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'[PIC] Recommended tutorial sites'
2005\10\30@184503 by Bill Kuncicky

picon face
I am a complete newbie at PIC and don't even know enough yet to ask the
right questions, probably. But I do want to learn, and did some looking on
the Internet and have found two places that seem to have step-by-step
tutorials available on-line. One is Myke Predko tutorials at
http://www.rentron.com<http://www.rentron.com>and the other is at
WinPicProg.co.uk <http://WinPicProg.co.uk>.

I wonder if anyone has an opinion as to which of these two might be the best
for me? I do have a basic knowledge of electronics, and also of computer
programming, and do not mind sitting down and spending some time building
circuits. The WinPicProg site looks like it might be better, but that is
just my initial impression and I may be wrong.

Bill Kuncicky

2005\10\30@194938 by Maarten Hofman

face picon face
Rochester, 30 oktober 2005.

> I am a complete newbie at PIC and don't even know enough yet to ask the
> right questions, probably. But I do want to learn, and did some looking on
> the Internet and have found two places that seem to have step-by-step
> tutorials available on-line. One is Myke Predko tutorials at
> http://www.rentron.com<http://www.rentron.com>and the other is at
> WinPicProg.co.uk <http://WinPicProg.co.uk>.
>
> I wonder if anyone has an opinion as to which of these two might be the best
> for me? I do have a basic knowledge of electronics, and also of computer
> programming, and do not mind sitting down and spending some time building
> circuits. The WinPicProg site looks like it might be better, but that is
> just my initial impression and I may be wrong.

If I could do my newbie period over again, I would've gone with the
PICkit 2, for the following reasons:
1) Building your own programmer is overrated, and in the end usually
more expensive than buying the PICkit 2.
2) It comes with CDs that include all datasheets, software and example
code and applications.
3) It comes with a demo board, allowing you to test software with
LEDs, A/D converters and a button.
4) It support newer devices (and I think it is better to start with
the newer devices), like the 16F688, and the 16F690, which comes with
the kit. Older devices, like the 16F628A, might be supported in future
software releases. It can still do ICSP and I believe the linux
software works with it as well.
5) It works with USB, and therefore avoids most compatibility issues
related to programmers using the serial port and parallel port.

I have won a PICkit 2 recently, and I was very impressed by it. The
examples of Microchip all use absolute code, and for most applications
relocatable code is a wiser choice, but they are understandable and
easy to modify. I own the book of Myke Predko (Programming and
customizing PICmicro Microcontrollers) and think his knowledge of
electronics is excellent. However, most of his programming advice
should be ignored. I do not know the other site you mentioned.

Greetings,
Maarten Hofman.

2005\10\30@200613 by Bill Kuncicky

picon face
Maarten Hofman wrote:

>
>> If I could do my newbie period over again, I would've gone with the
>PICkit 2,
>
Thanks for the good advice, Maarten, and I have filed it away for future
reference.  However, I  think that you answered a question that I have
not asked (yet).  I am nowhere near the stage of thinking about a
programmer for the PIC, but only at  the stage of wanting to go through
some very basic tutorial material and read about how the hardware works
and how the software works.  I know that at some point I will have to
get a programmer, but it would be foolish, IMHO, to get one so early
when I do not even know the basics yet.

So the question was:  Which of  these tutorials would you recommend?

Thanks a lot,
Bill

2005\10\30@202904 by Rolf

face picon face
You should really stop by at these places:

http://www.voti.nl/swp/index.html

and

http://www.piclist.com/techref/piclist/begin.htm

Rolf

Bill Kuncicky wrote:

{Quote hidden}

2005\10\30@214839 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Oct 30, 2005, at 5:06 PM, Bill Kuncicky wrote:

> Which of  these tutorials would you recommend?
>
Is there some reason you don't want to look at both of them?  I like
to gather as much info as possible; you can learn a LOT by looking at
the parts where two or more tutorials diverge and figuring out for
yourself WHY they diverge.  (or ask here, if you've tried and can't
get it.  I learn the most here when two people who know more than me
start arguing over points finer than I knew existed :-)

What you need in a tutorial will depend somewhat on where you're
starting.  Have you ever written a computer program before?  How about
in assembler?  For a microcontroller (rather than a "big" computer)?
Can you solder?  Have you built any electronics hardware?  Do you
understand electronics schematics?  How about Chip data sheets?
Do you have any experience with "raw" electronics hardware at all?
(answering "no" to any of these questions doesn't mean that you won't
be able to use PICs for whatever you had in mind, but it might mean
you have some holes in your mind that need filled, and you'll need to
find a tutorial that is willing to fill those holes rather than one
that assumes they're already full.)  How much money do you have to spend
on learning PICs?  (You can jump right in by spending more money to get
a 'development board' and a HLL compiler, or something like the OOPIC or
PicAxe products.  You don't NEED to; there are plenty of free designs
and even free compilers; it'll just require a BIT more effort to collect
and figure out how to put them together...)

