip scenario, you're right on target...

Think about it.

BAJ

>
> The other advatage is that with both USB and RS232, this device will
> be current for a long time. (so long as USB2.0 is backwards
> compatible ;)

I agree as long as no additional drivers are required for the host OS.

BAJ
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2002\08\08@175014 by Brendan Moran

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> > I made a suggestion yesterday for how to do a PBK, but it appears
> > that it was ill received.
>
> I just checked the archives. I didn't see that type of response.
> Sean pointed out that preprogramming isn't an issue.

Let me rephrase that.  By ill received, I meant no one liked it.  As
evidence of this, no one mentioned it.

{Quote hidden}

Fair enough.  Besides, there's no reason to write two interfaces.

{Quote hidden}

A common solution to this is using a wide 40-pin ZIF.  The type that
is commonly used on programmers (go figure) so that skinny dips and
wide dips can both fit on the same socket.

{Quote hidden}

I was proposing in the original that the programmer have a 40-pin IDC
connector, from which a 40-pin ribbon to DIP connector could be used
to interface to a breadboard.

> Our goal is to program as little as possible. Make it a little used
> necessary evil as opposed to a core component of the design
> process. Bootloaders facilitate this:
>
> * No programming hardware is required. Everything is onboard.
> * No physical transfer of the part is required.
> * We get to define the interfaces and are not bound by the default
> ones.
>

*No chance of using USB with selectable IO pins

> The last is a biggie. With ICSP/ICD you must tie up RB6 and RB7 to
> use them. With a bootloader you can pick the where and how of the
> interface. This is a distinct advantage. Plus you get a really cool
> debugging back channel.
>
> The only real cost is a bit of program memory real estate. But 1k
> out of 8k or 16k isn't really that high a price to pay. And your
> application can reuse the serial interface parts of the bootloader
> for debugging for free.

But the interface suffers from the code size limitation.  With a
separate interface IC, there would not be that restriction.

{Quote hidden}

I still think that the two-chip scenario is right on target.  It's
really simple:  USB is only available on some devices.  On flash
devices, it is only available in the 18F series (Yeah, I know, Mike,
you'll be saying that this is yet another reason for everyone to
switch entirely to 18F, and you could be right)  Of these devices,
none support I2C, and my bet is (haven't actually checked, but do I
really need to?) that the pins used for USB are not user selectable.
Adding that extra chip could have fringe benefits:  In addition to
the ICD, you could use it as a logic analyser on every pin which
would be unbelievable helpful in developing PIC apps.

And since it would be a programmer as well, if you don't want to lose
those I/O ports to ICD, just reconfigure the interface for
programming instead of ICD, and tell it to program the target.  Then,
rather than taking it out of the socket, you simply attach the 40-pin
IDC-DIP converter to your breadboard, and you have not only a PIC
attached to the device, but a nice big logic analyser as well.

If you flipped the SPI and UART connections between the programmer
and target, then the target could send info back to the host simply
by sending it back to the programmer on the SPI or UART (I'm assuming
the use of USB here.)

> Think about it.

Trying to, and still stay rational.  What you recommend has a lot to
say for it.  But I think that the tool could be made better.  Of
course, I suppose that this does, in fact, vie away from the original
"Standardized PIC programmer" concept.  It's just that I would have
loved to have something like what I'm proposing when I was starting
out.

- --Brendan

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2002\08\08@195341 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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Peter,
>
> Can you please specify which Peter you mean ? Not me this time I think. I
> seem to lose focus on this thread.

Oh, And I thought it was just me! :-)

Sean

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2002\08\08@200150 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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Dale,

> I wish I had something to add, but I simply don't.  I see problems at
> every turn.  Parallel port?  None on many new PCs,

No parallel port on new PCs? Have not seen a PC without one yet - although
parallel was never in the running.

> none on Macs, often only one and it's used by a printer.

I'm a die hard Mac user - I reached enlightenment about 4 years ago. But I
am realistic enough to know that I have to have a PC for my AutoCAD, PC
Board Software and Solid Modeling apps.

>  Serial port?  Vanishing breed.

Yes. But it has to be the pick of the crop for now.

> USB?  You just left out all NT users, and anyone with older hardware.

AFAIK, My Windows 2000 (NT) supported USB and so does my Windows XP Pro

> well, it's a minefield
> I'd rather stay clear of personally.  Anyway, I'm in no way trying to
> discourage anyone from doing this, just letting you know why I'm sitting
> this one out.

So you'll sit this one out *after* you've had your say?

Sean

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2002\08\08@200947 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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Brendan,

> Let me rephrase that.  By ill received, I meant no one liked it.  As
> evidence of this, no one mentioned it.

I think we are all having trouble keeping pace on this one.

> A common solution to this is using a wide 40-pin ZIF.  The type that
> is commonly used on programmers (go figure) so that skinny dips and
> wide dips can both fit on the same socket.

We can get these cheap enough, but Byron wants to move away from the ZIF
altogether.

> I was proposing in the original that the programmer have a 40-pin IDC
> connector, from which a 40-pin ribbon to DIP connector could be used
> to interface to a breadboard.

This was my original thoughts. A standard "BUS" if you like.

> But the interface suffers from the code size limitation.  With a
> separate interface IC, there would not be that restriction.

How big would the "Interface IC" need to be? Would we still forfeit pins on
the target IC?

Cheers,

Sean

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2002\08\08@202909 by Brendan Moran

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Sean,

> > A common solution to this is using a wide 40-pin ZIF.  The type
> > that is commonly used on programmers (go figure) so that skinny
> > dips and wide dips can both fit on the same socket.
>
> We can get these cheap enough, but Byron wants to move away from
> the ZIF altogether.

I think he may have forgotten that these ZIFs exist, or thought that
the price would be prohibitive.

{Quote hidden}

Well, from what I find on the microchip website, it seems that the
smallest USB controller is a 28-pin package.  I personally prefer the
idea of the 44-pin PLCC or TQFP for the purpose of implementing a
logic analyser.  The problem is that the only Microchip USB based
controllers are the 16C745 and 765.  Several 18F parts are planned
but have yet to be implemented.

> Would we still forfeit pins on the target IC?

Yes and no.  The advantage of using an ICD/Programmer is that when
you find that there's not enough I/O, you can scrap the ICD, and
switch to Programmer style interfacing.  The advantage there with the
2-chip system is that if the second chip has a similar amount of I/O,
it can be used as a logic analyser, as I've already mentioned.

- --Brendan

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2002\08\09@004909 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Thu, Aug 08, 2002 at 02:56:50PM -0500, Dale Botkin wrote:
> Now I really do understand why there are so many programmers, programmer
> kits, and starter/experimenter kits on the market.  Everyone's got their
> own opinion on the perfect starter setup, and they're mostly if not all
> correct -- for someone.
>
> I wish I had something to add, but I simply don't.  I see problems at
> every turn.  Parallel port?  None on many new PCs, none on Macs, often
> only one and it's used by a printer.

This is compounded by the fact that while there are standards, there are
some variations.

>  Serial port?  Vanishing breed.

I never realized that. I did realize that its original uses are pretty much
been usurped by other ports. Modems have gone internal and been replaced
by high speed networking. Mice have gone PS2 and USB. But every machine I've
seen has still had at least one serial port.

> USB?  You just left out all NT users, and anyone with older hardware.

It's the wave of the present and near future though. It's the interface
that will probably survive into the next round.

> Bootloader?  Great, but now the newbie has to ALSO wrap his head around
> how that works and how his program has to change to accomodate it.

Nope. The newbie is presented the abstraction of clicking a button to download
the code into the chip. The mechanism doesn't need to be explained initially.
Bootloader (and programmer) explanation occurs at the point where the user
wants to tranfer their project out of the Designer. But that won't be for
several chapters in.

As for program changes, they are not necessary. For example Wouter's Wloader
bootloader makes the process completely transparent. If the program has code
in the reset vector, Wloader will automagically store it in a different
location to prevent overwriting of its reset vector. Then when the code is
executed, the transferred instructions are run before returning control to
the beginning of the non-transferred code. The upshot is that no code changes
are required as opposed to the straight program code. Therefore the novice
user need not be told anything about the process initially.

BAJ

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2002\08\09@005504 by Dale Botkin

flavicon
face
On Fri, 9 Aug 2002, Sean Alcorn (SYD) wrote:

> No parallel port on new PCs? Have not seen a PC without one yet - although
> parallel was never in the running.

I've seen them from Dell and, I think Compaq; and of course you won't find
them on most notebooks, which are more and more common as an only
computer.  They're becoming and will continue to become less and less
available as manufacturers embrace Microsoft's "legacy-free" vision.  It
sucks, but in this case I think the light at the end of the tunnel is
probably a train.

> > USB?  You just left out all NT users, and anyone with older hardware.
>
> AFAIK, My Windows 2000 (NT) supported USB and so does my Windows XP Pro

Windows 2000 != Windows NT, which does not support USB.

And my whole point here (though I admit it may have been a bit obtuse) is
that a person with a modern computer, or who can afford to dedicate a
system just to PIC development, already has a vast array of readily
available, inexpensive commercially made programmers, kits, etc. from
which to choose.

> So you'll sit this one out *after* you've had your say?

I never said I wouldn't say anything, I simply said I don't see anywhere I
can contribute anything toward what I would consider to be a truly
universal beginner setup, which I understood to be the point.  Last time I
checked it wasn't a violation of international law to offer an opinion.

Dale

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2002\08\09@010703 by Spehro Pefhany

picon face
At 05:28 PM 8/8/02 -0700, you wrote:

>Well, from what I find on the microchip website, it seems that the
>smallest USB controller is a 28-pin package.  I personally prefer the
>idea of the 44-pin PLCC or TQFP for the purpose of implementing a
>logic analyser.  The problem is that the only Microchip USB based
>controllers are the 16C745 and 765.  Several 18F parts are planned
>but have yet to be implemented.

FWIW, even Microchip didn't use a Microchip USB part in their ICD2
(it's an 8051-ish core part)

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
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2002\08\09@013212 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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--Apple-Mail-10--976269216
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Content-Type: text/plain;
       charset=US-ASCII;
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Dale,

> Windows 2000 != Windows NT

Yes. I know that, that's why I mentioned this product!

> which does not support USB.

Well mine certainly did. I know my NT 4.0 did not, but Windows 2000
certainly did - and as I recall that was the main reason I upgraded. There
also seems to be an abundance of Microsoft's support pages on their site
that would contradict your statement.

General USB Troubleshooting in Windows 2000
The information in this article applies to:
*       Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
*       Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
*       Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional
*       Microsoft Windows 2000 Server

It would be a cruel joke on the part of Microsoft to have troubleshooting
pages for a feature that does not exist! However, I am not going to
re-load an old O/S jut to prove a point.

> Last time I checked it wasn't a violation of international law to offer
> an opinion.

Well that's good news, I was worried that we we all breaking International
Law! As that's what we are all doing - without saying "I'll stay well
clear of" and "I'm sitting this one out."

Sean

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Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Content-Type: text/enriched;
       charset=US-ASCII

Dale,


<excerpt>Windows 2000 != Windows NT

</excerpt>

Yes. I know that, that's why I mentioned this product!


<excerpt>which does not support USB.

</excerpt>

Well mine certainly did. I know my NT 4.0 did not, but Windows 2000
certainly did - and as I recall that was the main reason I upgraded.
There also seems to be an abundance of Microsoft's support pages on
their site that would contradict your statement.


<bold><fontfamily><param>Verdana</param><bigger><bigger><bigger>General
USB Troubleshooting in Windows 2000

</bigger></bigger></bigger></fontfamily></bold><fontfamily><param>Verdana</param>The
information in this article applies to:

*       Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server

*       Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server

*       Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional

*       Microsoft Windows 2000 Server</fontfamily>


It would be a cruel joke on the part of Microsoft to have
troubleshooting pages for a feature that does not exist! However, I am
not going to re-load an old O/S jut to prove a point.


<excerpt>Last time I checked it wasn't a violation of international
law to offer an opinion.

</excerpt>

Well that's good news, I was worried that we we all breaking
International Law! As that's what we are all doing - without saying
"I'll stay well clear of" and "I'm sitting this one out."


Sean
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2002\08\09@013248 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Thu, Aug 08, 2002 at 02:48:38PM -0700, Brendan Moran wrote:

This is probably the last one I'll take on tonight. The rest will have to
wait 'til mornin'.

{Quote hidden}

Brenden, While I see where you're coming from, I really have it clear in my
mind now that presenting this project as a programmer is the wrong tack.
Programming adds complexity. Newbies are not interested in programming parts.
It's an irrelevant activity to them.

Think about the complexity of managing a 40 pin ZIF that can program parts
of different sizes. Even though the end user won't be assembling the unit,
designing it to work as a programmer is going to be a bitch.

{Quote hidden}

I know. And it misses the two fundamental points I've been trying to make:

* It's not a programmer.
* Develpoment will be done on the Designer itself, not a separate breadboard.

I know that you're thinking of this as an emulator pod where you plug a cable
into the target. I get that. But if done right the Designer will be able to
encompass a multitude of projects without having to add any hardware at all
and many more with only minimal hardware.

You see it as a connector to the target. I see it AS THE TARGET! So it won't
need the cabling on a regular basis. Only for the final transfer to the
finished target. And as a ad-hoc interface, it'll only need ICSP for the
final program.

{Quote hidden}

Why? You're only thinking in terms of having USB onboard the target. To me
USB is nothing more than a funky fast serial port that requires an interface
converter just like RS232 requires something like a MAX232 for interface
conversion. Now be that a Dontronics USBMOD1, a FT232BM (which the USBMOD1
is based on), or a 16F765, it's a special purpose chip that interfaces the
target to the USB port. So in truth I'd interface one of these chips in
exactly the same way I'd interface a MAX232 for bootloading. It's no
difference.

{Quote hidden}

Your argument could have merit if the bootloader occupied half of the available
program memory. But since it's such a vaninshingly small percentage of the
available memory (I think that there are a couple that occupy only 256 or so
bytes) that the code size limitation argument is rather lightweight.

Again you're still approching this as a programmer connected to a target. My
continued focus is that the Designer is the primary target. And I think that
all but the most absolute cramped designer can live with "The Designer has
7.5k of program memory for your use." instead of "The Designer has 8k of
program memory for your use."

{Quote hidden}

Irrelevent. USB will simply require a interface converter. So it doens't
matter if it's onboard or not. But I don't treat this as a 2 chip scenario
any more than I would treat a PIC with a MAX232 as a 2 chip scenario.

> Adding that extra chip could have fringe benefits:  In addition to
> the ICD, you could use it as a logic analyser on every pin which
> would be unbelievable helpful in developing PIC apps.

Now you've just exponentiated the complication curve. A logic analyzer (both
seem to be acceptable spellings...) now takes this almost completely out of the
realm of being a programmer and totally into the realm of being a managed
hardware emulator. It's too much complexity to put onto a novice or even
intermediate user, who are a primary targets.

>
> And since it would be a programmer as well, if you don't want to lose
> those I/O ports to ICD, just reconfigure the interface for
> programming instead of ICD, and tell it to program the target.  Then,
> rather than taking it out of the socket, you simply attach the 40-pin
> IDC-DIP converter to your breadboard, and you have not only a PIC
> attached to the device, but a nice big logic analyser as well.

But it's not a programmer. That's the whole point. The Designer is the target,
not a programmer for the target. It only programs another chip for the final
target, not during the development process. It uses all of its onboard hardware
for primary development, not the hardware of the target. The objective is to
do all of the design and testing on the Designer, and then build and test
the final hardware only after everything works on the Designer. I know that
we're all used to the two board (and two chip) model where there's the
programmer that connects to the host and the target that connects to the
programmer. But the Designer will integrate both functions for development as
it is the target.

We can even have Designer blank PCBs that can be populated with the required
target hardware.

>
> If you flipped the SPI and UART connections between the programmer
> and target, then the target could send info back to the host simply
> by sending it back to the programmer on the SPI or UART (I'm assuming
> the use of USB here.)

Again with the Designer there is no separation between the "programmer" and the
"target". I finally figured this out when I started using Wouter's Wloader for
development. The target board plugged directly into the serial port and
development occured directly on the target. There was no programmer as the
target was self programming.

With the Designer it's exactly the same concept except that a bunch of generic
peripherals and a prototyping area are all builtin. So to start designing
you only have to add the specialized hardware that the particular project needs
to the protyping area, and then immediately get to work.

It gets even better! Because we'll have standard peripherals in standard
locations, we can start presenting users with standard modules to drive those
items. This should further shorten the development process.

>
> > Think about it.
>
> Trying to, and still stay rational.  What you recommend has a lot to
> say for it.  But I think that the tool could be made better.  Of
> course, I suppose that this does, in fact, vie away from the original
> "Standardized PIC programmer" concept.  It's just that I would have
> loved to have something like what I'm proposing when I was starting
> out.

I feel the same about the Designer, as it completely eliminates all of the
wiring and programming headaches required to get a project off the ground.

BAJ

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2002\08\09@024717 by Dale Botkin

flavicon
face
On Fri, 9 Aug 2002, Sean Alcorn (SYD) wrote:

> Well that's good news, I was worried that we we all breaking International
> Law! As that's what we are all doing - without saying "I'll stay well
> clear of" and "I'm sitting this one out."

You continue to miss the point I was trying to make, but at least it's a
clean miss.  I never said I would not give an opinion on certain aspects
of the whole thing, I was merely saying why I would not be offering design
or fabrication assistance.  I don't know quite how I could explain it any
more clearly than that, but I'm not going to bother trying any more.

I just continue to wonder one thing:  Given the plethora of stable,
supported, capable, commercially available, cost effective PIC
programmers, development environments, boot loaders, etc ad nauseum, does
the world really need Yet Another Pic Starter Kit?  But hey, if a group of
list members want to have a crack at it, have a ball.  And no, I'm not
asking you specifically, just wondering in general.

Dale

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2002\08\09@043036 by Wouter van Ooijen

picon face
Hello design committeee - take care that you don't end up designing both
COBOL and ANSI C/C++ in a single package!

I think there are differents 'needs' for beginners/starts products. BTW
for most of these suitable products probably already exists. The main
drivers for the different needs are:
- cost associated with the users time (aka 'professionalism')
- electronics knowledge and/or desire to do electronics work
- just wanting to program some uC versus wanting to develop for all PICs
(or even wider)

A professional with little electronics knowledge should start with a
demo board. Next probably a good programmer with support for lots of
PICs. Think PS+, Promate, ICDs, maybe Warp (13?) programmer. This is not
the group you should aim at.

A hobbyist (less money to spare) can take an f877 with bootloader (but
where to get a programmed f877, or where to get an f877 at all?), or a
serial port powered HVP programmer, or a parallel port HVP programmer
with external power (both will work with a 16x84) or parallel port LVP
programmer (sorry, not for x84's).

I think most PCs are likely to have at least a serial port, so that
would be my bet. As a fallback make sure that the programmer works with
an off-the-shelve USB->serial converter. I think it is a little too
early to go for USB only. Personally I would not put my money on the
future serial ports prviding suitable voltages for 'direct' HVP
programming, so supply the HVP volatage externally.

Now I will switch to more important work, like porting my Wisp628
programmer PC software to Python...

Wouter van Ooijen

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2002\08\09@054237 by Kieren Johnstone

picon face
> Now I will switch to more important work, like porting my Wisp628
> programmer PC software to Python...

Reminds me, just made the order for your kit...
Just checking, at the moment I've got to find a direct access driver and
check that direct hardware access is enabled?  I've already got a
"giveio.sys" I used with FPP, but my QBasic test still didn't work, and that
code David sent me is required to "attach" the driver's functionality to the
application.
Basically, do you know of a different direct access driver?

-Kieren

P.S.  In the meantime, I'll be trying to convert the source to run in
Borland C++ Builder anyway, I'll let you know of my progress

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2002\08\09@060909 by Wouter van Ooijen

picon face
Payment received, will send the kit today.

Which Windows do you use? I use XP and wisp.exe worked (although slowly)
without installing anything.

Wouter

> {Original Message removed}

2002\08\09@081419 by Rob Hamerling

flavicon
face
Kieren Johnstone wrote:

>Just checking, at the moment I've got to find a direct access driver and
>check that direct hardware access is enabled?  I've already got a
>"giveio.sys" I used with FPP, but my QBasic test still didn't work,
and that
>code David sent me is required to "attach" the driver's functionality
to the
>application.
>Basically, do you know of a different direct access driver?
>
Maybe I skipped some of the messages in this thread too quickly, but I
think the word 'Java' has not fallen!
I have written a programmer in Java to progam some specific
(modelrailroad control) devices equiped with 16F873's in LVP mode via
a parallel or serial port.  It has been tested under OS/2 Warp and W98,
and I suppose it will run under Linux, maybe even on Mac.
Anyway essentially it is platform independent.
I may consider making it more general purpose. But if it is suitable
for the PBK, I cannot tell. I'm a beginner with PICs myself, but a
rather experienced in programming.

Regards, Rob.

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2002\08\09@120828 by Brendan Moran

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> > No parallel port on new PCs? Have not seen a PC without one yet -
> > although parallel was never in the running.

Byron has made similar comments about the serial port.

Apparently a lot of people don't realise how serious the
manufacturers are about removing legacy ports.

I already know someone who had his PC custom built--so it's not an
issue of being a goofy Dell box--that came with USB ports only.  No
serial.  No PS/2.  No parallel.  It may have had an IR port, on that,
I'm not sure.

We have to be prepared to support USB somehow, which is the best
validation of my 2-chip idea that I can think of.

- --Brendan

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2002\08\09@122736 by Brendan Moran

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> I just continue to wonder one thing:  Given the plethora of stable,
> supported, capable, commercially available, cost effective PIC
> programmers, development environments, boot loaders, etc ad
> nauseum, does the world really need Yet Another Pic Starter Kit?
> But hey, if a group of list members want to have a crack at it,
> have a ball.  And no, I'm not asking you specifically, just
> wondering in general.

Actually, that was what James asked in the first place.  And it's a
good question.  There are two things that could make it worth while:
1. It being a standard, which sells cheap. 2. It having something
that is not available on most tools.  That is why I proposed a logic
analyser (yes, Byron, both spellings are acceptable.  One is common
British, one is common American.  As far as spelling goes, Canada
falls in the middle; we use what we want) attached to the target.  It
would be a very nice feature.

But as I expect not to pull a wave of consensus up behind that idea,
I'm going to stop waving it around now.  I just want to point out
that while the Designer has good points, I figure that the IPDE
(Integrated PIC development Environment) has a lot going for it too.
It gives a lot of functionality that would be great to have.  But
now, I suppose that I'm, thinking about what I would want rather than
what is good for a newbie.

- --Brendan

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2002\08\09@141036 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Fri, Aug 09, 2002 at 01:46:22AM -0500, Dale Botkin wrote:
> On Fri, 9 Aug 2002, Sean Alcorn (SYD) wrote:
>
> I just continue to wonder one thing:  Given the plethora of stable,
> supported, capable, commercially available, cost effective PIC
> programmers, development environments, boot loaders, etc ad nauseum, does
> the world really need Yet Another Pic Starter Kit?  But hey, if a group of
> list members want to have a crack at it, have a ball.  And no, I'm not
> asking you specifically, just wondering in general.

If it's only a programmer, then the answer is no. A starter kit. Again the
answer is no. However we've come to quite a bit of consensus in a very short
amount of time. Here my summary:

* Sean's factory is going to develop, assemble and package fully assembled
 units that will be ready to use out of the box. Country specific distributors
 have already been lined up.

* The unit will serve both as a demo/design board and as a programmer. So it's
 not YAPP (Yet Another PIC Programmer). It will come with a fully hooked up
 array of peripherals (LCD,LEDs,7 segment, buttons/switches, pots, opamps, IR)
 along with a breadboard prototyping area and I/O connector so that other
 items can be added to the design as needed.

