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'[PIC]: The PICLIST Development Project: Executive '
2002\08\15@130936 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
After extensive discussions with Shawn, Sean, Geert, Brenden, Jason, Roman,
Myke, Olin, Vasile, Wouter, James, and others I think that it's time to put
an informal summary on the table in an attempt towards finalizing a design.
As with all committee generated designs it will consist of a set of compromises
that will make it a jack of many trades, and probably a master of none. Also
as to be expected not every design feature that each person wants will be
present.

I fully expect that we shall continue the debate. All comments are welcome.
All I ask is that you please trim to only the specific item that you are
referring to. I plan to post a copy of the original document on my website
for reference at http://www.finitesite.com/d3jsys/designer.html

So without further adieu...

THE PICLIST DEVELOPMENT PROJECT

THE PROBLEMS: The PICLIST is a huge loosly organized group of professionals,
hobbyists, and especially novice users connected by a ever growing mailing
list, website (James), and echoed newsgroup. The Microchip PIC family of
microcontrollers (uC) has wide industry acceptance due to Microchip's
combination of innovative technology, wide availability, and extremely
reasonable costs.

One activity that the list spends a significant amount of time performing as
a public service is the introduction of PIC information, software, and
programming hardware to the novice community. As such there are any number
of resources available from both list members and offlist.

There are a number of reoccurring issues that a prevalent from this activity.
First is simply responding to the huge number of requests on essentially the
same issues. The second is a lack of consensus on what to recommend to the
novice user in terms of actual PIC hardware and development support.
Specifically the 16F84 vs new PIC debate, and the homebuilt/TLVP/WISP628/NOPPP/
WARP13/PICSTART+/et al programmer issue.

Another ongoing issue with hobby designers such as Byron [Ed Note: I'll refer
to myself in the 3rd person so that responses won't have to be edited] who
moan and groan about the infrastructure required to work on new projects.

THE PROPOSAL:
A couple of week ago Shawn Mulligan proposed that a project be developed that
can address some of these issues. Sean Alcorn quickly and graciously offered
to produce, assemble, package, and ship complete products at cost. Several
members offered to serve as distributors. All that was needed was a product
design. After some discussion several points reached a state of consensus:

* The product would be fully assembled, and not a kit.
* The PIC assembly would be the target language for development.
* The product would carry some type of breadboard prototyping.
* The product would have a mechanism for programming PIC parts
* The product would have some type of I/O expansion capability
* The product will carry a CD composed of software, tutorial documentation, and
 projects geared towards the novice to intermediate user.

However there has been considerable debate as to what specifications the
product should be design toward. There are three basic forms proffered:

* The traditional style inexpensive PIC programmer with one or more
  programming sockets (Roman, Olin, Jason, Sean).
* A small assembled module, the PICbase, that consists of a PCB populated with
 a PIC, regulator, oscillator, and I/O expansion and programming interface.
 (Geert)
* An all in one prototyping board, the PICLIST DESIGNER (PLD), that contains
 a PIC16F877A, a set of common I/O devices, and I/O expansion port, and an
 ICSP programming interface. (Byron)

An interlude
------------

I have to get out of here, so I'll leave it here unfinished. I'll pick up the
rest of the discussion in another post later. I'd like to hear comments about
the issues and the contenders.

BAJ

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2002\08\15@141316 by Mike Singer

picon face
For what heck is this all communist-meeting like crap?
(In my opinion, of course!):

Byron A Jeff wrote:
.
.
{Quote hidden}

PIC16F877A - " innovative technology"?

Notorious lack of 18XXXX - "wide availability"

More expensive then AVR - "extremely reasonable costs"


Is not it a joke? Am I back 20 years at a lecture on
advantages of communism over decaying capitalism?


Mike.

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2002\08\15@142141 by Brendan Moran

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

> For what heck is this all communist-meeting like crap?
> (In my opinion, of course!):

And here, I thought we were having a democratic meeting and
discussing the various aspects of the project prior to a vote.

- --Brendan

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2002\08\15@145426 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
Comrad Singer wrote:
> For what heck is this all communist-meeting like crap?

I don't see the connection to communism, or is that another language thing?
Anything you don't like gets called communist, which is no longer in favor,
thereby being a grievous insult?  I see this communist theme in your posts
alot.  Does that mean you were a KGB agent or something and now you badmouth
communism at every opportunity to deflect suspicion?

> (In my opinion, of course!):

That is not allowed here.  Everyone must praise the motherland and tout the
party line.  Or else.

> Is not it a joke? Am I back 20 years at a lecture on
> advantages of communism over decaying capitalism?

See, I knew it.  Twenty years ago he was lecturing on the glories of
communism!


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

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2002\08\15@150854 by Dale Botkin
flavicon
face
OK, how about this:

"Microchip PICs are dirt cheap to the average hobbyist, available almost
on every street corner, program with next to nothing for hardware, are
available in a ton of versions from 8 to 40+ pins, and have a huge library
of code and projects available from various sources.  While not the best
tool for every job, PICs are a good fit for many projects, both commercial
and non-commercial.  They're a little weird at times, have a few funky
limitations, and often require deep thought to use.  That's why the
PIClist has nearly 2000 subscribers and PICs continue to show up in
embedded projects all over the world."

Does that work better for you?  8-)

Dale
---
I serve the PICList Union, Comrade!
8-D

On Thu, 15 Aug 2002, Mike Singer wrote:

> For what heck is this all communist-meeting like crap?
> (In my opinion, of course!):

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2002\08\15@155054 by Mike Singer

picon face
Co-o-ol reply!

You have won, Olin.

Mike.
--------
I'll keep on buying PICs.



Olin Lathrop wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2002\08\15@160415 by Mike Singer

picon face
Dale,
Please remove "dirt" word, specify where are located "every
street corner" and I'll be happy to sign it.

Mike.

Dale Botkin wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2002\08\15@190647 by Tony Nixon

flavicon
picon face
Byron A Jeff wrote:

> * The product would be fully assembled, and not a kit.
> * The PIC assembly would be the target language for development.
> * The product would carry some type of breadboard prototyping.
> * The product would have a mechanism for programming PIC parts
> * The product would have some type of I/O expansion capability
> * The product will carry a CD composed of software, tutorial documentation, and
>   projects geared towards the novice to intermediate user.

I hope this doesn't sound selfish or anything but that is pretty much
describing my V5 Experimenters kit.


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2002\08\15@192233 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Fri, Aug 16, 2002 at 09:03:57AM +1000, Tony Nixon wrote:
> Byron A Jeff wrote:
>
> > * The product would be fully assembled, and not a kit.
> > * The PIC assembly would be the target language for development.
> > * The product would carry some type of breadboard prototyping.
> > * The product would have a mechanism for programming PIC parts
> > * The product would have some type of I/O expansion capability
> > * The product will carry a CD composed of software, tutorial documentation, and
> >   projects geared towards the novice to intermediate user.
>
> I hope this doesn't sound selfish or anything but that is pretty much
> describing my V5 Experimenters kit.

Not selfish at all. In fact I wish you would have said something a couple of
week ago. And at $86 USD it's in the price range that I've been talking
about. I generally don't fuss at you as much as I do Wouter because you'll
announce items as they come along, like the Fobbit for example.

The only real difference between it and the Designer is that all the I/O
comes mounted. And that it still seems to be targeted as a full fledged
programmer.

BAJ

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2002\08\15@194143 by Tony Nixon

flavicon
picon face
Byron A Jeff wrote:

> > I hope this doesn't sound selfish or anything but that is pretty much
> > describing my V5 Experimenters kit.
>
> Not selfish at all. In fact I wish you would have said something a couple of
> week ago. And at $86 USD it's in the price range that I've been talking
> about. I generally don't fuss at you as much as I do Wouter because you'll
> announce items as they come along, like the Fobbit for example.
>
> The only real difference between it and the Designer is that all the I/O
> comes mounted. And that it still seems to be targeted as a full fledged
> programmer.

Hi Byron,

It's quite good for code development too. I have set aside 1K of ROM
that is there to simulate a 16F84, or use it for 16F87x code. The
Windows interface downloads the assembled hex code and can be run and
halted with a simple mouse click. It also accepts the code from the
BASIC compiler I created (although it's only a simple beginner tool).
All PORTA and PORTB pins are available. The UART is already connected to
the PC and can be used with any terminal program for testing. Expanding
a design would make better use of PORTC/D/E if a 40 pin chip was used.

The $US86 would be a whole lot cheaper if the 3V SMPS and 32K EEPROM
weren't used for portabillity. The price would drop to around $US65.
Bear in mind, that price is for VERY LOW purchase quantities of kits. In
high volume, no doubt that could come down a whole lot more and would
ultimately reflect the profit margin wanted. In my case, bugger all :-)

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2002\08\15@221832 by Dave King

flavicon
face
> > I hope this doesn't sound selfish or anything but that is pretty much
> > describing my V5 Experimenters kit.
>
>Not selfish at all. In fact I wish you would have said something a couple of
>week ago. And at $86 USD it's in the price range that I've been talking
>about. I generally don't fuss at you as much as I do Wouter because you'll
>announce items as they come along, like the Fobbit for example.
>
>The only real difference between it and the Designer is that all the I/O
>comes mounted. And that it still seems to be targeted as a full fledged
>programmer.
>
>BAJ

Shouldn't this raise flags about perhaps checking out the available kits.
Perhaps looking at them with an eye to adopting one or two with additional
software/examples/docs available from the list instead of going through
the effort to duplicate the hardware and then the software on top of it.

Just a thought.

Dave

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2002\08\15@223253 by Tony Nixon

flavicon
picon face
Dave King wrote:

> Shouldn't this raise flags about perhaps checking out the available kits.
> Perhaps looking at them with an eye to adopting one or two with additional
> software/examples/docs available from the list instead of going through
> the effort to duplicate the hardware and then the software on top of it.

As I mentioned, the whole V5 package will be available on the web free
with source code as soon as the last of my kits have sold.

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2002\08\16@075143 by Vasile Surducan

flavicon
face
I must admit, this mail it's an excellent methode to learn from
other's ( or just from your's ) mistakes
My ideeas would be:

On Thu, 15 Aug 2002, Byron A Jeff wrote:

> design. After some discussion several points reached a state of consensus:
>
> * The product would be fully assembled, and not a kit.

Error. A beginner must spend some time to familiarize himself with the
components. There are a lot of people which can't make difference between
a resistor and a capacitor. I bet there are someone on the list too...
A beginner will be much happy when something made with his own hands will
work.
Let his joy open !

> * The PIC assembly would be the target language for development.

as you wish... there are other people which are doing the same for jal, c
or basic

> * The product would carry some type of breadboard prototyping.

this "some tipe" could be the standard 100 mili_inch metalised wholes.
and must fill at least one half ( or more ) of eurocard ( 160x100mm )

> * The product would have a mechanism for programming PIC parts

this is not really necessary. It's possible to create a less beatifuly
programmer than someone found already on the net, why to force the user to
cry ?
build a standard Tait lpt programmer, point to the user where are the best
available software and let him to choose !

> * The product would have some type of I/O expansion capability

right ! I'm just curious what kind of "some type" you'll invent...

> * The product will carry a CD composed of software, tutorial documentation, and
>   projects geared towards the novice to intermediate user.

this is the most difficult part, I must wish you good luck because it's a
lot of work to do here...

>
> However there has been considerable debate as to what specifications the
> product should be design toward. There are three basic forms proffered:
>
> * The traditional style inexpensive PIC programmer with one or more
>    programming sockets (Roman, Olin, Jason, Sean).

Without sockets on the standalone programmer ! ICSP for the beginners and
for the advanced. It's an important feature which someone forgot it. The same ICSP
style socket ( female of course ) on the PCB. Beginners will use always
only flash PICs.

> * A small assembled module, the PICbase, that consists of a PCB populated with
>   a PIC, regulator, oscillator, and I/O expansion and programming interface.
>   (Geert)

I'm disagree. A plugin module may be inserted on the prototype board as I
already said, in 21 different modes + connectors which will grow up the
price.

> * An all in one prototyping board, the PICLIST DESIGNER (PLD), that contains
>   a PIC16F877A, a set of common I/O devices, and I/O expansion port, and an
>   ICSP programming interface. (Byron)

I like this, but needs an 16F628 too, 877 is to difficult from the
very begining. I'll discard also the IO expansion port. Let only a numbers
of metalised wholes which will copy the PIC socket. What can do
a wrong designed expansion port you may see on Lascar's products.
Why to be angry on a socket when you can be the same looking at wholes ?


The prelude:

I wish you success !