As for the two you mentioned, I took a very quick look:
http://www.rentron.com (Myke Predko Tutorial, I assume?)

This seems to be based on the PIC16F84, which has become pretty  
obsolete,
so I'd take it with a grain of salt.  Note that the basic principles of
PIC programming are going to the be the same for F84 or any newer
replacement, so if you're just reading for content and background, there
should be plenty you can learn...

http://WinPicProg.co.uk
Starting with the 16F628, this specifically mentions the obsolescence  
of the
F84, and is therefore more "modern."  However, it looks like more of a
"lab course" aimed at specific hardware projects, and rather lacking in
theory.  Very veroboard-centric too, which may be a problem depending on
where you live (there was a recent discussion on the "interesting" price
comparisons for veroboard in the US vs Europe, for instance.)

You might also want to look at the following:

From microchip itself:
http://techtrain.microchip.com/masters2004/(kgmnvafutocq2355egt11231)/
downloads/classes/801/801.htm
(16F88; a good candidate for F84 replacement)

Others you haven't found yet:
http://www.voti.nl/swp/index_1.html (nice table for "pick a pic")
http://www.mstracey.btinternet.co.uk/pictutorial/picmain.htm  (16F84  
again)
http://www.amqrp.org/elmer160/lessons/index.html (16F84)

BillW

2005\10\30@225121 by John J. McDonough

flavicon
face
----- Original Message -----
From: "William Chops Westfield" <spam_OUTwestfwTakeThisOuTspammac.com>
Subject: Re: [PIC] Recommended tutorial sites


> http://www.amqrp.org/elmer160/lessons/index.html (16F84)

The newer lessons have been slow, and I apologize, but a few lessons from
now we are going to stretch people beyond the F84.

--McD


2005\10\31@004548 by Chen Xiao Fan

face
flavicon
face
Marrten's advice is quite good and you **NEED** a programmer
**NOW**. You need to physically power up the MCU and see the
LED blinking. For that you need the programmer and PICkit 2
is a good one with the simple demo board.

You can of course use the simulator first but you will need
some hardware from the very beginning. Without the hardware,
you are basically wasting your time.

Regards,
Xiaofan

{Original Message removed}

2005\10\31@015158 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> I wonder if anyone has an opinion as to which of these two
> might be the best for me?

not a tutaorial, but do read http://www.voti.nl/swp


Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2005\10\31@072540 by Jan-Erik Soderholm

face picon face
Chen Xiao Fan wrote :

> ... you **NEED** a programmer **NOW**...
> ...
> Without the hardware, you are basically
> wasting your time.

Well, I'd say that that is stretching things a bit to far.
Depending on your background (and the OP said
"I do have a basic knowledge of electronics, and
also of computer programming"), I guess that just
some reading could be usefull at an initial stage...


Jan-Erik.



2005\10\31@083831 by Bill Kuncicky

picon face
Jan-Erik Soderholm wrote:

>Chen Xiao Fan wrote :
>
>  
>
>>... you **NEED** a programmer **NOW**...
>>...
>>Without the hardware, you are basically
>>wasting your time.
>>    
>>
>
>Well, I'd say that that is stretching things a bit to far.
>Depending on your background (and the OP said
>"I do have a basic knowledge of electronics, and
>also of computer programming"), I guess that just
>some reading could be usefull at an initial stage...
>  
>
I don't want to argue -- after all, I AM asking for advice :-) -- but I
don't think that getting a programmer right now is a good idea.  
Probably different people have different ways of learning, but my best
way seems to be to read as much as I can, and get an overall view of
things, before starting to experiment.   Also, I think that both of the
tutorial sites that I asked about have you build a programmer as part of
the tutorial, although I may be wrong about  that.


2005\10\31@085343 by Bill Kuncicky

picon face
William Chops Westfield wrote:

> What you need in a tutorial will depend somewhat on where you're
> starting.  

