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PICList Thread
'PIC 16C74 Programmer Options'
1995\10\13@134121 by John Loch

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Hello,

I need to buy a programmer for the PIC 16C74 and have found three that are
available from Digikey.  They are in descending price order:

1.) Promate Development Kit from Microchip at $695.00 plus $141.00 for 40
pin DIP socket module.

2.) PIC Programmer from Parallax (PICPGM) at $215.58 plus $49.00 for 40 pin
ZIF adaptor

3.) PICSTART 16C from Microchip at $193.32

From what I can tell the Promate (#1) can program all variations of PIC's
but will require that I purchase a separate adaptor for each pinout at
around $150 each (can you say pure profit).  The Parallax programmer (#2)
will allow me to program the PIC 16C5X series and the PIC 16C84 which the
PICSTART 16C (#3) does not support.

The most important consideration to me is the assembler.  The Parallax
assembler says that it accepts Microchip and 8051-like instructions (which
I am familiar with).  I am about to purchase the Parallax programmer, but I
would like to hear from other developers.  Any comments?  Are there any
other programmers available?  Are these prices good?  Thanks for your help!

- John Loch
spam_OUTjohnlochTakeThisOuTspammtt.com
The Source for Renewable Energy -
http://www.mtt.com/theSource/renewableEnergy

- John Loch
.....johnlochKILLspamspam@spam@mtt.com
The Source for Renewable Energy -
http://www.mtt.com/theSource/renewableEnergy

1995\10\14@010524 by John Payson

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> I need to buy a programmer for the PIC 16C74 and have found three that are
> available from Digikey.  They are in descending price order:
>
> 1.) Promate Development Kit from Microchip at $695.00 plus $141.00 for 40
> pin DIP socket module.
>
> 2.) PIC Programmer from Parallax (PICPGM) at $215.58 plus $49.00 for 40 pin
> ZIF adaptor
>
> 3.) PICSTART 16C from Microchip at $193.32

[4] Spin your own.  Really, this is not at all difficult for any of the
PICs except the 5x series and even they're not hard.  All you need to
program a PIC are:

(a) +5 to VDD and ground to VSS [of course]
(b) The ability to output to RB7, and both output and input [an open-collector
   output w/ pullup and input is fine] on RB6 (I may have those backwards)
(c) The ability to selectively place /MCLR at ground or +12 volts [+5 is
   also useful, since it will allow your program to run.  Note that the
   rise time from 0 to +12 must be pretty fast [1us].

In many cases, these requirements may be easily met even while the chip is
in-circuit; the preferred embodiment is to have a four-pin header with RB6,
RB7, /MCLR, and ground tied to it; if these signals are needed elsewhere,
tie them off with resistors.

> >From what I can tell the Promate (#1) can program all variations of PIC's
> but will require that I purchase a separate adaptor for each pinout at
> around $150 each (can you say pure profit).  The Parallax programmer (#2)
> will allow me to program the PIC 16C5X series and the PIC 16C84 which the
> PICSTART 16C (#3) does not support.

The 16C84 is a great chip for development, especially when combined with a
programming header as described above; you can leave the chip in the cir-
cuit and reprogram it as many times as you need for debugging.  Not quite
as nice as an emulator, but at under $7 it's a lot cheaper.

> The most important consideration to me is the assembler.  The Parallax
> assembler says that it accepts Microchip and 8051-like instructions (which
> I am familiar with).  I am about to purchase the Parallax programmer, but I
> would like to hear from other developers.  Any comments?  Are there any
> other programmers available?  Are these prices good?  Thanks for your help!

Unfortunately, choice of assembler is a tricky issue.  The difficulty is
that different assemblers don't use compatible source, so if you choose
one and then have to incorporate into your project source developed with
a different one you could be in for some headaches.