Vasile

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2002\08\16@141956 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Fri, Aug 16, 2002 at 03:00:06PM +0300, Vasile Surducan wrote:
> I must admit, this mail it's an excellent methode to learn from
> other's ( or just from your's ) mistakes
> My ideeas would be:
>
> On Thu, 15 Aug 2002, Byron A Jeff wrote:
>
> > design. After some discussion several points reached a state of consensus:
> >
> > * The product would be fully assembled, and not a kit.
>
> Error. A beginner must spend some time to familiarize himself with the
> components. There are a lot of people which can't make difference between
> a resistor and a capacitor. I bet there are someone on the list too...
> A beginner will be much happy when something made with his own hands will
> work.
> Let his joy open !

The joy opens at the end when there is success. Unfortunately there is
frustration during the journey.

This is a compromise based on several factors:

* Sean's factory can deliver fully assembled product.
* Beginners will have more early sucess and less support issues with a
 fully assembled product.
* This product isn't solely for beginner. Note that I changed the subject
 on this summary. More experienced users really don't need to be bothered
 with the hassle of assembling a kit.

New users will have ample opportunity to work with components on the breadboard
and eventually to start building their own boards. Kit building is an
impediment to early success. That very fact is what started this whole thread.

>
> > * The PIC assembly would be the target language for development.
>
> as you wish... there are other people which are doing the same for jal, c
> or basic

And we would welcome any or all of them. However It's impossible to support
all of them. The most available, and mode widely known is plain PIC assembly.

>
> > * The product would carry some type of breadboard prototyping.
>
> this "some tipe" could be the standard 100 mili_inch metalised wholes.
> and must fill at least one half ( or more ) of eurocard ( 160x100mm )

Fine as long as we can meet cost constraints.

>
> > * The product would have a mechanism for programming PIC parts
>
> this is not really necessary. It's possible to create a less beatifuly
> programmer than someone found already on the net, why to force the user to
> cry ?
> build a standard Tait lpt programmer, point to the user where are the best
> available software and let him to choose !

The answer for this is simple: under your suggestion the user would have to
have two tools instead of one. I belive that I already made clear that unless
this device is the PICbase concept, that projects will need to be programmed
separate from the unit. It just doesn't make any sense to force the user to
buy or build another programmer when that functionality can so easily be
integrated into the existing unit.

>
> > * The product would have some type of I/O expansion capability
>
> right ! I'm just curious what kind of "some type" you'll invent...

Personally I'd keep it simple: a dual in line 40 pin connector. Why? Because
then any old ordinary PC IDE cable can be used to connect the expansion port
to an external board. They are cheap and plentiful.

>
> > * The product will carry a CD composed of software, tutorial documentation, and
> >   projects geared towards the novice to intermediate user.
>
> this is the most difficult part, I must wish you good luck because it's a
> lot of work to do here...

Yes. But I don't think we have to develop the world. One project per I/O device
plus a few basic PIC concepts should be more than enough for starters.

{Quote hidden}

Honestly I won't even attempt to address this. It seems to be the exact
opposite of what all the programmer folks want. Could one of you folks take
a crack at it please?

>
> > * A small assembled module, the PICbase, that consists of a PCB populated with
> >   a PIC, regulator, oscillator, and I/O expansion and programming interface.
> >   (Geert)
>
> I'm disagree. A plugin module may be inserted on the prototype board as I
> already said, in 21 different modes + connectors which will grow up the
> price.

Personally I was less concerned about the price and more concerned about the
lack of standardization...

>
> > * An all in one prototyping board, the PICLIST DESIGNER (PLD), that contains
> >   a PIC16F877A, a set of common I/O devices, and I/O expansion port, and an
> >   ICSP programming interface. (Byron)
>
> I like this, but needs an 16F628 too,

No it doesn't. Primarily because they cannot be self programmed.


> 877 is to difficult from the very begining.

No it isn't. Especially not at the beginning. Each has the same basic
peripherals and the same instruction set. The 16F877A has both comparators and
A/D converters so it can pretty much behave exactly as a 16F628.

Remember that the user isn't building the unit, it comes assembled. So there's
no mechanical or wiring complexity to differentiate the parts.

> I'll discard also the IO expansion port. Let only a numbers
> of metalised wholes which will copy the PIC socket. What can do
> a wrong designed expansion port you may see on Lascar's products.
> Why to be angry on a socket when you can be the same looking at wholes ?

Several reasons: breadboards are expensive. They are prone to mechanical
breakdown. They have high capacitance due to their construction. They often
do not have solid connections.

They have their issues.


>
>
>  The prelude:
>
> I wish you success !

Thanks from all of us.

BAJ

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2002\08\16@145537 by Dominic Stratten

flavicon
face
<Thinking hat on>

On the subject of breadboards, if we can get them cheap enough then why not
include them. They only tend to be stuck on by double sided foam pads
anyway. Stock them as a spare part which the user can replace when the old
one wears out. I agree with the downside of using these but if they are
cheaply replaceable or even offered as an option, it may be worth looking
at.

I agree that the unit should be factory assembled. This means it can be
fully tested as a whole rather than maybe shipping an unassembled unit which
an end user can botch up and try to blame the manufacturer for their
inability to solder/insert ic's the right way etc etc. We need something to
work "out of the box".

Programmer on board ? - you bet !!!! I dont want loads of boards knocking
round my workbench. This unit should be a one stop solution capable of being
permanently attached to a PC. No messing about swapping stuff about, messing
about with cables / psu connectors etc.

Dual in line 40 pin connector - didn't I suggest that in a previous post ?
;-) Marvelous idea, I can buy 40 pin - 40 pin cables for less than a dollar.
I actually find it cheaper to buy these than cable on its own and quite
often butcher them to make interconnects between circuits.

Zif Socket !!!! Zif Socket !!!! Zif Socket !!!! Zif Socket !!!! Zif Socket
!!!! Zif Socket !!!! Zif Socket !!!! Zif Socket !!!! - get the idea - we
need Zif sockets. DIP sockets dont have the insertion cycle durability for
long term use, people tend to rip them off the board when they dont get
their screwdriver (oops - chip removal tool) in the right place and the
stresses to the solder joints - phew !!!! Also include a ICSP socket so the
end user isnt limited to programming on board - a standard RG11 type socket
(8 way as used on network cards) would be ideal.

Anyway, my contribution for tonight

</Thinking hat on>

Cheers

Dominic

<Major Snip>
----- Original Message -----
From: "Byron A Jeff" <.....byronKILLspamspam.....CC.GATECH.EDU>
To: <EraseMEPICLISTspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Friday, August 16, 2002 7:00 PM
Subject: Re: [PIC]: The PICLIST Development Project: Executive Overview

<End of major snip>

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2002\08\16@150012 by Mike Singer

picon face
Olin Lathrop wrote:
> The hobby PICs are:
>  16F628  -  Most capable flash part with 18 pins.
>  16F876  -  Best 16F part with 28 pins.
>  16F877  -  Best 16F part with 40 pins.
>  18F252  -  Best 28 pin PIC actually available.
>  18F452  -  Best 40 pin PIC actually available.
>
> I included the 16F876 and 877 only because a great
> deal of existing code and support is available for
> them.  I expect they would be dropped from the list
> as the 18F parts become more common.

From 148g3.pdf -  Microchip Product Line:
"Future" section.
PIC18F1220#  18-Lead PDIP
PIC18F1320#  18-Lead PDIP

So, maybe you should expect 16F628 also would be dropped
from the list. Is there information when 18-Lead
PIC18FXXXX will be available?
I'm pretty sure these PICs will be available much sooner
then the discussion ended, not to say when production
started, and not to say even more when customer ended his
beginner's course to apply his newly acquired skills.
If so, isn't it a good idea to reduce the project to
only 18FXXX line (only for this project, of course) to
eliminate the dilemma, you encountered:

> The only gotcha is that MCLR is on pin 1 except for the
> 16F628 where it is on pin 4.  Pin 4 isn't used by the
> other parts during programming, but MCLR must be raised
> to 13V, which would damage any pin except MCLR.  The
> programmer needs to detect this case and drive the
> appropriate pin to 13V.

Mike.

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2002\08\16@152457 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Thu, Aug 15, 2002 at 07:12:23PM -0700, Dave King wrote:
> > > I hope this doesn't sound selfish or anything but that is pretty much
> > > describing my V5 Experimenters kit.
> >
> >Not selfish at all. In fact I wish you would have said something a couple of
> >week ago. And at $86 USD it's in the price range that I've been talking
> >about. I generally don't fuss at you as much as I do Wouter because you'll
> >announce items as they come along, like the Fobbit for example.
> >
> >The only real difference between it and the Designer is that all the I/O
> >comes mounted. And that it still seems to be targeted as a full fledged
> >programmer.
> >
> >BAJ
>
> Shouldn't this raise flags about perhaps checking out the available kits.

At one point in time or another someone has  put at least 4 different
prototyping boards or another on the table.

The issue with every one, with the exception of Tony's V5Exp, was plain cost.
Approching $200 US in every case.

> Perhaps looking at them with an eye to adopting one or two with additional
> software/examples/docs available from the list instead of going through
> the effort to duplicate the hardware and then the software on top of it.

No objection from me. In fact I've pointed out on several occasions that if
we really want to go with the straight programmer concept, it would be better
to simply recommend an existing one, instead of going through the process of
development.

The truth of the matter to me is that if the V5Exp could be expanded to a
40 pin part, and delivered completely assembled, it would be a winner.

>
> Just a thought.

And a good one it is.

BAJ

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2002\08\16@153359 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
Comrade Singer wrote:
> From 148g3.pdf -  Microchip Product Line:
> "Future" section.
> PIC18F1220#  18-Lead PDIP
> PIC18F1320#  18-Lead PDIP
>
>  So, maybe you should expect 16F628 also would be dropped
> from the list.

I agree, but not yet.  These PICs have to become real first, then they have
to make it thru distribution to become available, then a bunch of free code
and other support has to become available for them on the web before they
become a superset of the 16F628.  Remember the fiasco about the 18F452 being
available "in 3 months" for almost a year, and what about the 16F877A?
Microchip has a credibility problem with release dates of future chips.

> Is there information when 18-Lead
> PIC18FXXXX will be available?

Not credible information.

>  I'm pretty sure these PICs will be available much sooner
> then the discussion ended, not to say when production
> started, and not to say even more when customer ended his
> beginner's course to apply his newly acquired skills.

Perhaps, as I don't give much chance of the PBK coming out anytime soon
either, especially seeing how this committee thing is going.  Whoever said
"two minds is better than one" must have been billing for the time, not
paying for it.

>  If so, isn't it a good idea to reduce the project to
> only 18FXXX line (only for this project, of course) to
> eliminate the dilemma, you encountered:

I think a little more flexibility than just the 18F series is worth it.  The
dilemma you mentioned can be easily solved by deciding whether the chip
plugged in is more than 18 pins or not.  It does this by detecting the
protection diode to Vdd on pin 10.  See http://www.embedinc.com/pic/prog.pdf
and look at what Q5 and Q4 are doing.


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2002\08\16@154414 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Fri, Aug 16, 2002 at 07:56:31PM +0100, Dominic Stratten wrote:
> <Thinking hat on>
>
> On the subject of breadboards, if we can get them cheap enough then why not
> include them. They only tend to be stuck on by double sided foam pads
> anyway. Stock them as a spare part which the user can replace when the old
> one wears out. I agree with the downside of using these but if they are
> cheaply replaceable or even offered as an option, it may be worth looking
> at.

How about Velcro? ;-)

>
> I agree that the unit should be factory assembled. This means it can be
> fully tested as a whole rather than maybe shipping an unassembled unit which
> an end user can botch up and try to blame the manufacturer for their
> inability to solder/insert ic's the right way etc etc. We need something to
> work "out of the box".

Thank you. That's what I've been saying all along.

>
> Programmer on board ? - you bet !!!! I dont want loads of boards knocking
> round my workbench. This unit should be a one stop solution capable of being
> permanently attached to a PC. No messing about swapping stuff about, messing
> about with cables / psu connectors etc.

Thank you. That's what I've been saying all along. ;-) ;-)

>
> Dual in line 40 pin connector - didn't I suggest that in a previous post ?
> ;-) Marvelous idea, I can buy 40 pin - 40 pin cables for less than a dollar.
> I actually find it cheaper to buy these than cable on its own and quite
> often butcher them to make interconnects between circuits.

Any objections anyone? I'm happy because I ecen have a local source for
wire wrap connectors. Important because wire wrap is my normal semi-permanent
board design technique.