That is true.  Thanks to you and to all the other people who responded,
I now have several other sites to look at.  So far as some of  the other
questions, I do know how to write assembly language code (but not for a
PIC), do know how to solder, have built some hardware projects from
magazines (but could not design my own), and cannot dive in and spend a
lot of money on this.  I HAVE looked at a chip data sheet (for the
16F628), and realize that I am going to need a lot of hand-holding.  
That is why I think that a good tutorial (or perhaps several tutorials)
will be a good way to start.  Attending a hands-on class would be best,
but that is not an option.

So thanks again for the advice, and I am off to do some more reading.

2005\10\31@091852 by olin piclist

face picon face
Bill Kuncicky wrote:
> I don't want to argue -- after all, I AM asking for advice :-) -- but I
> don't think that getting a programmer right now is a good idea.
> Probably different people have different ways of learning, but my best
> way seems to be to read as much as I can, and get an overall view of
> things, before starting to experiment.

I agree with you too.  Read the docs first.  Far too many people want
instant gratification and skip over important things.  They may get an LED
to light a little quicker, but get lost much more easily.  Spend the time up
front to really read the documentation and you'll spend a lot less time
doing it in the long run.

The simulator is quite good and definitely the easiest debugging
environment -- assuming your app doesn't require complex interactions with
the outside world.  The simulator will allow you to 100% debug the tool
chain, make sure the assembler/libarian/linker are doing the right things,
MPLAB is properly set up, etc.  It will get you about 95% of the way there
debugging your PIC code for something output-only like an LED blinker.  This
allows you to separate hardware problems from most software problems and get
the pure software largely working first.  Otherwise, you end up loading the
code in the PIC and find nothing happens.  Now which one of the few dozen
things went wrong?

There is no need, in fact it's a waste of time, to touch hardware until the
code runs properly on the simulator.  You'll still have a few things to
debug with the real hardware after that, but at least you'll have some
confidence in the software.  The usual culprits in this phase are power
problems, oscillator problems, improper config settings, floating PGM pin,
MCLR not driven correctly, and a few others.  But we're getting ahead of
ourselves.  Get the code running in the simulator first, then try the
hardware, and ask here if you get stuck along the way.

With your attitude you'll get an LED blinking a week later than most, but a
month after that you'll be way ahead of the instant gratification crowd
(which is unfortunately way too many newbies judging from the posts here).
You're going about this the right way.  Keep plugging.


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

2005\10\31@112041 by Nelson Johnsrud

flavicon
face
Bill (and his volunteer tutors),

Just popping on this to let you know that I am another newbie to PICS,
and I am intently watching this thread.  Like Bill, I may need some
future hand-holding, but for now I have been reading, reading, reading.  
I do have an Olimex PG4 (~$25) development board/programmer, which came
with the 16F628A PIC, so Nigel's 16F628-based tutorial is proving very
interesting reading for me.  The PG4 has program/run capability without
removing the PIC, and the first LED is part of the board circuitry.  
After getting that LED flashing (just to confirm that I could properly
use the programming software), I have since removed the chip to a
breadboard for further experiments.  Like Bill, I have had some limited
electronics experience.  There are many development boards & experiment
modules that can make things seem to move along more quickly at first,
but in my own case, breadboarding the various circuits manually gives me
a better feel of the hardware side. This also has introduced me to
in-circuit programming (also supported by the current version of the
PG4).  Nigel's tutorials utilize some home-built modules to skip the
breadboard, if you are more comfortable with that, but I have been
wiring these modules on separate small breadboards.  The small boards
can be bought for a couple of bucks each, and they interlock with the
main board to make it convenient and flexible.  As Olin and some others
have mentioned, I have been spending most of my time reading, reading,
reading -- including threads like this.  Thanks all!

Nels

Bill Kuncicky wrote:

{Quote hidden}

2005\10\31@121946 by Bill Kuncicky

picon face
Nelson Johnsrud wrote:

> Just popping on this to let you know that I am another newbie to PICS,
> and I am intently watching this thread.  Like Bill, I may need some
> future hand-holding, but for now I have been reading, reading,
> reading.  I do have an Olimex PG4 (~$25) development board/programmer,
> which came with the 16F628A PIC, so Nigel's 16F628-based tutorial is
> proving very interesting reading for me.