* The unit will have a mechanism for programming other PIC parts.

* Both serial and USB interfaces will be available to connect the unit to the
 the host machine.

* A CD will be delivered with the product that will contain development
 software and a body of tutorial style exercises that illustrates the theory
 and practice of developing for the PIC and the common associated periperals
 that are routinely encountered in common microcontroller projects.

* The primary development language will be assembly.

Now in my estimation that's quite a lineup and I don't believe I've heard
anything but positive responses to the above list in the last week or so.

I want to point out that this unit, which I've been calling the PICLIST
Designer of late, is something different that what most everyone else is
offering. It has significant value. Its demo board setup means that the
initial hardware setup and testing has been completely abstracted out for
both the novice PIC user and IMHO more importantly for the intermediate and
advanced developer. Just plug it in and get started. No programmer to build.
No target board to layout and test. All the common I/O periperals right on hand
with standard routines to jumpstart a project. Any project specific addons can
be either quickly dropped onto the breadboard or attached via the I/O
connector if it's somthing more significant.

It's elegant and useful at all levels of development. It's a box that I would
have wanted to buy when I was first starting out with PICs . It's a box that
I'd still want to buy and use now (almost 8 years later).

Now I do admit that there are still some points of contention. But compared to
the big list they are relatively minor:

* One of the biggest remaining points is whether we view the designer as
primarily a programmer that can be used as a target or as a target demo board
that also happens to program. I readily admit that I fall into the latter camp.
I feel that programming is only required when one is ready to take the final
project off of the Designer and onto its own board which can be wired well
after the initial project has started. Because of this very secondary nature
of programming IMHO, I personally feel that the Designer only needs to offer
a ICSP header that the chip for the final project can be programmed from.

My design rule of thumb is "Simulate what you can, Emulate what you cannot."
That's one of the reasons I absolutely love the current version of gpsim. It
allows you to load virtual hardware modules (LCD, LED, serial) that you can
interact with during simulation without having any real hardware at all. You
can program with the simulator as the target. The Designer extends this
model into hardware allowing the designer to utilize all of the onboard
hardware for project development. Again it's the target, not a programmer for
the target. Only once the project is fully realized does an actual target chip
on an actual target board need to be programmed. And if the design is correct
this step will have a very small cycle interval.

* The next point is related to the first. If the Unit is a programmer and not
the target then there will be a chip that does the programming as well as a
target chip that is programmed. Much like Wouter's WISP628 or the venerable
PICSTART. It then brings in all of the issues about the connectivity of the
programmer chip to the target chip: ICSP, ZIFs, how many sockets of which
types, which I/O is available, unavailable, or restricted, etc.

However if the Designer is the target then all of those issues disappear.
Since it is the target only it needs to be programmed. Since it is the target
there only needs to be one chip. Since it is the target there aren't any
issues about connecting it to the target... because it is the target!

The only one minor niggling point is that the target must be self programmable
which leads to the next point....

* Bootloading. First the cost which Brenden has pointed out: It costs
program memory on the chip. Probably somewhere between 512 to 1K instructions.
However I have well documented the advantages you get with it. BTW Brenden
if you do actually run out of memory and bump against the bootloader, it's
possible to switch to ICSP programming of the final target, thereby getting
that last sliver of program memory back.

And the one final point:

* USB. I think we all agree that we need it. It is kind of attached to target
vs. programmer issue, because if the Designer the target then in theory the
target must incorporate USB. But as I've pointed out in other posts, USB
can easily be treated as a separate interface requiring a separate chip for
the interface. So we frontend the USB post with a 16C765 or a FT232.. type
part.

But it's getting close to the nuts and bolts: which LCD? which ports are
assigned to which peripherals? which opamps for the A/D and PWM interfaces?
Which types of connectors for the ports? How many tie points on the breadboard?

This is all stuff that is already in agreement so we can start specifying
these items.

It's closer than you think.

BAJ

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2002\08\09@142127 by Brendan Moran

flavicon
face
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> My design rule of thumb is "Simulate what you can, Emulate what you
> cannot."

By the above maxim, the design that I proposed is more appropriate.
The bootloader proposition takes the design one step beyond
emulation.

The rule should read:  "Simulate what you can, Emulate what you can
but cannot simulate, and Hard program what you cannot emulate."

You've skipped the second part, IMHO.

{Quote hidden}

- --Brendan

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2002\08\09@184702 by jamesnewton

face picon face
source= http://www.piclist.com/postbot.asp?id=piclist\2002\08\09\013248a

ANTI-PROGRAMMER:
I can see where Byron is coming from... rather than making a beginners life
easier by teaching him how to program a chip faster or offering YET ANOTHER
alternative to programming a chip, just skip the programming issues entirely
and move on to getting something interesting, instructive and possibly
useful into and running on a PIC with some IO junk ready to go.

Later, if you want to add a ZIF socket on a Daughter Board (or a SMT socket
for that matter) and download a programmer application into the main PIC,
great.

Or maybe you want to add a stepper controller board and hook the thing up to
a physical device that needs to be moved about.

Or... whatever... the point is: Make getting working code into the PIC a
NON-ISSUE. Concentrate on teaching people how to do things with code in the
PIC and some simple hardware.


INTERFACE:
The interface to the host is always going to be a pain. As pointed out by
many, every path leads to failure in some subset of the possible cases. I
think there is only one solution: Redundancy.

- Parallel: Start with a standard parallel port interface via an 8 bit port
on the PIC and 3 control lines from another port

- USB 2 Parallel adapter: Really simple USB adapter chips that put out
parallel are a few dollars if that.
http://www.gigatechnology.com/usbmodprod.html
http://www.ftdichip.com/FTDriver.htm
Use this to build a Daughter Board that adapts USB to parallel and removes
the variations found between PC parallel ports. Win/*nix/Mac Drivers are
already written. Other people are doing similar:
http://baserv.uci.kun.nl/~smientki/PIC/PicProg/PicProgrammer_hardware.htm

- Serial: Include a minimal TTL-RS232 adapter (resistors and zenor diode)
http://www.piclist.com/io/serial/ttl-rs232.htm
(see Peter L. Perez's comments near the bottom)
and include a header for Ashley's RCL-1 TTL to RS232 adapter
http://www.piclist.com/io/serial/RCL1.htm
so that if you can't get a good serial connection with out the max232 on
board, it will be easy to add.

EXPANSION:
- DON'T GET HUNG UP ON ADDING EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW
- Make the system modular with a good connector (header) that will allow you
to add (even daisy chain) other devices later

Hey... that sounds sort of like... CUMP

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2002\08\09@193605 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
> Hey... that sounds sort of like... CUMP

By the way, what the heck is CUMP?  I've heard it talked about here for a
couple of years, but never defined.  I get the impression it is some sort of
PIClist project where after all was said and done, much was said and nothing
done.  Sortof the poster child for why one mind is better than many.


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

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2002\08\09@212041 by Pic Dude

flavicon
face
That reminds me of the green golf ball joke.  Freakin'
hilarious!

BTW, CUMP = http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cump/

Cheers,
-Neil.




> {Original Message removed}

2002\08\09@221452 by Sergio Masci

picon face
----- Original Message -----
From: Wouter van Ooijen <wfspam_OUTspam@spam@XS4ALL.NL>
To: <spamBeGonePICLIST@spam@spamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Friday, August 09, 2002 9:30 AM
Subject: Re: [PIC]: Piclist Beginners Kit (PBK) - Round 2

>
> Now I will switch to more important work, like porting my Wisp628
> programmer PC software to Python...
>

Actually I'm quite interested in building a software interface to your
Wisp628 into ZMech. I'm going to have to send you some money for one of your
systems.

Sergio

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2002\08\09@221817 by Benjamin Bromilow

flavicon
face
Without wanting to sound naive, have we thought of looking at or asking what
beginners want in a PIC kit? As much as the "Developer" is pushed forwards,
if it's not what newbies want, we're eliminating a problem that never
existed.
I expect most would be happy with a reliable, cheap and simple kit that
initially allows them to demonstrate a programmed PIC flashing a LED etc
etc. I do agree, however, that making it modular (through a wide bus) makes
sense so that when they know that that works they can move onto more
complicated development projects.

Ben

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2002\08\10@005929 by James Newton, webmaster

face picon face
source=
http://www.piclist.com/postbot.asp?id=piclist\2002\08\09\193605a

A very accurate assessment... but hope springs eternal.

How do you think I know better than to get into designing yet
another programmer? I've been there and done that. I do try to
learn from my own mistakes, if not from the mistakes of others.
http://www.piclist.com/other/failure

The CUMP Communitary Universal Microcontroller Programmer
http://www.piclist.com/cump
is a noble effort to make an extendible programmer for all
devices with minimal cost and maximum support from the
community... but just as the war isn't won until an 18 year old
with a gun is standing on the hill, the project is useless until
someone actually builds the device and writes the code.

Brandon has a circuit just about ready to go to PCB
groups.yahoo.com/group/cump/files/CUMP%28A%29/MB_0.2.0.PNG
and I'm starting to write the byte code interpreter
http://www.piclist.com/cump/bytecode

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2002\08\10@043812 by Dave King

flavicon
face
>Brandon has a circuit just about ready to go to PCB
>groups.yahoo.com/group/cump/files/CUMP%28A%29/MB_0.2.0.PNG
>and I'm starting to write the byte code interpreter
>http://www.piclist.com/cump/bytecode
>
>James Newton: PICList.com webmaster, former Admin #3

I've been sitting here on the side of the discussion hoping at some
point I can jump in and contribute something (anything).

I've read three messages that seem to make the best points and all
more or less agree with each other. One was a post Olin made about
having an absolute newbies pic guide, someone else questioning if
we needed "YAPP" and now James mentioning a few more details
about cump.

I think one of the biggest problems someone faces getting started with
pics is not that there is a lack of information but a rather overwhelming
amount of it. I think(know) a lot of people will grab 84's for a few very
simple
reasons. One is they can buy them off the shelf. I live in a town of about 150K
size and the one place had 5 84a's just because he ordered them in himself
to play with and didn't use them. In my case I would have liked to have used
another one like the 628 but I couldn't get them locally or quickly, I had
no idea
what programmer etc would work or existed for it. (ok I actually bought 84' to
drive Brendon's bp up a bit ;-])

Here the thing I searched the pic achieves and read all the programmer
stuff, I
printed out several schematics only to find I would be stuck using just
this pic
or that one. In other words spending money and time and as other have pointed
out outgrowing the thing and starting all over again. I'd rather build one
than buy
one but I'm sure others would want it assembled and tested. I'm sure a few guys
can chirp up with what percentage of sales are kit or assembled programmers.

The more I read the threads, and see the ideas develop my concern is that all
the effort is going to be wasted as the new guys won't be able to know what to
look for or what they are looking at. Ie I still wonder just what the #$% a
boot
loader is ;-]

Olin more or less blurted out, that someone (actually finger was pointed at
me)
to write a faq. I'd be willing to work on it with some help from some of
the people
 who know a bit more about the hardware and software than I do. I think there
needs to be a document that a new person can look at what to start off with
pic, programmer wise. I'm sure there are enough existing options out there
right now that the average person could build or buy and not get stuck if they
knew where or what.

I'm tied up with patent lawyers right now bt I'd like to take a crack at
doing a faq
from a complete newbies aspect. Sort of a non technical first steps guide.
If you
don't think this is worth doing, I'd ask you to think back when the last
time someone
asked "what programer" or "this one didn't work", you might have to go back
a week
on the list. If that same person can look at a chart that guides them into
starting off with
something they can actually use you might find a few more people not having
to ask.
Anyway thats the idea. "Is it worth doing?

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2002\08\10@070209 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

flavicon
face
James,

> The CUMP Communitary Universal Microcontroller Programmer
> http://www.piclist.com/cump
> is a noble effort to make an extendible programmer for all
> devices with minimal cost and maximum support from the
> community... but just as the war isn't won until an 18 year old
> with a gun is standing on the hill, the project is useless until
> someone actually builds the device and writes the code.

Please don't forget that I offered to build "a programmer" - whether it be
an existing design, a design presently in development or a new design from
scratch. I leave that decision to more knowledgable people on the list.

Personally, I like the look of CUMP, an looks like it encompasses a lot of
what people have been contributing.

Regards,

Sean

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2002\08\10@080404 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Sat, Aug 10, 2002 at 03:22:42AM +0100, Benjamin Bromilow wrote:
> Without wanting to sound naive, have we thought of looking at or asking what
> beginners want in a PIC kit? As much as the "Developer" is pushed forwards,
> if it's not what newbies want, we're eliminating a problem that never
> existed.

Well there's two issues here:

1) Beginner's lack the experience to know what they want or need. Most of the
time their criteria is limited to "I want to program a PIC." and "I don't want
to spend a lot of money." We've been on that end of the development cycle.
So I think it's perfectly valid to have more experienced developers define
the design criteria.

> I expect most would be happy with a reliable, cheap and simple kit that
> initially allows them to demonstrate a programmed PIC flashing a LED etc
> etc.

The only criteria on your list worth discussing are "simple kit". We have a
unique opportunity to offer something that isn't a kit. So it doesn't have
to be simple because the user isn't going to have to assemble it.

> I do agree, however, that making it modular (through a wide bus) makes
> sense so that when they know that that works they can move onto more
> complicated development projects.

I think we tabled that discussion a week ago. Whatever we end up with will
have an I/O expansion connector.

BAJ

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2002\08\10@091814 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Fri, Aug 09, 2002 at 03:43:03PM -0700, James Newton. Admin 3 wrote:
> source= http://www.piclist.com/postbot.asp?id=piclist\2002\08\09\013248a
>
> ANTI-PROGRAMMER:
> I can see where Byron is coming from... rather than making a beginners life
> easier by teaching him how to program a chip faster or offering YET ANOTHER
> alternative to programming a chip, just skip the programming issues entirely
> and move on to getting something interesting, instructive and possibly
> useful into and running on a PIC with some IO junk ready to go.
>
> Later, if you want to add a ZIF socket on a Daughter Board (or a SMT socket
> for that matter) and download a programmer application into the main PIC,
> great.
>
> Or maybe you want to add a stepper controller board and hook the thing up to
> a physical device that needs to be moved about.
>
> Or... whatever... the point is: Make getting working code into the PIC a
> NON-ISSUE. Concentrate on teaching people how to do things with code in the
> PIC and some simple hardware.

Thanks James,

I'm glad that someone sees exactly what I'm talking about.

>
>
> INTERFACE:
> The interface to the host is always going to be a pain. As pointed out by
> many, every path leads to failure in some subset of the possible cases. I
> think there is only one solution: Redundancy.
>
> - Parallel: Start with a standard parallel port interface via an 8 bit port
> on the PIC and 3 control lines from another port

I know where you're coming from here. The only thing that I find bothersome
is that parallel interfaces take up so much I/O real estate. You're literally
talking about the entire PSP on a PIC for the interface! I'd almost rather
give up a body part than 11 I/O lines.

{Quote hidden}

I never realized that MAX232s had problems with some serial ports. Can you
point me to an example?


>
> EXPANSION:
> - DON'T GET HUNG UP ON ADDING EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW
> - Make the system modular with a good connector (header) that will allow you
> to add (even daisy chain) other devices later

Ok Course. I put on the table a long time ago that a complete I/O port should
be available and that each and every one of the onboard peripherals should
be jumpered so that they can be disabled. If that takes a 3 state buffer chip
where the jumper disables OE (like 74HCT541s or 74HCT245s or their equivalents)
that would be fine.
>
> Hey... that sounds sort of like... CUMP

Except that the CUMP is designed to be a programmer (and a universal one at
that) instead of being the primary design target. But many of the same
principles apply.

BAJ

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2002\08\10@110802 by James Newton, webmaster

face picon face
source=
http://www.piclist.com/postbot.asp?id=piclist\2002\08\10\043812a

Dave, I don't know you, but if you are new to PIC programming,
you have a rare opportunity. The viewpoint of INexperience is not
something that can be simulated or guessed at by anyone who IS
experienced and has been long enough to have forgotten what it
was like.

Do please write a tutorial.


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2002\08\10@112913 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Sat, Aug 10, 2002 at 08:02:53AM -0400, Byron A Jeff wrote:
> On Sat, Aug 10, 2002 at 03:22:42AM +0100, Benjamin Bromilow wrote:
> > Without wanting to sound naive, have we thought of looking at or asking what
> > beginners want in a PIC kit? As much as the "Developer" is pushed forwards,
> > if it's not what newbies want, we're eliminating a problem that never
> > existed.
>
> Well there's two issues here:
>
> 1) Beginner's lack the experience to know what they want or need. Most of the
> time their criteria is limited to "I want to program a PIC." and "I don't want
> to spend a lot of money." We've been on that end of the development cycle.
> So I think it's perfectly valid to have more experienced developers define
> the design criteria.

Oops! I forgot number 2:

It doesn't juswt have to be for beginners. While the documentation/software
integration will be targeted to new users, the Designer itself should be
useful to us as experienced developers too. I mean how can you answer questions
about a product that you yourself don't use? Or do a project where once you've
done the first 2 or three projects you outgrow it so you have to get something
else?

And there's a short #3: It's not going to be a kit. No assembly required.
Just take it out of the box, plug it in, and get to work.

And that last feature alone will separate it from the pack.

BAJ

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2002\08\10@113103 by Shawn Mulligan

picon face
James Newton, webmaster wrote:

>Dave, I don't know you, but if you are new to PIC programming,
>you have a rare opportunity. The viewpoint of INexperience is not
>something that can be simulated or guessed at by anyone who IS
>experienced and has been long enough to have forgotten what it
>was like.
>
>Do please write a tutorial.


Hallelujah!


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2002\08\10@114140 by Shawn Mulligan

picon face
BAJ wrote:
>And there's a short #3: It's not going to be a kit. No assembly required.
>Just take it out of the box, plug it in, and get to work.
>
>And that last feature alone will separate it from the pack.
>

You have to give merit to Byron's idea of a fully-assembled
"150-in-one-like" kit that "Blinky's" the first night and "Bauds" weeks
later. Like your first Swiss Army knife, you appreciate its potential the
first time you hold it and realize its potential as time passes and you have
the opportunity to use its many features.

-Shawn

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2002\08\10@133102 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Fri, Aug 09, 2002 at 10:30:09AM +0200, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
> Hello design committeee - take care that you don't end up designing both
> COBOL and ANSI C/C++ in a single package!

It's treacherous territory for sure. I do believe though that we have a
fundamental consensus on the primary design points.

{Quote hidden}

They will end up being a secondary target.

>
> A hobbyist (less money to spare) can take an f877 with bootloader (but
> where to get a programmed f877, or where to get an f877 at all?), or a
> serial port powered HVP programmer, or a parallel port HVP programmer
> with external power (both will work with a 16x84) or parallel port LVP
> programmer (sorry, not for x84's).

Now here's where it gets interesting. The truth of the matter which James
as pointed out and you just echoed is that if we're only talking about the
above, then there are myraid of products already out there that fill the
niche and we're wasting our time.

But I think there's an unique opportunity here: An inexpensive demo board
that's targeted for novice users. Unique because we have in the person of
Sean both the facilities to have a cost effective assembled product available
and an infrastructure that doesn't have a profit motive for the product.
A professional grade product at a hobby price.

Let do an off the cuff price/feature comparison. And since as usual Wouter
you won't talk about your own products. I will.

For starters let's talk about two of the high end programmers listed above:
the PS+ ($199 at http://www.digikey.com) and the Warp-13 ($109 at http://www.dontronics.com
and I couldn't find a instant US distributor). Both are excellent products,
well made, and integrate very well with MPLAB. However from a novice
prospective they are pretty much high priced hunting licenses as they come
with no chips, no target boards or peripherals, and no significant novice
targeted tutorials or documentation. While eventually they will be of
service, out of the box that have very little value add.

Now Wouter's stuff has much more bang to the buck. From the WISP628 (kit at
$21, assembled for $65) to a 16F877 preloaded with Wloader ($13) along with
$3 in misc interface parts (crystal, MAX232 and caps) one can get rolling
quite quickly. Plus with the latter solution you get a programmer/chip combo.
The only missing parts are the peripherals and the actual target boards. But
it's farther up the ladder than a raw programmer.

Check out Wouter's stuff at http://www.voti.nl/shop/products.html

BTW folks I'm pretty sure that Wouter gets annoyed when I tout his stuff. But
I'm a longtime satified customer. So I feel entitled. ;-)

In searching for Warp-13 prices I ran across a product that's in the ballpark.
Check it out here: http://www.ccsinfo.com/spb.shtml

Now this is in the ballpark of what I envison the designer to be. Onboard
peripherals, a breadboard prototyping area, and a plug and go interface.
It still doesn't hit the mark because it's missing LCD (optional) /7 segment
interfaces and the prototyping breadboard is a bit small. But it's moving
in the right direction. But HOOBOY! look at the price! $145 for the board and
$45 extra for the LCD and keypad! OUCH! And I'm pretty sure you don't even
get the 16F877 to get started with it. ;-)

[ An aside. Sean I'm pulling numbers from my nether region. You of course have
no obligations whatsoever. Just ignore them. It's for the
sake of argument only.]

The PICLIST Designer will be an amalgam of all the above tools:

* Like the programmers it will program PICs.
* Like the Wloaded 16F877 it will contain a preprogrammed bootloader and will
 come with the actual target chip.
* Like the prototyping board it will contain onboard peripherals and
 infrastructure to get started right away.
* Like most of the above it will come fully assembled.

But it has a value add over everything listed:

* Unlike the programmers, it'll come with the target chip, target board, and
 target peripherals.
* Unlike the bootloaded chip, it'll come fully assembled.
* We'll have more onboard peripherals than the prototyping board, plus it'll
 be able to program other chips, unlike the prototyping board.
* Unlike all of the others (except for Wouter) it'll come with a
 project/tutorial CD (we're not publishing anything right?)
* Standard code snippets will quickly follow too.

Now say for the sake of argument you could get into one of these babies for
$100 US? I'd say that represents a unique opportunity for hobbyist and
professionals alike.


>
> I think most PCs are likely to have at least a serial port, so that
> would be my bet. As a fallback make sure that the programmer works with
> an off-the-shelve USB->serial converter. I think it is a little too
> early to go for USB only. Personally I would not put my money on the
> future serial ports prviding suitable voltages for 'direct' HVP
> programming, so supply the HVP volatage externally.

It's kind of a catch 22 at this point. It almost seems the best way to have
full coverage is to offer both USB and serial interfaces and let the end user
choose the appropriate one.

A quick glance at Don's USB chip page shows that getting high speed USB
using the FT232... product will be less than $10 US. A worthy investment to
have onboard I believe.

>
> Now I will switch to more important work, like porting my Wisp628
> programmer PC software to Python...

Are you serious? Cool! Then I'll be able to run it on my Linux boxes.

BAJ

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2002\08\10@141734 by jumanji

flavicon
face
> On Sat, Aug 10, 2002 at 03:22:42AM +0100, Benjamin Bromilow wrote:
> > Without wanting to sound naive, have we thought of looking at or asking
what
> > beginners want in a PIC kit? As much as the "Developer" is pushed
forwards,
> > if it's not what newbies want, we're eliminating a problem that never
> > existed.
>
> Well there's two issues here:
>
> 1) Beginner's lack the experience to know what they want or need. Most of
the
> time their criteria is limited to "I want to program a PIC." and "I don't
want
> to spend a lot of money." We've been on that end of the development cycle.
> So I think it's perfectly valid to have more experienced developers define
> the design criteria.


erm.... so it's impossible for us newbies to have a goal or even a good
suggestion, & are we just to be ignored ?
thanks.

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2002\08\10@154232 by James Newton, webmaster

face picon face
source=
http://www.piclist.com/postbot.asp?id=piclist\2002\08\10\141734a

Hee hee hee... I know exactly what Ben was saying and I also
understand why you would react as you did...