>
> Zif Socket !!!! Zif Socket !!!! Zif Socket !!!! Zif Socket !!!! Zif Socket
> !!!! Zif Socket !!!! Zif Socket !!!! Zif Socket !!!! - get the idea - we
> need Zif sockets. DIP sockets dont have the insertion cycle durability for
> long term use, people tend to rip them off the board when they dont get
> their screwdriver (oops - chip removal tool) in the right place and the
> stresses to the solder joints - phew !!!! Also include a ICSP socket so the
> end user isnt limited to programming on board - a standard RG11 type socket
> (8 way as used on network cards) would be ideal.

OK Dominic, help me out. I belive that I've explained how I envisioned the
unit to be used: in essense one or two rarely moved PICs onboard with an ICSP
connector for offboard target programming. ZIFs imply (or as you explicitly
stated! ;-) lots of insertion cycles. I know I may be sounding like a doofus
but what's being inserted into the ZIF socket? Why is something being inserted
into the socket? Even more specifically what would be inserted into the ZIF
socket that wouldn't be connected through one of the other three offered
interfaces: ICSP, I/O expansion connector, breadboard?

What I'm trying to understand is how this ZIF socket is going to fall within
the normal usage of the box. I see probably 80% of the programming occuring
to the permanently mounted processor(s) and 15% via the ICSP connector.
If my percentages are anywhere near close, then do we really need a permanetly
mounted ZIF socket for that last 5% to 10% of programming cases?

I have no problem with the RG11 ICSP socket. I really think that the ZIF
socket is one of the few items that should be optional and should connect
via the ICSP socket.

I really feel that I'm missing something here, or maybe I just want to miss
something here! ;-) But please explain where either my assumptions above fall
down, or despite something close the valid assumptions, you feel that a ZIF
is still required.

>
> Anyway, my contribution for tonight

Appreciate it,

BAJ

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2002\08\16@160950 by Dominic Stratten

flavicon
face
----- Original Message -----
From: "Byron A Jeff" <byronspamspam_OUTCC.GATECH.EDU>
To: <@spam@PICLISTKILLspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Friday, August 16, 2002 8:43 PM
Subject: Re: [PIC]: The PICLIST Development Project: Executive Overview


<SNIP>
> > Zif Socket !!!! Zif Socket !!!! Zif Socket !!!! Zif Socket !!!! Zif
Socket
> > !!!! Zif Socket !!!! Zif Socket !!!! Zif Socket !!!! - get the idea - we
> > need Zif sockets. DIP sockets dont have the insertion cycle durability
for
> > long term use, people tend to rip them off the board when they dont get
> > their screwdriver (oops - chip removal tool) in the right place and the
> > stresses to the solder joints - phew !!!! Also include a ICSP socket so
the
> > end user isnt limited to programming on board - a standard RG11 type
socket
> > (8 way as used on network cards) would be ideal.
>
> OK Dominic, help me out. I belive that I've explained how I envisioned the
> unit to be used: in essense one or two rarely moved PICs onboard with an
ICSP
> connector for offboard target programming. ZIFs imply (or as you
explicitly
> stated! ;-) lots of insertion cycles. I know I may be sounding like a
doofus
> but what's being inserted into the ZIF socket? Why is something being
inserted
> into the socket? Even more specifically what would be inserted into the
ZIF
> socket that wouldn't be connected through one of the other three offered
> interfaces: ICSP, I/O expansion connector, breadboard?
>
> What I'm trying to understand is how this ZIF socket is going to fall
within
> the normal usage of the box. I see probably 80% of the programming
occuring
> to the permanently mounted processor(s) and 15% via the ICSP connector.
> If my percentages are anywhere near close, then do we really need a
permanetly
> mounted ZIF socket for that last 5% to 10% of programming cases?
>
> I have no problem with the RG11 ICSP socket. I really think that the ZIF
> socket is one of the few items that should be optional and should connect
> via the ICSP socket.
>
> I really feel that I'm missing something here, or maybe I just want to
miss
> something here! ;-) But please explain where either my assumptions above
fall
> down, or despite something close the valid assumptions, you feel that a
ZIF
> is still required.

The reason for desperately wanting a Zif socket is that I have lots of Pics
here with bent pins (and a couple with paperclips soldered on to snapped
pins). I'm a bugger for reusing Pics but I see your point about using the
PKB more as a "tutorial" board. The only thing that would really worry me
would be rough handed "beginners" damaging the whole board by incorrectly
prising out the Pics if they want to change them or have buggered them up.
People may want to develop/program/test on this board and maybe move the
programmed chip straight to a "finished project board". While I was out
having a ciggie (and getting bitten severely by mozzies), I had a brainwave
regarding the Zif socket. There is a lot of talk about the complexities of
making the Zif universal (such as in the picstart plus) for programming but
how about this idea :

Seperate daughterboard containing a Zif 40 pin socket but with 4 x RJ11
connectors all wired to the seperate pins required for programming 8,18,28
and 40 pin Pics. To program a 40 pin Pic, all the user has to do is to plug
the RJ11 cable into the 40 pin RJ11 socket etc. This would only provide the
appropriate signals to the proper pins on the Zif socket. RJ11 cables and
sockets are pennies in quantities. This could maybe be offered as a $10 add
on (guessing at numbers here). The user can always align pin 1 on Pic to pin
1 on Zif and this would eliminate any blue smoke ;-) This is a really simple
idea but may be worth looking at.

Cheers

Dominic

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2002\08\16@164345 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Fri, Aug 16, 2002 at 09:10:27PM +0100, Dominic Stratten wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Byron A Jeff" <KILLspambyronKILLspamspamCC.GATECH.EDU>
> To: <RemoveMEPICLISTTakeThisOuTspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
> Sent: Friday, August 16, 2002 8:43 PM
> Subject: Re: [PIC]: The PICLIST Development Project: Executive Overview
>
>
> <SNIP>
> > > Zif Socket !!!!
[Edited for brevity. ]

> > OK Dominic, help me out.
> > ... what's being inserted into the ZIF socket?

> The reason for desperately wanting a Zif socket is that I have lots of Pics
> here with bent pins (and a couple with paperclips soldered on to snapped
> pins). I'm a bugger for reusing Pics but I see your point about using the
> PKB more as a "tutorial" board.

Not tutorial. Development/Experimenter. It'll just happen to be useful for
tutorials too.

I'm trying not to define its usage other than a tool for project development.
If you want to develop onboard? Great. Use for tutorials? Wonderful. Use to
program an offboard target? Excellent.

I'll even but using it as a traditional PIC programmer, but I'd be the first
to say that it's overkill for that purpose.

Finally a tip for you. I always protect my PICs by inserting them into round
pin machined solder sockets. They're tougher than PIC pins and cost less if
bent or broken. I haven't had a bent or broken pin in a couple of years.

> The only thing that would really worry me
> would be rough handed "beginners" damaging the whole board by incorrectly
> prising out the Pics if they want to change them or have buggered them up.

It'll be an enclosed unit. There won't be anything to pry up. That's the
whole point. Now there's be places that folks can plug in new and extra
stuff (breadboard, expansion I/O connector, ICSP). But what's in the box is
for the most part going to be permanently mounted.

> People may want to develop/program/test on this board and maybe move the
> programmed chip straight to a "finished project board".

The Designer's PIC stays with it. Another chip would have to be used for the
finished project board. Now what you're talking about is Geert's PICbase setup
where the core circuitry can be moved.

{Quote hidden}

Yes it is. Personally I still like Olin's single socket, autodetecting setup
better, but overall this idea has a lot of merit.

>
> Cheers
>
> Dominic
>
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2002\08\17@023933 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

flavicon
face
Byron,

> Finally a tip for you. I always protect my PICs by inserting them into round
> pin machined solder sockets. They're tougher than PIC pins and cost less if
> bent or broken. I haven't had a bent or broken pin in a couple of years.

By "Solder Sockets", do you mean normal IC sockets but with the higher
quality round machined sockets - rather than the wiper type?

Then you actually solder the PIC permanently into the socket - creating a
sturdier, extension of the pins - yeah?

Good idea, but not sure if you mean IC sockets or something else.

Regards,

Sean

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2002\08\17@041545 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> Then you actually solder the PIC permanently into the socket
> - creating a
> sturdier, extension of the pins - yeah?

No solder, that would defeat the whole purpose. Even machined (round)
socket pins can break, and then you want to take the PIC out an insret
it into a new one.

PIC into machined (round pin) socket. Socket into solderless breadboard,
or into wiper-type (flat-pin) socket which is soldered into the PCB.

You know the concept of a connector saver (as used in space
electronics): the real connector is rated only for let's say 10
mate/demate cycles, so during testing it is plugged into a contra, which
is connected to a connector like the original (but industrial quality
only), which can withstand lots of mate/demate cycles (but not space
conditions).

Wouter van Ooijen

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2002\08\17@093743 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Sat, Aug 17, 2002 at 04:38:29PM +1000, Sean Alcorn (SYD) wrote:
> Byron,
>
> > Finally a tip for you. I always protect my PICs by inserting them into round
> > pin machined solder sockets. They're tougher than PIC pins and cost less if
> > bent or broken. I haven't had a bent or broken pin in a couple of years.
>
> By "Solder Sockets", do you mean normal IC sockets but with the higher
> quality round machined sockets - rather than the wiper type?

Correct.

>
> Then you actually solder the PIC permanently into the socket - creating a
> sturdier, extension of the pins - yeah?

No. I simply plug the PIC into the round machined socket, then plug the entire
assembly into the programmer or the target board. When I need to pop the chip
out, I pry the machined socket, not the PIC itself.

>
> Good idea, but not sure if you mean IC sockets or something else.

IC sockets: Saver of precious PIC pins.

BAJ

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2002\08\17@101240 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

flavicon
face
Byron,

> IC sockets: Saver of precious PIC pins.

Yes. I've got it. I do a lot of work with the PIC12C family and as yet there
are no Flash parts. There is a PIC12F675 that was coming in May, but AFAIK
it is still not here. So I have killed a lot of JW parts in the process.
These guys are not cheap, and although their legs are a lot stronger than
normal PICs, they only have a limited number of insertions. IC sockets are
cheaper!

Thanks,

Sean

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2002\08\17@104808 by Katinka Mills

flavicon
face
{Quote hidden}

The one thing to be carefull of is the fact the round pins are wider than
the chip legs, so if you use a machine pin socket in a flat wipe socket the
wipers are over stretched and do not make reliable contact with a chip again
(found out the hardway when a design stoped working and would only work if I
pushed the cpu down (had used a breakout socket (think of a wirewrap machine
pin socket soldered into a normal machine pin socket, you put the chip under
test in the top socket and the botom one plugs into the circuit, allows
scope probes and logic analysers to be done on chips without tacking wires
on the legs)


I would also be carefull of zif sockets as their wipers bend out if you use
other than a standard chip in them (HI LO systems use wirewrap pins for
their add on modules for pics etc and gange adaptors, now it is hard to get
a single chip in the main socket working (me mutters about hilo and the fact
you need to run the special card and software under dos or win311, as 95 on
buggers up timing ... oppss there goes another 40 dead pics ;o)



Regards,

Kat.

**********************************************
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Electronic and Software Engineering.
Perth, Western Australia.
Ph +61 (0) 419 923 731
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2002\08\17@143520 by Roman Black

flavicon
face
Tony Nixon wrote:
>
> Dave King wrote:
>
> > Shouldn't this raise flags about perhaps checking out the available kits.
> > Perhaps looking at them with an eye to adopting one or two with additional
> > software/examples/docs available from the list instead of going through
> > the effort to duplicate the hardware and then the software on top of it.
>
> As I mentioned, the whole V5 package will be available on the web free
> with source code as soon as the last of my kits have sold.


Here's a thought, since Tony's product will soon be
coming available for open source why not use it
as the base for the new PDP? (name changed again?!)

If it does the main features that are required than
maybe time could be better spent just writing the
tutorials/beginner kit, and not with hardware design
which is already done.

I know Byron has put a lot of time and effort into
the basic "needs" of the device, and I respect his
efforts which are of a voluntary nature as with the
generous offers from Sean and everyone else.

The original "seed" of this idea was to make a
fool-proof device to get beginners going quickly, so
the elder list members could point them to standard
fixes and save list time debugging every internet
programmer design built by innocent newbies that
"try the transistor the other way around"...  :o)

The new direction the device has taken is attractive
to me, as it seems to be to some other (mainly
experienced) list members. It would be great to get
a really cheap (subsidised by Sean's factory and
many people's efforts!) *designer* board to work with
F877 and peripherals. It's a cool idea!

But the silence from the newbies is fairly deafening.
Is this really what they want?

In some ways I see the newbie attracted to a simpler
device, one they can use to "program a PIC" and stick
it in a veroboard design they got from the internet.
Let's not forget that many newbies are led to PICs
when they try to build an existing design that just
happens to need a programmed PIC. That's where they
hear about PICs, that's why they want one. :o)

Where the "F877 designer" leads to a quick learning
of PICs it is a very "purist" path, ie; buy the best
platform to learn PICs on, then learn PICs in the
sensible manner with the supplied tutorials.