Hi Nels -- thanks for the post.  I was beginning to wonder if my
approach of  "read before write" was the right one, but first Olin's
post and now yours, has reassured me. :-)   I think that Olin hit the
nail right on the head -- wanting instant gratification (an LED to
flash, or something like that) is deadly.  I also appreciate your
comments about Nigel's tutorial, although some of the other ones that I
was given the URL for also look pretty interesting.   I think that the
person who said "why not try more than one?" or words to that effect
probably gave me good advice, since each location seems to have both
weak points and strong points (at least so far as I can tell, but I
admit to being pretty ignorant).  And by "weak" I do not mean wrong, I
mean out of date, or not explained in a way that I can understand, that
sort of thing.

2005\10\31@125209 by Maarten Hofman

face picon face
> Hi Nels -- thanks for the post.  I was beginning to wonder if my
> approach of  "read before write" was the right one, but first Olin's
> post and now yours, has reassured me. :-)   I think that Olin hit the
> nail right on the head -- wanting instant gratification (an LED to
> flash, or something like that) is deadly.  I also appreciate your

It is all a matter of personal preference, which is why I accepted the
answer to your post, and just hoped you also read my comments
regarding Myke Predko. Both the statement "Marrten's advice is quite
good and you **NEED** a programmer
**NOW**." and "wanting instant gratification (an LED to flash, or
something like that) is deadly." feel too much like absolutes. I got
where I am (and I think I got fairly far in six months) with the
PICmicro by always having direct feel to the hardware, and would have
great difficulty learning anything by not actually doing it. I can,
however, appreciate that other people would prefer to have knowledge
of everything first, before they start tinkering. Both are acceptable
ways, and if you already know that the way you plan to take will get
you there, then it is fine.

And yes, it is best to look around for various tutorials. I haven't
found any one tutorial that would help completely. But as said, the
tutorial that comes with the PICkit 2 (which I think you can download
from the Microchip website for free as well) is quite useful.

Greetings,
Maarten Hofman.

2005\10\31@132229 by Bill Kuncicky

picon face
Maarten Hofman wrote:

>It is all a matter of personal preference, which is why I accepted the
>answer to your post, and just hoped you also read my comments
>regarding Myke Predko.
>
I hope that I did not come across as seeming to ignore your post -- I
did not.  For one thing, it was the very first reply to my very first
post on the piclist, so no way could I not value it!  :-)  I read it
very carefully, and took it to heart.

> I got
>where I am (and I think I got fairly far in six months) with the
>PICmicro by always having direct feel to the hardware, and would have
>great difficulty learning anything by not actually doing it.
>
I am just the opposite -- I have to have the picture of what I am doing
in my mind before I start, or else hands-on experience with the hardware
just doesn't work for me.  I might get things to work, but will not
really understand why they work.  More importantly, I won't understand
why they don't work, either.  In fact, strange as it may seem, I seem to
learn better by making mistakes and then figuring out what I did wrong.  
And it looks to me, just from reading the different posts on the piclist
and realizing that I do not have a clue what they are even talking
about, that I have endless opportunities ahead for making mistakes.  
However, to return to my thesis -- when I read a lot before ever
starting, I usually remember that I saw some reference to this, or that,
or the other.  Just as a trivial example -- one of the people who
answered my post (more than one, I think) pointed me to
http://www.piclist.com/techref/begin.htm which I had not known about.  I read
that, and learned about some possible pitfalls for beginners, and that
list will stick with me.

>> But as said, the
>tutorial that comes with the PICkit 2 (which I think you can download
>from the Microchip website for free as well) is quite useful.
>  
>

I am going to go download it right now, if I can find it.


2005\10\31@140822 by Nelson Johnsrud

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face
I'll add just one small thing to the thoughts expressed already.  In my
earlier post I mentioned that I started out doing a lot of reading, and
I still continue to do so.  However, I got to the point with my initial
reading that I simply had to get SOMETHING in hand in order to
progress.  I bought one of the less expensive programmers (PG4) and a
breadboard so that as I read some of the tutorials, I can stop reading
once in a while and say "let's try that."  I still spend much more time
reading, but the only way to fully grasp these things is to get some
hands-on reinforcement.

Nels

Bill Kuncicky wrote:

{Quote hidden}

2005\10\31@171640 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Oct 31, 2005, at 11:08 AM, Nelson Johnsrud wrote:

> However, I got to the point with my initial reading that I simply had
> to get SOMETHING in hand in order to progress.  I bought one of the
> less expensive programmers (PG4) and a breadboard so that as I read
> some of the tutorials, I can stop reading once in a while and say
> "let's try that."