On the Parallax assembler, there are three types of instructions:

[1] "True" PIC opcodes (e.g. "andlw 45" or "btfsc C")
[2] Single-instruction pseudo-ops (e.g. "skipz" is equivalent to "btfss Z")
[3] Multi-instruction pseudo-ops (e.g. "jnz foo" is equivalent to "btfss Z"
   followed by "goto foo" and "mov foo,bar" is equivalent to "movfw bar"
   then "movwf foo")

Generally, use of type [1] is desireable for compatibility's sake though
type [2] may be more readable in some cases and translation is not diff-
icult.  Further, instructions of type [2] generally don't have any hidden
surprises.

Instructions of type [3], however, can have some nasty gotchas.  Most
notably:
(a) They do not execute in one cycle; in some cases the execution time may
   be non-obvious unless you know what code the instruction "really"
   generates.
(b) They do not fit in one word; if you are trying to use carefully placed
   code to allow computed jumps you have to be able to count the number of
   generated words of code.  With instructions of type [3] this can be
   unduly difficult.
(c) Their semantics are incomsistent; some of them trash W, but others do
   not.  Some set flags usefully, others uselessly, and others do not
   affect them at all.
(d) Their semantics may be overblown for the case at hand.  For example,
   consider the instruction
       mov myreg.3,PORTA.7
   Under Parallax, this will generate code:
       btfsc   PORTA,7
       bsf     myreg,3
       btfss   PORTA.7
       bcf     myreg,3
   If myreg.3 is not an I/O port, however, and is not needed by an inter-
   rupt routine, it is faster to do:
       bcf     myreg,3
       btfsc   PORTA.7
       bsf     myreg,3
   Which will unconditionally clear myreg.3 and then conditionally re-set
   it.  In some cases the unconditional clear will pose a problem, but
   in other cases eliminating the extra test is a boon.

   Also, note that use of Parallax-style operations may blind you to some
   of the PIC's powerful features including the skip operations.  For
   example, if you wish to execute an instruction if either porta.3 or
   portb.6 is set, you could use:

       btfss   porta.3
       btfsc   portb.6
       do      whatever

1995\10\14@140226 by Andrew Warren

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John Loch <johnlochspamKILLspamMTT.COM> wrote:

>I need to buy a programmer for the PIC 16C74 and have found three that
>are available from Digikey.  They are in descending price order:
>
>1.) Promate Development Kit from Microchip at $695.00 plus $141.00
>2.) PIC Programmer from Parallax (PICPGM) at $215.58 plus $49.00
>3.) PICSTART 16C from Microchip at $193.32
>
>From what I can tell the Promate (#1) can program all variations of
>PIC's but will require that I purchase a separate adaptor for each
>pinout at around $150 each (can you say pure profit).

   Can you say, "You get what you pay for?"

   This list and the Microchip BBS are full of complaints about
   PICSTART reliability.  As far as I know, no one has EVER had a
   problem with PRO MATE reliability.

   Also, the PRO MATE (unlike the other two) is a "production"
   programmer; it verifies chips at both Vmin and Vmax.

   On the other hand, it IS expensive; if you're just doing
   hobbyist-type things, buy one of the other two.

>The most important consideration to me is the assembler.  The Parallax
>assembler says that it accepts Microchip and 8051-like instructions
>(which I am familiar with).  I am about to purchase the Parallax
>programmer, but I would like to hear from other developers.  Any
>comments?

   Here's my standard Parallax comment:

   Parallax's hardware is ok.  Nothing wrong with it, and it fills a
   big niche in the hobbyist market.  I've been told that their
   customer support is pretty good, too.

   Their assembler, on the other hand, is a toy.  In my opinion, it
   isn't really suitable for professional software development.

   By including "8051-type" macros, their assembler "protects" you
   from having to learn the PIC instruction set.  Unfortunately, it
   also protects you from such assembler features as conditional
   assembly, macros, multi-module assembly, source-level compatibility
   with the PIC-Master emulator and MPSIM simulator, object-level
   compatibility with the MPC C-compiler, an optional Windows
   interface, etc.

   For the same cost (free), you can get Microchip's MPASM assembler,
   a real state-of-the-art assembler that DOES have all those
   features.  The fact that you already know the 8051 instruction set
   makes little difference; the PIC's 35-or-so instructions can easily
   be learned in one sitting.