So what about the hobby robotics guy who needs to
program a 16F84 to go in a home robot design he got
from the net? And wants to get his *first* PIC
programmer going quickly and cheaply? The guy who
wants to program a couple of PICs and send them to his
friend?

So although I personally like the idea of a nice
"designer" device, shouldn't this come down to a vote
from the newbies or recently newbies as to what they
really want, what they need, what scares them?
My needs when I bought my first programmer were
to get something that would program most PICs, so
I could duplicate designs I saw on the net and do
PICs for my own use in devices around the house.
Both bootloading and ICSP would have seemed complex
and unattractive for my needs at that time.

Would it be possible to make a list of simple questions
and get newbies etc to answer with *their* needs
and perceived problems? I saw Myke already started
with a questionaire. If this thing is going to become
a standard that we are all required to understand and
support then let's make sure the newbies are actually
going to BUY the thing. :o)
-Roman

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2002\08\17@164631 by Randy Jones

flavicon
face
Sean,

The 12C675 looks wonderful, and I just received a pile of production parts
this week.  There are even some for sale already on http://www.ebay.com - just
search on 12C675!  Finally 8-pin Flash PICs!  I have to admit I'm a little
excited, because like you I haven't enjoyed the JW routine, especially after
getting spoiled by all the other Flash PICs now available.

Some programmers, like the microEngineering Labs EPIC, already have their
software updated for the 12F629/575, but the PicStart+ is a little behind.
M'Chip told me this week that they expect to release their updates for these
parts in October, but by next week they should have preliminary
(not-too-well-tested) updates for those who ask.

For those who aren't yet familiar with these two new 8-pin PICs, here's the
scoop.  The features listed below are common to both, but the 12F675 adds
4-ch of 10-bit A/D.  The 12F629-I/P, not yet available, is priced about the
same as a 12C509A-04/P, yet will run up to 20MHz and comes standard with the
industrial temperature rating (and 128 bytes of EEPROM).  The 12F675 with
the A/D costs about 25% more.  Both have...

 - 14-bit mid-range core with interrupts (not low-end like the 12C50x)
 - 1K Flash program memory (100k cycles)
 - 64 bytes RAM
 - 128 bytes EEPROM (1M cycles)
 - Timer 0 (like the other 8-pin PICs)
 - Timer 1 (16-bit)
 - 4MHz internal osc, rated to 20 MHz with external clock/xtal
 - One comparator
 - Brown out reset
 - ICD support

I think those are the main highlights.

Randy Jones


{Original Message removed}

2002\08\17@165430 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
On Sat, 17 Aug 2002, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:

>> Then you actually solder the PIC permanently into the socket
>> - creating a
>> sturdier, extension of the pins - yeah?
>
>No solder, that would defeat the whole purpose. Even machined (round)
>socket pins can break, and then you want to take the PIC out an insret
>it into a new one.

A roll of solder wick costs less than a good quality socket. Having said
this, I use machine turned socket pins/sockets for all sorts of things all
the time (including diy connectors, pin-life extenders, cables etc.). And
one can always solder the chip into the turned sockets. If desperate about
bad contacts. Now, how come I am saying this ? Mmmh...

Peter

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2002\08\17@181834 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

flavicon
face
Hi Randy,

I am very impressed! I've had a project sitting in limbo waiting for these
parts. So the 10-bit AD is confirmed?

Regards,

Sean

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2002\08\17@210740 by Victor Faria

flavicon
face
HI,newbie here!!
why not use Tony Nixon's package?
he has the tools .
use this as a base to build on.
he has the tutorials maybe just package them different.
with only simple tutorials then advanced users can maybe get  the rest of
the pkg.
Tony has a neat tool called picnplay which is a neat little simulator,you
can simulate your circuit on the computer then build it on a bread board
or????
so maybe teach using this tool.

On a more personal note I want to thank Tony Nixon for his offer of the ver
5 pkg. it will be a great learning tool for newbies.
and I would also like to thank all the guru's on the list that are taking
their valuable time to work on this project.
with out your effort  life with pic's wouldn't be as rewarding as it is.
again thank you all.
Victor Faria


{Original Message removed}

2002\08\17@211216 by Dave King

flavicon
face
At 03:11 AM 18/08/02 +1000, you wrote:
>Tony Nixon wrote:
> > Dave King wrote:
> > > Shouldn't this raise flags about perhaps checking out the available kits.
> > > Perhaps looking at them with an eye to adopting one or two with
> additional
> > > software/examples/docs available from the list instead of going through
> > > the effort to duplicate the hardware and then the software on top of it.
> >
> > As I mentioned, the whole V5 package will be available on the web free
> > with source code as soon as the last of my kits have sold.
>
>Here's a thought, since Tony's product will soon be
>coming available for open source why not use it
>as the base for the new PDP? (name changed again?!)

That was exactly my point. It could be stamped "approved"
or actually manufactured as a kit or assembled. Tony gets
new life breathed into a product, the list saves the time
on the development of the base board.

>If it does the main features that are required than
>maybe time could be better spent just writing the
>tutorials/beginner kit, and not with hardware design
>which is already done.

Exactly, the time people are putting into developing the specs
for the base board could now be used to build smaller add on boards
or software or tutorials. A vastly easier and faster process to get
it into the hands of the people who want it.

The add on boards can be targeted to teach newbies  (ie ME) the
quirks of doing things like lcd displays, ad's, servo's etc. The addon
are small inexpensive but all connect to Tony's V5.

>But the silence from the newbies is fairly deafening.
>Is this really what they want?

In my own case/opinion NO. Ok here's a newbie
comment. I've been out of playing with this stuff for
quite a while so as far as I'm concerned I'm starting at
square one.  I'll risk getting thumped and say that
as much good work everyone has put into the PBK
so far, I think its still missing the mark.

>In some ways I see the newbie attracted to a simpler
>device, one they can use to "program a PIC" and stick
>it in a veroboard design they got from the internet.

Personally I wouldn't buy a development kit. I can see
and recognize the benefits but its has very little to offer
for working on projects that aren't part of the design.
In my case I want to be able to program the pic and stick
it into my breadboard or circuit. I need/want to be able to
program the dreaded F84's not because I want to but
because that is what I can get without a special order.
I want to be able to program the entire line of pics as
I am seeing definite benefits from using one over the
other. I'd also like to use some of the AVR's and
even the cypress chips but I don't want a desktop of
programmers. I looked at the GUMP programmer
a while ago (program Forest, program (yes I know
it's cump ;-])) and thought that was the ultimate answer
to finding which programmer to use. The minute I can
build one or buy one I will.

>So although I personally like the idea of a nice
>"designer" device, shouldn't this come down to a vote
>from the newbies or recently newbies as to what they
>really want, what they need, what scares them?

I was trying to suggest that before, just didn't make it
clear/loud enough, wasn't sure how to put it. As off as
it might sound the newbies are your target market.
If you miss the mark the PBK becomes just another
kit on the shelf.

Since a lot of newbies might not to be vocal here I'd
make two suggestions.

1. setup a poll or create a questionnaire. make it simple,
non technical and find out what the goals of the respondents
are. Ie program a pic for a project I found, Use a development kit
to learn programing, use a development kit to learn microcontrollers
etc etc.

2. Do a informal survey of the guys who are selling
kits as to which ones are moving and which ones aren't.
Are the development kits out there selling or are the programmers
and why ? Some feedback here would give you a good idea of the trends.
Comments from customers ie "I outgrew this too fast" "it won't program xxx"

>My needs when I bought my first programmer were
>to get something that would program most PICs, so
>I could duplicate designs I saw on the net and do
>PICs for my own use in devices around the house.
>Both bootloading and ICSP would have seemed complex
>and unattractive for my needs at that time.

Exactly my situation and point too. I agree 100%

>Would it be possible to make a list of simple questions
>and get newbies etc to answer with *their* needs
>and perceived problems? I saw Myke already started
>with a questionaire. If this thing is going to become
>a standard that we are all required to understand and
>support then let's make sure the newbies are actually
>going to BUY the thing. :o)
>-Roman

You got it Roman. Instead of designing hardware right from
square one, find out what direction it needs to go first. Last
fall someone mentioned how they interviewed people and
were talking about designing op amps etc. They kept changing
the design until the interviewee finally stood up and asked what the hell
they wanted. I think the pbk needs to stand up and ask the newbies
what the hell they want ;-]

Even with the pbk the list is still going to get "how do I ?" or "which way"
questions. Not everyone is going to buy/build it. There will always be someone
who doesn't know or has forgotten something and will ask the list. So far this
list has to score 10/10 for just being helpful that way. I've seen others where
someone has to chirp up with "RTFM" or "ain't gonna help because someone
asked that last (week/month/year) and we aren't going to cover it again.

So if you've followed my version of war and peace here's my newbie suggestion.

1. Finish the CUMP project.

2. Provide a small series of projects and boards with instructions etc.
Each with
   a specific theme ie lcd displays. Small projects, lots of details, easy
to do.
   Tie them in to use the cump. Even after they outgrow the project boards or
   learned all they can they have the tools to carry on. They haven't
wasted money.
   $200 for a programmer that you know will work is cheap, $200 on something
   you can't use is just wasted.

Dave

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2002\08\17@221210 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Sun, Aug 18, 2002 at 03:11:23AM +1000, Roman Black wrote:
> Tony Nixon wrote:
> >
> > Dave King wrote:
> >
> > > Shouldn't this raise flags about perhaps checking out the available kits.
> > > Perhaps looking at them with an eye to adopting one or two with additional
> > > software/examples/docs available from the list instead of going through
> > > the effort to duplicate the hardware and then the software on top of it.
> >
> > As I mentioned, the whole V5 package will be available on the web free
> > with source code as soon as the last of my kits have sold.
>
>
> Here's a thought, since Tony's product will soon be
> coming available for open source why not use it
> as the base for the new PDP? (name changed again?!)

Not a bad idea. BTW I used a new name because I didn't want to bias that
discussion specifically to my Designer, and because I wanted to expand the
definition beyond beginners.

> If it does the main features that are required than
> maybe time could be better spent just writing the
> tutorials/beginner kit, and not with hardware design
> which is already done.

Actually Tony already has all of that done already. Another reason that we
may want to use it as a target.

>
> I know Byron has put a lot of time and effort into
> the basic "needs" of the device, and I respect his
> efforts which are of a voluntary nature as with the
> generous offers from Sean and everyone else.

Well thanks,

>
> The original "seed" of this idea was to make a
> fool-proof device to get beginners going quickly, so
> the elder list members could point them to standard
> fixes and save list time debugging every internet
> programmer design built by innocent newbies that
> "try the transistor the other way around"...  :o)

True. But I think it changed focus one we came to the realization that Sean
had the facilities to deliver assembled, finished, packaged, product.

>
> The new direction the device has taken is attractive
> to me, as it seems to be to some other (mainly
> experienced) list members. It would be great to get
> a really cheap (subsidised by Sean's factory and
> many people's efforts!) *designer* board to work with
> F877 and peripherals. It's a cool idea!

I'm glad you think so...

>
> But the silence from the newbies is fairly deafening.
> Is this really what they want?

I disagree with that assertion. Sean, Shawn, and Geert each classified
themselves as relative novices.

Geert seemed to have a handle on the novice perspective "...they wake up
wanting to get a specific project done..."

So wouldn't a designer board facilitate that exact behaviour?

>
> In some ways I see the newbie attracted to a simpler
> device, one they can use to "program a PIC" and stick
> it in a veroboard design they got from the internet.
> Let's not forget that many newbies are led to PICs
> when they try to build an existing design that just
> happens to need a programmed PIC. That's where they
> hear about PICs, that's why they want one. :o)

I'm not so sure about that assessment. I spend a lot of time on
sci.electronics.basics and comp.robotics.misc and I see a lot of the
exchange "I want to do X... You can use a microcontroller like a PIC to do X."
The design may or may not exist.

But then they fall into a black hole: What pic to use? What programmer? Where
to get the parts? etc. etc. etc.

No one proffers an experimenter board because there isn't any that's cheap
enough to even consider. It's not an option right now.

All I've been asking is to consider making it an option.

>
> Where the "F877 designer" leads to a quick learning
> of PICs it is a very "purist" path, ie; buy the best
> platform to learn PICs on, then learn PICs in the
> sensible manner with the supplied tutorials.

No! NO! NO!!! NO!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

I'm screaming because if that was its only purpose it'll be a waste. It would
mean that once you've done all the supplied tutorials it would no longer have
a purpose and should be put aside for something else that a non learner would
use...