Teachers tend to think that because they know what there is to
know, they should decide what the student needs to hear... The
course content is set by the teachers.

Students DO however choose WHICH course to take. And what parts
of the course to pay attention to.

Please tell us, jumanji (?), what you want in a beginners kit.
And other newbies should speak up as well. But keep in mind that
you don't know (by definition) what there is to learn. So perhaps
the experts should list what they intend for their version of the
PBK to teach. Add a web page at piclist.com
www.piclist.com/techref/idea/website/pageadd.htm
and list your ideas on it, then the newbies can vote by posting
comments.

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2002\08\10@162502 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Sat, Aug 10, 2002 at 08:16:03PM +0200, jumanji wrote:
{Quote hidden}

No it's not that at all. It's just that a lack of experience makes it
difficult to know what are the relevant bits to pick out of the vast stream
of information that's out there. So what tends to happen is that they'll pick
what's popular and have an extremely narrow focus.

Those two issues are what started this thread and the project to begin with.
Novices picking the 16F84. Novices designing their own programmers from the
applications notes. Novices not being able to get going because of one
miswired, or mislabled connection. Novices having an inability to discern
which of the 12 different issues that is causing the system not to work.

It just difficult to see the big picture until you've actually seen the big
picture. Once you've walked the path and know where the potholes are, it's
quite a bit easier to explain to someone else what to watch out for.

And BTW I'm specifically referring to a novice to the entire world of
embedded microcontroller development. If anyone came along and said that
they'd been doing 8051 or 68332 type embedded development for a number of
years, they wouldn't be a novice to this discussion because they've
been there. I'd expect to get a lot if very valid issues from such
developers (i.e. pics are too slow, to small, won't run from external memory,
banking sucks, the overbearing use of the W register, too many limitations
in terms of high level languages, and the like...)

Finally this is an open discussion. No permission is required to either
participate in it or to repetitively pound a set of points as I admit that
I've been doing. We have quite a few novice users here on the list. Let's
hear their thoughts.

BAJ

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2002\08\10@175830 by Rob Hamerling

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Byron A Jeff wrote:

>is that parallel interfaces take up so much I/O real estate. You're literally
>talking about the entire PSP on a PIC for the interface! I'd almost rather
>give up a body part than 11 I/O line
>

Please correct me if I'm wrong:  if you perform ISCP (LVP) via a
parallel port you need only 3 ports. And I think 2 can be used normally
when the PIC is not in programming mode, so in fact it costs only 1 port.

Regards, Rob

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2002\08\10@200941 by Byron A Jeff

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On Sat, Aug 10, 2002 at 11:56:21PM +0200, Rob Hamerling wrote:
> Byron A Jeff wrote:
>
> >is that parallel interfaces take up so much I/O real estate. You're literally
> >talking about the entire PSP on a PIC for the interface! I'd almost rather
> >give up a body part than 11 I/O line
> >
>
> Please correct me if I'm wrong:  if you perform ISCP (LVP) via a
> parallel port you need only 3 ports. And I think 2 can be used normally
> when the PIC is not in programming mode, so in fact it costs only 1 port.

Rob,

You pulled my statement out of context. Here is James' original statement that
I was responding to:

"INTERFACE:
The interface to the host is always going to be a pain. As pointed out by
many, every path leads to failure in some subset of the possible cases. I
think there is only one solution: Redundancy.

- Parallel: Start with a standard parallel port interface via an 8 bit port
on the PIC and 3 control lines from another port
"
James was specifically referring to an 11 pin parallel interface on a PIC,
not the parallel port. My response simply indicates that 11 pins of I/O
real estate is expensive...

BAJ

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2002\08\11@055710 by Roman Black

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jumanji wrote:

> > > Without wanting to sound naive, have we thought of looking at or asking
> what
> > > beginners want in a PIC kit?

> > to spend a lot of money." We've been on that end of the development cycle.
> > So I think it's perfectly valid to have more experienced developers define
> > the design criteria.
>
> erm.... so it's impossible for us newbies to have a goal or even a good
> suggestion, & are we just to be ignored ?
> thanks.


Very well said! I've been having a little chuckle
over the way this "super cheap beginners programmer"
has now developed into the pentultimate development
kit... I just know that in two weeks the "PBK" will
have motor driver chips, hex keypad, serial eeprom,
graphic LCD, pc keyboard interface, RGB video out...
;o)
-Roman

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2002\08\11@064846 by jumanji

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Hello,
3 things first,
#1: I pasted both James' & Byrons msg inhere because my reply on both would
have some overlap,
#2 I would like to make it clear that there was in no way any offense taken
(nor meant), I just found it a kind of bold & very generalising statement &
I couldn't resist replying with an equally bold phrase to defend my 'kind'
hehe (sorry :-)
#3 this post has gotten very long, again sorry.

From: "James Newton, webmaster" <RemoveMEjamesnewtonKILLspamspamTakeThisOuTPICLIST.COM>
> Hee hee hee... I know exactly what Ben was saying and I also
> understand why you would react as you did...

see #2

> Teachers tend to think that because they know what there is to
> know, they should decide what the student needs to hear... The
> course content is set by the teachers.
> Students DO however choose WHICH course to take. And what parts
> of the course to pay attention to.

I completely share this opinion.

> Please tell us, jumanji (?),

Geert is my real name,  & btw nice to meet you all :)

> what you want in a beginners kit.
> And other newbies should speak up as well. But keep in mind that
> you don't know (by definition) what there is to learn. So perhaps
> the experts should list what they intend for their version of the
> PBK to teach. Add a web page at piclist.com
> www.piclist.com/techref/idea/website/pageadd.htm
> and list your ideas on it, then the newbies can vote by posting
> comments.

see #4 (at bottom)

From: "Byron A Jeff" <spamBeGonebyronspam@spam@CC.GATECH.EDU>
> > > Well there's two issues here:
> > >
> > > 1) Beginner's lack the experience to know what they want or need. Most
of
> > the
> > > time their criteria is limited to "I want to program a PIC." and "I
don't
> > want
> > > to spend a lot of money." We've been on that end of the development
cycle.
> > > So I think it's perfectly valid to have more experienced developers
define
> > > the design criteria.
> >
> >
> > erm.... so it's impossible for us newbies to have a goal or even a good
> > suggestion, & are we just to be ignored ?
> > thanks.

> No it's not that at all. It's just that a lack of experience makes it
> difficult to know what are the relevant bits to pick out of the vast
stream
> of information that's out there.

This is very much true, I started with 0 PIC knowledge few weeks ago & had
to do alot of reading to get atleast a tiny bit of clarity. (a pitty for me
I found the mailinglist very late, a blessing for you guyz though hahah)
But this in no way prevents me to know what I wanna do. I want to make a
midi controller, in its simplest desing it should be no more then some A/D
conversion & some serial communication. (I hope, heh)
Nor would it prevent me to suggest something useful, there could be alot
more to it then "which copper wire connects to which gizmo", "it should
support this or that type of chip" or "how many LEDs we gonna use". "Narrow
focus"? :) Couldn't there be good ideas about size, shape, color, positions
of connectors&features, general ease of use, smell, or watever ?
I have made my own suggestion, it may as well be a total ridiculous idea,
but not by definition because I'm a newbie.

>So what tends to happen is that they'll pick
> what's popular and have an extremely narrow focus.

This I would say is possible, but however I doubt the number would be close
enough to 100% to generalise it :-)

& see #4

> Those two issues are what started this thread and the project to begin
with.
> Novices picking the 16F84.
>Novices designing their own programmers from the
> applications notes. Novices not being able to get going because of one
> miswired, or mislabled connection. Novices having an inability to discern
> which of the 12 different issues that is causing the system not to work.
> It just difficult to see the big picture until you've actually seen the
big
> picture. Once you've walked the path and know where the potholes are, it's
> quite a bit easier to explain to someone else what to watch out for.

I'm fully aware of that, & everything would a multiple of times harder
without the help of experienced users & teachers,
as a matter of fact the PBK could be a course with some teachers available
24h/day (keeping the globality of inet in mind :)
but again, see #4

> And BTW I'm specifically referring to a novice to the entire world of
> embedded microcontroller development. If anyone came along and said that
> they'd been doing 8051 or 68332 type embedded development for a number of
> years, they wouldn't be a novice to this discussion because they've
> been there. I'd expect to get a lot if very valid issues from such
> developers (i.e. pics are too slow, to small, won't run from external
memory,
> banking sucks, the overbearing use of the W register, too many limitations
> in terms of high level languages, and the like...)

see #4 :)))))

> Finally this is an open discussion. No permission is required to either
> participate in it or to repetitively pound a set of points as I admit that
> I've been doing. We have quite a few novice users here on the list. Let's
> hear their thoughts.
> BAJ

see #2

& now #4:

I'll try to give you an idea why this newbie is here,
My level of newbieness: I think the majority of ppl that are interested in
learning PICs have quite a bit more knowledge about electronics then myself.
In all honesty, if you would ask me to quote the formula of Ohm's law, I'd
fail. I started about some weeks ago & did alot of reading, I know a few
things, (very few).

But I just would like to point out (I'm sure you have thought of us, but
want to make sure you guyz dont forget ;) the actual goal of many ppl like
me, I'm not learning PIC stuff because they are fun (they are, no doubt) nor
because I want to become a master PIC programmer & not even because someone
is forcing this upon me (teachers? LOL, j/k) I'm here because there are a
few things that I want to build with it. I can only be proud that I'm
playing with stuff that can do I-don't-know-what, operate a tank. But at
first this is not what I want to do with it (I can't afford a tank anyway).
I think many ppl have some stuff to be controlled, & are looking for a way
to control it. It's not like someone wakes up in the morning & thinks 'I
gonna learn PICs', its more like one wakes up with: 'I wanna make a model
train' or 'I want fancy LEDs on my bike' or watever. It just happens to be
that PIC are so ideal for the job it seems & relatively cheap, easy, very
popular, & have great public support (my compliments to you all, ladies &
gentlemen) Plus there are so many nice things you can find to build on WWW
that uses a PIC to control it. Often it comes with a hexfile or with the
sourcecode. The first makes u stick to identically the same project ( I
really dont feel bothering someone to modify his program just for a silly
idea of mine that might not even be as functional as I intended) & the
second has for the ignorant newbie as much use as....watever heh.
So thatswhy I'm trying to learn it myself.
As a sidenote I would like to mention that mastering PIC programming
ofcourse can be one's goal, for professional reasons seems such a case to
me.

But in my case, my actual hobby is synths & MIDI & stuff and I also fancy
LEDs very much :)
Currently the available PIC development packages are, let's call it 'not
very cheap' if you want something decent to get going quickly. They probably
are all worth the money for wat they can do, but still, ppl like me already
spend alot on their main hobby.

Still I was Interested enough to invest.

I already made a suggestion for the PBK, the modular approach, perhaps you
haven't read it, I don't blame you (I also haven't read each & every post,
so everything I'm babling here about also may have been said before :) I
have no idea of the details of a good and flexible PBK circuitry nor of what
would be possible, I am aware that certain things might not be combineable.
But what would seem an ideal system to me would be something modular, in a
way that the PIC has its own PCB with its own required circuitry & pwr
supply (lets call it PICbase for now) & is as small as possible(!) (they
could be built for different types mebbe) this fits on a develop/exp/bread
board (selfmade or bought) OR a (bought then) educational board. The PICbase
also can be connected to a programmer.
Different ppl could perhaps design different educational boards that fit
into the system, be it for the sake of providing cheap educational stuff or
for commercial reasons.

There exsists 1 similar product that I know of (I didn't have it in mind
when I was thinking about how a PBK should look like, it more likely was one
of my synths that inspired me :), the in another post mentioned FlashLab
(put all required TM's C's etc here :) but it seemingly has little or no
educational value/purpose. The company also sells educational material, of
which I aquired the experimenter board & the HW programmer. (I have
mentioned this in my suggestion-post) I didn't go for their software(BASIC).
I bought a PIC assembly tutor CD from a different company, and I find very
good and easy to follow, however its based on F84, & thatswhy I didn't buy
the accompanying board, but still, its very good to learn PIC imo. To have
the ideal PIC to learn to master it, I'd say the PIC with the most features
should be the one. But its all a matter of how far you wanna go, a sort of
modular system in my eyes is great for this, u don't buy the features you
don't have any need to know about (some parts are ofcourse a basic need, put
'm on the level1 edu module :) , however you could get hooked, & extend it,
my current board has in a way this feature, additional spaces for other
components are provided. It also holds a F877 & it was already pricy (for
me), so with all the stuff on it, I guess it would have been unaffordable.

By the time I can build my own project, a system like Flashlab could do, but
its limited to 1 kind of PIC I think & it fits on a too big PCB (space can
be an issue (e.g. think of model & miniature stuff) for that one might even
choose a smaller PIC).
On my imagined ;) ideal system I'd plug the PICbase on my selfmade PCB &
hook it up to the programmer and/or computer. If the whole lot works I
disconnect the programmer & I mount the PICbase & the other PCB into my
project & wrap it up.  This way you also could either update the PIC inside
the system, or you just swap the PICbase.
Maybe it even could be designed that the educational boards are of such form
that they could be used in your own projects afterwards.

My idea about bootloaders, 'my momma told me TSR's are evil' :D , j/k, but
it did scare me off a bit tbh. It's just my opinion & I mean no bad towards
ppl that make them or support them, but I think price can be an issue here
depending on some numbers, it costs extra on every PIC, while a HW
programmer is a one time investment. (ppl may wanna build more then 1 of
their project, e.g. like a fancy LED things for give-away :) The onboard
features make the production of small & ultrasmall series a little bit more
possible, coz components aren't exactly the cheapest things around.

Ofcourse to get somewhere one need to learn a certain amount of basics, but
this don't mean one has got to learn everything.
I'm currently in lesson 15 of my course and the more I learn, the more I get
fascinated & every ten minutes a new idea of an application pops up in my
mind, but I fear the big majority will never see daylight, I have a daytime
job, which has nothing todo with electronics btw. I'd be glad if I could get
to build few working things & then spend my freetime on using them.

so, thanks for reading, I hope you all didn't fall asleep :)
best regards,
goodluck

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2002\08\11@110945 by Byron A Jeff

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On Sun, Aug 11, 2002 at 07:53:28PM +1000, Roman Black wrote:
> I've been having a little chuckle
> over the way this "super cheap beginners programmer"
> has now developed into the pentultimate development
> kit...

Truth be told I'm hoping for the ultimate development kit at a moderate
programmer's price. It's a really unique opportunity. Plus penultimate implies
that there will be something better! ;-)

Roman,

Under normal circumstances I'd be suggesting that folks simply by Wouter's
WISP628 kit ($17 USD), or if uncomfortable with soldering an assembled unit
($57 USD). Or if they're in a hurry or really cheap simply build my TLVP.

However the chance to get a fully assembled and package unit built with
Taiwanese (sp?) large scale purchased components that will be built, shipped,
and distributed at cost is simply too good to pass up.

> I just know that in two weeks the "PBK" will have motor driver chips,

Too specific.

> hex keypad,

Actully a possibility if a small one can be found cheap enough. Personally
my thinking is that a universal remote makes an excellent portable keypad.


> serial eeprom,

No need. All of our target chips has some measure of data EEPROM on board.
Plus an external serial EEPROM only takes 5 minutes to wire to the breadboard
anyway.

> graphic LCD,

> pc keyboard interface,

> RGB video out...

Again all too specific. The Designer should encompass the set of common I/O
interfaces that many projects will use. I do admit that IR isn't on that list
(selfish motivation ;-) but the others are commonly used.

> ;o)

I hear you chuckling Roman... Since you can design or fix most anything
electronic with a couple of transistors and bailing wire (a trait that I
greatly admire BTW), I know why you're chuckling.

BAJ

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2002\08\11@115419 by Roman Black

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Byron A Jeff wrote:
>
> On Sun, Aug 11, 2002 at 07:53:28PM +1000, Roman Black wrote:
> > I've been having a little chuckle
> > over the way this "super cheap beginners programmer"
> > has now developed into the pentultimate development
> > kit...
>
> Truth be told I'm hoping for the ultimate development kit at a moderate
> programmer's price. It's a really unique opportunity. Plus penultimate implies
> that there will be something better! ;-)

Ha ha! But PENTultimate is 5 times better still! ;o)

> However the chance to get a fully assembled and package unit built with
> Taiwanese (sp?) large scale purchased components that will be built, shipped,
> and distributed at cost is simply too good to pass up.

I agree totally that this would be a truly awesome
tool for a beginner! I do wonder if Sean who originally
offered quite a generous offer of his time, money etc
to source parts and do manufacturing, is now at risk of
being put out (so to speak) because the design spec has
increased so much.

I'm worried that project is blowing out and becoming a
huge work load for a lot of people. People are now talking
LCDs and really well written CD manuals/tutorials etc,
this is a large project now. A lot of man hours just to
do good manuals and document all the features.

There are reasons that commercial PIC developer boards
that do all this stuff cost a lot of money...

I'm going out on a limb here and saying that there IS
a beginner need for a SIMPLE BUILT PROGRAMMER. Something
with a buffer chip and a 12v transistor for HVP and
costs about $5. Just plug it in and start programming.
And not be scared and put off by a huge thick manual...
:o)
-Roman

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2002\08\11@124839 by Byron A Jeff

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On Sun, Aug 11, 2002 at 12:47:49PM +0200, jumanji wrote:
> Hello,
> 3 things first,
> #1: I pasted both James' & Byrons msg inhere because my reply on both would
> have some overlap,
> #2 I would like to make it clear that there was in no way any offense taken
> (nor meant), I just found it a kind of bold & very generalising statement &
> I couldn't resist replying with an equally bold phrase to defend my 'kind'
> hehe (sorry :-)

And none taken or meant from me either.

> #3 this post has gotten very long, again sorry.

I've been trimming furiously and will do so in this post. I only plan to
tackle issues in #4...

> & now #4:
>
> I'll try to give you an idea why this newbie is here,
> My level of newbieness: I think the majority of ppl that are interested in
> learning PICs have quite a bit more knowledge about electronics then myself.

Now who's overgeneralizing? ;-) ;-) ;-)

I think there's a pretty good mix of rank novices, experienced electronics
and/or microcontroller developers, and software folks that are all interested.

{Quote hidden}

As do we all. But the danged thing is so cheap, fast, and versitile that it
quickly becomes a solution looking for a problem. There used to be a time
that project designers would pull out their TTL and CMOS chips, and their
555 timers, and get to work. Those days have passed us by. Use one 16F628,
or 16F672, or a 12C509 if it's a really small project, program it up and
get done relatively quickly.

> I can only be proud that I'm
> playing with stuff that can do I-don't-know-what, operate a tank. But at
> first this is not what I want to do with it (I can't afford a tank anyway).

BTW a robotic lawnmower and automatic sweeper/vacuum are high up on my list.

{Quote hidden}

I'm so in tune with what you're saying that it's scaring me! ;-)

'I'm want to build X.' has several common elements for most values of X:

* X will have a PIC ;-)
* X will have some external I/O. probably some LCD, LED, or serial for output
 and some button, serial, or knob for input.
* X will require some specialized hardware for whatever X does.
* X will require some common software modules to drive some subset of the
 above items along with whatever software to do what X actually does.

So wouldn't it be helpful if the common hardware (PIC, I/O, software modules)
were all grouped together? Wouldn't it be really really helpful if those
items were in a standard configuration? Because then the hex file that you're
talking about above would be drop in?

That's what I'm talking about.

> So thatswhy I'm trying to learn it myself.
> As a sidenote I would like to mention that mastering PIC programming
> ofcourse can be one's goal, for professional reasons seems such a case to
> me.

I'm not sure that mastering programmer was really ever the true goal. It just
so happens that if everything is right there to tinker with, it would
facilitate such a process.

>
> But in my case, my actual hobby is synths & MIDI & stuff and I also fancy
> LEDs very much :)

My MIDI stuff has been languishing on my desk for 6 months now. I've obtained
all the parts to do my monster MIDI sequencer featuring a CompactFlash storage
system. But I get bogged down in all the mundane details of building a target
board to start doing development. Maybe once the kids get back in school next
week I'll actually spend a day or two hashing out the hardware and start
developing.

> Currently the available PIC development packages are, let's call it 'not
> very cheap' if you want something decent to get going quickly. They probably
> are all worth the money for wat they can do, but still, ppl like me already
> spend alot on their main hobby.

Agreed. That's why I think we have a unique opportunity here because you'll
get a lot more than you pay for: A top of the line development package for
a middle of the line price.

>
> Still I was Interested enough to invest.
>
> I already made a suggestion for the PBK, the modular approach, perhaps you
> haven't read it, I don't blame you (I also haven't read each & every post,
> so everything I'm babling here about also may have been said before :)

I did. I think that we've all come to a consensus that whatever we end up with
was going to have expansion capabilities: a breadboard onboard for quick
expansion, a full I/O connector for more hefty I/O projects, and at minimum a
ICSP programming port so that fully realized offboard targets can be
programmed. I think the only difference is what makes up the base unit.

> I
> have no idea of the details of a good and flexible PBK circuitry nor of what
> would be possible, I am aware that certain things might not be combineable.
> But what would seem an ideal system to me would be something modular, in a
> way that the PIC has its own PCB with its own required circuitry & pwr
> supply (lets call it PICbase for now) & is as small as possible(!) (they
> could be built for different types mebbe) this fits on a develop/exp/bread
> board (selfmade or bought) OR a (bought then) educational board. The PICbase
> also can be connected to a programmer.

PICbase is self programmable. No other programmer is required for normal use.

> Different ppl could perhaps design different educational boards that fit
> into the system, be it for the sake of providing cheap educational stuff or
> for commercial reasons.

I can feel where you're coming from here. But taking this line is in variance
with what you were arguing above. I can really feel where you're coming from
in terms of novices users wanting to plug and play. But if you create a modular
system where the PICbase is going to require additional components in order
to be usable, you create a situation where it's more difficult to plug and
play.

I feel that you're on track with the idea but that the PICbase (hey! I LIKE
THAT NAME!) need to offer a stronger, wider base for everyone to operate from.
More standard equipment as it were.

{Quote hidden}

Paragraphs, my man! PARAGRAPHS! I'm having a hard time parsing that passage,
A lot like reading Steinbeck's "The Bear".

Let's take this discussion through a quick synth detour. Say you're just
getting started and you have the opportunity to purchase one and only one
component for starters. Do you purchase a sound module or a keyboard?
[ Aside for the uninitiated: a sound module is a MIDI interface only synth.
So it requires being driven from some external MIDI source to produce sound. ]
I would say the keyboard because it gives instant gratification and serves as
a base to which you can further extend to other modules.

In a modular system I find that a programmer only, or a simple board with
limited I/O to be like the sound module: a very useful component but incomplete
for really getting started.

{Quote hidden}

That idea has some merit. It does contrast a bit from what I proposing for
development with the Designer (Don'tcha just love all the cool names we've
come up with over the last couple of weeks ;-):

* The project gets laid out on the Designer using a combination of the onboard
 I/O, the breadboard, or if necessary due to insufficient breadboard space
 an external target board connected to the designer. Note that at this point
 even the external target board would only need the specific peripherals that
 are not onboard the Designer.

* Plug it up and make the project work.

* When complete and tested and working (all very valuable touchstones) transfer
 the entire project to its final target board. This can be any type of
 contruction you like: point to point, wirewrap (my favorite), homemade PCB,
 or I'm figuring some type of premade Designer PCB that one can purchase.
 Also you'll need another blank chip for the final target. One populates the
 board (with only the Designer I/O items actually used), plugs it into the
 ICSP programming port on the Designer and transfers the program to the
 target. Test and forget, releasing the Designer for the next project.



> Maybe it even could be designed that the educational boards are of such form
> that they could be used in your own projects afterwards.

Absolutely.