Note that with the state of free simulation tools, you don't really
need real hardware to try something out.  Although I'll admit that
getting something running under the usual simulator lacks some of the
satisfaction of real hardware...

BillW

2005\10\31@201536 by Charles Rogers

flavicon
face
Subject: [PIC] Recommended tutorial sites


I am a complete newbie at PIC and don't even know enough yet to ask the
right questions, probably. But I do want to learn, and did some looking on
the Internet and have found two places that seem to have step-by-step
tutorials available on-line. One is Myke Predko tutorials at
http://www.rentron.com<http://www.rentron.com>and the other is at
WinPicProg.co.uk <http://WinPicProg.co.uk>.


Bill Kuncicky

Bill, you need to try this site before anything else ! ! !
CR

http://www.amqrp.org/elmer160/lessons/

2005\10\31@213411 by Mike Singer

picon face
William Chops Westfield wrote:> Note that with the state of free simulation tools, you don't really> need real hardware to try something out.  Although I'll admit that> getting something running under the usual simulator lacks some of the> satisfaction of real hardware...
Yes, (forgive me James) using a simulator for EE beginner is just likehaving sex with some simulator not real device. All the excitement isgone. Reading specs too much is like reading _this_ kind of literaturetoo much, - just do it ;-)
Olin wrote:> With your attitude you'll get an LED blinking a week> later than most, but a month after that you'll be way> ahead of the instant gratification crowd (which is> unfortunately way too many newbies judging from> the posts here).
Sounds a bit religiously: everybody who is not going my way is a partof a hostile crowd ;-)
My humble advice for a newbie would be: Don't lose excitement, if youfeel you are excited about messing up with hardware – play withhardware, if you are excited about reading docs – read them.
But do not make the "newbie" phase too long if you are thinking aboutEE career, not just having fun.
Regards,Mike


'[PIC] Recommended tutorial sites'
2005\11\01@074754 by olin piclist
face picon face
Charles Rogers wrote:
> I am a complete newbie at PIC and don't even know enough yet to ask the
> right questions, probably. But I do want to learn, and did some looking
> on the Internet and have found two places that seem to have step-by-step
> tutorials available on-line. One is Myke Predko tutorials at
> http://www.rentron.com<http://www.rentron.com>and the other is at
> WinPicProg.co.uk <http://WinPicProg.co.uk>.

Check the archives.  There was a thread about exactly this over the last
couple of days or so, maybe even still ongoing.


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

2005\11\02@092714 by Charles Rogers

flavicon
face

----- Original Message -----
From: "Olin Lathrop" <.....olin_piclistKILLspamspam@spam@embedinc.com>
To: "Microcontroller discussion list - Public." <piclistspamKILLspammit.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2005 6:48 AM
Subject: Re: [PIC] Recommended tutorial sites


{Quote hidden}

Olin:

Maby you should check the archives, I just simply replyed to the OP by
referring him to McD's web site for his tutorials.

CR

2005\11\02@094327 by olin piclist

face picon face
Charles Rogers wrote:
> Maby you should check the archives, I just simply replyed to the OP by
> referring him to McD's web site for his tutorials.

I guess your message didn't properly indicate the replied-to text.  The
normal convetion is to put leading ">" on lines for that purpose.


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

2005\11\02@180712 by Byron A Jeff

face picon face
On Mon, Oct 31, 2005 at 12:19:41PM -0500, Bill Kuncicky wrote:
> Nelson Johnsrud wrote:
>
> >Just popping on this to let you know that I am another newbie to PICS,
> >and I am intently watching this thread.  Like Bill, I may need some
> >future hand-holding, but for now I have been reading, reading,
> >reading.  I do have an Olimex PG4 (~$25) development board/programmer,
> >which came with the 16F628A PIC, so Nigel's 16F628-based tutorial is
> >proving very interesting reading for me.
>
> Hi Nels -- thanks for the post.  I was beginning to wonder if my
> approach of  "read before write" was the right one, but first Olin's
> post and now yours, has reassured me. :-)   I think that Olin hit the
> nail right on the head -- wanting instant gratification (an LED to
> flash, or something like that) is deadly.

I think that thinking that you know everything you need to know about
PIC development after doing a blinky LED is deadly. The blinkly LED
verifies that your toolchain works. It does have value.