...and that's the furthest thing from the truth. That's the reason I objected
each and every time that Geert called the I/O board the EDUthis and the
EDUthat.

I think it's time to come totally clean. Let me let you in on a secret:

I keep pushing this design because it's the design I want for myself.

So if your assertion is true, then this board has absolutely no use for me.
There's nothing about PICs I need to learn at this point. Nothing about LEDs,
multiplexed displays, LCDs, switches, A/D, PWM, timers, serial I/O, or
anything else that I've been proposing to put on the board. Been there, done
that, got the T-shirt. There's nothing for me to learn here.

So then why would I want it:

Because I have projects to do. Clocks, burgular alarms, MIDI stuff, compact
flash interfaces, battery chargers, etc. And every time I start a new project
I have to start from scratch. I have to wire a board, I have to populate it.
I have to dig through my junk box to find parts. I have to add indicators
and buttons, and the like. I have to start over...

...and it's a total waste of my time. It takes such time and effort to get
started, that I never end up getting started unless it becomes pressing,
like my homegrown thermostat.

It's not about having a learning board, though it serves that purpose just as
well. It's about having the feature that an experienced designer can use to
jumpstart a project idea.


>
> So what about the hobby robotics guy who needs to
> program a 16F84 to go in a home robot design he got
> from the net? And wants to get his *first* PIC
> programmer going quickly and cheaply?

WISP628 for example. You just said he wanted to program a part for his robot.
He's not interested in building a programmer.

You know that's the whole point of my TLVP programmer. It's the dumbest,
cheapest, simplest programmer around. Designed precisely for one off usage.

But it's not as good for the second project, or the third, or the project that
he thinks up after taking a nap. It becomes diminishing returns.

If it's truly a one off, then I have the best programmer going. But notice that
I'm not pushing it as a solution. Why? Because getting into PICs is rarely a
one off proposition.

>The guy who
> wants to program a couple of PICs and send them to his
> friend?

Not our market. Products already exist for that.

I've said all along that if this is our market then all we have to do is
nothing. But I don't believe that's the case. PICs are more like popcorn:
once you've had one, you just can't stop.

>
> So although I personally like the idea of a nice
> "designer" device, shouldn't this come down to a vote
> from the newbies or recently newbies as to what they
> really want, what they need, what scares them?

The only thing that scares them is the potential cost. And it's going to be
a panacea for everyone. I put the magic number at about 3 or 4: if you are
ever going to do more than 3 or 4 PIC based projects, then a design board
will be a very helpful tool. If you total lifetime of PIC projects is less
then that, then a throwaway programmer is probably best.

> My needs when I bought my first programmer were
> to get something that would program most PICs, so
> I could duplicate designs I saw on the net and do
> PICs for my own use in devices around the house.

Did you really need to program most PICs? In 8 years of PIC usage I've only
used 6 types of parts. The truth of the matter is that I have a rack of 12C509
parts that I bought and never used, because I could never get the development
environment situated better than using a 16F84 or a 16F628. And with the
advent of the 12F675s, I suspect I'll sell them before I ever use them.

> Both bootloading and ICSP would have seemed complex
> and unattractive for my needs at that time.

You know what? You're correct. You're correct right up until the time that
you need to actually do cycle development on your first real project. That's
when it hits you much a pain in the ass it is to pull the chip from the target
(which BTW you have to build from scratch), drop it in the programmer,
program it, then reinsert it into the target. Test. Cycle. Over and over again.

That's when ICSP, ICD, and bootloaders become your best friend.

>
> Would it be possible to make a list of simple questions
> and get newbies etc to answer with *their* needs
> and perceived problems? I saw Myke already started
> with a questionaire. If this thing is going to become
> a standard that we are all required to understand and
> support then let's make sure the newbies are actually
> going to BUY the thing. :o)

My problem with allowing the audience of new users to actually
define the product: they'll only view the first step and design to it. Then
they'll have to revisit it are each of the second, third, and fourth stages,
having to get new tools and learn new procedures at each level. In short
they simply don't have enough experience in the overall lifespan of the product
to be able to accurately define their needs over that lifespan.

I have absolutely no problem with the survey as long as you ask: What type of
projects do you plan to build a year from now once you get a few projects under
your belt? What design tools do you think you'll need then to get your
project going quickly and easily?

You now have my magic number: 3. Anyone who isn't going to ever build at least
3 PIC based projects are not in the intended audience.

BAJ

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2002\08\18@021050 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Sat, Aug 17, 2002 at 07:02:30PM -0400, Victor Faria wrote:
> HI,newbie here!!
> why not use Tony Nixon's package?
>  he has the tools .
> use this as a base to build on.
> he has the tutorials maybe just package them different.
> with only simple tutorials then advanced users can maybe get  the rest of
> the pkg.
> Tony has a neat tool called picnplay which is a neat little simulator,you
> can simulate your circuit on the computer then build it on a bread board
> or????
> so maybe teach using this tool.
>
> On a more personal note I want to thank Tony Nixon for his offer of the ver
> 5 pkg. it will be a great learning tool for newbies.
> and I would also like to thank all the guru's on the list that are taking
> their valuable time to work on this project.
> with out your effort  life with pic's wouldn't be as rewarding as it is.
> again thank you all.

It should work fine in a slightly modified form.

I too thank Tony for all his hard work, innovative products, and generous
spirit.

BAJ

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2002\08\18@021425 by David Harris

picon face
Hi Tony-
How many kits do you have left?  Maybe we can factor that cost into the package,
and/or even pay you a commission on the sales. ???
David

Tony Nixon wrote:

> As I mentioned, the whole V5 package will be available on the web free
> with source code as soon as the last of my kits have sold.

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2002\08\18@022355 by Randy Jones

flavicon
face
Hi Sean,

Yes, all the features I listed were directly from the datasheet.  I know the
preliminary uC datasheets can have their share of errors (I've already found
some in this one), but I wouldn't expect one that severe - heh, heh!  I will
have my first chance to play with them on Monday or Tuesday, and will be
trying out the A/D very quickly.  I'll report on anything interesting that I
run across.

Datasheet:
www.microchip.com/1000/pline/picmicro/category/embctrl/8kbytes/device
s/12f675/8473/index.htm

I'm pretty sure it also mentioned "self programmable," but I couldn't find
the reference when I posted the last message.  So perhaps we'll see if
anyone can write a useful bootloader for a PIC with 1k of code memory!

I remember the first time I saw one of the 8-pin PICs at a uC seminar, and
thinking, WOW -- a whole little computer system the size of a 555, and no
external parts required!  I'm sure glad they finally have Flash parts
available.

If anyone wants a few, I'm selling them in singles at $1.68US, vs. DigiKey
at $2.08US (but they don't have any).  I can't beat the "big boys" in larger
quantities, but in small quantities it's a different story.  Shipping is
very reasonable, and I also have 18Fx52, 16F870, 16F877A, 16F628-20/P
($2.88), 16F84A-20/P etc.  Not trying to turn this into an ad, but since the
16F675 availability is still pretty spotty, I thought I'd at least mention a
hobbyist-friendly source that presently has some available.  I hope that
isn't out of line on the list -- I haven't posted very much here yet, and
don't want to start out by breaking any rules.

I've been reading the thread on the PBK "designer" project you all are
working on with great interest!  Sounds like I will want to buy one too when
it's available.....

Randy


{Original Message removed}

2002\08\18@081134 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
> $200 for a programmer that you know will work is cheap,

Then just get the Microchip Picstart+ and be done with it.  It covers the
full product line, is integrated into MPLAB, and is supported by Microchip.
For professional work this is a no brainer.  We have several around here,
although we get them for $100.

However, I think the problem is many hobbyists don't want to spend that kind
of money.  They want something cheap, cheap, cheap, and are willing to spare
no expense to get it <g>.  They find some flaky parallel port programmer
schematic on the web and try to build it because it takes 1 transistor and 2
resistors less than the next programmer design.  Then they get into trouble
for a variety of reasons.  It was exactly such a case that started this
discussion.


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2002\08\18@083627 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
> I'm pretty sure it also mentioned "self programmable," but I couldn't find
> the reference when I posted the last message.  So perhaps we'll see if
> anyone can write a useful bootloader for a PIC with 1k of code memory!

That may be theoretically possible, but will eat up a significant fraction
of the program memory space.  For example, my bootloader for the 16F series
takes up about 300 words.


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2002\08\18@094425 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> 12Fxxx:
>   - 4MHz internal osc, rated to 20 MHz with external clock/xtal

IIRC the internal osc has far better accuracy than on other PICs, so it
should be suitable for asynchronous communication.

Wouter

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2002\08\18@101633 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Sun, Aug 18, 2002 at 08:12:02AM -0400, Olin Lathrop wrote:
> > $200 for a programmer that you know will work is cheap,
>
> Then just get the Microchip Picstart+ and be done with it.
>
> However, I think the problem is many hobbyists don't want to spend that kind
> of money.  They want something cheap, cheap, cheap, and are willing to spare
> no expense to get it <g>.  They find some flaky parallel port programmer
> schematic on the web and try to build it because it takes 1 transistor and 2
> resistors less than the next programmer design.  Then they get into trouble
> for a variety of reasons.  It was exactly such a case that started this
> discussion.

Olin, that's so on the mark. But I'm sure if I remember if you offered your
opinion on the prototyping board issue. Do you think that hobbyist can benefit
from having more project infrastructure support? Especially if that support
can be purchased in that $100 ballpark for the Developer's PS+ or the Warp-13?

I just wanted to thank you for bring several key points to the discussion:

* Sometimes it's worth a bit of money to save a ton of time.
* Hobbyists only need to focus on a small subset of the available PIC family.
 I thought that your list was right on the mark.
* As noted above a fully assembled product can relieve quite a few headaches.

BAJ

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2002\08\18@101652 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Sun, Aug 18, 2002 at 03:42:35PM +0200, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
> > 12Fxxx:
> >   - 4MHz internal osc, rated to 20 MHz with external clock/xtal
>
> IIRC the internal osc has far better accuracy than on other PICs, so it
> should be suitable for asynchronous communication.

I think I'm going to order some from Randy this week, along with a couple
of 18F452s.

BAJ

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2002\08\18@105328 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

flavicon
face
> I think I'm going to order some from Randy this week, along with a couple
> of 18F452s.

Bugger! I've been hanging out for these. I bet they are not available in
Australia or Taiwan yet! :-(

Sean

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2002\08\18@113744 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
part 1 4014 bytes content-type:text/plain; (decoded 7bit)

> Olin, that's so on the mark. But I'm sure if I remember if you offered
your
> opinion on the prototyping board issue. Do you think that hobbyist can
benefit
> from having more project infrastructure support?

Yes.  The question is what will that infrastructure be and how will it be
supported?  And, in the end, will hobbyists be willing to pay for it?

> Especially if that support
> can be purchased in that $100 ballpark for the Developer's PS+ or the
Warp-13?

I'm not so sure about this, which is one reason I've been staying out of the
PBK definition discussion.

It's hard for me to imagine myself in the hobbyist's place.  For a
professional situation, I'd spend $100 very easily if I thought a "Designer"
type product would be useful.  Heck, that's less than 1 hour billable time.
However, I don't imagine buying one because I don't see what it does for me.
It seems to be aimed at problems I don't have.

There has been a lot of talk about alleviating the drudgery of hooking up
all the basic circuitry around the PIC.  What circuitry!?  I have many times
plugged a PIC into a protoboard to test something.  The "basic circuitry" is
one crystal, 3 caps, and a connection to a +5V bench supply.  This is the
part I don't understand about the PICbase.  What else would it contain?
After that, every circuit is different.  A few buttons or LEDs are
occasionally (not that often, really) useful.  Other than just to learn
about PICs and blink an LED and the like, very little on the Designer board
will be useful for any one project.  Practically by definition, you are
trying to do something NEW.

Here's an example.  See the attached photograph.  This is something personal
I have been screwing around with.  I was trying to get 6V accross that motor
(with the propeller on it) by using just one 2.5 to 4V NiMH battery pack.
The chip on the left is a 16LF628 that was handy for testing out some ideas
I had for controlling the boost converter.  The time I spent plugging in the
crystal and caps was nothing compared to thinking about the circuit, writing
the PIC code to drive it, testing, making changes, more tweaking, measuring,
etc.  Note that there are no LEDs, buttons, or any other "standard"
peripheral that would likely be included on a Designer product.  (By the
way, this circuit works.  It keeps a constant 6V accross the motor until the
battery is really drained.  Right now the efficiency is 74%, which I'm not
happy with yet, but I've got a bunch of ideas to try out when there is
time).

