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'Low-cost PIC programmer'
1994\12\19@155602 by crocontroller discussion list

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Hi, guys (and gals)...

I've heard a lot of talk about PIC programmers, and just wanted to let you know
that we offer our programmer in a "Hobbyist Pack" configuration.  You have to
supply the cables and power supply, and you have to print the docs.  But, you
get an assembled and tested programmer, and you get the necessary assembler and
simulator software.  At half the normal price, we've had a lot of takers lately.

To use the Hobbyist Pack programmer, you'll need a PC with a parallel port.
You'll also need Windows, if you want to print the PDF-format docs.

At this time, the programmer supports the 16C5x, 16C71, and 16C84.  With an
optional 40-pin adapter (which you can buy or build), it also supports the
16C64 and 16C74.


------------------------  Lance Walley  ---------------------------
                         President
                         Parallax, Inc.

1994\12\19@182312 by crocontroller discussion list

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IMHO:

I am always pleased to have representatives from various industry-related
companies on the PIC list. I also appreciate when these representatives
give cogent, pertinent answers to specific questions about their products
(the various folks at Microchip, and Don Lekei being two excellent
examples).

However, I was a little concerned that the post quoted below (from Lance
Walley of *Parallax*) might be crossing the line into inappropriate
commercial promotion. It is certainly on the reasonable side of commercial
posts (vaguely on topic, not too long, posted by a list member, etc.).
Nonetheless, it is essentially an unsolicited, unpaid advertisement (and
just in time for the Christmas rush ;)

To my mind, it is a rough call, since I want to retain the knowledge of
someone like Lance, without subjecting the PIC list to a stream of junk
mail.

How do other people feel about this? Did the discussion of David Tait's
programmer warrant the (admittedly brief) mention/promotion of the Parallax
Hobbyist Pack? Do members of the list want a more explicit policy on
commercial/industry postings (heck, maybe everyone else likes advertising
in this context). At this time, we have no explicit policy, and Lance was
certainly within his rights (which might differ from netiquette... but
violation of netiquette is not yet officially punishable on this forum ;)

I am not trying to give Lance too hard a time. Istead, I would use his post
as a jumping point to proactively deal with this issue (an issue which I
think we will continue to see as more suppliers get hooked to the net,
possibly viewing the PIC list as a great way to hit a tasty well-targeted
market for essentially free.)

jory bell
spam_OUTjoryTakeThisOuTspammit.edu

ps: I got a note from someone in digest mode who had not received a digest
for a few days. If someone who is in digest mode could drop me a private
email if they are still getting their digests, I could tell if it is a
problem specific to the one acount or something more general. thanks.

{Quote hidden}

1994\12\19@185308 by crocontroller discussion list

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I certainly had no objection to the "ad", nor do I have any objection
to "ads" running in the future.  I suspect that my opinion is currently
tempered by the fact that Parallax builds and sells some pretty good
stuff.  I also suspect my opininon in the future may well depend on how
many "ads" start appearing.

With that in mind, a rigidly enforced policy that ads have a one word subject
.. ADVERTISEMENT ..  may solve the problem.

Alan

--

Alan Rothenbush             |   There must be an ideal world, a sort of
Academic Computing Services |   mathematicians's paradise, where everything
Simon Fraser University     |   happens as it does in textbooks.
Burnaby, B.C., Canada       |                            Bertrand Russell

1994\12\19@185515 by crocontroller discussion list

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Ran...

I'm sorry that you had some problems with the Hobbyist Pack.  It's our first
attempt at a product with on-disk docs., and we're learning.  We tried it on
several PCs, but they must have already had ATM installed.  As for the phone
cable, we updated the docs to make this a bit clearer (we state that the
customer should use a twisted cable); we also suggest that customers use a
cable that's meant for a phone, and we mention the grocery store or Radio
Shack as a source.  Anyway, we'll make whatever changes are necessary, as we
learn more about it.


------------------------  Lance Walley  ---------------------------
                         President
                         Parallax, Inc.

1994\12\19@192724 by crocontroller discussion list
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I'm game to receive things like the note from Parallax on the
DISCOUNTED, hobby class unit.  Just like I don't mind hearing about
TI DSK kits, DS750, motorola hc11 promos etc., these are designed
to give deep discounts to folks like us in the hobby area to
hopefully get us started using a particular product / technology.

I would NOT go for any announcements in a group like this for
Standard Commercial List Price offers.  Not that there shouldn't
be a forum for such things, but not here.