>
> My idea about bootloaders, 'my momma told me TSR's are evil' :D , j/k, but
> it did scare me off a bit tbh. It's just my opinion & I mean no bad towards
> ppl that make them or support them, but I think price can be an issue here
> depending on some numbers, it costs extra on every PIC,

Money? Or Resources? There's no extra money involved because a bootloader can
be dropped into an ordinary blank part. There is a resource cost because a
bootloader does require program memory, I/O (minimum 1), and external interface
real estate (usually a MAX232 or it's discrete equivalent).

But as you see from the above design process that there's absolutely no
requirement that the target be bootloaded. I was only hoping that the
Designer's internal PIC would be bootloaded, there it's any requirement that
the projects that roll off the Designer developement line have bootloaders in
them.

> while a HW
> programmer is a one time investment. (ppl may wanna build more then 1 of
> their project, e.g. like a fancy LED things for give-away :) The onboard
> features make the production of small & ultrasmall series a little bit more
> possible, coz components aren't exactly the cheapest things around.

I find PIC prices absolutely unbelieveable! Nothing cost more than $10 USD
in single quantities. One of the best values around.

BTW again if you check my development process above, the Designer will also
be an ordinary PIC programmer though I'm proposing an ICSP interface only.
Anyone who wants to do assembly line programmer would need to build an
programmer board that would attach to the Designer's ICSP port.

>
> Ofcourse to get somewhere one need to learn a certain amount of basics, but
> this don't mean one has got to learn everything.

That's not the perspective I'm trying to get accross. The interesting thing
about a smorgasbord (yes I looked up the spelling ;-) or Dim Sum isn't the
fact that you have to eat everything that's there. It's the fact that
everything that you may want to eat is there. So you can pick and choose and
experiment without having to get up and go different places.

I'm only looking at common stuff. You'll be glad that they're there.

> I'm currently in lesson 15 of my course and the more I learn, the more I get
> fascinated & every ten minutes a new idea of an application pops up in my
> mind, but I fear the big majority will never see daylight, I have a daytime
> job, which has nothing todo with electronics btw. I'd be glad if I could get
> to build few working things & then spend my freetime on using them.
>
> so, thanks for reading, I hope you all didn't fall asleep :)

Absolutely not! Great posts. If you feel up to it why not start a separate
off topic thread on your MIDI stuff. I know there are a bunch of latent
muscians out here on the list.

BAJ

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2002\08\11@140637 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> Under normal circumstances I'd be suggesting that folks
> simply by Wouter's WISP628 kit ($17 USD)

I don't object!

Or take it as a total DIY project (circuit, sources, etc are free for
DIY). That is how I started: I started using an (almost) no-components
serial port programmer, using it to 'bootstrap' my programmer.

Or - when you don't feel like programming one PIC with - buy only a
programmed 16f628 and build the rest yourself.

> or if uncomfortable with soldering an assembled unit
> ($57 USD). Or if they're in a hurry or really cheap simply
> build my TLVP.

That price is based on myself building one kit, if there these would be
sold in substatial numbers I could Olimex do the assembling and the
price would go way down.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2002\08\11@152248 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> The PICLIST Designer will be an amalgam of all the above tools:

A few remarks:
- forget the prototype area, it adds substantially to the cost and a
novice will be afraid to sue it because it can be used only once.
Instead add a pin-header or the like that can be easily coupled to a
'sea of pads' board (can't find the correct english term right now).
- don't provide the more expensive peripherals (like and LCD), just
provide an suitable connector
- keep the price as low as reasonably possible, $100 seems too much to
me, $50 is better, $30 would be perfect
- definitely exclude a wall-wart, but make sure the board rectifies and
has an 7805 with room for a heatsink
- take a 40-pin PIC, make it at least compatible with f877 anf f452

> > Now I will switch to more important work, like porting my Wisp628
> > programmer PC software to Python...
> Are you serious? Cool! Then I'll be able to run it on my Linux boxes.

Fully serious, but up to now I have (occasional) unsolvable problems
with serial communication using pyserial on XP. And next week I must
(also) seriously start hunting for new (freelance) work. Anyone has some
:) ?

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

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2002\08\11@171616 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Sun, Aug 11, 2002 at 09:22:03PM +0200, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
> > The PICLIST Designer will be an amalgam of all the above tools:
>
> A few remarks:
> - forget the prototype area, it adds substantially to the cost and a
> novice will be afraid to sue it because it can be used only once.
                          ^^^
I know we Americans live in a litigious society, but this is ridiculous! ;-)

BTW I mistakenly called it a prototyping area. I have always meant
breadboard. Something like the Parallax Board of Education:

http://www.stampsinclass.com/html_files/bs_boards/boe_kits.asp

> Instead add a pin-header or the like that can be easily coupled to a
> 'sea of pads' board (can't find the correct english term right now).
> - don't provide the more expensive peripherals (like and LCD), just
> provide an suitable connector

This was always in the plans too. Honestly I don't know what the correct
connector is. My gut says that a dual row 40 pin header is the right item
if for no other reason that any standard IDE cable can be used to couple
the boards.

> - keep the price as low as reasonably possible, $100 seems too much to
> me, $50 is better, $30 would be perfect

No disagreement. But I threw out that number just in comparison to the
other products out there. The two direct competetors, the BOE above and
the the CCS prototyping board:

http://www.ccsinfo.com/spb.shtml

And neither comes close to the lineup we've been discussing. The BOE is
$109 and the SPB is $145 (add $45 more for a LCD/keypad extension).

Most folks won't buy the higher end stuff because they don't think that
it's worth it, or that they can do it cheaper themselves. And most of the
time it's spot on. But this design we're contemplating would be valued
on the open market somewhere in the $250 to $300 USD ballpark. So even at
$100 it's a superior value.

> - definitely exclude a wall-wart, but make sure the board rectifies and
> has an 7805 with room for a heatsink

I believe Sean was saying that wall warts weren't a problem. Most of the time
the problem I find with wall warts of all types is that while compatible
voltages and polarity isn't much of an issue, that trying to match that danged
connector will almost always drive you nuts. I'd almost prefer screw terminals.

> - take a 40-pin PIC, make it at least compatible with f877 anf f452

I think I can even be more specific here: 16F877A. 40 pins. 16 bit compatible.
100k write/erase cycles. If it doesn't cost too much it would be cool to
socket that chip so that later on if can be replaced with a 18F452.

{Quote hidden}

I hope you find it quickly. I'll be looking out for that python release.

BAJ

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2002\08\11@172102 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
> - forget the prototype area, it adds substantially to the cost and a
> novice will be afraid to sue it because it can be used only once.

Unless the novice is a lawyer in his day job.


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

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2002\08\11@193612 by Benjamin Bromilow

flavicon
face
From: "jumanji" <RemoveMEjumanjispam_OUTspamPANDORA.BE>
> erm.... so it's impossible for us newbies to have a goal or even a good
> suggestion, & are we just to be ignored ?
> thanks.

Who said that?
Sorry.. Seriously- well said that man.....
I have a nasty feeling if we supply something that newbies don't want,
they'll still build (and still have problems) with the basic programmers and
ignore the development system we're trying to flog them. I reckon this
because I built the Q+D programmer and the NOPPP programmer rather than
buying the EPIC or PICALL programmers.....

Ben

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2002\08\12@012851 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Mon, Aug 12, 2002 at 01:50:14AM +1000, Roman Black wrote:
{Quote hidden}

Sean has made it very clear that he has the resources and understands the
risks. So my game plan is to keep saying yes until he says no. IIRC I got
an extremely positive response from him on the Designer concept. So I have no
worries.

>
> I'm worried that project is blowing out and becoming a
> huge work load for a lot of people. People are now talking
> LCDs and really well written CD manuals/tutorials etc,
> this is a large project now. A lot of man hours just to
> do good manuals and document all the features.
>
> There are reasons that commercial PIC developer boards
> that do all this stuff cost a lot of money...

Under normal circumstances I'd still be in agreement. However we have a lot
going in our favor:

* While there's a lot of work, many people have offered to contribute.

* Tony has graciously offered his "My First PIC Projects" series to the cause.
 it consists of a 155 page PDF document and 18 project files written in
 assembly.  It covers all of the basics. All that would need to be done is
 update it for our target and decide on a release format. PDF works for me.
 HTML is another possibility. Other pieces of software and tutorials such as
 Fr. McGahee's PICUART.ASM are also available.

* Software is available even if Microchip isn't forthcoming with MPLAB. All
 of the GNUPIC project software is available. Wouter's JAL is certainly
 usable with his very liberal license. So I don't believe that a lot of
 software needs to be generated to get this going.

* Finally it'll be a self sustaining open development project. Once we get a
 few out, folks will start using it. As they develop and publish projects,
 descriptions and code, a larger body of work will be created. I'm pretty
 sure that James would be willing to let us have some space for that task.
 So we won't have to get it all done at once. I think that a document that
 covers the basics and has at least one project for each attached peripheral
 will be sufficient to get rolling.

This is really one of the reasons I've only been focusing on the physical
hardware. The vast majority of the rest of the infrastructure is already in
place. But none of it can really come to bear until we finalize a hardware
design.


>
> I'm going out on a limb here and saying that there IS
> a beginner need for a SIMPLE BUILT PROGRAMMER. Something
> with a buffer chip and a 12v transistor for HVP and
> costs about $5. Just plug it in and start programming.
> And not be scared and put off by a huge thick manual...
> :o)

They already exists.

Finally I think there are categories of beginners. Folks who are experienced
in the process of building and testing hardware probably fit your profile
above. That's where I was when I started with PICs lo so many years ago.
My last non PIC board was a 68340 with a megabyte of RAM wired on a perfboard
using wirewrap.

However the rank novice who doesn't know which end of an LED is up needs a
bit more infrastructure.

And it's not just for beginner. I find that quite a few of my own projects
gets bogged down in the tedium of wiring enough infrastructure just to get
the project started. I find I don't have a box to just noodle with an idea
for an hour or so and really get something running.

But you know what? That's going to change this week since the kids are back
in school in 7 hours. I'm going to wire wrap me up a Designer and drop it
into a box. And then I'm going to start noodling.

The time for talk is over. It's time to get to work.

BAJ

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2002\08\12@015826 by Tony Nixon

flavicon
picon face
Byron A Jeff wrote:
>
> * Tony has graciously offered his "My First PIC Projects" series to the cause.
>   it consists of a 155 page PDF document and 18 project files written in
>   assembly.  It covers all of the basics. All that would need to be done is
>   update it for our target and decide on a release format. PDF works for me.
>   HTML is another possibility. Other pieces of software and tutorials such as
>   Fr. McGahee's PICUART.ASM are also available.

Soon I will be donating the whole kit and kaboodle.

300+ pages of PDF now, schematics, open source programmer code, Windows
simulators, Experimenter interfaces, etc etc etc..

Best regards

Tony

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2002\08\12@055145 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>2. It having something that is not available on most
>tools.  That is why I proposed a logic analyser


How can you have a logic analyser on a PIC unless you use one of the 17
series chips which have the address lines brought out for external memory?

I seem to have missed something here, as I cannot imagine you are intending
to fit bond-out chips used for ICE devices.

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2002\08\12@061033 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>* The unit will serve both as a demo/design board and as a programmer. So
it's
>  not YAPP (Yet Another PIC Programmer). It will come with a fully hooked
up
>  array of peripherals (LCD,LEDs,7 segment, buttons/switches, pots, opamps,
IR)
>  along with a breadboard prototyping area and I/O connector so that other
>  items can be added to the design as needed.

Could I suggest that some of these items not necessarily have the hardware
supplied, but have the necessary tracking on the PCB. I ma thinking in terms
of really keeping the "foot in the door" cost way down for the student
hobbyist. Perhaps a kit of loose parts to fill all the empty holes could be
supplied as an add-on.

Also have the tracking set up so that some of the peripherals are accessible
from the breadboard area. Do not tie them totally to the chip that is
supplied on the PCB. For minimal effort this makes the peripheral devices
much more useful.


>* The unit will have a mechanism for programming other PIC parts.

I do like this idea as well.


>* Both serial and USB interfaces will be available to connect the unit
>  to the the host machine.

I would suggest that it be set up as a serial system, with an FTDI chip to
do the serial to USB conversion. A set of jumpers on a header need to
changed over to select the USB interface. This would seem a much more
sensible solution than attempting to use a USB PIC for both serial and USB.


>* A CD will be delivered with the product that will contain development
>  software and a body of tutorial style exercises that illustrates the
theory
>  and practice of developing for the PIC and the common associated
periperals
>  that are routinely encountered in common microcontroller projects.

Early "exercises" should run correctly once transferred across to the
destination device, as an assurance that the whole system runs correctly,
and the end user can assemble/link/compile/program the chip correctly. Later
exercises should have deliberate errors built in that they have to find as
part of the exercise (why does the LED not have equal off/on times).


>* The primary development language will be assembly.

Well I did suggest that PICC-Lite be included on the CD, and this would need
some exercises in that language as well. It may be that those on the list
who have done BASIC and JAL compilers/interpreters any be willing to allow
their software to also go on the distribution.

Unfortunately many of the exercises may need to be done in multiple
languages. I can envisage people who are already competent in a high level
language on a PC or other environment, wishing to get into microcontrollers
for any of a number of reasons, but not wanting to deal with assembly
language. The availability of high level languages with the starter kit may
well make it considerably more attractive for them, even if they cannot fill
the whole ROM because it is a cut down version. Suitable pointers would be
on the CD to take them to the suppliers site to purchase full versions if
they wish.

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2002\08\12@063337 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Mon, Aug 12, 2002 at 10:50:02AM +0100, Alan B. Pearce wrote:
> >2. It having something that is not available on most
> >tools.  That is why I proposed a logic analyser
>
>
> How can you have a logic analyser on a PIC unless you use one of the 17
> series chips which have the address lines brought out for external memory?

Not an emulator Alan, a logic analyzer where you record and report on the
state of the external pins of the device under test.

It would require a big RAM and a fast clocking system for it to be effective.

BAJ

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2002\08\12@074925 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>My MIDI stuff has been languishing on my desk for 6 months now. I've
obtained
>all the parts to do my monster MIDI sequencer featuring a CompactFlash
storage
>system. But I get bogged down in all the mundane details of building a
target
>board to start doing development. Maybe once the kids get back in school
next
>week I'll actually spend a day or two hashing out the hardware and start
>developing.

This sounds like you are getting ready to write the manual for the MIDI
specialised add-on project for the PBK 8-{) Perhaps this is Round 3 :))

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2002\08\12@075924 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>> Instead add a pin-header or the like that can be easily coupled to a
>> 'sea of pads' board (can't find the correct english term right now).
>> - don't provide the more expensive peripherals (like and LCD), just
>> provide an suitable connector
>
>This was always in the plans too. Honestly I don't know what the correct
>connector is. My gut says that a dual row 40 pin header is the right item
>if for no other reason that any standard IDE cable can be used to couple
>the boards.

Well one of the "advanced" projects could be an IDE interface :))

Parallel up the connector with a compact flash connector for the MIDI
project...... :))

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2002\08\12@080329 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Mon, Aug 12, 2002 at 11:10:42AM +0100, Alan B. Pearce wrote:
> >* The unit will serve both as a demo/design board and as a programmer. So
> it's
> >  not YAPP (Yet Another PIC Programmer). It will come with a fully hooked
> up
> >  array of peripherals (LCD,LEDs,7 segment, buttons/switches, pots, opamps,
> IR)
> >  along with a breadboard prototyping area and I/O connector so that other
> >  items can be added to the design as needed.
>
> Could I suggest that some of these items not necessarily have the hardware
> supplied, but have the necessary tracking on the PCB. I ma thinking in terms
> of really keeping the "foot in the door" cost way down for the student
> hobbyist. Perhaps a kit of loose parts to fill all the empty holes could be
> supplied as an add-on.

That's a very natural thought and would be appropriate under normal
circumstances. But I believe that Sean may be able to get a fully populated
and assembled product out the door at a price point that will be very
attractive. The combination of large scale parts pricing, local to Taiwan,
coupled with at cost assembly and shipping will hopefully make it a
feasible proposition. [ Sean I'm again throwing out numbers that may have no
basis in reality, ]  but it's likely that the difference between completely
empty and completely populated will be only $15 to $20 USD.

The next aspect is psychological. It helps on all sides of the equation if
we have a wide standard base target fully populated. That means that one
can both be assured that anything written for the Designer (which I believe
I named after this particular post) will have all the facilities available
and that anything downloaded for the Designer will work with the onboard
facilities.

Finally whatever we do is going to be an open design. So if someone wants to
hand wire a subset, or if someone wants to deliver blank PCBs, then it's
no problem. But if we get the price point for the full package so that
it's not much more than the cost of the parts, then we should encourage folks
to sign up for the full package if possible because fracturing the base will
compound the support issue.
>
> Also have the tracking set up so that some of the peripherals are accessible
> from the breadboard area. Do not tie them totally to the chip that is
> supplied on the PCB. For minimal effort this makes the peripheral devices
> much more useful.

Agreed. Has anyone really thought through how to attach the breadboard to the
PCB? In an ideal situtation both the onboard I/O pins and the onboard
peripherals will be available from the breadboard.

{Quote hidden}

That was my plan all along, treating USB as a serial interface that needed
a converter chip rather than trying to find a USB PIC.

{Quote hidden}

That's probably too much detail. Also probably better to put a positive spin
on it having exercises where the student effects a change on the system.

But all of that is getting ahead of ourselves. Nailing down a hardware design
is priority #1.

{Quote hidden}

I think that's why assembly was chosen as a base target. It's simply too much
to try to cover everything.

BAJ

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2002\08\12@081200 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>Other pieces of software and tutorials such as
>  Fr. McGahee's PICUART.ASM are also available.

I have a modified version of this that uses interrupts, and is using Olin's
macros. I got it up and running before I realised that Olin had later on
posted a uart module on his pages.

I am happy for this to be used in the project, and it may well be a useful
addendum to the non-interrupt version, because it is based on it. However it
will need to have the interrupt front end handling code as well (which is in
another module - may be the way to get them used to linking modules?). It
will also come with little routines for sending CR/LF and the like.

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2002\08\12@085140 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>but it's likely that the difference between completely
>empty and completely populated will be only $15 to $20 USD.

I appreciate that, but my thinking is along the lines that by the time you
translate that small increment in price to somewhere like the UK, or
elsewhere in Europe where taxes are pretty phenomenal, then this may be the
make or break in the decision for a secondary school student to be able to
afford the base unit.

When I suggested that the add-on bits be supplied as a kit to be assembled
onto the board by the end user, I did envisage that this kit may be packed
by Sean if he was amenable to another hit on his resources. I would think
that the add-on kit could be priced in a manner that ensured a small profit
on it for the bother of this. Perhaps a "discount coupon" in with the
original development board to make them aware of this.


>Finally whatever we do is going to be an open design. So if
>someone wants to hand wire a subset, or if someone wants to
>deliver blank PCBs, then it's no problem. But if we get the
>price point for the full package so that it's not much more
>than the cost of the parts, then we should encourage folks to
>sign up for the full package if possible because fracturing
>the base will compound the support issue.

I can understand where you are coming from. However I still feel that there
is a problem with pricing in the European region. There are a significant
number of tax havens around here where the well heeled go to live for a
reason :)

I do get the feeling that while it would be great to provide a complete unit
ready assembled, with software that allows the purchaser to leap straight in
and start experimenting, the thing is having a tendency to get away from the
original concept which was fired off by the messages from Kieran asking for
help in getting his programmer going.

The concept was something that allowed a PIC to be reliably programmed, to
get away from the vagaries of the various serial and parallel ports which
don't meet true specification. I know I have added messages suggesting
possible features for it as well, but each 5c here, 10c there does help to
push it out of reach of the secondary school student having to pay for it
out of his paper round.

I like the concept of a PCB with defined hardware areas on it, all
completely assembled, so there is a standard set of hardware that we know
they have when they have a problem, and start asking questions. However I do
also feel that there is a point where the hardware provided can be
excessive, and a significant portion of what leaves the factory is not used.
I can envisage the development board being used for MIDI interfacing, this
may include use of the LCD display, but what other peripherals? As soon as
there is a breadboard area to make the board more versatile, then you have a
whole heap of unknowns being introduced, as every board produced could have
a totally different set of additional hardware built on here without the
full tutorial ever being worked through on any board :)

I am just trying to step back and take a second look, as others have done,
and figure if we are not getting wound up with enthusiasm for our "beginners
killer development system" and forgetting that the reason people do go and
attempt these real cheap programmers is a lack of financial resources in the
first place.

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2002\08\12@095543 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

flavicon
face
Hi guys,

Just letting you all know that the "Sean" on this thread did something
really stupid on the weekend and is waiting to see if he has re-damaged an
old and fully healed injury. I'm in a lot of pain and very anxious to get an
appointment with my specialist.

I'm keeping an eye on the list, but if you don't hear from me for a few
days, please don't think I've packed up my bags and withdrawn my offer.

By the time I'm back on deck, I'll expect you to have all agreed on the
"perfect design"! - NOT! :-)

Regards,

Sean

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2002\08\12@100209 by Jim

flavicon
face
You and Jason Priestly -

- both pushing the limits again on the oval track?

RF Jim

----- Original Message -----
From: "Sean Alcorn (SYD)" <sdalcornspamspamAVION.COM.AU>
To: <spam_OUTPICLISTspam_OUTspamspam_OUTMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Monday, August 12, 2002 8:54 AM
Subject: Re: [PIC]: Piclist Beginners Kit (PBK) - Round 2


> Hi guys,
>
> Just letting you all know that the "Sean" on this thread did something
> really stupid on the weekend and is waiting to see if he has re-damaged an
> old and fully healed injury. I'm in a lot of pain and very anxious to get
an
{Quote hidden}

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2002\08\12@125235 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Mon, Aug 12, 2002 at 11:54:12PM +1000, Sean Alcorn (SYD) wrote:
> Hi guys,
>
> Just letting you all know that the "Sean" on this thread did something
> really stupid on the weekend and is waiting to see if he has re-damaged an
> old and fully healed injury. I'm in a lot of pain and very anxious to get an
> appointment with my specialist.

I'm sorry to hear that you are hurt.

>
> I'm keeping an eye on the list, but if you don't hear from me for a few
> days, please don't think I've packed up my bags and withdrawn my offer.
>
> By the time I'm back on deck, I'll expect you to have all agreed on the
> "perfect design"! - NOT! :-)

Don't worry about this. Go get well.

BAJ

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2002\08\12@133213 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Mon, Aug 12, 2002 at 01:50:40PM +0100, Alan B. Pearce wrote:
{Quote hidden}

I'll have to take this part of the post post holistically instead of point by
point. In all honesty if our target audience is as you describe, poor
students looking for cheap reliable entry, then truly our best course of
action is to do nothing.  With the plethora of programmer schematics, kits,
and tutorials that already exist, there is absolutely nothing that we can
contribute to this market segment.

The same can be said for programmer only solutions. The market is simply flush
with them and our best bet is to simply recommend one of the existing ones.

The only place to make a significant impact is in the demo board market. A
cursory glance shows that the existing products out there are weak in features
and very fat in price. There is a tangible benefit for all involved to have
a reasonably priced full featured demo board style product that the list
collectively sells and supports.
>
>
> I like the concept of a PCB with defined hardware areas on it, all
> completely assembled, so there is a standard set of hardware that we know
> they have when they have a problem, and start asking questions. However I do
> also feel that there is a point where the hardware provided can be
> excessive, and a significant portion of what leaves the factory is not used.

I really have no problem with defining boundaries for the base product. In the
lists I have enumerated up until now I've thrown out 2 to 3 human I/O
interfaces along with serial and a single analog interface for input and
output. I'm not married to any specific set, but I feel that any base set
should have wide coverage of typical interfaces that projects will use for
having a base set we can standardize on will simplify the collective
developement, publishing, and supporting of projects for years to come.