Anyway, I don't want to rain on your parade.  I only responded because you
specifically asked me, and I'm not your target market.  However, in my
opinion,  there are two basic mistakes being made with the Designer:

1  -  Most hobbyists aren't going to spring for the cost.  Even if it might
save them some time and trouble, they will look at the price and figure they
can do what they really need themselves.  There may be an educational
market.

2  -  Byron, you have said that the Designer should not impose anyone's
development style onto the user.  However, that's exactly what you are
doing.  You personally seem to place a very high value on not having to plug
the chip into a programmer, then back into the target.  I think you're a bit
off the deep end on this one.  You pretty much ARE cramming a bootloader and
in-circuit programming down the user's throat.  That's YOU'RE style.

Again, you asked.  I'll shut up now unless someone asks my opinion again.

> I just wanted to thank you for bring several key points to the discussion:
>
> * Sometimes it's worth a bit of money to save a ton of time.

True, but nobody sets out to waste the time.  They think they can do it
themselves, then they get committed, then stubborn, then they figure they
must be almost there, etc.  The problem is the *perceived* value needs to
exceed the price.  I'm not sure this is possible for the majority of
hobbyists.


part 2 15138 bytes content-type:image/jpeg; (decode)


part 3 310 bytes

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2002\08\18@130719 by jumanji

flavicon
face
> There has been a lot of talk about alleviating the drudgery of hooking up
> all the basic circuitry around the PIC.  What circuitry!?  I have many
times
> plugged a PIC into a protoboard to test something.  The "basic circuitry"
is
> one crystal, 3 caps, and a connection to a +5V bench supply.  This is the
> part I don't understand about the PICbase.  What else would it contain?

Well... stuff like, don't having to worry that *that* circuitry works, the
possibility to program it, make +5V and to decrease the soldering as much as
possible(when ported to a project),
I guess you are very well trained in soldering & your 300$ high-end
soldering station makes it prolly even lots easier.

However, mine cost 20$ & my skills are.. well, not to talk about heh. Sure,
I can train soldering, you could advise any newbie to go train soldering for
a few weeks & then come back to the PIClist asking their thing, if still
interested, but I wouldn't be, for sure.

That's what I'm thinking about.


Best regards.
Geert.

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2002\08\18@135438 by Cristian

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Sorry for such a question:
where to contact Tony privately, to see what's about/to buy?
Cristian
>> why not use Tony Nixon's package?
>BAJ

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2002\08\18@135654 by Dale Botkin

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On Sun, 18 Aug 2002, Olin Lathrop wrote:

> > $200 for a programmer that you know will work is cheap,
>
> Then just get the Microchip Picstart+ and be done with it.

Amen, if you think $200 for a programmer is cheap.  Most professionals
think it is, most students and hobbyists think it isn't.  $200 for a
programmer to the average hobbyist is nonsense, I haven't talked to any
PIC beginners that I personally know who would have spent that much.
Warp-13 is IMHO about the best price/performance ratio, but at $100 or so
it's still a little high for many of them.  I know it was for me when I
was just getting started, I went with the EPIC+ which is basically a Tait
design.  I bought that one instead of building an identical design because
it came with really good software, and most if not all of the free
software I could find five years ago would only do one or two PICs.

> However, I think the problem is many hobbyists don't want to spend that kind
> of money.  They want something cheap, cheap, cheap, and are willing to spare
> no expense to get it <g>.  They find some flaky parallel port programmer
> schematic on the web and try to build it because it takes 1 transistor and 2
> resistors less than the next programmer design.  Then they get into trouble
> for a variety of reasons.  It was exactly such a case that started this
> discussion.

Yep.  Exactly.  I think the group is trying to swat a fly with a truck.
Just my own observation -- please don't mind me, I'j must a spectator. ;-)

Dale

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2002\08\18@141406 by Byron A Jeff

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On Sun, Aug 18, 2002 at 08:35:53AM -0400, Olin Lathrop wrote:
> > I'm pretty sure it also mentioned "self programmable," but I couldn't find
> > the reference when I posted the last message.  So perhaps we'll see if
> > anyone can write a useful bootloader for a PIC with 1k of code memory!
>
> That may be theoretically possible, but will eat up a significant fraction
> of the program memory space.  For example, my bootloader for the 16F series
> takes up about 300 words.

I took a really good look at the datasheet. I simply didn't see any reference
to self programmability in any of the documentation.

If someone has a reference to it, I'd sure love to see it.

BAJ

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2002\08\18@141649 by Byron A Jeff

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On Sun, Aug 18, 2002 at 05:07:53PM +0300, Cristian wrote:
> Sorry for such a question:
> where to contact Tony privately, to see what's about/to buy?

http://www.bubblesoftonline.com


BAJ

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2002\08\18@142852 by Dale Botkin

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On Sun, 18 Aug 2002, jumanji wrote:

> Well... stuff like, don't having to worry that *that* circuitry works,
> the possibility to program it, make +5V and to decrease the soldering
> as much as possible(when ported to a project), I guess you are very
> well trained in soldering & your 300$ high-end soldering station makes
> it prolly even lots easier.

My ancient Weller WTCPN/TC201 finally died a few years ago and I haven't
replaced it, so I use a $15 25W pencil iron.  But, yes, I'm pretty good at
it having been soldering for probably 30 years or so.

I know I'm bringing up a nearly religious issue here and all, but I have
to suggest that a solderless "universal breadboard" and a box of nice
pre-cut pre-stripped pre-tinned jumper wires -- all of about $15 at your
local Radio Shack in the US, and probably similar in other parts fo the
world -- will work just fine for 99.9% of beginner projects, and the
majority of non-beginner projects.  Whoever said these wouldn't work well
with a 20MHz PIC or (insert most any peripheral function here) is simply
incorrect, I can tell you for a fact.  Stray capacitance, yes, but it's
simply not a factor for the vast majority of things you'd do with a PIC,
especially as a hobbyist, plus your oscillator will pretty much NEVER fail
to start without caps (I never, ever use them on the breadboard, have
never needed any).  I can tell you for sure that serial comms, LCD, I2C
memory, keypads, RF data transceivers, blinky LEDs, analog inputs with +
or - a few millivolts, PWM, ICSP, R/C servos, sonar, all work at clock
speeds up to 20MHz.  I know because I can look on or under my bench and
see each and every one of these, all built at one time or another on a
much-demonized solderless breadboard.  Not just a lucky one time, but time
after time, every time, without fail.  I used to keep them set up with a
7805 and a couple of .1uF caps plugged in on one end for the 5V supply,
then switched to either 3x AA batteries or a regulated supply - but I
don't think there is a PIC that won't run on 4.5V.

The entire circuitry one needs to worry about, then, is plugging a crystal
into the breadboard -- IF you're using something other than a PIC with an
internal oscillator or need to run, for example, a 16F628 at more than
4MHz.  So the only piece missing, really, is a working, solid, no-hassle
programmer.  I have mine set up with a cable that plugs into a more or
less permenently wired ISP header on the breadboard, so I can use that or
move the PIC to the programmer when needed.  I've got one 16F877 that's
probably made that trip several hunderd times, all pins are still attached
and intact.

Don't underestimate the average PIC beginner.  They may not be soldering
aces able to whip up a cheapie programmer from plans of dubious quality
found on some ages-old web page, but given a few very simple, very cheap
tools they'll be fine.

Dale

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2002\08\18@144958 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
part 1 1453 bytes content-type:text/plain; (decoded 7bit)

...
> to suggest that a solderless "universal breadboard" and a box of nice
> pre-cut pre-stripped pre-tinned jumper wires -- all of about
...
> So the only piece missing, really, is a working,
> solid, no-hassle programmer.

I agree totally. I use
- a bunch of (solderless) breadboards, permanently pre-populated with
some 0.1u and 22u caps, a power LED and a fools-diode, and bridges for
the infamous power-strip gaps
- a few simple 5V supplies (wallwart + 7805)
- a programmer (in fact: a bunch of programmers) with a D15 ICSP
connector (Wisp and Wisp628)
- some D15 to DIL clip ICSP cables, and also some D15 to bare wire ICSP
cables
- a bunch of PICs permanently seated in machined sockets (help! I am out
of narrow 28-pins machined sockets!)

I have a PICstart+ but use it only for the occasional 12c509 (which my
own programmers can't handle) and as a reference for adding new chips
(18f is working!) to my own programmers.

The only thing that I missed when I started was a simple ICSP
programmer. No coincidence that I now sell (a kit for) such a
programmer.... The only 'simplification' that I see is to start without
a programmer with an 16f877 (or -A, or an 18F) packaged with a
bootloader circuitry and Xtal. See picture.

Wouter van Ooijen

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part 2 11019 bytes content-type:image/jpeg; (decode)


part 3 136 bytes
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2002\08\18@150128 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Sun, Aug 18, 2002 at 11:37:27AM -0400, Olin Lathrop wrote:
> > Olin, that's so on the mark. But I'm sure if I remember if you offered
> your
> > opinion on the prototyping board issue. Do you think that hobbyist can
> benefit
> > from having more project infrastructure support?
>
> Yes.  The question is what will that infrastructure be and how will it be
> supported?  And, in the end, will hobbyists be willing to pay for it?

I think there are two categories of hobbyist, both of which we have identified:

* The ones that you've referred to, who will spend as little as possible.
 Frankly I believe this is a null market, for even if you had a complete
 programmer for say $20+shipping, that would be too much to invest.

* The ones who will invest if the benefits can be explained. This is the
same market that starts with Basic Stamps and OOPICs.

{Quote hidden}

Come on Olin, there has to be some other devices in the mix. So the vast
majority of your projects have no external interfaces, not even temporary ones?

> This is the
> part I don't understand about the PICbase.  What else would it contain?

I'm with you on that. That's why I've been arguing to offer more.

> After that, every circuit is different.  A few buttons or LEDs are
> occasionally (not that often, really) useful.  Other than just to learn
> about PICs and blink an LED and the like, very little on the Designer board
> will be useful for any one project.  Practically by definition, you are
> trying to do something NEW.

Actually this topic of conversation is new. And is worthy of discussion. It's
the issue of design style. While I do agree with you that each project is
different, they almost all of the time have the elements of:

* Detecting the state of the world
* Performing some computation to create a transformation of the state
* Actuating some change on the state of the world.

Much of the time there is human interaction on one end or the other.

{Quote hidden}

Interesting project. While it has no human interactive features, it clearly
has to measure the voltage across the motor, compute the correct duty cycle,
then drive the boost converter at that duty cycle.

So what do you use to measure and test your device? While I'm sure that you
wouldn't normally take the time to wire an A/D to the test point and then
display the output voltage on an LCD or LED, wouldn't it be good for testing
if you could?

I see that it's a difference in development styles. I'd have a couple of
visual indicators coming off the project showing what's going on simply because
I never trust my assumptions about how my code is performing. And while those
indicators wouldn't end up on the final board, I'd find them helpful during
development.

>
> Anyway, I don't want to rain on your parade.  I only responded because you
> specifically asked me, and I'm not your target market.  However, in my
> opinion,  there are two basic mistakes being made with the Designer:
>
> 1  -  Most hobbyists aren't going to spring for the cost.  Even if it might
> save them some time and trouble, they will look at the price and figure they
> can do what they really need themselves.  There may be an educational
> market.

You may be right. If that's the case then we're already done.

>
> 2  -  Byron, you have said that the Designer should not impose anyone's
> development style onto the user.  However, that's exactly what you are
> doing.  You personally seem to place a very high value on not having to plug
> the chip into a programmer, then back into the target.  I think you're a bit
> off the deep end on this one.  You pretty much ARE cramming a bootloader and
> in-circuit programming down the user's throat.  That's YOU'RE style.

It only seems that way because I always respond to the traditional programmer
suggestion. The best list of counterarguments I've seen actually was your list.

I really think we need a system that's flexible enought that it incorporates
each of the styles. However I feel like if I don't speak up for the other
non traditional methods, all we'll end up with is another glorified traditional
programmer, which frankly we don't need.

>
> Again, you asked.  I'll shut up now unless someone asks my opinion again.

Thanks for the input. It's helpful as usual.

BAJ

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2002\08\18@163548 by jumanji

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face
> On Sun, 18 Aug 2002, jumanji wrote:
>
> > Well... stuff like, don't having to worry that *that* circuitry works,
> > the possibility to program it, make +5V and to decrease the soldering
> > as much as possible(when ported to a project), I guess you are very
> > well trained in soldering & your 300$ high-end soldering station makes
> > it prolly even lots easier.

