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'[PIC]Novice questions about purchasing a PICkit 2'
2006\11\03@192803 by James Linscheid

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Hello,

I've recently started experimenting with PIC microcontrollers in a
hobbyist capacity using the "El Cheapo" programmer and have already
become frustrated with some of its limitations. A few of the newer chips
I have are not supported, and that in addition to it being a bit
temperamental has me looking at the PICKit 2 an alternative. More than
anything it seems to be frequently updated to support newer devices.

On the Microchip web site I see 2 PICKits 2 packages offered:

PICkit™ 2 Debug Express, Part number: DV164121
and
PICkit™ 2 Starter Kit, Part number: DV164120
*_ <http://www.microchipdirect.com/productsearch.aspx?Keywords=DV164121>_*
The are both the same price, but I'm a bit confused as to the
differences between them. It looks to me like the only difference is
that the Debug Express has a demo board with a chip already on it, and
the Starter Kit has a blank 8/14/20 pin board for programing my chips.
Is this correct? Do they both support in-circuit debugging in MPLAB?

Based on that assumption it looks like the Starter Kit is the way to go
if I want to program my own devices, and not just the demo board.

Also, I've seen references to the fact I can support 40-pin devices like
my 16F877 by wiring up a cable to a board containing a 40-pin Ziff
socket. Is this true, and if so does anyone have a pointer to a schematic?

Sorry if these are really obvious questions. Like I said I'm pretty much
a beginner at this. I'm just looking for a programming solution that
will keep my hair intact, and hopefully support future additions to the
product line. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
James Linschied







2006\11\03@220655 by Mark Rages

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On 11/3/06, James Linscheid <spam_OUTjlinscheTakeThisOuTspamcomcast.net> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

That's right.  The difference is in the prototype boards included.
Get one if it's convenient for you, but read on.

The PICkit 2 supports debugging on the PIC16F917 only.  The '917
doesn't fit the 8/14/20 pin board.   The '917 is availible in the
44-pin version with the Debug Express and a 40-pin DIP version.

> Based on that assumption it looks like the Starter Kit is the way to go
> if I want to program my own devices, and not just the demo board.
>
> Also, I've seen references to the fact I can support 40-pin devices like
> my 16F877 by wiring up a cable to a board containing a 40-pin Ziff
> socket. Is this true, and if so does anyone have a pointer to a schematic?

The programming connections for each PIC are called out in the chip's
"programming guide".  Look at the chip's home page at microchip.com.
The programming guide is listed on the right-hand side.  The
connections are usually on the first page or two.  For the PICkit 2
end of the cable, look in the user guide (also downloadable).  The
schematic is in an appendix.  You'll need five connections:  power,
ground, reset/Vpp, data, and clock.

I recommend you don't make a special board for programming.  Just add
the 6-pin header for the PICkit 2 to whatever design you are working
on, and program the chip in-place.  This is called "in-circuit serial
programming",  and is much more convenient than pulling the chip out
and popping it in a ZIF socket a thousand times while developing
software.

You can also build a temporary programming jig on one of those white
solderless breadboards.

> Sorry if these are really obvious questions. Like I said I'm pretty much
> a beginner at this. I'm just looking for a programming solution that
> will keep my hair intact, and hopefully support future additions to the
> product line. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

The PICkit 2 is a pretty good choice for a development programmer.
The source code is available, so you could even hack in support for
something if it's not yet supported.  In fact, the latest code won't
require changes to the PICkit code to support new chips.

Regards,
Mark
markrages@gmail
--
You think that it is a secret, but it never has been one.
 - fortune cookie

2006\11\04@071957 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
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James,

On Fri, 03 Nov 2006 16:28:10 -0800, James Linscheid wrote:

> Hello,
>
> I've recently started experimenting with PIC microcontrollers in a
> hobbyist capacity using the "El Cheapo" programmer and have already
> become frustrated with some of its limitations. A few of the newer chips
> I have are not supported, and that in addition to it being a bit
> temperamental has me looking at the PICKit 2 an alternative. More than
> anything it seems to be frequently updated to support newer devices.

Good choice - the El Cheapo is really past its best.  And even at its best, it wasn't very reliable...

{Quote hidden}

Almost - the Debug board has a '917 on it, and is designed for just that, but it will do debugging, at the moment no other PICs can be
in-circuit-debugged with a PICkit2.  The Starter Kit comes with a Demo board that has a 20-pin socket, LEDs, a pushbutton and a potentiometer, and
a small abount of breadboard area.  It comes with a 16F690 chip on it, programmed with an sequential LED flashing program.  You can build more
circuitry onto that board for simple experiments and development, and you can get blank boards if you want to repeat for different projects.

> Do they both support in-circuit debugging in MPLAB?

The PICkit2 itself is the same in both cases, it's only the add-on board that's different.  As I said, you can't debug any PICs except the '917 with a
PICkit2, at the moment.  If you can debug your programs using the MPLAB simulator and/or live-running the chip, then you will be OK with the Starter
Kit.  If not, you may want to consider a (much) more expensive alternative such as the ICD2.