> I can envisage the development board being used for MIDI interfacing, this
> may include use of the LCD display, but what other peripherals? As soon as
> there is a breadboard area to make the board more versatile, then you have a
> whole heap of unknowns being introduced, as every board produced could have
> a totally different set of additional hardware built on here without the
> full tutorial ever being worked through on any board :)

Of course. However they would all have the same base set. Just as simple
example say that someone is doing a DS1620 based thermostat using the 7-segment
LED display. Of course the DS1620 isn't in the base set. However if the
7 segment is optional, then that means that anyone who wants to contribute
or support that particular project would have to obtain the 7 segment addon.
I posit that the 7 segment display (not sure how many digits BTW) should be
a part of the base set. Will it be used for all projects developed on the
Designer. Of course not. But will it be used on a subset large enough to
merit being on the base board. Probably. And even if a particular user never
uses that particular peripheral for a project ever, do you think that the 43
cents or whatever is costs to add that display to the board is a waste?...

Well now that's the 64 million dollar question...

I'd really like to hear folks thoughts on this particular subject...

BAJ

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2002\08\12@134058 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Mon, Aug 12, 2002 at 12:47:20PM +0100, Alan B. Pearce wrote:
> >My MIDI stuff has been languishing on my desk for 6 months now. I've
> obtained
> >all the parts to do my monster MIDI sequencer featuring a CompactFlash
> storage
> >system. But I get bogged down in all the mundane details of building a
> target
> >board to start doing development. Maybe once the kids get back in school
> next
> >week I'll actually spend a day or two hashing out the hardware and start
> >developing.
>
> This sounds like you are getting ready to write the manual for the MIDI
> specialised add-on project for the PBK 8-{) Perhaps this is Round 3 :))

Why not? The hardware interfaces are trivial as they are current loop based.
The clock speed while odd (31250 BPS) is evenly divisible by round Mhz clock
speeds (i.e. 31250*32 -> 1000000). Personally I use 7407 OC buffers and 6N139
optoisolators for the hardware interfaces. Works great.

One tough part is describing the MIDI protocol and how one can manipulate it.
That will be the bulk of the description. The other is that for most MIDI
gear to be useful it must support multiple interfaces. That requires building
multiple software USARTs.

BAJ

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2002\08\12@140800 by jumanji

flavicon
face
Hello,
I cut a whole lot, I hope my reply still makes sense :)

> BTW a robotic lawnmower and automatic sweeper/vacuum are high up on my
list.

I bet you'll make your own pacemaker by the time its necessary   :D

> I'm so in tune with what you're saying that it's scaring me! ;-)

I didn't mean to (really) :)

> So wouldn't it be helpful if the common hardware (PIC, I/O, software
modules)
> were all grouped together? Wouldn't it be really really helpful if those
> items were in a standard configuration? Because then the hex file that
you're
> talking about above would be drop in?
> That's what I'm talking about.


Yes, with 'required' circuit for the PICbase I was thinking, a
powersupply/power LED; some oscillator/ frequency setting(if appliccable); a
reset button perhaps & some feature to connect the IO pins & it's as cheap
as possible.
OK, its directly programmable without connecting to a seperate programmer,
no problem with that. & whether it has a pll, serial, usb or firewire
connection, I leave it all to you ppl :)

In my idea, all the other stuff that isn't required to have a PIC running
isn't onboard the PICbase.

The novice could plug this for example in a 'level1 educational' board,
which contains the features u need to get started with, like some LEDS
(doesnt matter what, just single ones, a bargraph or a 7digit display) a
button matrix, & to keep it cheap, a header for an optional LCD, & watever
you think would be level1 stuff.

After this, if he decides to continue, he buys an LCD & plugs it on the edu
lvl1 board.

The guy can't get enough of it, & buys the lvl2 board, this has eeproms,
serial connectors, IR stuff, i don't know what.

His learning hunger still isn't satisfied, & he buys board lvl3 with
steppers & actuators or watever.

What is on the boards is up to you experts (here my newbieness makes me
knowing not :) I've just given some examples,
If its cheap enough you can put a whole bunch of stuff on 1 board.

The main thing is, one can keep learning, with only gradually investing, &
its pretty instant because the HW on which you learn it, works & is known by
the PIClist ppl. The advanced edu boards perhaps dont even necessarily need
to be assembled for sale & can be offered as a kit.

For the experienced users, you plug the PICbase onto your breadboard, your
own PCB (you could even produce kinda template PCB's on which the PICbase
would fit) Here the advantage is, your PICcircuit is already built & you can
directly goto the design of your project.
When the project is done, (on PCB) you just leave the PICbase on it, for the
next thing you buy another PICbase.

This way there would also be a great number of PICbase's to be sold.

> My MIDI stuff has been languishing on my desk for 6 months now. I've
obtained
> all the parts to do my monster MIDI sequencer featuring a CompactFlash
storage
> system. But I get bogged down in all the mundane details of building a
target
> board to start doing development. Maybe once the kids get back in school
next
> week I'll actually spend a day or two hashing out the hardware and start
> developing.

I'll be talking to you again for sure ! :)

> I think that we've all come to a consensus that whatever we end up with
> was going to have expansion capabilities: a breadboard onboard for quick
> expansion, a full I/O connector for more hefty I/O projects, and at
minimum a
> ICSP programming port so that fully realized offboard targets can be
> programmed. I think the only difference is what makes up the base unit.

These are details which I can't comment on, my idea is just that the
educational junk don't sit on the same PCB as the PIC.

> I can feel where you're coming from here. But taking this line is in
variance
> with what you were arguing above. I can really feel where you're coming
from
> in terms of novices users wanting to plug and play. But if you create a
modular
> system where the PICbase is going to require additional components in
order
> to be usable, you create a situation where it's more difficult to plug and
> play.

NO, the PICbase has its own NECESSARY stuff onboard. You ppl ofcourse also
make a edu board for the newbies, on which the PICbase fits. After the
studies, you plug the PICbase into some other project. Its an already
working PICcircuitry & you only need to connect its IO's in your project.

> I feel that you're on track with the idea but that the PICbase (hey! I
LIKE
> THAT NAME!) need to offer a stronger, wider base for everyone to operate
from.

With putting alot of stuff on the same PCB as the PIC, you actually narrow
its flexibility imo.
With only the circuit to program, run & connect to a PIC on a PICbase, it
can be used by everybody, for many many DIFFERENT things,  this is about the
widest flexibilty I can Imagine. Plus, you can work on different projects at
the same time, just buy more PICbases.

> Paragraphs, my man! PARAGRAPHS! I'm having a hard time parsing that
passage,
> A lot like reading Steinbeck's "The Bear".

Parawhat ? :D

> Let's take this discussion through a quick synth detour. Say you're just
> getting started and you have the opportunity to purchase one and only one
> component for starters. Do you purchase a sound module or a keyboard?
> [ Aside for the uninitiated: a sound module is a MIDI interface only
synth.
> So it requires being driven from some external MIDI source to produce
sound. ]
> I would say the keyboard because it gives instant gratification and serves
as
> a base to which you can further extend to other modules.

It depends how you make the comparison,
I actually *know* ppl that bought a module as first, to hookit up to a
sequencer on PC. This could be a very logical step for someone who comes
from playing with
only 'tracker'software before, & hasn't got the faintest idea about playing
a keyboard.
This would not prevent him to make music with a soundmodule however.
He doesn't want to become a good player, he just wants to put together some
good music, but a keyboard isn't
an absolute requirement then.

Another motivation could be that the keyboard versions are more expensive.
And, if later you still want a keyboard, you either could buy a cheap MIDI
controllerkeyboard or a more expensive master keyboard to add to it.

> In a modular system I find that a programmer only, or a simple board with
> limited I/O to be like the sound module: a very useful component but
incomplete

It IS complete, you don't have a modular system with only 1 thing, u need to
put a few things together.
True, there will be a need to build different PCB's for the PBK, but on the
other hand, alot more PICbases could be sold.

> * The project gets laid out on the Designer using a combination of the
onboard
>   I/O, the breadboard, or if necessary due to insufficient breadboard
space
>   an external target board connected to the designer. Note that at this
point
>   even the external target board would only need the specific peripherals
that
>   are not onboard the Designer.

Your system would be re-useable if i'm not wrong., so you develop something
& when its all working & testing, you're gonna build a new circuit to run
your PIC & talk to your project. Your PBK then serves for another
development.

In my system, when some idea pops up, I buy a PICbase & I don't worry about
a pwr
supply or watever other gizmos it needs, nor do I waste time on soldering
the same thing everytime. I just build the thing inside my project, basta :)


> Money? Or Resources? There's no extra money involved because a bootloader
can
> be dropped into an ordinary blank part. There is a resource cost because a
> bootloader does require program memory, I/O (minimum 1), and external
interface
> real estate (usually a MAX232 or it's discrete equivalent).

I have seen bootloaded PICs for sale on WWW for close to 1,5x the price of a
blank PIC.
I'm guessing about numbers, but suppose a blank PIC =8$ & a loaded =13$ ?
After 10PICS you'd have spent the 50$ for a HW programmer.
This ofcourse in my idea of PBK (where you would buy more PICbase's)
If the PBK turns out to a 1 board thing with everything on it, the price
wouldn't matter.

> But as you see from the above design process that there's absolutely no
> requirement that the target be bootloaded. I was only hoping that the
> Designer's internal PIC would be bootloaded, there it's any requirement
that
> the projects that roll off the Designer developement line have bootloaders
in
> them.

These are details beyond me :)

> > while a HW
> > programmer is a one time investment. (ppl may wanna build more then 1 of
> > their project, e.g. like a fancy LED things for give-away :) The onboard
> > features make the production of small & ultrasmall series a little bit
more
> > possible, coz components aren't exactly the cheapest things around.


> I find PIC prices absolutely unbelieveable! Nothing cost more than $10 USD
> in single quantities. One of the best values around.

Oh but yes, PIC's are almost for free if u count what they can do, (I was
referring to that, I should have made it more clear perhaps)  but I'm
talking about the other stuff that is expensive. PICs can do alot, & you
would need alot of other components if you would do it without a PIC., so my
point was, PICs make small series a bit more possible for the hobbiest.
(e.g. 3weeks ago in a local store,  I had to pay 20(twenty!!) friggin Euro
for a silly plastic flatcable PCB connector)

> BTW again if you check my development process above, the Designer will
also
> be an ordinary PIC programmer though I'm proposing an ICSP interface only.
> Anyone who wants to do assembly line programmer would need to build an
> programmer board that would attach to the Designer's ICSP port.

You are using unfamiliar terms for me here :)

> > this don't mean one has got to learn everything.

> That's not the perspective I'm trying to get accross. The interesting
thing
> about a smorgasbord (yes I looked up the spelling ;-) or Dim Sum isn't the
> fact that you have to eat everything that's there. It's the fact that
> everything that you may want to eat is there. So you can pick and choose
and
> experiment without having to get up and go different places.

I don't know either of them, but still the question pops up, do I have to
pay for everything? also the stuff that I don't eat ? :)

> Absolutely not! Great posts. If you feel up to it why not start a separate
> off topic thread on your MIDI stuff. I know there are a bunch of latent
> muscians out here on the list.

Its still only ideas, but in time I'll be asking your trousers off you :)
In the pipeline, start with a simple controller & then maybe a control panel
for one of my synths.
After that a sequencer was planned ;-D (any1 know a shop where they sell
'time' ?)

Best regards

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2002\08\12@142843 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Mon, Aug 12, 2002 at 08:07:32PM +0200, jumanji wrote:
> Hello,
> I cut a whole lot, I hope my reply still makes sense :)

I'm cutting too.

{Quote hidden}

And excellent examples you've given. The only problem that I have with it is
that the PICbase isn't usable out of the box. One would have to attach some
type of I/O to it in order to use it, which by definition would mean having
to purchase something else anyway.

> If its cheap enough you can put a whole bunch of stuff on 1 board.
>

I'm hearing the litany of "keep it cheap". I have one of the cheapest
programmers around as it's really nothing more than a glorified cable.

But I really feel that it may be an instance of "penny wise, pound foolish".
That by keeping the focus on cheap, that it strips the target of the very
features that makes it useful, valuable, and more importantly supportable.

I'm going to go off and do a retail cost analysis of Geert's level1+LCD, which
I believe is about the right I/O device point for the PICbase.

I need to split this message. So I'll pick up the rest in another post.

BAJ

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2002\08\12@155642 by jumanji

flavicon
face
Hello,

Good thing you cut & shrink, makes it easier for me to reply (lol)

> And excellent examples you've given. The only problem that I have with it
is
> that the PICbase isn't usable out of the box. One would have to attach
some
> type of I/O to it in order to use it, which by definition would mean
having
> to purchase something else anyway.

I don't understand the problem you are thinking about.
I think this is just a marketing issue. Promote & sell the Edu1 Board with a
PICbase onboard together 'in a box' as an educational package.Advanced edu
boards could be sold seperately for example. Similar for a development
'package' which could be anything you ppl can think of, plus a PICbase
plugged in. But don't forget to make the PICbases available seperately so
ppl can put it in their own stuff.

> > If its cheap enough you can put a whole bunch of stuff on 1 board.
> I'm hearing the litany of "keep it cheap". I have one of the cheapest
> programmers around as it's really nothing more than a glorified cable.
> But I really feel that it may be an instance of "penny wise, pound
foolish".
> That by keeping the focus on cheap, that it strips the target of the very
> features that makes it useful, valuable, and more importantly supportable.

Ofcourse you are right here, I should have said, "keep it affordable",
atleast the PICbases then, the stuff you put on the other boards should
ofcourse have enough features to learn the stuff in a decent manner.
But for a newbie who isn't even sure he's going all the way, it DOES matter.
To give an example how one could/would seek affordability:

What do you think a newbie/hobbiest is gonna buy if he would have the
following choices:
(just an example, wild guessing on numbers here)

Any combination of the following:
70$ for EDU1 including a PICbase.
20$ for an LCD
30$ for EDU2
40$ for EDU3
60$ for EDU4 (the stuff gets more advanced, so price goes up I think)
10$ for a PCB template on which fits a PICbase (not included)
15$ for a PICbase

OR

220$ for a complete training package ? (70+20+30+40+60)

OR

130$ for a semi-full training package for which you have to find, order &
solder(in a way that it works :) stuff on to make it complete.

I think I know what I would pick ;-D (& ofcourse you also know what *I*
would pick hehe)

> I'm going to go off and do a retail cost analysis of Geert's level1+LCD,
which
> I believe is about the right I/O device point for the PICbase.
> I need to split this message. So I'll pick up the rest in another post.

good idea :)

best regards all :)

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2002\08\12@161550 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Mon, Aug 12, 2002 at 08:07:32PM +0200, jumanji wrote:
> Hello,
> I cut a whole lot, I hope my reply still makes sense :)

Ok. round 2. I cut the first part which I answered already.

> These are details which I can't comment on, my idea is just that the
> educational junk don't sit on the same PCB as the PIC.

I think that educational is a misnomer here. From reading this message I'm
getting the impression that the sole purpose of the onboard I/O is to teach
concepts. It's not. The primary purposes are create a ready to use
development environment and to standardize the base so that everyone that
has one of these units can be assured of a base set of I/O devices when
developing or supporting a project. Neither of these are primarily geared
towards the educational aspect. I think that the CD, documentation, and
tutorials that we plan to ship serve that purpose.

{Quote hidden}

I think I finally have clarity on your dissent to I/O device integration, Your
PICbase fits well with the modular environment that you are describing where
you'll take the base and essentially permanently affix it to a project. So
for the next project, you'll start with a new base. Got it. And if that's the
tack then you are absolutely correct that the base should have as little
integration as possible.

Of course I'm tacking in a completely different direction...

{Quote hidden}

Bingo! This is the crux of the difference between our paths. You're thinking
in terms of multiple small units, one per project. My Designer concept only
has a single reusable unit. It's used to develop the project, but it isn't
integrated into the project at the end. Instead the final project is
transferred off onto its own board and then the Designer is reused for the
next project.

They are in fact complementary approaches as the PICbase as you describe can
be the tranfer board off the Designer. You populate it when the exact items
you need.

{Quote hidden}

True. But it still illustrates the point that without some additional item
for input, that the module cannot function in a completely standalone fashion.

> This would not prevent him to make music with a soundmodule however.
> He doesn't want to become a good player, he just wants to put together some
> good music, but a keyboard isn't an absolute requirement then.

WAP! SLAP! That's what I get for proffering a ill formed argument.

>
> Another motivation could be that the keyboard versions are more expensive.

Absolutely. However if our musical friend didn't have a PC and still had to
make the same choice, it wouldn't be such a cut and dried decision.

> And, if later you still want a keyboard, you either could buy a cheap MIDI
> controllerkeyboard or a more expensive master keyboard to add to it.

Again I failed because of my poor formulation of my argument. If we have
both components and they can only be used in a standalone, not modular,
configuration, then there is a bit more contrast between the choices.


>
> > In a modular system I find that a programmer only, or a simple board with
> > limited I/O to be like the sound module: a very useful component but
> incomplete
>
> It IS complete, you don't have a modular system with only 1 thing, u need to
> put a few things together.

Exactly. The problem is that developing for and supporting a modular system
is more difficult precisely because of the added complexity of modularity.
If we have a system with 10 modular components and I develop a project with
modules 1,4 and 5 and you have modules 1,8, and 9, then for you to use, test,
or support my project, you'd have to purchase more modules. However if we both
shared a resuable base (my Designer, not your PICbase) that incorporated the
functionality of modules 1-6, then I could be assured that anyone that had
a Designer could run my project out of the box.

And I'm in full agreement with you that if every project physically
incorporated the Designer, that it wouldn't work. But the Designer is the
prototyping platform, not the final target, so the extra baggage of I/O
devices it carries won't carry over to the final project.

> True, there will be a need to build different PCB's for the PBK, but on the
> other hand, alot more PICbases could be sold.

Since this isn't primarily a for profit venture, volumn sales isn't necessarily
a goal. However there is always the issue of mindshare.

{Quote hidden}

Bingo. I think we both understand each other.

>
> In my system, when some idea pops up, I buy a PICbase & I don't worry about
> a pwr
> supply or watever other gizmos it needs, nor do I waste time on soldering
> the same thing everytime. I just build the thing inside my project, basta :)

Right. But I think a cost analysis would need to be done as a comparison
of purchasing PICbases on a per project basis as opposed to prototyping on
a more expensive (initially) box then transferring the project to a real
cheap board. The best example I can think of is the difference between using
Basic Stamps and raw PICs. The BS gives a quick to develop platform, however
there is a nearly $20 ongoing cost for each one. The PICs are cheaper but
require more external infrastructure to utilize. I'm not sure who the winner
would be in similar circumstances.

{Quote hidden}

So at the end of the day (or the end of post) we are in total agreement.
BTW if you need 10 bootloaded PICs, buy the 10 blanks and them program them
with a $5 programmer like my TLVP. Saves you both time and money.

{Quote hidden}

You bootload into the Designer for development. You then use the Designer to
program the final target. The final target doesn't need to have a bootloader
on it unless you want to be able to field upgrade it.

{Quote hidden}

OUCH!

>
> > BTW again if you check my development process above, the Designer will
> also
> > be an ordinary PIC programmer though I'm proposing an ICSP interface only.
> > Anyone who wants to do assembly line programmer would need to build an
> > programmer board that would attach to the Designer's ICSP port.
>
> You are using unfamiliar terms for me here :)

ICSP - In Circuit Serial Programm[ing,er]. Instead of transferring the chip to
be programmed into the programmer, you connect a cable directly to the target
and you program the chip in circuit. Usually this means that the programmer
doesn't have to have a socket for the chip to be programmed to sit in.

{Quote hidden}

The answer is yes and yes. However it's only for common, resuable I/O.
Remember I agree it doesn't work in a modular scheme where you'd pay each time
you started a new project. Here my rough list again:

Outputs
-------
* LCD: staple display output
* multi-digit 7 segment LED: excellent for not always lighted environments
* individual LEDs: often used as status indicators
* RS232 serial: standard computer to computer communications interface

Input
-----
* Buttons: Often used to change device state
* RS232 serial: standard computer to computer communications interface
* IR decoder: my one reach for the base board I think. But it's so sexy as
 a remote control and data input interface because any standard universal
 remote can be used to control and give input into the interface.

Analog
------
* Potentiometer (or maybe an encoder): transmits finer scale analog info. Think
        of a knob type interface.
* PWM: The PIC already has it onboard. A simple opamp voltage follower provides
      some power. Has many uses including sound generation and brightness
      control for LEDs.

Nothing carries a significant cost other than the LCD and the IR (and the
encoder if we go that direction). I believe that each and every one of these
items can be and will by used in projects especially if they are a part of
the base resuable system.

BAJ

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2002\08\12@161755 by Brendan Moran

flavicon
face
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> Truth be told I'm hoping for the ultimate development kit at a
> moderate programmer's price. It's a really unique opportunity. Plus
> penultimate implies that there will be something better! ;-)

Yep, CUMP.

- --Brendan

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2002\08\12@162707 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
>
> > Truth be told I'm hoping for the ultimate development kit at a
> > moderate programmer's price. It's a really unique opportunity. Plus
> > penultimate implies that there will be something better! ;-)
>
> Yep, CUMP.

Doesn't the CUMP have a different target Brenden? I see it as the ultimate
in programmable programmers. I think of the other project as a high level
prototyper board that happens to have a cursory programmer function.

What's your take on the differences (if any)?

Also getting back to your logic analizer. Care to give an overview on how it
could be implemented?

BAJ

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2002\08\12@164136 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Mon, Aug 12, 2002 at 09:55:33PM +0200, jumanji wrote:
> Hello,
>
> Good thing you cut & shrink, makes it easier for me to reply (lol)

I'll keep at it. I'm really enjoying this discussion. I am wondering what
other folks think of your idea though.

{Quote hidden}

I know that you'll catch up to my other post in a bit. We have a clear
separation between your completely modular design and my reuable prototyper.

I am glad that you are throwing out some numbers.

Also to repeat (sorry Olin ;-) that the primary purpose of integration is
for standardization, not for education.

{Quote hidden}

That's what I've been doing! ;-)

{Quote hidden}

Ouch! I wouldn't even proffer such a beast! I believe that my I/O list in the
other post consists of what you're calling the PICbase + EDU1 + an LCD. Throw
in a breadboard. Call it $100. If others want to offer the EDU[234] separately
that would be fine. But I'm not talking about throwing in the kitchen sink
into the base prototyper, just some very common I/O devices that get used
over and over in projects.

>
> OR
>
> 130$ for a semi-full training package for which you have to find, order &
> solder(in a way that it works :) stuff on to make it complete.

We certainly do not want to go this route. I think the one thing that's almost
in complete agreement is that a completely assembed unit is the way to go.

>
> I think I know what I would pick ;-D (& ofcourse you also know what *I*
> would pick hehe)

Yes. I do know.

BAJ

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2002\08\12@165853 by Brendan Moran

flavicon
face
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> >2. It having something that is not available on most
> >tools.  That is why I proposed a logic analyser
>
>
> How can you have a logic analyser on a PIC unless you use one of
> the 17 series chips which have the address lines brought out for
> external memory?
>
> I seem to have missed something here, as I cannot imagine you are
> intending to fit bond-out chips used for ICE devices.

Please first understand that I'm talking about an LA coupled with
ICD, not an ICE.

Using a PIC for the host processor is hardly necessary, though that's
what I was thinking.  Any processor with a USB interface and almost
as many pins as or more pins than the target would work if it ran
fast enough.

A 48MHz processor monitoring a 20MHz processor should be just fine,
for example, but to monitor every single line, it may not be enough.
I don't see why the address lines are necessary.  I'm talking about
monitoring the outside of the processor, not the internal memory.
All you need is enough inputs.

Please explain to me why address lines are important in this case.