I think all my above examples qualify - the TI DSK only has
one price, LIST, but is really not a product for the pro.  It's
truly an entry into experimenting at a price for hobbyists; the
standard COMMERCIAL product starts closer to a thou.

Cheers / mark

1994\12\19@204201 by crocontroller discussion list

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I think Parallax's posts so far have been fine, but then I frequently make
quasi-commercial posts to the mailing list most closely involved with my
comany's products.  As was said, the Internet IS commercial, these days.

Even in days gone by, it was deemed appropriate for companies to post
technical information of likely interest to the members of the mailing
list.  After some discussion, even a few hard-heads were forced to admit
that price is a very important part of technical information these days.

In general, what should be avoided is stuff that looks like advertisments.
Especially self-indulgent, competition-bashing, technical-content free
advertisements (like ours!  Or our competitors!)  Also to be avoided are
personal vendettas and competition bashing in general.  (eg, it would be
OK to send the parallax assemblers list of opcodes and what not, but it
would NOT be OK to repsond to someone's request for help with source code
by starting "first get rid of that piece of crap microchip assembler and
buy ours instead.")  (This OUGHT to be obvious, and come under the heading
of "be polite".  However, I read plenty of stuff from people who just haven't
gotten the idea.)

BillW
cisco

1994\12\19@223439 by crocontroller discussion list

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I think the "advertisement" in this case was acceptable. It was for a
product related to the mail list; as you point out it was very short;
and, it was not an obnoxious "send xxx before midnight tonight and
get ghinsu steak knives..." type of ad.

The suggestion of placing ADVERTISEMENT in the subject line seems to
be a good one by the way.

Regarding manufacturers reps, etc. participating in the list all I
would recommend is that they don't use every post to hawk their
products and that the discussions do not ever degenerate to mud
slinging at the competition. A comment such as "product abc will
accomplish what you want by doing thus and so..." is acceptable.
A comment like "well you wouldn't have that problem if you used
our new widget instead of that other brand..." is out of line so
far as I'm concerned.

Just my two cents...

Tim McDonough -- .....timmedKILLspamspam@spam@cencom.net

1994\12\19@232403 by crocontroller discussion list

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I'm glad to see the manufacturer or service provider available to answer
questions and provide free advice about their product and/or service. It
wasn't like the obnoxsciouse, unsolicited price list mailed to the world
a week ago.

Being the owner of a Parallax Programmer, I remember reading something
regarding that programmer not exactly following the Microchip programming
process, something about programming voltages maybe? I wonder if that can
effect the long term reliability of a PIC.

Also, does Parallax have their BBS available by ftp? I would like some
toll-free downloads :)

Scott Stephens

1994\12\19@233217 by tom

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Hi, and Merry Christmas to each.

Jory wrote;
> However, I was a little concerned that the post quoted below (from Lance
> Walley of *Parallax*) might be crossing the line into inappropriate
> commercial promotion. It is certainly on the reasonable side of commercial
> posts (vaguely on topic, not too long, posted by a list member, etc.).
> Nonetheless, it is essentially an unsolicited, unpaid advertisement (and
> just in time for the Christmas rush ;)

I'd like to congratulate Lance on <IMHO> managing to walk a *very* fine line
between "a helpful posting" and "crass commercialism" :)

>
> To my mind, it is a rough call, since I want to retain the knowledge of
> someone like Lance, without subjecting the PIC list to a stream of junk
> mail.
>
> How do other people feel about this? Did the discussion of David Tait's
> programmer warrant the (admittedly brief) mention/promotion of the Parallax
> Hobbyist Pack?
Yes, it was <nearly> bang on topic. ;) But too late for Xmas for me ;(

> At this time, we have no explicit policy, and Lance was
> certainly within his rights (which might differ from netiquette... but
> violation of netiquette is not yet officially punishable on this forum ;)

Well, to quote a well known balding Englishman,  " Make it so. . "

> I am not trying to give Lance too hard a time. Istead, I would use his post
> as a jumping point to proactively deal with this issue (an issue which I
> think we will continue to see as more suppliers get hooked to the net,
> possibly viewing the PIC list as a great way to hit a tasty well-targeted
> market for essentially free.)

In another Msg. Alan Rothenbush Proposed allowing advertising providing it was
identified as such on the subject: line.
I am *strongly* against this idea. I have to *pay* to download this stuff and I
ain't gonna pay to get junk mail. In fact I rather approved of the way Jory
treated the last "spam" that came our way.