> My ancient Weller WTCPN/TC201 finally died a few years ago and I haven't
> replaced it, so I use a $15 25W pencil iron.  But, yes, I'm pretty good at
> it having been soldering for probably 30 years or so.

snip

>  I used to keep them set up with a
> 7805 and a couple of .1uF caps plugged in on one end for the 5V supply,
> then switched to either 3x AA batteries or a regulated supply - but I
> don't think there is a PIC that won't run on 4.5V.

snip

> Don't underestimate the average PIC beginner.  They may not be soldering
> aces able to whip up a cheapie programmer from plans of dubious quality
> found on some ages-old web page, but given a few very simple, very cheap
> tools they'll be fine.
>
> Dale

I'm a PIC beginner, I've seen nice PIC projects that I wanna modify & build
myself.

I have a 20$ 25W soldering iron with the sharpest tip I & the thinnest tin I
could find. In total I have soldered together about  4 kits of which I have
tossed 2 in the bin afterwards, it seemed to me they were OK soldered but
they didn't work. I did check them with my 20$ multimeter & the connections
seemed fine. The 500$ oscilloscope I left in the store.
Currently, -to my best of newbie possibilities- I have chosen for a
programmer that connects to my educational board. For the stuff I'm gonna
build, I'll prolly choose the Flashlab system as it has all onboard to run
the PIC & on its free space I'll copy the interface hardware I found the
components listing & schematics for.(I'm not gonna build a breadboard into
project) My main worry is howto program a PIC, for that I have bought &
downloaded courses. I don't have 24/24hr time to learn, design, build,
circuitboards, powersupplies, whoknowswhatallmore AND troubleshoot the whole
lot afterwards. I want as quickly as possible (still a matter of months) get
my project going.

If you make the bill of it all, I'm not sure how many newbie-hobbiests in my
situation would go the same way. It will be either time or cost that will
keep them away imo.

There, that's the last thing I have said about it, just keep in mind the
audience you wanna reach with PBK/PDP/watever

Goodluck & best regards.
Geert

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2002\08\18@202428 by Tony Nixon

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picon face
I've done one in 150 words and can probably be streamlined even further.

Olin Lathrop wrote:
>
> > I'm pretty sure it also mentioned "self programmable," but I couldn't find
> > the reference when I posted the last message.  So perhaps we'll see if
> > anyone can write a useful bootloader for a PIC with 1k of code memory!
>
> That may be theoretically possible, but will eat up a significant fraction
> of the program memory space.  For example, my bootloader for the 16F series
> takes up about 300 words.
>
> *****************************************************************
> Embed Inc, embedded system specialists in Littleton Massachusetts
> (978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com
>
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2002\08\18@210204 by Tony Nixon

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picon face
Hi David,

About 30.


Incidentally, the designers of this new project might want to think
about putting the PCB into a box. I've had a few "dead" kits being
caused by newcomers not quite understanding the implications of static
and misshandling boards. This was the reason I put the V5 into one.


David Harris wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2002\08\18@211652 by James Newton, webmaster

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source=
http://www.piclist.com/postbot.asp?id=piclist\2002\08\18\163548a

Guys, I'm on the point of loosing patience with this...

The CUMP group at least had the good sense to move the discussion
off this list and thereby avoided clogging up the [PIC]: topic
with all this talk, before it went dormant (for life?).

Please: Either come to a consensis, move the discussion to [OT]:
or go yahoo for a while until you have it together.

Sean, your offer, taken at face value, is very generous. But the
depth and breadth of experience, ideas, and design direction
offered by the PICList combined with the lack of organization is
unlikly to produce anything as well tested and proven as Tony
Nixon's learning tools or Myke's books or Wouters boot loader or
JAL or Scott Dattalos work on porting SDCC for the PIC or Fred
Maher's excellent Bike Computer tutorial or Roman Black (and
others) excellent answers to question on this list. If you really
want to make a difference, pay Tony to update his course and/or
offer to produce it at lower cost for him... or sponser a contest
to give away Mykes books to the newbies who ask the funniest
newbie question each month (special catagory for a new spelling
of "unsubscribble")... or make WISP kits for Wouter at cost and
finance the extension of JAL... or send Fred a book contract and
a Spanish to English translator... or collect Romans answers and
publish them.

Not only are these other options more likely to return an
investment in new PIC users, but they will also have a better
chance of turning a dollar for you AND their authors.

In fact, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about why this
project bothers me so much and others have not....

Everything you are trying to do already exists... perhaps not in
finished form or perhaps not totally up to date, but they are
there, and other people have put a lot of work into them already
with little or no reward and without a hope of getting rich.

When we started the CUMP project, there were only a few "close to
universal" programmers out there and they cost a LOT of money.
Everything else seemed to be available, the only missing element
was enough people from enough different backgrounds to provide
the programming algorithems. And I expected when Tony Nixon
donated his Engine programmer (which was again, just about what
we wanted to build, but without algorithms for other than a few
PICs) I figured people would start building them or buying the
kit from Tony (as others have build the "free"ICD or purchased
one from Mchip) and work to add their programming algorithms for
other target chips to the web site via the form at the bottom of
the page.

Instead, we got hung up in re-design after re-design, trying to
compensate for every little possible problem that we percieved
with the Engine. If we had started by just building Engines and
publishing (SHAREING) the algorithms that we got to work, we
would be far ahead of where we are now.

This project is doing the same thing... but worse... because our
OWN MEMBERS, Tony, Wouter, Myke and others, are the ones
provideing the "almost" perfect products. And they are NOT
charging a lot of money. And rather than offering to help them do
more or cost less or improve what they have, we are now starting
over again and, frankly WASTEING MIT's bandwidth with rediculous
arguments over how many processors are in a PC and what the legal
department at MChip might do (mia culpa).

I sold another pocket programmer last week, and another few
dollars goes into the account to build up a fund to pay Tony to
add the ability to program parallel devices. The pocket can do
everything and MORE that the Picstart programmer can do EXCEPT
for program parallel devices... And Tony gave up hope of selling
it and released it to me (at least) to produce and to anyone to
modify the open source code. Result: Hours spent trying to design
"Yet another programmer"/"Yet another development board"/"Yet
another..."

Until the PICList community is willing to put aside ego, and
contribute to improve the work of others, we will not reach our
personal potential for growth and enlightenment. What I have done
with the PICList.com site was to gather the words of others,
place them in a nice setting and show them to be the jewels that
they are. Not my words, but the words of others... I could not
hope to do better. And my achievement (of which I am very proud)
came only after I was willing to admit that I could not optimize
a math routine better than Scott, or write an easy to use
language better than Wouter, or put out a better book than Myke,
or build a programmer better than Tony, or explain more than
Roman.

Stop squabiling (sp?), admit that there are leaders here, and
offer to help THEM.

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2002\08\18@211817 by Tony Nixon

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Here I am :-)

Cristian wrote:
>
> Sorry for such a question:
> where to contact Tony privately, to see what's about/to buy?
> Cristian
> >> why not use Tony Nixon's package?
> >BAJ
>
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Tony

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2002\08\18@224845 by Bruce Douglas

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Hi, I am another newbie and ,like many on this list, from the 3rd world
(Brazil).

I have one of those experimental boards with a 877 with which I was able
to design a video time code reader.  However, when I tried to implement
a more compact circuit with a 628 I ran into trouble quickly since my
board wasn't compatible and my computer ports are those low voltage
versions which won't work with many programmers.
I just find the experimental board too limiting for the projects I have
underway.  I would like to put together a prototype hardware package
and program by ICSP so I can get it out in the field and start using
it and bringing it in to modify easily.

So my vote would be for an ICSP package with "idiot-proof" instructions
on implementing ICSP in the target circuits.

Also, the 3rd world aspect.  Many of us have real dificulty importing
kits and programmers.  Costs which are moderate to you become very
large to us by the time they are converted to our currency and have up
to 60% tax applied.  So please KISI (Keep It Simple, Intelligent)!

Thank-you for the great resource that you are.  I hope to learn enough
to be able to contribute something some day.

Bruce Douglas

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2002\08\18@230528 by Sean Alcorn (SYD)

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James,

I think you should have re-read my original offer before spitting your
dummy (er pacifier) out the way you have done.

I obviously hit a nerve on the list. You can tell that by the shear VOLUME
of responses - both ON and OFF the list. If everything already exists,
then my post would have died a natural death.

> Not only are these other options more likely to return an
> investment in new PIC users, but they will also have a better
> chance of turning a dollar for you AND their authors.

Bold statement.

> In fact, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about why this
> project bothers me so much and others have not....

If it bothers you, then don't be involved. If you want it off YOUR list,
please tell us politely, and we'll get it the hell off YOUR list!

> Everything you are trying to do already exists...

OK, if you applied that logic, then we would never have had Linux.

>  perhaps not in finished form or perhaps not totally up to date,

And there lies the key to the whole discussion, I think.

> When we started the CUMP project, there were only a few "close to
> universal" programmers out there and they cost a LOT of money.

Can I order a CUMP yet? :-)

> This project is doing the same thing... but worse... because our
> OWN MEMBERS, Tony, Wouter, Myke and others, are the ones
> provideing the "almost" perfect products.

I have bought products from Tony. I have bought every book relating to
PICs that Myke has ever published! I do not have a publishing house. I can
not help Myke any further on that one.

>  And rather than offering to help them do
> more or cost less or improve what they have

Did I not make a similar offer to you off list? Tony, Wouter and Myke are
big boys, I think. If they think I can help them they will ask I think. I
have already got a number of enquiries off list for me to help with
commercial projects.

> , we are now starting over again

I never stated we had to start all over again. In fact I made the SAME
offer directly to you some time ago if I recall correctly.

>  and, frankly WASTEING MIT's bandwidth with rediculous
> arguments over how many processors are in a PC and what the legal
> department at MChip might do (mia culpa).

Fair go James, I've seen far more ridiculous postings on this list. If we
are wasting MITs bandwidth, I'd be happy to host the bloody thing!

> I sold another pocket programmer last week, and another few
> dollars goes into the account to build up a fund to pay Tony to
> add the ability to program parallel devices. The pocket can do
> everything and MORE that the Picstart programmer can do EXCEPT
> for program parallel devices... And Tony gave up hope of selling
> it and released it to me (at least) to produce and to anyone to
> modify the open source code. Result: Hours spent trying to design
> "Yet another programmer"/"Yet another development board"/"Yet
> another..."

You have missed the whole point. I NEVER proposed "Yet Another Programmer"
. I said that the list should choose ONE. I also offered to build it as
cheap as I can and suggested that the list support that one and that one
only. Not a hard and fast rule of course, but the gurus could free up
their time by saying "Yes, we'll give you as much help as you need - but
we recommend OUR programmer - available at ....."

> Until the PICList community is willing to put aside ego, and
> contribute to improve the work of others,

I thought that's what I had TRIED to do!

> we will not reach our
> personal potential for growth and enlightenment.

I have reached enlightenment. I bought a Mac 4 years ago. Never looked
back! :-)

> What I have done
> with the PICList.com site was to gather the words of others,
> place them in a nice setting and show them to be the jewels that
> they are. Not my words, but the words of others... I could not
> hope to do better. And my achievement (of which I am very proud)

And so you should be! And look how the list has responded. They may have
gone off on a tangent or two, but I think the responses have been in the
true spirit of the list that I subscribed to. And that's no reason to turn
it into a personal attack against me.

> came only after I was willing to admit that I could not optimize
> a math routine better than Scott, or write an easy to use
> language better than Wouter, or put out a better book than Myke,
> or build a programmer better than Tony, or explain more than
> Roman.

.... or produce a more professionally produced and packaged product than
Sean....

> Stop squabiling (sp?),

IMHO - I think the squabbling has only started with YOUR post.

>  admit that there are leaders here, and
> offer to help THEM.

Again, read my original post. I acknowledged the leaders on this list. I
referred to them as "gurus". And all I could see was them WASTING their
time answering the same old newbie questions over and over again.

I think all newbies would agree with me. We would not want to waste
peoples time if we could buy a box for a reasonable price and it worked -
knowing that if we DID get stuck, help was there!!!!

Shit! Anybody would think I was running for President of the PIC List!

Sean

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2002\08\19@021908 by Nelson Hochberg

flavicon
face
A newbie's humble opinion.  I started looking at micro controllers because I
have a specific application (which is why I think most newbie's come to this
list).  I went to the Masters Conference last month thinking I would learn
how to use PIC chips but learned very little mostly because we learned on
wired demo boards for everything.  After four days at the Masters
conference, I still did not know how to hook up an oscillator to a PIC (do
now.)  My application does not use an LCD but it does use 9 LEDs, a 2 X 7
display, 6 push buttons and a micro controller network.  I doubt that any
experimenter's board would have this configuration and if it did, how would
it satisfy the next newbie?