- --Brendan

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2002\08\12@181443 by Brendan Moran

flavicon
face
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> Agreed. Has anyone really thought through how to attach the
> breadboard to the PCB? In an ideal situtation both the onboard I/O
> pins and the onboard peripherals will be available from the
> breadboard.

Yes.  And though I've mentioned it before, I'll say it again for your
benefit.

There are two simple methods for doing what you are talking about.

The first is to place a x (probably 40) pin IDC connector on the
board, and a x-pin DIP to ribbon connector plugged into that.  Quick
and easy, but the ribbon gets in the way.

The second is to use two bent SIP connectors.  One mounted each way
up, so that they come out in the alignment of a DIP.

ex:

    |
    |--
  --| |
  | | |
  |   |
  |   |

Not my usual ASCII art, sorry bout that.

Either of those methods should work, but you will need one set of
elongated SIP pins for it to be fully effective.

- --Brendan

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2002\08\12@184159 by Brendan Moran

flavicon
face
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> > > Truth be told I'm hoping for the ultimate development kit at a
> > > moderate programmer's price. It's a really unique opportunity.
> > > Plus penultimate implies that there will be something better!
> > > ;-)
> >
> > Yep, CUMP.
>
> Doesn't the CUMP have a different target Brenden? I see it as the
> ultimate in programmable programmers. I think of the other project
> as a high level prototyper board that happens to have a cursory
> programmer function.
>
> What's your take on the differences (if any)?

The differences are vast.  The goal of CUMP is, in fact, to be the
ultimate modular universal programmer.  However, as a byproduct of
its modularity it will be possible to build daughter boards that
allow it to be used as an emulator, in-circuit debugger, logic
analyser, oscilloscope, etc.

- --Brendan

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2002\08\12@184212 by jumanji

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face
From: "Byron A Jeff" <byronspam_OUTspamCC.GATECH.EDU>

> I think that educational is a misnomer here. From reading this message I'm
> getting the impression that the sole purpose of the onboard I/O is to
teach
> concepts. It's not.

As in my latest description, the package isn't solely educational, it does
have features which are meant for educational purposes :)

>The primary purposes are create a ready to use
> development environment and to standardize the base so that everyone that
> has one of these units can be assured of a base set of I/O devices when
> developing or supporting a project.

I don't see why my concept would obstruct the persuit of standardisation :)

> Neither of these are primarily geared
> towards the educational aspect. I think that the CD, documentation, and
> tutorials that we plan to ship serve that purpose.

It also don't have to be, I could easyly call my concept a development
package with the ability to learn on prebuilt stuff :)

> I think I finally have clarity on your dissent to I/O device integration,
Your
> PICbase fits well with the modular environment that you are describing
where
> you'll take the base and essentially permanently affix it to a project. So
> for the next project, you'll start with a new base. Got it. And if that's
the
> tack then you are absolutely correct that the base should have as little
> integration as possible.

Tadaa heheh

> Of course I'm tacking in a completely different direction...

I knew it!! haha

> > With putting alot of stuff on the same PCB as the PIC, you actually
narrow
> > its flexibility imo.
> > With only the circuit to program, run & connect to a PIC on a PICbase,
it
> > can be used by everybody, for many many DIFFERENT things,  this is about
the
> > widest flexibilty I can Imagine. Plus, you can work on different
projects at
> > the same time, just buy more PICbases.

> Bingo! This is the crux of the difference between our paths. You're
thinking
> in terms of multiple small units, one per project. My Designer concept
only
> has a single reusable unit. It's used to develop the project, but it isn't
> integrated into the project at the end. Instead the final project is
> transferred off onto its own board and then the Designer is reused for the
> next project.

Correct, but my method doesn't exclude yours :) plug a PICbase into a
breadboard, your designer or similar thing & you're already a fair bit on
the way with your project. You can keep this 1 system for all your
developments/experiments & still other users can use the other advantages.

> True. But it still illustrates the point that without some additional item
> for input, that the module cannot function in a completely standalone
fashion.

This is very much true, a soundmodule usually has no more then a simple
monitoring function (1note)
BUT, whatever the PBK is going to be, I don't think you are going to write &
program it with the aid of only a pencil & a piece of paper.
(i.o.w. I don't think you'll program many PICs without any kind of computer
:)


> > Another motivation could be that the keyboard versions are more
expensive.

> Absolutely. However if our musical friend didn't have a PC and still had
to
> make the same choice, it wouldn't be such a cut and dried decision.

See above :)

> > And, if later you still want a keyboard, you either could buy a cheap
MIDI
> > controllerkeyboard or a more expensive master keyboard to add to it.

> Again I failed because of my poor formulation of my argument. If we have
> both components and they can only be used in a standalone, not modular,
> configuration, then there is a bit more contrast between the choices.

I'm not sure if I understood you here, but the mentioned keyboards don't
have sounds onboard, so they would be complementary. (ofcourse they could
have, with more investment :)

> Exactly. The problem is that developing for and supporting a modular
system
> is more difficult precisely because of the added complexity of modularity.

I began my suggestion with a condition (if possible to be built ), I'm just
trying to think of & describe how a max flexible system could look like in
general terms,  like I said before, it may be even practically impossible to
build it.

> If we have a system with 10 modular components and I develop a project
with
> modules 1,4 and 5 and you have modules 1,8, and 9, then for you to use,
test,
> or support my project, you'd have to purchase more modules.

Yes naturally, but this over-modularising (you can take this to component
level in all extremity), an edu board should be designed so it is complete
on itself (incl PICbase then), for its intended purpose. If we were to build
the same thing, let's say a HWsequencer, we both would buy a PICbase & you
tell me (I'd hope heh ;) wat other stuff you are going to plug on (y)our
development board (where we have plugged the PICbase in)
& meanwhile some other kind soul is sharing another project with me, for
which I have another PICbase & development board. :)

> However if we both
> shared a resuable base (my Designer, not your PICbase) that incorporated
the
> functionality of modules 1-6,

We do share it :)
I only gave examples of what could be on a board, the details are up to
you,(I don't know which stuff is of equal level) its not that I have in mind
stuff like 1 board with 6potmeters; 1 board with 3serial connectors; another
board with with 13LEDs & a button etc etc..

I'm thinking of PICbase; Educational/experimenter boards ( number = ? mebbe
its only 1, I can't tell) & development board(s.) + your (plural) ideas.

> then I could be assured that anyone that had
> a Designer could run my project out of the box.

You still could :)

> And I'm in full agreement with you that if every project physically
> incorporated the Designer, that it wouldn't work. But the Designer is the
> prototyping platform, not the final target, so the extra baggage of I/O
> devices it carries won't carry over to the final project.

With a PICbase in your designer I develop some project.When it works, I
unplug it (or I just use another) & put it in its final box. This has saved
me soldering together a bunch of
general-not-directly-project-related-&-always-recurring circuitry.(&
possible errors I could make in it)

> > True, there will be a need to build different PCB's for the PBK, but on
the
> > other hand, alot more PICbases could be sold.
> Since this isn't primarily a for profit venture, volumn sales isn't
necessarily
> a goal. However there is always the issue of mindshare.

Well then, don't think about profit for the manufacturer, think about cost
reduction for the enduser :)

> > Your system would be re-useable if i'm not wrong., so you develop
something
> > & when its all working & testing, you're gonna build a new circuit to
run
> > your PIC & talk to your project. Your PBK then serves for another
development.

> Bingo. I think we both understand each other.

Yes, I'm starting to get it too :)

> > In my system, when some idea pops up, I buy a PICbase & I don't worry
about
> > a pwr
> > supply or watever other gizmos it needs, nor do I waste time on
soldering
> > the same thing everytime. I just build the thing inside my project,
basta :)

> Right. But I think a cost analysis would need to be done as a comparison
> of purchasing PICbases on a per project basis as opposed to prototyping on
> a more expensive (initially) box then transferring the project to a real
> cheap board.

I bet a factory built PICbase is way cheaper & safer then buying the same
components seperately in supersmall quantities as a hobbieist would do & If
I were to let make a PCB for my project without the PICbase, the circuit
would be also more complex.

>The best example I can think of is the difference between using
> Basic Stamps and raw PICs. The BS gives a quick to develop platform,
however
> there is a nearly $20 ongoing cost for each one. The PICs are cheaper but
> require more external infrastructure to utilize. I'm not sure who the
winner
> would be in similar circumstances.

see above.

> So at the end of the day (or the end of post) we are in total agreement.
> BTW if you need 10 bootloaded PICs, buy the 10 blanks and them program
them
> with a $5 programmer like my TLVP. Saves you both time and money.



> You bootload into the Designer for development. You then use the Designer
to
> program the final target. The final target doesn't need to have a
bootloader
> on it unless you want to be able to field upgrade it.

Understood.

> > (e.g. 3weeks ago in a local store,  I had to pay 20(twenty!!) friggin
Euro
> > for a silly plastic flatcable PCB connector)
>
> OUCH!

INDEED!

> ICSP - In Circuit Serial Programm[ing,er]. Instead of transferring the
chip to
> be programmed into the programmer, you connect a cable directly to the
target
> and you program the chip in circuit. Usually this means that the
programmer
> doesn't have to have a socket for the chip to be programmed to sit in.

Ah, oki.

> The answer is yes and yes. However it's only for common, resuable I/O.
> Remember I agree it doesn't work in a modular scheme where you'd pay each
time
> you started a new project.

In my modular system I dont buy 'more' then you, for every project you do,
you will also buy a PIC, a crystal etc. (& solder it together)
I buy the same thing, only as an assembled package, which saves me some work
:)

I have no coments on the proposed components, its beyond my knowledge to
know what is necessary. :)

Best regards

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2002\08\12@193116 by Tony Nixon

flavicon
picon face
Just curious, once the hardware is finally decided upon, who is going to
do the much larger part of the job like write all the software, tutorial
notes, create images, wiring diagrams, PCB designs, build prototypes,
debug, decide on what beginners projects to use, develop them all as
full projects, combine it all into a neat package, add printed matter,
and then keep offering time, and gobs of it, to modify and/or add bits
and pieces for customers who will ultimately want something changed.

I know there's plenty of material available, but it may not be
compatable with the final system.

From my experience, this takes many many unpaid hours.

While this may have been enjoyable for me, it might not be workable for
someone who wants to make a little something from it all in the end.

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2002\08\12@213535 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Mon, Aug 12, 2002 at 03:14:04PM -0700, Brendan Moran wrote:
> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> Hash: SHA1
>
> > Agreed. Has anyone really thought through how to attach the
> > breadboard to the PCB? In an ideal situtation both the onboard I/O
> > pins and the onboard peripherals will be available from the
> > breadboard.
>
> Yes.  And though I've mentioned it before, I'll say it again for your
> benefit.
>
> There are two simple methods for doing what you are talking about.
>
> The first is to place a x (probably 40) pin IDC connector on the
> board, and a x-pin DIP to ribbon connector plugged into that.  Quick
> and easy, but the ribbon gets in the way.

Right. Makes sense. Does a 40 pin skinny dip connector exist?

{Quote hidden}

Has anyone ever tried to access a breadboard from the bottom? Just wondering
because the CCS Software Prototyper has a small breadboard that claims to have
access to the I/O pins yet doesn't seem to have any interface on the top.

BAJ

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2002\08\12@223550 by Shawn Mulligan

picon face
Get better soon. We should have it down to a 10 x 10, 12-layer board by the
time you get back -- So relax and get better.
-Shawn


Sean Alcorn wrote:

{Quote hidden}

_________________________________________________________________
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2002\08\13@050856 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>The primary purposes are create a ready to use
> development environment and to standardize the base so that everyone that
> has one of these units can be assured of a base set of I/O devices when
> developing or supporting a project.

Actually I thought it was a little more altruistic than that :)

It seemed to start out from Kieran's difficulties getting a programmer
working, and someone came up with the idea of having a kit we could
recommend to beginners.

It was to be pre-built so that there would be no solder splashes, dry joints
etc to stop the hardware working, and someone has the facilities to do this
as a pay back for help they have had from the list.

It would have a fixed configuration so that everyone knew the function of
each available pin on the micro, and what peripheral it is connected to.

It would have a number of sexy peripheral items to experiment with, already
provided so there is no difficulty with adding hardware to experiment, and
the owner can therefore leap straight in and learn software techniques for
driving the different items.

A CD of useful software, tutorials, and example programs would be provided.

These factors would allow all the more experienced folk on this list to
provide positive advice to assist in getting working code, without working
in the dark about the physical details of the hardware and how it was built.

Have I managed to sum up the goals ?

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2002\08\13@050918 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>I'll keep at it. I'm really enjoying this discussion. I am
>wondering what other folks think of your idea though.

I get the impression that the PICBase could be the additional board that is
supplied with the ICD, used to plug a target processor into the target
system. Have I got the correct idea from this thread?

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2002\08\13@054354 by Vasile Surducan

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face
On Tue, 13 Aug 2002, Alan B. Pearce wrote:

>
> It would have a number of sexy peripheral items to experiment with, already
> provided so there is no difficulty with adding hardware to experiment, and
> the owner can therefore leap straight in and learn software techniques for
> driving the different items.
>
> A CD of useful software, tutorials, and example programs would be provided.
>

 I'm already thinked to a such PCB/CD/book. It'a almost done but is
designed for Jal ( which is more proper for beginners that any
assembler or C or picbasic compiler) and will be distributed with our new
book. It has a section
with +5V supply and 3 different midrange PIC-flash microcontrollers, two
of them may be used simultaniously, a serial & parallel  LCD, AD,
4x7seg digits, RS232, RS485, potentiometers, various temperature sensors,
eeprom, serial to parallel and reversed registers, leds and a really large
protoboard area.
The whole PCB is on a simple eurocard and the user MUST solder his own
connection to the pic pins. There isn't hw without sw on PIC land so
don't excuse the user to do only PIC programming, that's the bigest mistake
you may do. The experimenter must spend an equal time in developing his own
hardware and software design. ( even in assembler you may expect your
beard growing until finishing the firmware )

best,
Vasile

http://www.geocities.com/vsurducan

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2002\08\13@090532 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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> Have I managed to sum up the goals ?

Looks like Alan has been paying attention! :-)

Sean

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2002\08\13@111011 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Tue, Aug 13, 2002 at 09:29:17AM +0100, Alan B. Pearce wrote:
> >The primary purposes are create a ready to use
> > development environment and to standardize the base so that everyone that
> > has one of these units can be assured of a base set of I/O devices when
> > developing or supporting a project.
>
> Actually I thought it was a little more altruistic than that :)

I think it started out more altruistic than that. But I hope the realization
sets in that we're going to have to collectively support this project.

>
> It seemed to start out from Kieran's difficulties getting a programmer
> working, and someone came up with the idea of having a kit we could
> recommend to beginners.

...with the addition that it would target the newer PIC families (Shawn) and
that it would also have a tutorial/documentation aspect to it (also Shawn).

> It was to be pre-built so that there would be no solder splashes, dry joints
> etc to stop the hardware working, and someone has the facilities to do this
> as a pay back for help they have had from the list.

That would be Sean Alcorn. Correct.

>
> It would have a fixed configuration so that everyone knew the function of
> each available pin on the micro, and what peripheral it is connected to.
>
> It would have a number of sexy peripheral items to experiment with, already
> provided so there is no difficulty with adding hardware to experiment, and
> the owner can therefore leap straight in and learn software techniques for
> driving the different items.

Well there are several issues under these two points that are under discussion.
There are currently 2 rational, complementary perspectives on the table.
What you have above is the basis of my proposal.

Geert wants the same but in a more modular format where the core controller
functions are in a separate module from the I/O: the PICbase. This PICbase
can then be used as the core element of projects, and can be coupled to
standardized I/O boards that contains the rest of what you describe above.

These two are both in the demonstration/evaluation board motif. The other
class on the table is in the extended programmer vein. I think that Jason
Harpers really cool depiction would be representative of that model.

>
> A CD of useful software, tutorials, and example programs would be provided.
>
> These factors would allow all the more experienced folk on this list to
> provide positive advice to assist in getting working code, without working
> in the dark about the physical details of the hardware and how it was built.

Alan, you need to be our spokesperson. Well said. Well said.

>
> Have I managed to sum up the goals ?

Couldn't have done it better myself. Seriously, I couldn't. Excellent job.

Just one to add:

The hardware would provide a facility so that some subset of the PIC family
could be programmed with it. Truth be told there's enough hardware there to
program everything: A mini CUMP as it were.

BAJ

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2002\08\13@115011 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>The other class on the table is in the extended programmer
>vein. I think that Jason Harpers really cool depiction
>would be representative of that model.

I do not go along with having all the sockets he depicts.
I believe it should be restricted to 3 possibilities -:


1. Have a 16F877 as the on-board processor. This could be a DIP version in a
socket, or an SM version permanently soldered in, in which case a separate
40 pin socket for a DIP chip would be advisable.

2. Be able to have an 18Fxxx family as a second processor, programmed using
the 16F877 as a programmer. I would envisage this being able to be fitted in
the 40 pin socket mentioned above. If the only processor supplied with the
board is a 16F877 in a socket, then some way of programming to bootstrap
oneself up from a totally blank chip is needed.

3. be able to program through ICSP connection a 16F627/8, but I don't
envisage having a socket for this processor as a standard part of the board,
but am prepared to bend on this. Again the resident 16F877 acts as the
programmer.

I see no need to be able to handle absolutely every chip Microchip make. If
someone expects to need that, then they should be able to make a case for
getting a Picstart+.

This means that the programming side needs to be able to recognise 16F627/8
(2 chips) 16F87x (4 chips, 6 if 16F870/2 are included) and 18Fxxx (4 chips I
think) by the time 28 and 40 pin versions are considered.


>The hardware would provide a facility so that some subset of
>the PIC family could be programmed with it. Truth be told
>there's enough hardware there to program everything:
>A mini CUMP as it were.

Well I think we should not be doing the full range of PIC's, and certainly
should not be trying to do any other processor, which is why I have summed
up above the chips I see as being needed to be covered.

It may be as time passes that expansion is need to cover USB and/or CAN or
some other special interface versions of PIC's, but hopefully these could be
covered by software upgrades later.

These would probably also need extra tutorial material to give examples of
how the specific interfaces work, or it could be assumed that if someone is
leaping into those, they know what they are doing, and so should be getting
a PICStart+ and hence we should not be trying to support them with this
board. That however I see as a decision for later once the current spec
requirements are tied down. The ICSP I believe is flexible enough that there
should be no hardware changes (unless Microchip bring out devices with 3.3V
max supplies :)).

In thinking about what has been written above I get the feeling that there
will have to be two processors on the board, one to handle the programming
functions/ICD host, and the other to be the target. So I suppose one of them
has to be a 16F876 to handle this, with a 40 pin socket for 16F877/18F4xx
target device. I would expect anyone using this system as a development
board for a 28 pin version of the processor to use the 40 pin version within
this board, and then program their 28 pin in the target system by ICSP.

>> Have I managed to sum up the goals ?

>Couldn't have done it better myself. Seriously, I couldn't. Excellent job.

Well thank you kind Sir :))

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2002\08\13@124933 by Brendan Moran

flavicon
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> > > Agreed. Has anyone really thought through how to attach the
> > > breadboard to the PCB? In an ideal situtation both the onboard
> > > I/O pins and the onboard peripherals will be available from the
> > > breadboard.
> >
> > Yes.  And though I've mentioned it before, I'll say it again for
> > your benefit.
> >
> > There are two simple methods for doing what you are talking
> > about.
> >
> > The first is to place a x (probably 40) pin IDC connector on the
> > board, and a x-pin DIP to ribbon connector plugged into that.
> > Quick and easy, but the ribbon gets in the way.
>
> Right. Makes sense. Does a 40 pin skinny dip connector exist?

Not sure, but I'll do a quick search. (time elapses) Yes, Digikey has
them.  They're CWR-130-40-0000 and cost 4.06USD in 1s and they fall
to 1.96USD in quantities of 250.  They have phosphor bronze contacts
with gold plating.  Should do the trick, I think.

{Quote hidden}

I still think the SIP style is a nice solution.  Look at it this way:
It's really easy to do. One right-angle SIP mounted to the top, one
right-angle SIP mounted to the bottom.  I think that gives the
spacing of a skinyDIP, so you can just plug the board vertically into
the breadboard.

> Has anyone ever tried to access a breadboard from the bottom? Just
> wondering because the CCS Software Prototyper has a small
> breadboard that claims to have access to the I/O pins yet doesn't
> seem to have any interface on the top.

Yes, I've seen that.  It's not too tough to do.  Here's the trick:
cut away the foam or coating on the bottom of the breadboard where
you want to connect the pins, the solder pins to them.  Then solder
the breadboard down like any other component.  Works well on a hobby
basis but for a manufacturin basis, it's probably more expensive than
it's worth.

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2002\08\13@125544 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Tue, Aug 13, 2002 at 04:49:57PM +0100, Alan B. Pearce wrote:
> >The other class on the table is in the extended programmer
> >vein. I think that Jason Harpers really cool depiction
> >would be representative of that model.
>
> I do not go along with having all the sockets he depicts.

Neither do I. I just thought that it was cool that he took the time to
actually draw and post a design.

One small note. In every instance below I believe that we should consider the
16F87XA instead of the 16F87X. The program memory of the A part has 100 times
the erase/write programming endurance of the original.

> I believe it should be restricted to 3 possibilities -:
>
>
> 1. Have a 16F877 as the on-board processor. This could be a DIP version in a
> socket, or an SM version permanently soldered in, in which case a separate
> 40 pin socket for a DIP chip would be advisable.

Makes a lot of sense. Except that your suggestion below is much better.

>
> 2. Be able to have an 18Fxxx family as a second processor, programmed using
> the 16F877 as a programmer. I would envisage this being able to be fitted in
> the 40 pin socket mentioned above. If the only processor supplied with the
> board is a 16F877 in a socket, then some way of programming to bootstrap
> oneself up from a totally blank chip is needed.

I can see this one too. There is enough difference in the 16 and 18 families
to merit wanting to have one of each at some point in time. This could be
the swing point for having a two chip system in place.

I'm pretty sure that most of us have abandoned the prospect of bottstrapping
from a completely blank chip. The board would come with a preprogrammed chip
no doubt.

>
> 3. be able to program through ICSP connection a 16F627/8, but I don't
> envisage having a socket for this processor as a standard part of the board,
> but am prepared to bend on this. Again the resident 16F877 acts as the
> programmer.

Once you have ICSP, you can program pretty much anything. That's why I always
had proposed an ISCP port. Then you can do any chip in any package without
the baggage of a socket.

>
> I see no need to be able to handle absolutely every chip Microchip make. If
> someone expects to need that, then they should be able to make a case for
> getting a Picstart+.

True. True.

>
> This means that the programming side needs to be able to recognise 16F627/8
> (2 chips) 16F87x (4 chips, 6 if 16F870/2 are included) and 18Fxxx (4 chips I
> think) by the time 28 and 40 pin versions are considered.

The programming software can easily be a downloadable application. One can
pick and choose as needed for the particular part to program.

The only one magic feature that I'd like to personally see embedded in the
firmware is the ability of the onboard processor to clone itself. It would
only have to be a single algorithm for a single part. I just feel that the
part should be able to back itself up without having to download software
to it. But I realize that yould take up some more program memory that could
be allocated for development. I'm not married to it, but it is a thought.
I just see it as a convenient way to backup the Designer's main processor.

> >The hardware would provide a facility so that some subset of
> >the PIC family could be programmed with it. Truth be told
> >there's enough hardware there to program everything:
> >A mini CUMP as it were.
>
> Well I think we should not be doing the full range of PIC's, and certainly
> should not be trying to do any other processor, which is why I have summed
> up above the chips I see as being needed to be covered.

Actually once an ICSP port is implemented, programming any other PIC with a
serial programming interface isn't really a problem. The software can be
downloaded, and no socket need be provided. You essentially get a complete
PIC programmer for free.

{Quote hidden}

Exactly. No additional hardware is required to program other PIC parts.
So no worries.