I vote for a version of that to be robo-posted to everyone that joins the list,
then we've got a chance to retire on the profits ;)
Anyone else ?

Oh, BTW. What about the FAQ ?
How close to "advertising" do you want that to be ?
Where do *I* draw the line ?
Yours, Puzzled of Warrington UK ;)
__
  TAK

1994\12\20@012915 by crocontroller discussion list

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>I'm glad to see the manufacturer or service provider available to answer
>questions and provide free advice about their product and/or service. It
>wasn't like the obnoxsciouse, unsolicited price list mailed to the world
>a week ago.
>
>Being the owner of a Parallax Programmer, I remember reading something
>regarding that programmer not exactly following the Microchip programming
>process, something about programming voltages maybe? I wonder if that can
>effect the long term reliability of a PIC.
>
>Also, does Parallax have their BBS available by ftp? I would like some
>toll-free downloads :)
>
>Scott Stephens

Indeed, our programmer does not follow the programming process exactly.  A
"production quality" programmer will program and verify PICs at 4.5 and 5.5
volts.  Our programmer simply programs and verifies at 5 volts.  However, I
was told the following info:  the minimum programming pulse is 11 uS, and
our programmer uses 100 uS pulses; also, a 3X overpulse is performed for
absolute sureness.  Many customers use our programmer for production purposes,
and we have never heard of a long-term reliability problem (if it's any
comfort, our programmer is used to program all PICs that are used in our
products, like the Stamp).

Regarding the BBS and ftp, we just got our ftp sight up a few days ago.
Essentially, the BBS files are now available via ftp.  In time, the BBS will
actually be "Internetable" itself.  For now, the BBS files are simply copied
to our server.  I don't think our sysop has made the usual description files,
but most files have self-explanatory names.



------------------------  Lance Walley  ---------------------------
                         Parallax, Inc.

1994\12\20@013126 by Bret Berger

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The Parallax post seemed appropriate to me... low key, to the point, and
concerning something aimed at small company/hobbiest types.  I'd rather
see you concern yourself with raising the S/N ratio by discouraging some
of the small talk.

bretspamKILLspamstonefly.wariat.org



1994\12\20@023056 by crocontroller discussion list

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For what its worth, I like the "adds". Lance's post is within context.

No problem from me on this. Its PIC related, thats good enough.

--jorge

On Mon, 19 Dec 1994, jory bell wrote:

{Quote hidden}

know
> >that we offer our programmer in a "Hobbyist Pack" configuration.  You have to
> >supply the cables and power supply, and you have to print the docs.  But, you
> >get an assembled and tested programmer, and you get the necessary assembler
and
{Quote hidden}

1994\12\20@092133 by crocontroller discussion list

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All:

 I did not consider Lance's post out of place in the context of the
discussion.  His post, to me, was merely informative, and not a blatant
commercial announcement.  And since it elicited at least one (so
far) review of the product from a user, it may be helpful to the rest of
us in choosing such products in the future.
 While the internet does allow free advertising for commercial
enterprises, the advertisers must also accept the immediate feedback,
which is often critical.  No other medium gives us that ability.

* Douglas Martin * Design Engr/Elec. Technician * EraseMEdmartinspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTbgsuvax.bgsu.edu *
*         BGSU Department of Chemistry - Bowling Green, Ohio - USA         *
* 'Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day . . .'   -  Pink Floyd *
*****                                                                  *****


On Mon, 19 Dec 1994, jory bell wrote:

{Quote hidden}

know
> >that we offer our programmer in a "Hobbyist Pack" configuration.  You have to
> >supply the cables and power supply, and you have to print the docs.  But, you
> >get an assembled and tested programmer, and you get the necessary assembler
and
{Quote hidden}

1994\12\20@095946 by crocontroller discussion list

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Lance Walley <@spam@lwalleyKILLspamspamPARALLAXINC.COM> wrote :
>
> Indeed, our programmer does not follow the programming process exactly.  A
> "production quality" programmer will program and verify PICs at 4.5 and 5.5
> volts.  Our programmer simply programs and verifies at 5 volts.  However, I


Does anyone have figures for the failure rate at marginal voltages (i.e.
the proportion of PICs that verify OK at 5v but not at 4.5 or 5.5) ?

I need to build an in-system programmer for the 16c84 and from what
Lance says it may not be worth adding the minor extra complexity of a
programmable supply rail.

-adrian

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