The pitfalls comes later down the road. Issues such as:

Assembly vs. HLL
Using hardware for tasks vs. software implementations.
Absolute code vs. relocatable code.
Choice of development environment

each represent a potential pothole that one can step into as one proceeds.

OTOH you don't need to know absolutely everything beore you get started
either. Often tutorials will take you in a lot of different directions for
the sake of full coverage. It can be overwhelming taking in all that material
before getting started at all.

I find that a sprial development model works for me. I learn a bit, design a
bit, develop a bit, test the results, then rinse and repeat. I tend to be
successful when working through new stuff a bit at a time. But of course that's
just one strategy.

BAJ

2005\11\02@191450 by Herman Aalderink

picon face

>>One is Myke Predko tutorials at
>>http://www.rentron.com<http://www.rentron.com>and the other is at
>>WinPicProg.co.uk <http://WinPicProg.co.uk>.
>>
>>I wonder if anyone has an opinion as to which of these two might be the best
>>for me? I do have a basic knowledge of electronics, and also of computer
>>programming, and do not mind sitting down and spending some time building
>>circuits. The WinPicProg site looks like it might be better, but that is
>>just my initial impression and I may be wrong.
>>    
>>
>Maarten Hofman wrote:
>If I could do my newbie period over again, I would've gone with the
>PICkit 2, for the following reasons:
>1) Building your own programmer is overrated, and in the end usually
>more expensive than buying the PICkit 2.
>  
>
This calls for a little balance on "building-your-own" ....
.... and keep the money for the Pickit in the pocket for a while ....
As a hobbyist I used the referenced WinPicProg.co.uk
<http://WinPicProg.co.uk>
... and I recommend building

A practical PIC-user has to get familiar with elementary building, this
is a good start.
I used the schematic provided on the website.
I used old-computer-parts and breadboard. I spent less than $2. I had a
lot of fun doing so.
I bought the bufferchip (for the programmer) with my first PIC-order.
16F628, at Glitchbuster.

Even when you use this programmer only for the tutorial it is worth it.
..... buy a Pickit afterwards.
Or, having one's own opinion after learning from the tutorial, make a
'better/personal' choice.

I think newbie-programmers are UNDER-rated because a newbie cant move
(start learning hands-on) till he has settled on a programmer.
The questions on the PIClist (what programmer should I buy??) back my
opinion.
I think building a (crude is OK!) PPort-programmer is hard to beat
(cheap, simple and easy to trouble-shoot, educational).

Herman in PHL.

2005\11\02@192652 by Juan Cubillo

flavicon
face
> > ... you **NEED** a programmer **NOW**...
> > ...
> > Without the hardware, you are basically
> > wasting your time.
>
> Well, I'd say that that is stretching things a bit to far.
> Depending on your background (and the OP said
> "I do have a basic knowledge of electronics, and
> also of computer programming"), I guess that just
> some reading could be usefull at an initial stage...
>
>
> Jan-Erik.

Not really...
I have been trying to learn how to use PICs, but I don't have a programmer.
I know how to make a LED blink in JAL, but I can't test it phisicaly!!!
I totally agree with the "you **NEED** a programmer **NOW**" comment.

Juan Cubillo

T´F$"

2005\11\02@230617 by Maarten Hofman

face picon face
> This calls for a little balance on "building-your-own" ....
> .... and keep the money for the Pickit in the pocket for a while ....

That is fine, I don't mind a little balance. I can however give my
reasoning in more detail for arguing for the PicKit 2:

1) It supports a variety of the newer Microchip devices that a random
programmer grabbed from the web is unlikely to support (I agree, the
PicKit 2 will probably never supprt the 16F84A. This is, in my eyes, a
good thing. The fact that it doesn't yet supprt the 16F628A series is
disappointing, but I read that it will be remedied soon) like the
16F688, which I think is a wonderful PICmicro to start your experience
with.
2) It comes with all sortware, datasheets, example code and a lot of
support from the Microchip people directly.
3) It is quite easy to use as an ICSP programmer, as you just need to
add a header pin to your circuitboard to which you can attach it. It
can even power your circuit through this configuration.
4) There is no risk that you will blow up either your parallel port or
your serial port with it (and sometimes the rest of your motherboard).
Even if you do find all the parts in your drawers, you should be aware
that not all parallel ports and serial ports are properly buffered on
the motherboard and accidents could become VERY expensive.
5) The PICkit 2 uses USB, which means it will work with almost any
computer. Many computers currently sold don't even have a parallel
port or serial port anymore. USB also allows for 10x as much current
to be drawn from its port, which is quite useful in combination with
item 3.

