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'[PIC] PICkit 2 was Re: OSS'
2005\12\17@185355 by Xiaofan Chen

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This has something to do with PIC so I change the tag and subject.

On 12/18/05, Olin Lathrop <spam_OUTolin_piclistTakeThisOuTspamembedinc.com> wrote:
> Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
> >> Now PICkit 2 is doing a similar thing --> it will hurt third-party
> >> vendors once the chip supports build up. Microchip can afford not to
> >> earn much money from PICkit 2 since they earn money
> >> from chips sale but small vendors may not be able to do that.
> >
> > But once PICkit2 supports all PICs small vendors like me can concentrate
> > on other things like high-end programmers and gang programmers.
> > Personally I would probably concentrate on target boards. As a vendor
> > you can't be lazy.

I like Wouter's proactive attitude. ;-)  And I think target board is a nice
field to be the focus of small vendors. Gang programmers seems to be
highly specialized and may not be so easy to enter.

> The PICKit2 is also not a very robust circuit.  I don't remember the
> details, but I looked at it a while ago and wasn't that impressed.  It's
> also really a development board which can be used as a programmer.  Of
> course this doesn't make it less of a programmer, but it does make it
> klunky.  I think there is room for a good and solid USB programmer.
> Unfortunately with Microchip selling a quick and dirty version for a low
> price it makes it difficult to compete with a better programmer.

I tend to agree that PICkit 2 is not a very robust circuit. However I do
not agree that it is a quick and dirty version even though it is of low price.
Itself is not a development board. The LPC demo board can be sold
as a bundle with PICkit 2. PICkit 1 is a programmer cum development board.

> But I'm experimenting with that concept now anyway.  I'll get the first
> boards back next week and am working on the BOM and ordering parts for the
> first 3 prototypes right now.  This programmer (tentatively called the
> EasyUSB) will have full variable Vpp and Vdd plus decent PGC and PGD drive
> that can be shorted to ground or Vdd indefinitely without damage.  It will
> be completely powered from the USB, although I'm adding pads for external 5V
> and serial connection which will be useful at least for debugging.  It
> should be easy to get the serial working first, then dig into the USB part
> on both the PIC and the host.  That may take a few months.

Take note that EasyUSB may well be trademarked (Antec EasyUSB).
I remember that Bob Axtell has a similar idea of making this (Kits185?)
and I am not so sure if it is still to be released soon. I remember it will
be sold at more than US$100 retail.

I like the idea of protecting PGC/PGD. Variable Vpp and Vdd are also
good to have.

> I'm also making the hardware capable of being a debugger.  Unfortunately
> that's the easy part.  Making it work in MPLAB as a debugger won't be
> trivial, and I'm not sure I'll do it.  For now I'm just making sure the
> hardware and firmware are capable and allow dealing with the host side MPLAB
> issues later.  If this ever gets done, it should be a very nice alternative
> to the ICD2 for probably around 1/4 to 1/3 the cost.
>

Without Microchip releasing the on-chip debug protocol of 18F and dsPIC
and the ICD2-MPLAB communication API, this will be hard to do. If this
can be done, it will be a very interesting product.

Take note PICKit 2 is also hardware capable as being a debugger.

Regards,
Xiaofan

2005\12\17@190753 by olin piclist

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Xiaofan Chen wrote:
> I tend to agree that PICkit 2 is not a very robust circuit. However I
> do
> not agree that it is a quick and dirty version even though it is of
> low price. Itself is not a development board. The LPC demo board can
> be sold
> as a bundle with PICkit 2. PICkit 1 is a programmer cum development
> board.

Now that you mention this, I may have gotten PICKit 1 and 2 confused.

> Take note that EasyUSB may well be trademarked (Antec EasyUSB).

Well I can probably come up with another name.  EasyUSB came from EasyProg
and USB.  Oh well.

> I remember
> it will be sold at more than US$100 retail.

I've got a handle on bare parts cost.  Don't know about labor and other
costs yet, but I expect it will be well under $100.

> Without Microchip releasing the on-chip debug protocol of 18F and
> dsPIC
> and the ICD2-MPLAB communication API, this will be hard to do.

I have NDA and access to this.


******************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, (978) 742-9014.  #1 PIC
consultant in 2004 program year.  http://www.embedinc.com/products

2005\12\18@195525 by Chen Xiao Fan

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Olin
> Sent: Sunday, December 18, 2005 8:08 AM
> To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
> Subject: Re: [PIC] PICkit 2 was Re: OSS

> I've got a handle on bare parts cost.  Don't know about labor
> and other costs yet, but I expect it will be well under $100.

That is great! Still it needs to offer more values than
PICkit 2 which retailed at US$35. The debugger feature
is definitely a plus since you have access to that
debug protocol and communication API.

>> Without Microchip releasing the on-chip debug protocol
>> of 18F and dsPIC and the ICD2-MPLAB communication API,
>> this will be hard to do.
>
> I have NDA and access to this.
>

I see. May I ask how to do that?

Regards,
Xiaofan

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