> Based on that assumption it looks like the Starter Kit is the way to go
> if I want to program my own devices, and not just the demo board.

Yes, unless you are planning to use the 917, I'd say go with the Starter Kit.  I presume you're not in the UK?  Farnell are still selling the Promo kit
which is the PICkit2 Starter Kit plus 9 PIC samples.  Even if you don't want any of the samples (they aren't very popular ones) the price is about 20%
less than the Starter Kit alone!  Shipping it abroad may well wipe out any advantage, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.  Here's the (not very
helpful) entry on their web site:   uk.farnell.com/jsp/endecaSearch/partDetail.jsp?SKU=9945350

> Also, I've seen references to the fact I can support 40-pin devices like
> my 16F877 by wiring up a cable to a board containing a 40-pin Ziff
> socket. Is this true, and if so does anyone have a pointer to a schematic?

Yes, the Starter Kit is most useful with the 8, 14, 20 pin PICs because they plug into the demo board directly, but for anything else (including 18-pin)
as Mark said, just look up the chip's pinout and connect the 5 connections from the PICkit2 as appropriate.  Microchip do make such an adaptor with a
ZIF 40-pin socket - AC162049 - but it's very expensive for what it is, and you still have to look up the pinout to patch the incoming signals to the
correct pins for the chip you're using.  And now I think about it, I'm not sure if it has a pin-header input - it was designed to work with the ICD2 so it
has an RJ12 socket... probably best to ignore this last part!  :-)

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


2006\11\04@081955 by Rolf

face picon face
I have no experience with the pickits, but I would recommend that you
investigate the ICD2 as well.

I started with a Kit128 programmer a couple of years ago, and it worked
just fine for the chips it supported (It now supports most (all) of the
Flash PIC chips).

I started using more modern chips it did not support (but does now), and
got an ICD2. It is so very useful having the debug function that I
regret not getting it the first time around. Not that the Kit128 is bad,
but, for the money,` the ICD2 is so much more useful.

I have heard very good reviews about the ICD2Clone available for a very
good price from an e-bay seller, don't discount that option.

Rolf

James Linscheid wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2006\11\04@162658 by =?windows-1252?Q?Jan-Erik S=F6derholm?= n/a

face picon face
James Linscheid skrev:

> Hello,
>
> I've recently started experimenting with PIC microcontrollers in a
> hobbyist capacity using the "El Cheapo" programmer and have already
> become frustrated with some of its limitations.

Also an Wisp628 would be a "upgrade" from what you have today.

See http://www.voti.nl/wisp628/index.html for details.
And also check XWisp2 at http://www.robh.nl for current supported PICs.

I know close to nothing about the PICkit2, so I can't tell
which is "best", if any... :-)

Jan-Erik.


2006\11\04@171105 by peter green

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face
> I have heard very good reviews about the ICD2Clone available for a very
> good price from an e-bay seller, don't discount that option.
note that there are a number of different clones arround and some of them are either serial only or use a usb to serial chip. Both theese types will be far slower than the real thing. In other words check carefully what you are getting before you buy an ICD2 clone.

search ebay for "full usb icd2" and you should find a blue board being sold by a guy called eketronics (he lists them "buy it now" and i presume puts another one up whenever one sells). Several people on this list have reccomended that particular clone.



2006\11\04@173944 by Bob Axtell

face picon face
peter green wrote:
>> I have heard very good reviews about the ICD2Clone available for a very
>> good price from an e-bay seller, don't discount that option.
>>    
> note that there are a number of different clones arround and some of them are either serial only or use a usb to serial chip. Both theese types will be far slower than the real thing. In other words check carefully what you are getting before you buy an ICD2 clone.
>
> search ebay for "full usb icd2" and you should find a blue board being sold by a guy called eketronics (he lists them "buy it now" and i presume puts another one up whenever one sells). Several people on this list have reccomended that particular clone.
>
>
>
>  
Yes, that one works great. Its offered for $79 USD presently.

--Bob

2006\11\05@022853 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> note that there are a number of different clones arround and
> some of them are either serial only or use a usb to serial
> chip. Both theese types will be far slower than the real
> thing.

AFAIK the real thing also uses an usb-to-serial converter?

Wouter van Ooijen

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


2006\11\05@094956 by peter green

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face

> AFAIK the real thing also uses an usb-to-serial converter?
nope it uses a fast paralell connection either from a cypress chip in older models or a usb pic in newer models.



2006\11\05@232059 by James Linscheid

picon face
I went ahead and ordered the PicKit 2 Debug Express from Digikey along
with some other PIC related goodies. I think having the PIC16F917 demo
board with its debugging capability might come in handy as I learn to
write more advanced code. I've used the MPLAB simulator to test my code
in the past, but the ability to debug code at full speed on the chip
might come in handy, even if it isn't the target device.

Thanks to everyone for the input and advice.

James
{Quote hidden}

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