I first built my own programmer, I did not have all the parts for it,
so I spent about $25, if I include the adapter and the parallel port
cable. It worked well, programmed the 16F84A without problems, and I
even managed to program a 16F628 and a 16F877. In a way, these are all
more ancient devices. After this, I bought an Olimex JDM style
programmer. This managed to do the 16F628A, 16F877A and even the
16F688 and I probably would have continued using it until I won the
PicKit 2 and discovered how much superior it was over the other
programmers I had, and realised that if I had started with it, I
would've been spared a lot of money and head aches, and would have had
more enjoyment of building circuits that actually use the PICmicro.

Greetings,
Maarten Hofman.

2005\11\03@184056 by Herman Aa

picon face
Maarten Hofman wrote:

>>This calls for a little balance on "building-your-own" ....
>>.... and keep the money for the Pickit in the pocket for a while ....
>>    
>>
>
>That is fine, I don't mind a little balance. I can however give my
>reasoning in more detail for arguing for the PicKit 2:
>  

The advantages (of PicKit 2) are obvious for serious work. Like
programming many PICs or in preparation for a career.
I dont think anyone disagrees with you. I dont.

>1) It supports a variety of the newer Microchip devices that a random
>programmer grabbed from the web is unlikely to support (I agree, the
>PicKit 2 will probably never supprt the 16F84A. This is, in my eyes, a
>good thing. The fact that it doesn't yet supprt the 16F628A series is
>disappointing, but I read that it will be remedied soon) like the
>16F688, which I think is a wonderful PICmicro to start your experience
>with.
>  
>

I programmed the 16F628A successfully with this programmer and
WinPicProg software.
It also supports the 16F648A.
There is nothing wrong with the 16F84A if you have one in stock. It just
is not 'the latest mode'.
The same will happen with the 16F628. It, too, will lose the 'popularity
contest'.
But in a circuit it keeps on working just like before ......

>3) It is quite easy to use as an ICSP programmer, as you just need to
>add a header pin to your circuitboard to which you can attach it. It
>can even power your circuit through this configuration.
>  
>
The PPort programmers on the WinPicProg site is suitable as an ICSP
programmer.
I left off the ZIF socket(s) and connected directly to my application
(blinking a LED).
Great for learning.

>4) There is no risk that you will blow up either your parallel port or
>your serial port with it (and sometimes the rest of your motherboard).
>  
>
I used a CMOS bufferchip. The PPort drives CMOS inputs, except for 1 line.
The risk is no more than hooking-up a parallel-port-printer to that port.

>I first built my own programmer, I did not have all the parts for it,
>so I spent about $25, if I include the adapter and the parallel port
>cable.
>
I did a lot of reading before building. I stayed away from a JDM type
programmer. The (possible) problems are well-publicized.
I have never considered the 16F84 too. Based on knowledge I gained on
this list..
The PPort programmer works best if the hardware is installed right at
the PPort. No cable needed.
Using it ICSP style (board at the PPort) brings the convenience (and the
LED indicators) near the keyboard.

BTW this programmer had VPP-before-VDD capability long before it was
needed (16F628A, 16F648A).
How about the PicKit 2 ?

More importantly, at that point I did not even know if PIC programming
was for me.
Money (for a PicKit or other) would not solve my problem. (reading,
learning, listening would).
(in my case) It would have been an outright bad decison to buy a PicKit.

Here is where we differ.

.... for me there are only 2 kinds of PIC-programmers :
>>>> The ones that program the PIC at hand and the ones that do not.

Herman in PHL.


2005\11\07@003325 by Chen Xiao Fan

face
flavicon
face

>The advantages (of PicKit 2) are obvious for serious work. Like
>programming many PICs or in preparation for a career.
>I dont think anyone disagrees with you. I dont.

PICkit 2 is not a professional programmer. It does not even program
many PICs now. But it has the potentials. It is only US$35 plus
shipment.

>BTW this programmer had VPP-before-VDD capability long before it was
>needed (16F628A, 16F648A).
>How about the PicKit 2 ?

PICkit 1 and PICkit 2 support Vpp-before-Vdd. PICkit 2 also supports
variable Vdd.