{Quote hidden}

That's been Brenden's proposal from the beginning. He has argued (almost to the
point of success ;-) that in that fashion all of the resources of the target
processor will be available for the project, instead of losing some measure of
program memory and last least 1 I/O pin to the bootloader.

It had always been my thinking that a single chip could do the job provided
that it offered an ICSP port so that it can program an offboard target chip.
I felt that it reduced the complexity of the Designer while offering the
flexibility to still program other parts with it.

But the prospect of a 16F chip and 18F chip residing on the same box has me
willing to change my vote under a few conditions:

1) That both chips/sockets be of the 40 pin variety.

2) That the entire system can in fact be operated with only a single chip in
  place.

3) That both chips/sockets have equal access to the I/O facilites onboard.

4) We still carry a separate ICSP interface.

The two chip system works for me if the second socket is available for an 18F
co-upgrade. That's enough to justify adding the boardspace for an addition
socket and whatever additional circuitry required for both chips to have I/O
access.  We get a flexibile multiconfiguration setup that should meet any
ordinary need.  For the sake of discussion say we call these the P and S
sockets for primary and secondary.

The Designer is shipped with a 16F877A in the P-socket and the S-socket empty.
In this configuration it functions as a standalone 16F prototyping station.

Another 40 pin chip can be dropped into the S-socket and can become the fully
accessible target processor. It'll be programmed by the P-socket processor.
The S-socket chip can be either a 16F877 or more interestingly a 18F452 giving
instant 18F developability.

In any and all cases the ICSP port can be used to program off board or non 40
pin targets.

>
> >> Have I managed to sum up the goals ?
>
> >Couldn't have done it better myself. Seriously, I couldn't. Excellent job.
>
> Well thank you kind Sir :))

You are quite welcome.

BAJ

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2002\08\14@042127 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>But the prospect of a 16F chip and 18F chip residing on the
>same box has me willing to change my vote under a few conditions:
>
>1) That both chips/sockets be of the 40 pin variety.
>
>2) That the entire system can in fact be operated with only a single chip
in
>   place.
>
>3) That both chips/sockets have equal access to the I/O facilites onboard.
>
>4) We still carry a separate ICSP interface.

Well what I liked about a single 40 pin socket, was that the 16F877, and the
18F452 (from my very quick perusal of the data sheets) appear to be pin
compatible. This would mean the one socket would serve them both. This then
serves your item 3 above.

My only preference here is that some form of patch area is provided for the
peripherals so that they can be swapped between ports, or to the breadboard
area, even if this takes the form of holes to allow a ribbon cable pin
header to be fitted, but the holes are connected together by tracks which
need cutting with a scalpel if one wishes to change the port the peripheral
is on.

I'm quite happy that a 16F877A be the provided processor, but some info
would seem to be needed for the novice end user who may be familiar with the
info on the web, but as I understand it there are subtle differences with
this chip, apart from the programming, but I have no experience with it, and
have not checked it out.

If a person wanted to have a second processor then they could provide
themselves with another socket on the breadboard area. I personally don't
think that a second socket should be provided per se. maybe I could bend a
little and figure that a set of holes for a socket and headers, with
necessary components like the crystal/resonator and reset pull up resistors
be provided, but not the components to populate them. They are for the end
user to source and fit if required.

The "programmer" processor should be soldered in, and not in a socket. I
wonder if it is possible to have "multiple" ICSP ports on it, one
permanently wired (through protection resistors) to the provided socket, and
a second one to a separate ICSP header which is used for the external
programming port. If a second processor socket is provided then an ICSP port
to that could also be provided. A software command switches between ports to
determine which one is active.

>The only one magic feature that I'd like to personally see embedded in the
>firmware is the ability of the onboard processor to clone itself. It would
>only have to be a single algorithm for a single part. I just feel that the
>part should be able to back itself up without having to download software
>to it. But I realize that yould take up some more program memory that could
>be allocated for development. I'm not married to it, but it is a thought.
>I just see it as a convenient way to backup the Designer's main processor.

Well if there is a "programmer" on the board, and a file of the destination
chip contents, as provided with the kit, then this is not an issue, surely.
Taken to the extreme though, if the "programmer" chip has multiple ICSP
ports on it, then perhaps a command could be provided to "copy port X to
port Y", hence providing the duplication function totally inside the
"programmer" chip.

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2002\08\14@074542 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Wed, Aug 14, 2002 at 09:21:15AM +0100, Alan B. Pearce wrote:

I thought this thread had been put to sleep! I have a feeling we're coming to
consensus.

{Quote hidden}

It is.

> This would mean the one socket would serve them both. This then
> serves your item 3 above.

But here's the problem that I see. If you have a single socket then you're
comitted a developing for one or the other. By having both onboard at the
same time, you can choose to develop for one, either, or both at the same time.

>
> My only preference here is that some form of patch area is provided for the
> peripherals so that they can be swapped between ports, or to the breadboard
> area, even if this takes the form of holes to allow a ribbon cable pin
> header to be fitted, but the holes are connected together by tracks which
> need cutting with a scalpel if one wishes to change the port the peripheral
> is on.

I was thinking jumpers all the way from the very beginning. Simply have
a dual row header filled with jumpers to the default config. To disable a
particular I/O simply pull its jumper. To rewire pull all the jumpers and
replace with a ribbon cable wired to your specification.

I believe that cutting traces would not be advisable for the Designer. However
for the separate target PCB it's probably a good idea so that if the default
config is fine you can simple leave the dual row socket unpopulated. However
if you do need to rewire simply cut all the traces, install the dual row header
and rewire as you see fit.

> I'm quite happy that a 16F877A be the provided processor, but some info
> would seem to be needed for the novice end user who may be familiar with the
> info on the web, but as I understand it there are subtle differences with
> this chip, apart from the programming, but I have no experience with it, and
> have not checked it out.

There are programming differences. It adds comparators that are disabled by
default. The program memory is now rated for 100k cycles. The differences are
outlined in this Microchip doc:

http://www.microchip.com/download/lit/migrat/39591a.pdf

Nothing new really needs to be explained unless you want to use the comparators
or if you want to write your own programmer/bootloader.

> If a person wanted to have a second processor then they could provide
> themselves with another socket on the breadboard area. I personally don't
> think that a second socket should be provided per se. maybe I could bend a
> little and figure that a set of holes for a socket and headers, with
> necessary components like the crystal/resonator and reset pull up resistors
> be provided, but not the components to populate them. They are for the end
> user to source and fit if required.

Hmmm. So you're rethinking your thought from the other day then:

"In thinking about what has been written above I get the feeling that there
will have to be two processors on the board, one to handle the programming
functions/ICD host, and the other to be the target."

I agreed because a two socket system is the only way to have a 16 and 18
series development environment at the same time. Brenden's thought was in
agreement with your quote. So I thought we had concensus.

The only issue I have about unpopulated PCB is that a novice can screw up
a rather expensive board trying to solder stuff on. I'd rather see a
daughterboard that is simply plugged in some socket in that case.

>
> The "programmer" processor should be soldered in, and not in a socket.

You get more flexibility if it's socketed. For example if someone need to
do near exclusive 18F development. it would only be the cost of swapping the
parts.

> I wonder if it is possible to have "multiple" ICSP ports on it, one
> permanently wired (through protection resistors) to the provided socket, and
> a second one to a separate ICSP header which is used for the external
> programming port. If a second processor socket is provided then an ICSP port
> to that could also be provided. A software command switches between ports to
> determine which one is active.

Probably too complicated. I'll think about it and get back to you on it.


{Quote hidden}

Just a simple cloner where a chip transfers its own bootloader contents to
another of the same chip.

> Taken to the extreme though, if the "programmer" chip has multiple ICSP
> ports on it, then perhaps a command could be provided to "copy port X to
> port Y", hence providing the duplication function totally inside the
> "programmer" chip.

;-)

BAJ

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2002\08\14@080314 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>> The "programmer" processor should be soldered in, and not in a socket.

>You get more flexibility if it's socketed. For example if someone need to
>do near exclusive 18F development. it would only be the cost of swapping
the
>parts.

well I figure this is the way to "disappear" the "programmer" and make it a
development unit. I thought that there was some consensus on disappearing
the programming function. This then means that there is a programmer on the
board which can never be touched by the user, so bootstrapping up from
nothing is never a problem. I envisaged a surface mount 16F876 for this
function, a bit like the ICD. Wether it would work as an ICD for an 18Fxxx
series chip I do not know, maybe the answer is to see what is required for
that and check if it is backward compatible to the 16F87x series.

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2002\08\14@140509 by jumanji

flavicon
face
> I thought this thread had been put to sleep!

One gets tired of writing pagelong emails ;)

But, okay, I think myself has said enough about my own ideas on PBK,
I hope the project does see life & I'm sure you ppl will make the best out
of it, whatever its final looks may be.

I'll be spending my time on my PIC/assembly courses now, if you ever need my
attention, just post a msg that newbies know zip & I'll be there again (lol)

Goodluck to all,

Geert.

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2002\08\14@175836 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Wed, Aug 14, 2002 at 01:01:54PM +0100, Alan B. Pearce wrote:
> >> The "programmer" processor should be soldered in, and not in a socket.
>
> >You get more flexibility if it's socketed. For example if someone need to
> >do near exclusive 18F development. it would only be the cost of swapping
> the
> >parts.
>
> well I figure this is the way to "disappear" the "programmer" and make it a
> development unit. I thought that there was some consensus on disappearing
> the programming function.

That wasn't my understanding...

> This then means that there is a programmer on the
> board which can never be touched by the user, so bootstrapping up from
> nothing is never a problem.

That wasn't my understanding... ;-)

> I envisaged a surface mount 16F876 for this
> function, a bit like the ICD. Wether it would work as an ICD for an 18Fxxx
> series chip I do not know, maybe the answer is to see what is required for
> that and check if it is backward compatible to the 16F87x series.

Not sure.

I'll keep my summary short. You can check the archives for more details.

The unit comes with one socketed preprogrammed chip (P-socket), an empty
socket (S-socket), and an ICSP port (I-port?).  Development can occur (via
bootloader) to the P-socket chip, or the P-socket chip can program another
chip either via the S-socket or the I-port. The S-socket has two functions:
to allow for a dual 16 serial/18 series setup and to allow full access to the
S-socketed chip (i.e. it doesn't require a bootloader). The I-port is to
program offboard targets and odd sized (relative to the 40 pin P and S socket)
chips.

I hope I kept it short enough.

BAJ

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2002\08\14@180732 by Brendan Moran

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

> I'll keep my summary short. You can check the archives for more
> details.
>
> The unit comes with one socketed preprogrammed chip (P-socket), an
> empty socket (S-socket), and an ICSP port (I-port?).  Development
> can occur (via bootloader) to the P-socket chip, or the P-socket
> chip can program another chip either via the S-socket or the
> I-port. The S-socket has two functions: to allow for a dual 16
> serial/18 series setup and to allow full access to the S-socketed
> chip (i.e. it doesn't require a bootloader). The I-port is to
> program offboard targets and odd sized (relative to the 40 pin P
> and S socket) chips.
>

Byron,

I've been supporting the idea of a two chip system for a while now,
and I think this is getting pretty close to something that I'd like
to see.  Would it be possible to have a hex file for the P-socket
chip that would allow it to act in ICD mode on the S-Socket chip?
There's no LA, but I can still live with that.  One other idea: I
like the principle of allowing for multiple oscillator
configurations.

I just hope that this doesn't get too far into CUMP's territory (;

- --Brendan

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2002\08\14@191143 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Wed, Aug 14, 2002 at 03:06:07PM -0700, Brendan Moran wrote:
{Quote hidden}

I'm well aware. Alan's observation that it was the only mechanism to have
a 16F and 18F config is what finally swayed me.

> and I think this is getting pretty close to something that I'd like
> to see.  Would it be possible to have a hex file for the P-socket
> chip that would allow it to act in ICD mode on the S-Socket chip?

Not sure. Tackling writing our own ICD seems a daunting task.

> There's no LA, but I can still live with that.  One other idea: I
> like the principle of allowing for multiple oscillator configurations.

No problem with that for the S-socket. I do believe that the P-socket chip
will have to have a fixed oscillator config. Otherwise it may have a difficult
time communicating with the host.

>
> I just hope that this doesn't get too far into CUMP's territory (;

No chance. As I've said all along it's a universal demo board, not a universal
programmer.

BAJ

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2002\08\14@192644 by Brendan Moran

flavicon
face
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
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> On Wed, Aug 14, 2002 at 03:06:07PM -0700, Brendan Moran wrote:
> > Byron,
> >
> > I've been supporting the idea of a two chip system for a while
> > now,
>
> I'm well aware. Alan's observation that it was the only mechanism
> to have a 16F and 18F config is what finally swayed me.
>
> > and I think this is getting pretty close to something that I'd
> > like to see.  Would it be possible to have a hex file for the
> > P-socket chip that would allow it to act in ICD mode on the
> > S-Socket chip?
>
> Not sure. Tackling writing our own ICD seems a daunting task.

Well, we do have the "free ICD" to give us a kick in the right
direction.

> > There's no LA, but I can still live with that.  One other idea: I
> > like the principle of allowing for multiple oscillator
> > configurations.
>
> No problem with that for the S-socket. I do believe that the
> P-socket chip will have to have a fixed oscillator config.
> Otherwise it may have a difficult time communicating with the host.

Sounds sensible.

> >
> > I just hope that this doesn't get too far into CUMP's territory
> > (;
>
> No chance. As I've said all along it's a universal demo board, not
> a universal programmer.
>

- --Brendan

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2002\08\14@211935 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Tue, Aug 13, 2002 at 12:17:41AM +0200, jumanji wrote:
> From: "Byron A Jeff" <EraseMEbyronSTOPspamspamRemoveMECC.GATECH.EDU>
>

I saw in a future post of your that you felt that you put everything you needed
to on the table. I just haven't had an oppotunity to respond to this post.
If you have time, I'd like to continue the discussion.

I'm pretty sure we reached consensus on the technical merits of each other's
views. Your are well thought out and solid. I don't think there's a need to
discuss them further unless you just feel like it.

What I'd like to further discuss are the differences in the goals and
philosophies of each approach. My thesis is that you primary list of goals:
simple interconnected modules that facilitates a lower barrier to entry on
a per project basis, works well for seasoned designers. However that from
both a novice and support standpoint that the system is more complicated.
I will do my best to both sitck to the point and keep it short.

> >The primary purposes are create a ready to use
> > development environment and to standardize the base so that everyone that
> > has one of these units can be assured of a base set of I/O devices when
> > developing or supporting a project.
>
> I don't see why my concept would obstruct the persuit of standardisation :)

It does obstruct because in your system all that's required is the PICbase.
The very fact that the system is modular means that other than the PICbase.

[Byron pulls another slip from the Analogy Machine and reads:] imagine the
C programming language without the C library. Everyone could write C but
each person would have to use a I/O library of their own choosing. No
matter how wide a variety of libraries that existed, an no matter how
clever or useful they are, there would be a barrier to standardization
precisely because choices are available.

Virtually every C programming environment comes with the C library. One
can write to that library specification with confidence because one knows
it's going to be there.

Further imagine trying to write the standard hello world program if the
printf function were optional.

There are issues in paring down the base.

And a reminder: I'm discussing the prototyping base, not the per project
base.

{Quote hidden}

Here's the problem. Novice is presented with two choices: PICbase for $20 or
PICbase + Designer for say $100. Which do they choose?

[..as another slip emerges from the Analogy Machine] It's the difference
between and entire computer and just a CPU. The CPU is an essential component
to an entire computer, and is cheaper than an entire computer. However it
isn't sufficient.

This isn't an issue except for the fact that a novice will probably be unclear
of the distinction.

> program it with the aid of only a pencil & a piece of paper.
> (i.o.w. I don't think you'll program many PICs without any kind of computer
> :)

Ask Tony Nixon about his Fobbit. It certainly isn't a computer in the
traditional sense.

{Quote hidden}

I missed again (sorry Phil Collins ;-). It's narrowmindedness on my part. I
own a digital piano. I'm used to keyboards being attached to sound modules.

>
> > Exactly. The problem is that developing for and supporting a modular
> system
> > is more difficult precisely because of the added complexity of modularity.
>
> I began my suggestion with a condition (if possible to be built ), I'm just
> trying to think of & describe how a max flexible system could look like in
> general terms,  like I said before, it may be even practically impossible to
> build it.

That's not it. It's imminently buildable. It's extremely useful. I'm only
speaking to supportability. As the project's supports we'll run into the
common situation with modularized components...

[ BAJ is an analogy fiend! ;-) ] Your scanner on your PC won't scan. Who do
you blame? The scanner manufacturer? The Operating System? The Driver? The
application? or is it an incompatibility with your port? Hmmmm.

Same idea here. A project with a PICbase doesn't work for a novice designer.
Where's the finger going to be pointed? I mean the PICbase was supposed to
facilitate getting my project going. But because of one misplaced or missing
wire on the designers own wired board it doesn't happen to work. But you'd
best believe we'd get a question or a report faster than your head could
spin.
{Quote hidden}

Which is where I started this discussion, except that I renew my objection to
calling the I/O board an edu board. ;-)

> If we were to build
> the same thing, let's say a HWsequencer, we both would buy a PICbase & you
> tell me (I'd hope heh ;) wat other stuff you are going to plug on (y)our
> development board (where we have plugged the PICbase in)
> & meanwhile some other kind soul is sharing another project with me, for
> which I have another PICbase & development board. :)

Right. I know. But everyone else with a PICbase wouldn't have the same
hardware we have. They wouldn't have to get it. It's both a plus (more
flexible, more modular, cheaper) and a minus (less standardization, harder
to support, requires additional hardware).

>
> > However if we both
> > shared a resuable base (my Designer, not your PICbase) that incorporated
> the
> > functionality of modules 1-6,
>
> We do share it :)

No because you make it optional. And while that's fine, absolutely fine,
for someone who knows how the system works, it can be a novice's worst
nightmare because while it gives the impression of being a complete unit,
it in fact is imcomplete. Then compared to something more complete, like
the Designer, it seems like a bargain... at first.

> I only gave examples of what could be on a board, the details are up to
> you,(I don't know which stuff is of equal level) its not that I have in mind
> stuff like 1 board with 6potmeters; 1 board with 3serial connectors; another
> board with with 13LEDs & a button etc etc..

I know. The only problem is that everything, absolutely everything, is
optional. Therefore there's no consensus as to what's shared.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, this is a beautiful environment for the
intermediate or experienced designer who understands that it's simply a
plug in component, a cog in the machine. But I have misgivings about how to
present such a system to folks walking in off the street as it were.

>
> I'm thinking of PICbase; Educational/experimenter boards ( number = ? mebbe
> its only 1, I can't tell) & development board(s.) + your (plural) ideas.

I can't see either the production of such a diverse system or more importantly
the support of such a diverse system.

>
> > then I could be assured that anyone that had
> > a Designer could run my project out of the box.
>
> You still could :)

No. Everything in your system is optional. It's like saying I can put a
printf in my C program, but the C compiler doesn't have to have the standard
I/O library. I cannot be assured that folks can run my program out of the box
because th library is optional.

BTW I run into this problem with Perl programs all the time.


{Quote hidden}

You're still missing my point. The final box will only have the actual
devices that it uses. It doesn't need to carry anything it doesn't actually
use.
{Quote hidden}

And a loss of collective value for the community.

{Quote hidden}

And see this is where I think the PICbase in some variant enters the stage.

{Quote hidden}

Well that's a given. But the PICbase doesn't carry any of the I/O and there's
still going to be the issue of supplying those components. But since the
PICbase has no specification for standard I/O components, it'll be every use
for themself.

[ A bunch deleted... BAJ]

[The question were: Do I pay for extra I/O on the Designer? Even if I don't
use those components? ]

> > The answer is yes and yes. However it's only for common, resuable I/O.
> > Remember I agree it doesn't work in a modular scheme where you'd pay each
> time
> > you started a new project.
>
> In my modular system I dont buy 'more' then you, for every project you do,
> you will also buy a PIC, a crystal etc. (& solder it together)
> I buy the same thing, only as an assembled package, which saves me some work
> :)

But that's why our proposed projects are orthogonal and complementary.
The Designer can easily be done with a PICbase at its core. I don't have
any techological problem with that. The Designer only tangentially touches
upon the issue of project migration while the PICbase addresses it solidly.
The Designer provides a foundation for design and support that the PICbase
omits. They'll do very well together. The problem is how to get across the
point to novices that the Designer offers them significant value. Here's a
sample conversation to illustrate:

NU (New User): I just heard about the new PICLIST design system. I purchased
a PICbase for $20. How do I hook up an LCD to it?

PL (PICLIST):  Well while you can certainly choose whatever ports you like,
on the PICLIST Designer (PLD) the low 6 bits of PORTD are used.

NU: Well I didn't buy it. It cost too much. So if the LCD has 8 data lines then
how can I just use PORTD?

PL: The LCD is attached in 4 bit mode. Here's a sample project and schematic
that shows how it works.

NU: I look at it but my LCD has 22 pins while your shows 14. So how do they
map up?

PL: Well the Designer uses the standard 14 pin connector for 44780 LCD
controller. What type of LCD do you have?

...

NU: I hooked it up and tried the program. IT DIDN"T WORK! I can't even blink
an LED on a port.

PL: Well can you describe how you hooked everything up?

....

And so forth and so on. While the PICbase is standard, everything else is
so variable that there are any number of failure points along the way.

So in the end the question is not which system to use as both have their
applications. The issue is how to get the primary target audience, newcomers,
to come on board with the full program, the Designer, as opposed to its
core modular component, the PICbase.

BAJ

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2002\08\14@212831 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Tue, Aug 13, 2002 at 09:27:25AM +1000, Tony Nixon wrote:
> Just curious, once the hardware is finally decided upon, who is going to
> do the much larger part of the job like write all the software, tutorial
> notes, create images, wiring diagrams, PCB designs, build prototypes,
> debug, decide on what beginners projects to use, develop them all as
> full projects, combine it all into a neat package, add printed matter,
> and then keep offering time, and gobs of it, to modify and/or add bits
> and pieces for customers who will ultimately want something changed.

Why you are! ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-)

>
> I know there's plenty of material available, but it may not be
> compatable with the final system.

It won't be. It'll have to be ported.

>
> >From my experience, this takes many many unpaid hours.
>
> While this may have been enjoyable for me, it might not be workable for
> someone who wants to make a little something from it all in the end.

It can't be an individual doing all of the work. I'm figuring it'll have
to be something akin to Linux kernel development, where there's simply too
much for even a small group to handle. We're going to need a lot of folks,
and there's going to have to be some type of editorial board that manages
the overall content. In the end I'm sure we'll end up having to limit the
amount of work that needs to be done.

You've already helped tremendously Tony simply by providing a framework
under which we can work. I figure that each project will need a three person
team: a developer, a writer, and an editor. We'll simply have to limit
the amount of work each individual can be assigned, and delineate our projects
based on the amount of available people power.

One service I believe that we'll have to offer to our customers are cheap
(if not free) CD updates.

I don't think we have to do everything at once to get off the ground. If we try
we'll be grounded before we ever get started.

BAJ.

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2002\08\14@213453 by Brendan Moran

flavicon
face
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> So in the end the question is not which system to use as both have
> their applications. The issue is how to get the primary target
> audience, newcomers, to come on board with the full program, the
> Designer, as opposed to its core modular component, the PICbase.

Simple.  Require 3 sections on any website selling the products:

Beginner:
The designer
Some special modules that attach

Intermediate:
PICbase
Buncha modules

Advanced
Modules like Ethernet and USB interfacing

Or something like that.  Point being that you don't display the cheap
PICbase on the beginner page.  And you put a warning on the page with
the 3 links that says that "no modules under advanced or intermediate
are self contained"

Or something like that.