While at the conference, I picked up an ICD2 and the Universal Programming
Module.  The Guys at Microchip said that the two together will be able to
program all their chips sometime next year.  In my opinion, hooking up the
ICD2 to an experimenter's board as Peter Anderson
(http://www.phanderson.com/) does is the way to go.  I may smoke a
transistor or two but I was making little mushroom clouds over vacuum tubes
long before lots of people on this list was born.  I think making smoke and
asking embarrassing questions is a requirement to learning electronics.

Now if you guys are really itching to make some boards, how about a teeny
pcb with a PIC, oscillator, voltage regulator, brown out detector and some
protection diodes.  With surface mounts, it could be made really small.  The
thing could be plugged into an experimenters board or soldered onto a pcb.
If the pins are real long, it could be mounted over other components to save
real estate if needed.

BTW: I've learned more about PICs following the PIClist Beginners Checklist
and reading this list than at the seminar...thanks all.

Nelson

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2002\08\19@023148 by James Newton, webmaster

face picon face
source=
http://www.piclist.com/postbot.asp?id=piclist\2002\08\18\230528a

Calm down Sean...

...I see that you have taken several of my comments that were
directed at list members as personal attacks.. I'm sorry, I
should have worded that better. Your offer was most kind, and I
don't want to seem ungrateful or cause you any hesitation about
helping out the list but I do believe that your suggestion

"So how about it? How about between us all we develop a
"STANDARD" PICList Programmer."

was misguided because the PICList has NEVER produced a viable
design for anything. Individual members of the PICList have OFTEN
produced excellent designs by pulling suggestions from the
extreem depth and breadth of other list members experience and
following their OWN thoughts about the final design.

If you want to finish the design based on the suggestions you
have recieved here, GREAT! I wish you would make that more clear
because I fear that some other list members will be angered when
there pet ideas for this project are rejected.

And again, I feel, as I stated early on, that your offer would be
much better directed towards improvement of existing designs by
individuals rather than a "between us all" effort.

You did talk to me some time ago about produceing a Pocket
Programmer kit.
http://www.piclist.com/pocketprog
I got a reply from Olimex first so I went with them and I'm very
happy with the result. Here is an excellent example: An open
source programmer that costs about $70 as a kit and does
EVERYTHING the picstart + does (and more) except that it programs
only parts that support serial programming algorithems. Why not
finance the update of this excellent device to support some extra
devices? It already has a boot loader. And produce it at cost?
Tony has done 90% of the work already. You could probably make it
for $40. Or less. I don't know, I never got a quote.

Other points: I don't own the PICList, I don't even admin it
much. I own the web site only in the since that I pay for it to
stay up. But if this discussion doesn't bear some fruit or take a
less argumentative course, I will suggest that it be moved. At
least to [OT]:. As always, I'll ask for votes from the members,
and confir with the other admins. Dale will have the final say,
not I. Finally, please don't curse on the list.
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jamesnewtonEraseMEspam@spam@piclist.com  1-619-652-0593 phone
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PIC/PICList FAQ: http://www.piclist.com

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2002\08\19@060217 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
This contains quotes from a number of emails on the development project,
which were under a number of subject headings.

> If so, isn't it a good idea to reduce the project to
>only 18FXXX line (only for this project, of course) to
>eliminate the dilemma, you encountered:

No, because so much code and project info is available readily for the 16F
line. This has a conversion hassle to port it to the 18F line, and with a
16F877/A pin compatible to an 18F472 why bother with this restriction?

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

This is my feeling too. The original kick to start the project was a
beginners attempt at getting a programmer going, and as we seem to get a
fair number of requests to help with this sort of problem, the idea was to
get the beginner over this hurdle, and on to doing "useful" things, where we
can give (hopefully) better targeted advice.

Byron said
>There seems to be two major points of contention that still floating
around.

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

carrying on from Roman's point, I believe the PBK needs to fit the
"simple/cheap/reliable", but including the "standardised" as well :) This
gives the beginner the best hit at getting underway.

To my way of thinking having an LCD alpha display comes under the
"comprehensive" part of Byron's list. It would be nice to have, but if it
doubles the cost of the unit, I believe should be left off. However a 2
digit, 7 segment display should be included, as this makes it a very
versatile unit for the beginner.



From a quick think about what would be going on it, I believe it would fit a
Eurocard PCB (100 x 160 mm, that's 4 x 6 inches), and if that is what it
ends up being, then it would make sense to set it up with pads for a DIN
connector on the breadboard end. This would serve two purposes -:

1. the professional user can fit the card to a Eurorack as a system
component, by fitting a DIN connector, and probably some interface chips on
the breadboard area.

2. The beginner/experimenter can use the card by fitting a 40 pin (or other
size) pin header on the same connector pads, and use ribbon cable to connect
to other hardware, again probably with interface chips in the breadboard
area. It would also be possible to use a ribbon header to connect to an IDC
D series connector if this was the sort of connection desired.

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2002\08\19@071953 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
> I've done one in 150 words and can probably be streamlined even further.

I can believe that.  There are a lot of possible features a bootloader can
have.  Which ones you chose has a large impact on size.  I just checked, and
one version of my bootloader for a 16F877 used 364 program memory locations
and had the following features:

1  -  The code at 0 - 3 and the bootloader itself is protected.  It is not
overwritten regardless of what the host sends.

2  -  The bootloader is always run on reset.  It checksums the application
code (everything except itself) and runs the application only if the
checksum matches the expected value.  If it doesn't, the bootloader waits
for a new upload.  The purpose of this is to protect against a failed or
interrupted upload.  The expected checksum for an upload is transmitted by
the host and stored in the bootloader.

3  -  Even if the app checksum matches, the bootloader sends a message to
the host and waits for a short timeout.  This gives the host an opportunity
perform a new upload before the old app code gets run.

4  -  The bootloader uses the hardware UART.  New firmware (except for the
bootloader and the reset vector) can be uploaded into a 16F877 in about 37
seconds using 115.2Kbaud.

5  -  The bootloader does not use interrupts, so does not treat the
interrupt vector at 4 as special.

6  -  This particular version that takes 364 bytes is also aware of some of
the hardware environment.  It must perform some initialization of external
hardware.  This is unique to this particular instance.

7  -  The host communications protocol includes informing the host of the
app checksums on startup, whether the app was run, invitation to upload from
the bootloader, request to upload from the host, various acknoledgements,
flow control, etc.  Flow control is done at the protocol level because only
a 3 wire RS-232 connection (RX, TX, GND) is used.


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

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2002\08\19@093343 by victorf

flavicon
face
HOW ABOUT WE KEEP SELLING TONY'S KITS?
MAYBE SMALLER  ALSO UPDATE TUTORIALS IF NEEDED.
ANY MONEY MADE GOES TO PIC LIST AND HAVE TONY UPDATE HIS TOOLS.
SUCH AS SIMULATORS COMPILERS?????
AND SINCE SOURCE CODE WILL BE AVAILABLE MAYBE OTHER MEMBERS CAN
IMPROVE THE TOOLS.
BUT THIS GIVES US A KIT WE CAN PUT TOGETHER QUICK.
JUST MY .002 WORTH
VICTOR
{Quote hidden}

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2002\08\19@113158 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
I have attached a block diagram of the proposed PBK, as I see it from all
the discussion.

Besides what is on the diagram in the way of notes, here are some more

1. The "Primary Processor" has the on board I/O connected to specific ports
straight out of the box. I would suggest using fine tracks that are easily
cut with a scalpel or other fine knife.

2. I suggest the possibility of providing a second RS232 port on top of an
RS232 and a USB. This will cost only a connector and board space, as I have
yet to find a Microchip circuit that uses any of the handshake lines, apart
from resetting the micro on an ICD. This means each port needs only half a
MAX2x2 chip per port, allowing a second one at close to zero cost. This
would make interfacing to the secondary processor potentially much easier.

3. I have not included any I/O that deals with analogue signals. This is
more an omission on my part in preparing the diagram, and would become
another block or two on the bottom right.

4. The note about multipole option selection may not be very clear. I am
thinking in terms of the little DIP jumper units that used to be used on ISA
serial cards and the like where with it oriented one way you had COM1, and
the other way COM2, and it changed all the necessary address lines, and
interrupt line as well, using one jumper. The multipole DIP switches may be
a better option for some of them.

I have not seen any comment to my suggestion of having it as a Eurocard
sized board, so have kept that suggestion on the notes, allowing it may need
to be an extended single height card to get sufficient breadboard space to
make it worth while.

This is not an attempt to take over the project, just push it forward a
stage maybe. I had thought of doing a circuit diagram in Orcad (that being
how I did this) but don't have time to get that detailed yet.


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`
end

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2002\08\19@141903 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
Dale proposed solderless breadboard.

My comments: I have used and am using $SUBJ for prototyping. But never was
a longer coil of rope offered to a newbie than the average breadboard. In
transistor (bipolar) times, this was a good solution. Now you have CMOS
inputs everywhere. You mentioned running oscillators without caps (works
here too). There are also things 'running' on a breadboard that
shouldn't/won't under normal conditions (at least not without adding 30-40
22pF capacitors into the circuit). Imho, putting CMOS parts into a
breadboard is an art. I use it with CD4xxx series chips, PICs and Atmel
and other micros and I invariably have trouble with open inputs picking up
adjacent signals or mains hum from the desk (wooden), opamp circuits doing
whatever they please and so on. It usually takes a while to find the
problem and I cannot say that it helps me very much to work out
prototypes. I'm a great fan of 'bug style' soldered prototypes, even with
SMD parts, for that and other reasons.

So unless you have an electrically clean environment to work in and warn
the newbies so the gremlins don't disgust him early I think that a
breadboard is just a long rope ... however it could be the right thing for
pre-programmed pics and non-low signal circuits (like a blinking led). I
can say that ICSPing a PIC in a breadboard works fine. Having short
circuit proof programmers is very helpful ;-).

Peter

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2002\08\19@152333 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
part 1 1221 bytes content-type:TEXT/PLAIN; CHARSET=US-ASCII
On Sun, 18 Aug 2002, Wouter van Ooijen wrote:

>...
>> to suggest that a solderless "universal breadboard" and a box of nice
>> pre-cut pre-stripped pre-tinned jumper wires -- all of about
>...
>> So the only piece missing, really, is a working,
>> solid, no-hassle programmer.
>
>I agree totally. I use
>- a bunch of (solderless) breadboards, permanently pre-populated with
>some 0.1u and 22u caps, a power LED and a fools-diode, and bridges for
>the infamous power-strip gaps
>- a few simple 5V supplies (wallwart + 7805)
>- a programmer (in fact: a bunch of programmers) with a D15 ICSP
>connector (Wisp and Wisp628)
>- some D15 to DIL clip ICSP cables, and also some D15 to bare wire ICSP
>cables
>- a bunch of PICs permanently seated in machined sockets (help! I am out
>of narrow 28-pins machined sockets!)

Buy straight strips (SIL15 or 20) and snap them to length. I do this all
the time.  They are more cost effective than sockets and the rigidity of 9
or more pins in a row prevents problems. A real socket with crossbraces is
not really needed imho. They are also easier to pry out of stubborn female
sockets (no puns here).

Peter


part 2 11019 bytes content-type:IMAGE/JPEG; NAME="socket.jpg" (decode)

part 3 105 bytes
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2002\08\19@154544 by Dale Botkin

flavicon
face
On Mon, 19 Aug 2002, Peter L. Peres wrote:

> My comments: I have used and am using $SUBJ for prototyping. But never was
> a longer coil of rope offered to a newbie than the average breadboard. In
> transistor (bipolar) times, this was a good solution. Now you have CMOS
> inputs everywhere. You mentioned running oscillators without caps (works
> here too). There are also things 'running' on a breadboard that
> shouldn't/won't under normal conditions (at least not without adding 30-40
> 22pF capacitors into the circuit).

Have you reached this conclusion by actual real-world experience *with PIC
processors on a solderless breadboard*, or by extrapolation from earleir
experience?  Any floating input is going to be a problem whether on a
solderless breadboard or not.

> Imho, putting CMOS parts into a
> breadboard is an art. I use it with CD4xxx series chips, PICs and Atmel
> and other micros and I invariably have trouble with open inputs picking up
> adjacent signals or mains hum from the desk (wooden), opamp circuits doing
> whatever they please and so on. It usually takes a while to find the
> problem and I cannot say that it helps me very much to work out
> prototypes.

Odd.  Our experiences seem to be polar opposites.  As long as I don't make
other massive mistakes, like long wires hanging off open floating inputs
or something, I haven't had those problems at all.  Yes, for high-gain
audio amps or something it's a real pain trying to use them, but we're
talking about digital circuits here, LEDs, LCD, buttons, keypads, that
sort of thing.  Like the newbie post from an hour or so ago - a few
relays, some temp sensors (thermistors or DS18S20, whatever), LCD,
buttons, etc.  No much chance of screwing that up.

Dale

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