I guess parallel-port based programmers are quite okay in general and
the chip supports of some programmers are impressive as well. But there are
two disadvantages.
1) Normally it needs a power supply. PICKit 1/2 do not need an supply.
2) Parallel ports are legacy ports. PICkit 1/2 use USB ports.

Regards,
Xiaofan

2005\11\07@073846 by John J. McDonough

flavicon
face
----- Original Message -----
From: "Chen Xiao Fan" <.....xiaofanKILLspamspam.....sg.pepperl-fuchs.com>
Subject: RE: [PIC] Recommended tutorial sites


> 1) Normally it needs a power supply. PICKit 1/2 do not need an supply.

In an earlier thread I made the comment that limitations are generally the
result of software, not hardware.  HOWEVER, there is one glaring exception I
didn't mention.

Simple programmers that DO NOT require an external power supply in general
will have problems with some PICs and some PCs.  By "simple programmers" I
am explicitly excluding USB programmers such as the PICkit.  If you are
considering building or buying a serial or parallel port programmer and that
programmer does not require an external (usually 13.8 volt) supply, study
the schematic carefully or select another design.  Most PICs require 13.1
volts to program.  Some relatively new (but not including the newest) PICs
can be programmed with  5 volts, but in general you need something over 12
volts.  While parallel ports can typically provide almost 5 volts, serial
ports may be anywhere from 0.7 to 15 volts, so be sure the circuit has a
pretty fancy charge pump to come up with Vpp, or takes the simpler, more
reliable approach of requiring an external supply.  There are plenty of
designs out there that assume >12 volts on the serial port, which is not
very likely anymore.

USB programmers won't work at all without some sort of charge pump
arrangement, and USB ports are a lot more predicatble than serial ports, so
in general it isn't a problem with USB port programmers.

--McD



2005\11\07@085554 by Maarten Hofman

face picon face
> volts.  While parallel ports can typically provide almost 5 volts, serial
> ports may be anywhere from 0.7 to 15 volts, so be sure the circuit has a

I believe for RS232 serial ports the region between -3V to +3V is
officially considered a "switching region" so any serial port not
outputting at least 3V would not even be able to communicate with
other serial ports (I'm not saying they don't exist). A transmitter
officially has to have at least +5V and -5V. Also the top voltages
that a receiver should be able to handle are +25V and -25V, although
transmitters aren't supposed to send that.

> pretty fancy charge pump to come up with Vpp, or takes the simpler, more

Note that a serial port has multiple lines (hand shaking signals, et
cetera) so I imagine a circuit would output a mark on one line, and a
space on another line, and use the difference as the supply voltage.
This doubles the voltage available (though makes it dangerous to do
ICSP if you have a common ground with the PC) allowing a result
between 10V-30V.

> reliable approach of requiring an external supply.  There are plenty of
> designs out there that assume >12 volts on the serial port, which is not
> very likely anymore.

Assuming a serial port to begin with is dangerous... Many Dells I have
seen don't have serial ports anymore. But yes, I noticed there are
some serial ports out there that don't comply with IBM's initial +12V
and -12V. However, the malfunction of a JDM style programmer could
very well also have to do with cable length and software.

Greetings,
Maarten Hofman.

> USB programmers won't work at all without some sort of charge pump
> arrangement, and USB ports are a lot more predicatble than serial ports, so
> in general it isn't a problem with USB port programmers.

Not to mention that with USB you have a lot more power (300mA)
available to do things with.

Greetings,
Maarten Hofman.

2005\11\07@094404 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> I believe for RS232 serial ports the region between -3V to +3V is
> officially considered a "switching region" so any serial port not
> outputting at least 3V would not even be able to communicate with
> other serial ports (I'm not saying they don't exist).

more correctly: *might* not be able to communicate with a receiver. The
standard does noet forbid a receiver to interpret (for instance) 0..0.5V
as a low and >1.0V as a high.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2005\11\07@122800 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>> I believe for RS232 serial ports the region between -3V to +3V is
>> officially considered a "switching region" so any serial port not
>> outputting at least 3V would not even be able to communicate with
>> other serial ports (I'm not saying they don't exist).
>
>more correctly: *might* not be able to communicate with a receiver.
>The standard does noet forbid a receiver to interpret (for instance)
>0..0.5V as a low and >1.0V as a high.

And that is exactly what the venerable 1489 chips do. The Schmitt trigger
threshold is such that they make excellent TTL receiver chips.

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