- --Brendan

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2002\08\15@042433 by Vasile Surducan

flavicon
face
On Wed, 14 Aug 2002, Byron A Jeff wrote:

> > Byron,
> >
> > I've been supporting the idea of a two chip system for a while now,
>
> I'm well aware. Alan's observation that it was the only mechanism to have
> a 16F and 18F config is what finally swayed me.
>
> > and I think this is getting pretty close to something that I'd like
> > to see.  Would it be possible to have a hex file for the P-socket
> > chip that would allow it to act in ICD mode on the S-Socket chip?
>

 I think the subject must be changed to PIC advanced KIT ( PAK )
have you seen any begginer starting with 18F series ?

they will have hard-attack only by browsing the pages with registers
summary from the datasheet...

succes, take care at surviving beginners, with PAK-PAK you may kill them
if they survive after reading a whole week of piclist subjects...

best, Vasile ;-)

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2002\08\15@043020 by jumanji

flavicon
face
> > From: "Byron A Jeff" <spambyron.....spamspamCC.GATECH.EDU>

> I saw in a future post of your that you felt that you put everything you
needed
> to on the table. I just haven't had an oppotunity to respond to this post.
> If you have time, I'd like to continue the discussion.

I kinda felt like that, but after reading this I still have to clear up a
few things I think :)
Maybe it is because I'm not too good in explaining with words & should I
make a drawing.
(Call it a professional mutation, I make drawings for a living :)
I don't know if it is appropriate to send binaries to the PIClist, I don't
have any site where to put them otherwise.

> What I'd like to further discuss are the differences in the goals and
> philosophies of each approach. My thesis is that you primary list of
goals:
> simple interconnected modules that facilitates a lower barrier to entry on
> a per project basis, works well for seasoned designers.

a system that is easy for learning at first & which can easyly be ported to
own new projects & experiments.

>However that from
> both a novice and support standpoint that the system is more complicated.
> I will do my best to both sitck to the point and keep it short.

I don't agree, it's a matter of how you bring it to them. If the beginner is
interested in LEARNING,
you advise him to get the EDU (PICbase plugged in) this is ONE physical
object.

> > I don't see why my concept would obstruct the persuit of standardisation
:)
> It does obstruct because in your system all that's required is the
PICbase.

For the beginner it is not (edu only available with PICbase onboard)

> The very fact that the system is modular means that other than the
PICbase.
> clever or useful they are, there would be a barrier to standardization
> precisely because choices are available.

? I think you are mixing up a few definitions of terms,
Modular = modular coz it is built with standard parts (they cannot run
standalone, but are to offer x amount of functions) otherwise I'd call it
'design from scratch'

> Here's the problem. Novice is presented with two choices: PICbase for $20
or
> PICbase + Designer for say $100. Which do they choose?

The novice should be presented with DOCUMENTED choices :)
At first he chooses the edu1 board which is not sold without a PICbase
plugged in.
By the time he wants to move on, his knowledge will be sufficient (after the
courses on the edu) to realise
that the parts are complementary. (If not, either he's a very lousy student
or his teachers are ;)) ; or he has obtained it from
an undocumented source (black market ? ;) / second hand market, but that
risk exsist for anything bought 2ndH without investigating first)

> [..as another slip emerges from the Analogy Machine] It's the difference
> between and entire computer and just a CPU. The CPU is an essential
component
> to an entire computer, and is cheaper than an entire computer. However it
> isn't sufficient.
> This isn't an issue except for the fact that a novice will probably be
unclear
> of the distinction.

Unless you put this excellent comparison in the descriptions of the
PBK/PICbase, where it is sold. :)

> > program it with the aid of only a pencil & a piece of paper.
> > (i.o.w. I don't think you'll program many PICs without any kind of
computer

> Ask Tony Nixon about his Fobbit. It certainly isn't a computer in the
> traditional sense.

My point was, (we were comparing soundmodules) that you could start with the
assumption, that anyone interested
most probably would have the tool to connect to it. So, if you were to take
up PIC stuff, chances are big you have a computer.
I'm very impressed with Mr. Nixon's device, but a nontraditional puter still
sounds as a kind of computer to me, but anyway, this would return us to the
original problem, coz you would have to buy the 'Fobbit'

> That's not it. It's imminently buildable. It's extremely useful. I'm only
> speaking to supportability. As the project's supports we'll run into the
> common situation with modularized components...

You are thinking over-modularised again :) the possibilities are limited.
(you cannot plug just anything wherever you see it fit)

> [ BAJ is an analogy fiend! ;-) ] Your scanner on your PC won't scan. Who
do
> you blame? The scanner manufacturer? The Operating System? The Driver? The
> application? or is it an incompatibility with your port? Hmmmm.

It probably would have been my cats messing around in the cables :) (j/k)
But we do consider here that the PC works ?

> Same idea here. A project with a PICbase doesn't work for a novice
designer.
> Where's the finger going to be pointed? I mean the PICbase was supposed to
> facilitate getting my project going. But because of one misplaced or
missing
> wire on the designers own wired board it doesn't happen to work. But you'd
> best believe we'd get a question or a report faster than your head could
> spin.

AHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAAAHAAAAAAAAHAHAHA !!!!! :))))
But I can be pretty damn sure that the problem is NOT in the PICbase
circuitry !! (normally)
(savesmehowmanyhours ? :)

> No because you make it optional. And while that's fine, absolutely fine,
> for someone who knows how the system works, it can be a novice's worst
> nightmare because while it gives the impression of being a complete unit,
> it in fact is imcomplete.

No, no, it *is* complete :) see below.

>Then compared to something more complete, like
> the Designer, it seems like a bargain... at first.

'Designer' sounds to me something you can put components on to create your
own project,
Would you thing a novice would go for that, or would he try to LEARN the
stuff first?
(over-ambition of novices not taken into account then heh)

> > I only gave examples of what could be on a board, the details are up to
> > you,(I don't know which stuff is of equal level) its not that I have in
mind
> > stuff like 1 board with 6potmeters; 1 board with 3serial connectors;
another
> > board with with 13LEDs & a button etc etc..
> I know. The only problem is that everything, absolutely everything, is
> optional. Therefore there's no consensus as to what's shared.

Nope, see bottom.

> At the risk of sounding repetitive, this is a beautiful environment for
the
> intermediate or experienced designer who understands that it's simply a
> plug in component, a cog in the machine. But I have misgivings about how
to
> present such a system to folks walking in off the street as it were.

Marketing & advertising are professions on their own :)

> > > then I could be assured that anyone that had
> > > a Designer could run my project out of the box.
> > You still could :)

> No. Everything in your system is optional.

nope :)

> > Well then, don't think about profit for the manufacturer, think about
cost
> > reduction for the enduser :)

> And a loss of collective value for the community.

?

> But that's why our proposed projects are orthogonal and complementary.
> The Designer can easily be done with a PICbase at its core. I don't have
> any techological problem with that. The Designer only tangentially touches
> upon the issue of project migration while the PICbase addresses it
solidly.
> The Designer provides a foundation for design and support that the PICbase
> omits. They'll do very well together. The problem is how to get across the
> point to novices that the Designer offers them significant value. Here's a
> sample conversation to illustrate:
> NU (New User): I just heard about the new PICLIST design system. I
purchased
> a PICbase for $20. How do I hook up an LCD to it?

PL: We are sorry about our failure to make you clear that as a NU, you
should have gotten the EDU1
On the EDU1 header 3 is to connect the LCD, take your EDU1manual to your
local supplier, inthere are the correct specs for which LCD can be fit on
EDU1.

> And so forth and so on. While the PICbase is standard, everything else is
> so variable that there are any number of failure points along the way.

No, no, no :))) In a true modular design (look at doepfer modular synths, or
even software modular systems (VAZ, Nord modular) You can only select from
standard parts (modules)

In its ultimate simple design, there are but 3 possible things to buy:
EDU1 (*with* PICbase plugged in)
DEV1 (PICbase optional)   (=your designer, I'd say)
PICbase.

I think in your idea, EDU1&DEV1 are 1&the same thing, but would you want
that bunch of educational stuff (of which some stuff you don't need &
perhaps even obstructs your new design, on your designer ?

Depending on how much stuff you want to put on EDU1, there perhaps could be
EDU2 in the future, for extended courses perhaps, (this is up to the PBK
ppl, its details :)

> So in the end the question is not which system to use as both have their
> applications. The issue is how to get the primary target audience,
newcomers,
> to come on board with the full program, the Designer, as opposed to its
> core modular component, the PICbase.

again, it's up to the ppl offering it, like this:

NOTE TO BEGINNERS: BUY THE ***EDU1*** ! :) (dammit!, LOL)

> BAJ

Best regards :)

Geert.

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2002\08\15@073954 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>> Not sure. Tackling writing our own ICD seems a daunting task.

>Well, we do have the "free ICD" to give us a kick in the right
>direction.

Has anyone actually had a look in the ICD2 to see what chip is used there?

Does the ICD2 only do the 18 series, or will it also do the 16F87x series?
perhaps someone who has one could enlighten us.

I guess we won't get the "free ICD2" until a code upgrade becomes available
:)

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2002\08\15@094113 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Thu, Aug 15, 2002 at 10:09:00AM +0200, jumanji wrote:
> > > From: "Byron A Jeff" <byronspam_OUTspam@spam@CC.GATECH.EDU>
>
> > I saw in a future post of your that you felt that you put everything you
> needed
> > to on the table. I just haven't had an oppotunity to respond to this post.
> > If you have time, I'd like to continue the discussion.
>
> I kinda felt like that, but after reading this I still have to clear up a
> few things I think :)
> Maybe it is because I'm not too good in explaining with words & should I
> make a drawing.

No. your words are fine. Perfectly clear. Like I said you've described a
technologically sound system. This is really a psychology discussion now.

> (Call it a professional mutation, I make drawings for a living :)
> I don't know if it is appropriate to send binaries to the PIClist, I don't
> have any site where to put them otherwise.

E-mail it to me. I'll put it up on my site and post the URL.

>
> > What I'd like to further discuss are the differences in the goals and
> > philosophies of each approach. My thesis is that you primary list of
> goals:
> > simple interconnected modules that facilitates a lower barrier to entry on
> > a per project basis, works well for seasoned designers.
>
> a system that is easy for learning at first & which can easyly be ported to
> own new projects & experiments.

Thanks for clarifying. I've been arguing that the first goal cannot be
achieved as you describe it.

>
> >However that from
> > both a novice and support standpoint that the system is more complicated.
> > I will do my best to both sitck to the point and keep it short.
>
> I don't agree, it's a matter of how you bring it to them. If the beginner is
> interested in LEARNING,
> you advise him to get the EDU (PICbase plugged in) this is ONE physical
> object.

I know that it sounds funny, but what exactly are we do to with a beginner that
isn't interested in learning? It's almost like giving a teenager the choice
to learn how to drive in the family sedan or in a hot rod sportscar. We know
which one they'll choose, however it's probably not the right choice.

I think that Brenden's suggestion of simply not presenting it as an option
to novices has merit.

>
> > > I don't see why my concept would obstruct the persuit of standardisation
> :)
> > It does obstruct because in your system all that's required is the
> PICbase.
>
> For the beginner it is not (edu only available with PICbase onboard)

I'm going to virtually come back to this one because I think I addressed it
below...

OK I'm back from the bottom of the thread. I've yet to see a compelling
argument that will convince a novice user that purchasing the entire
package is much better than just purchasing a PICbase component separately
and starting with it. As Geert pointed out below it's a marketing problem...

{Quote hidden}

That's the same definition I use. I'm just arguing that since a novice gets to
choose which pieces they want to use, that be definition there can be no
standardization beyond the PICbase.

>
> > Here's the problem. Novice is presented with two choices: PICbase for $20
> or
> > PICbase + Designer for say $100. Which do they choose?
>
> The novice should be presented with DOCUMENTED choices :)

It doesn't matter. Documentation or not many people feel that if they can get
into the game cheaper that they'll be better off. It's exactly the same
argument that you've been presenting here: Why spend an extra $80 for stuff
that I may not actually use?

> At first he chooses the edu1 board which is not sold without a PICbase
> plugged in.

I understand. But what exactly do we present to a novice as an argument to
get them to understand that initially that the standard I/O board (I'm still
resisting EDU because it implies that it isn't useful for production
development) isn't optional. I understand that it's a single unit. But anyone
reading the description will quickly realize that it consists of two separate
components (PICbase + standard I/O board) that are in the same package and
that they can get a PICbase by itself. Remember I'm not talking technology
at this point, just psychology. So how to we convine them that they really
need to start with the whole package and not just the PICbase component?

> By the time he wants to move on, his knowledge will be sufficient (after the
> courses on the edu) to realise
> that the parts are complementary. (If not, either he's a very lousy student
> or his teachers are ;)) ; or he has obtained it from
> an undocumented source (black market ? ;) / second hand market, but that
> risk exsist for anything bought 2ndH without investigating first)

Then we're in agreement if we can convince novices to buy the entire package
at the beginning.

{Quote hidden}

See. That's why I post. Sometimes it takes getting wapped over the head with
the obvious to realize the obvious. Thanks for pointing that out.

>
> > That's not it. It's imminently buildable. It's extremely useful. I'm only
> > speaking to supportability. As the project's supports we'll run into the
> > common situation with modularized components...
>
> You are thinking over-modularised again :) the possibilities are limited.
> (you cannot plug just anything wherever you see it fit)

Actually you can. There's nothing that will prevent someone from attaching
any type of board to the PICbase. This is a good thing.

{Quote hidden}

Not nearly as many as if they had more of the standardized hardware.

{Quote hidden}

It'll have a breadboard so that you can throw your own stuff on it. It'll have
some of the same support issues. However by widening the base a bit, there
will be a lot less of the common mistakes that occur.

> Would you thing a novice would go for that, or would he try to LEARN the
> stuff first?
> (over-ambition of novices not taken into account then heh)

Actually it doesn't really matter just a long as everyone is operating from
the same default processor-I/O base. Because then when a problem occurs
and a question asked, many folks will have that same wider processor-I/O base
on which to test the issue and be able to give back feedback that they know
should work. It limits the number of support variables.

I live with this support issue with my cable modem. My provider only supports
a single Windows or Mac machine connected directly to the cable modem box.
Other OSs (such as Linux which I use) or network configurations (like LinkSys
routers) are not supported directly. They work fine with the system, but when
there's a problem I can't call and say "My Linux box cannot get connected to
the network." What happens is that since that's an unknown component in their
system the first reaction is always "Well your Linux box must be the problem."
That was the case one and exactly one time. Each and every other time it has
in fact been a problem with some part of their network.

Now I'm a knowlegable, advanced user. I know how to translate their commands
for Windows "Click on the Release Button, then click  on Renew..." into
equivalent commands on my machine... and I wound't have it any other way
because they would do a worse job trying to support my system than I can do
myself.

But the flip side of this is that I'd would never ever recommend that a novice
user use anything outside of their support system without some assistance.

I'm just trying to apply the same system here. Simplify support by limiting
options.

{Quote hidden}

And that are exactly the disciplines that come to bear here...

>
> > > > then I could be assured that anyone that had
> > > > a Designer could run my project out of the box.
> > > You still could :)
>
> > No. Everything in your system is optional.
>
> nope :)

I just can't wait to see this...

>
> > > Well then, don't think about profit for the manufacturer, think about
> cost
> > > reduction for the enduser :)
>
> > And a loss of collective value for the community.
>
> ?

If we pare down the standard system to the PICbase in order to save the end
user from investing some extra money, it'll weaken the overall value of the
system for everyone.

{Quote hidden}

But won't that affect the flexibility that you're searching for? The whole
point of the PICbase was that it could be attached to anything in a multitude
of designs. And that's exactly what new users will try to do in order to save
some money. Why should I have to purchase your LCD module when I have a old
LCD sitting my drawer?

>
> In its ultimate simple design, there are but 3 possible things to buy:
> EDU1 (*with* PICbase plugged in)
> DEV1 (PICbase optional)   (=your designer, I'd say)
> PICbase.
>
> I think in your idea, EDU1&DEV1 are 1&the same thing, but would you want
> that bunch of educational stuff (of which some stuff you don't need &
> perhaps even obstructs your new design, on your designer ?

I dropped the educational argument about 10 posts ago. The educational angle
has nothing to do with the technology or the I/O devices we've been talking
about. It only has to do with the software and documentation that's presented
along with the hardware. So in short if you do the CD/online tutorials it's
educational, however if you simply design/build new projects, it's not. But
the hardware doesn't change based on the usage. It's the same standard set of
hardware whether or not you're using it as a learning station or as a design
station. That's why I've objected to the argument that there's this education
only track of hardware that's unnecessary and useless for designers.

Finally what utility is there in having the PICbase optional?

>
> Depending on how much stuff you want to put on EDU1, there perhaps could be
> EDU2 in the future, for extended courses perhaps, (this is up to the PBK
> ppl, its details :)

The course/tutorial material isn't tied to specific educational hardware. The
course/tutorial material is tied to the standard base processor-I/O hardware
that everyone will have.

{Quote hidden}

Why? It costs more and I can get started with just a PICbase.

BAJ

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2002\08\15@101853 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Thu, Aug 15, 2002 at 10:28:35AM +0300, Vasile Surducan wrote:
> On Wed, 14 Aug 2002, Byron A Jeff wrote:
>
> > > Byron,
> > >
> > > I've been supporting the idea of a two chip system for a while now,
> >
> > I'm well aware. Alan's observation that it was the only mechanism to have
> > a 16F and 18F config is what finally swayed me.
> >
> > > and I think this is getting pretty close to something that I'd like
> > > to see.  Would it be possible to have a hex file for the P-socket
> > > chip that would allow it to act in ICD mode on the S-Socket chip?
> >
>
>   I think the subject must be changed to PIC advanced KIT ( PAK )

I dropped the beginner only concept a long time ago. I've been trying to
adhere to the Perl philosophy "...make the easy things simple, and the
difficult things possible."

> have you seen any begginer starting with 18F series ?

Not yet. But that's only because the are not widespread yet. The 18F series
will have a price/performance ratio that will make them formidable in the
next few years. It'll soon be the same argument at the 16F84 vs. the 16F628:
the latter is better, faster, and cheaper, so why not switch?

> they will have hard-attack only by browsing the pages with registers
> summary from the datasheet...

Maybe. But like all else tutorial projects does wonders for understanding.

>
> succes, take care at surviving beginners, with PAK-PAK you may kill them
> if they survive after reading a whole week of piclist subjects...

PAK-PAK. cute.

But getting back to the original subject. The second socket will be the one
optional component in the Designer. It'll be empty. If Alan had his way there
wouldn't even be an actual socket there, just a space to install one if you
even needed it.

Any beginning material or documentation will only make brief mention of that
socket. It's really there only for the intermediate or advanced user and the
Designer is perfectly capable of functioning with it unpopulated.

BAJ

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2002\08\15@103251 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
{Quote hidden}

Makes a lot of sense. Maybe I'm overworring. I think I sometimes impress my
own traits upon other others. In this instance being cheap and thinking that
I know more than I actually do. A user like me would cheap out and jump
right to intermediate, then get on everyone's last nerve asking questions
and arguing that I didn't nee that kiddie stuff anyway! ;-)

BAJ

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2002\08\18@130722 by VisNaicker et al)

flavicon
face
13V on board for HVP - a must. I would like to see double
that through switching PSU or voltage doubler . You know ,
power for the EEPROM or something.

You see if the comunication between PIC and PC is properly
sorted out , then it would be just few link up wires to the
target 18F452 , or a whole lot to the the EPROM / EEPROM /
AVR / 51 series on the breadboard . The PIC could be used
to facilate transfer and control of many protocols to the
various targets . Even if the 16F628 was used , target the
standard 16F877 to interface its many IO pins to the target
devices . You will have to reprogram the 16F877 that will
then take over.

Costs once debugged - minimial - just power and hookup wire
apart from man hours. As a multi programmer , then $100 is
extremely good value. Do it in code .

The developement system basically needs a base for communication
(USB/serial/PC port/IR even) to the PC , and power supply . The
system could grow in time - USB could be added when cheaper and
easier - even using the 16F877 to communicate to program another
target 16F877 .
Everthing else is a bonus .

Vis Naicker

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2002\08\18@130734 by VisNaicker et al)

flavicon
face
Something I am not quite sure about - the bootloader ? Is that
free code ? I mean , I understand that we have resellers of PICs
with the bootloader preprogrammed . Naturally cost is higher -
but I haven't really checked to see if the bootloader was free
(someone asked about programming 10PICs at a higher cost than that
without a bootloader , and was generally misunderstood and answered
but not giving a definite answer?)

Vis Naicker

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2002\08\18@133334 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> Something I am not quite sure about - the bootloader ? Is that
> free code ? I mean , I understand that we have resellers of PICs
> with the bootloader preprogrammed . Naturally cost is higher -
> but I haven't really checked to see if the bootloader was free
> (someone asked about programming 10PICs at a higher cost than that
> without a bootloader , and was generally misunderstood and answered
> but not giving a definite answer?)

I have a bootloader at http://www.voti.nl/wloader . I sell 16f877's
programmed with this loader, but the code is free (LGPL), both for the
PIC and for the PC. Note that this bootloader is a bit special because
it uses only *one* PIC pin and does not use the internal UART.
Consequently it uses more code (1k) than others (typically 256
instructions).

On the page are also a few links to the other free bootloaders that I
know of.

So take your pic!

Wouter van Ooijen

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2002\08\19@135736 by VisNaicker et al)

flavicon
face
In the end , newbies to pics are going to join the list ,
and STILL ask questions (to which the answers have already
been answered and still available) - "how do I program
the PIC16C84 ?" - which translates to " I wanna get
this hex code for decoding *satellite channels on the
internet , and now I want to get it onto the PIC " ;-)

Now the first thing we will be telling them is to get
the PIC18F1220 ( this is the future we are talking about)
and to remember not to turn of the comparators  (uC ,this
is the future uC). Then we tell them about the $50-100
developement board touted by all PIClisters . But ,they
say , "Iwannagetthepicprogrammed . $50 bucks ? I haven't
googled ("what is this 'search' ? I might google its meaning
later or maybe not") the archives , and hey man , I am sure
I will find that some of them earn $1/day. And this pic
you are saying to get costs just that! But I need to pay
$50 to get a development"- (spelt korrekt ,no?)-"board. I'd
rather pay for for my satelitte."

I fear that we may turn away casual electronics enthusiasts
from PICs if we move that bar of cheap easy reprogrammability
away from them. After all it was the eeprom of the 16c84 that
made it the first choice for begginners , and it was the most
attractive robust microcontroller of its time . Now that it
is relatively unattractive to it's competitors , it must now
start playing easy as it is cheap . ( Micro was a realtime
operator .... ;-)

Just be prepared for $1/day first timers that have satellite
at home won't be prepared to buy a development system , no
matter how good , and that we need to support them to keep
this branch of out hobby (pics) cheap and accessible to them
for our ownselves.

BTW How many of us spend more than a dollar a day on the
hobby part ? Not many , I think .


Another thing I want to mention is that if a $100/$200 picstart+
gets you flashing a led , well so what ? When you spend a week
soldering , and debugging a system of psu/programmer/code that
costs $5 in hardware - and maybe $200 in man hours , Olin -
to get a led to flash - now that feels like an achievement. That
keeps you interested into spending more to get out more . We all
experience instant gratification in some form or other these days
and I am telling you man - that first hurdle - tis sweeter to climb
it from the bottom on your own.

I disclaim all spelling errors! I am still at the first page of
the dictionary I meant to read end to end since New Year 1990 .
This abject/abhorrent/ abominable abeyance has been abbetted by
me skipping to read the last page and I have had to abort as I
had lost all zest/zeal. This instant gratification thing ...

Vis Naicker
P.S. I don't have sat-elite/Playstation at home nor the HEX code.
And yes ,zygote is the last word in the dictionary. I don't know
the parents - I am still at the page 1.

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