   -Andy

--
Andrew Warren - .....fastfwdKILLspamspam.....ix.netcom.com
Fast Forward Engineering, Vista, California

1995\10\15@024248 by John Payson

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>     Can you say, "You get what you pay for?"
>
>     This list and the Microchip BBS are full of complaints about
>     PICSTART reliability.  As far as I know, no one has EVER had a
>     problem with PRO MATE reliability.
>
>     Also, the PRO MATE (unlike the other two) is a "production"
>     programmer; it verifies chips at both Vmin and Vmax.

How much of an issue is this?  One of the projects I'm designing includes
a connector so that, if needed, firmware updates may be done in-system (it's
a 16C84).  Is there any reliability issue with just programming it at 5 (the
system will only run at 5 volts)?  My conjecture is that, for any reasonable
number of program/erase cycles the probability of the chip's EEPROM failing
is much less than the likelihood of any cobbled voltage-selector failing.

Also, if a firmware update requires only changing a few words, is it better
to erase and reprogram the whole array or to simply reprogram those words
that have changed?

1995\10\15@083927 by Andrew Warren

face
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John Payson <EraseMEsupercatspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTMCS.COM> wrote:

> [Single-voltage verify-reliability question (best answered by somone
>  at Microchip -- like Jim Pepping) snipped]
> ....
>if a firmware update requires only changing a few words, is it better
>to erase and reprogram the whole array or to simply reprogram those
>words that have changed?

John:

Since there's a certain probability of error when each word is
programmed, reprogramming as few as possible would seem to be the most
prudent course.

-Andy

--
Andrew Warren - fastfwdspamspam_OUTix.netcom.com
Fast Forward Engineering, Vista, California

1995\10\15@171054 by John Payson

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> >if a firmware update requires only changing a few words, is it better
> >to erase and reprogram the whole array or to simply reprogram those
> >words that have changed?
>
> John:
>
> Since there's a certain probability of error when each word is
> programmed, reprogramming as few as possible would seem to be the most
> prudent course.

That was my thinking--also, not reprogramming everything should save some
wear on the chip.  My concern was whether bits might become marginal as a
result of programming neighboring bits and thus need to be re-zapped to
ensure reliable behavior.

1995\10\15@175121 by Andrew Warren

face
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John Payson <@spam@supercatKILLspamspamMCS.COM> wrote:

>My concern was whether bits might become marginal as a
>result of programming neighboring bits and thus need to be re-zapped
>to ensure reliable behavior.

   No need for concern... This doesn't happen.

   -Andy

--
Andrew Warren - KILLspamfastfwdKILLspamspamix.netcom.com
Fast Forward Engineering, Vista, California

1995\10\16@042808 by s.addison%abdn.ac.uk%UKACRL.bitnet

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John Loch <RemoveMEjohnlochTakeThisOuTspamMTT.COM> wrote:

>I need to buy a programmer for the PIC 16C74 and have found three that
>are available from Digikey.  They are in descending price order:
>
>1.) Promate Development Kit from Microchip at $695.00 plus $141.00
>2.) PIC Programmer from Parallax (PICPGM) at $215.58 plus $49.00
>3.) PICSTART 16C from Microchip at $193.32
>
>From what I can tell the Promate (#1) can program all variations of
>PIC's but will require that I purchase a separate adaptor for each
>pinout at around $150 each (can you say pure profit).

   Can you say, "You get what you pay for?"

   This list and the Microchip BBS are full of complaints about
   PICSTART reliability.  As far as I know, no one has EVER had a
   problem with PRO MATE reliability.

   Also, the PRO MATE (unlike the other two) is a "production"
   programmer; it verifies chips at both Vmin and Vmax.

   On the other hand, it IS expensive; if you're just doing
   hobbyist-type things, buy one of the other two.

>The most important consideration to me is the assembler.  The Parallax
>assembler says that it accepts Microchip and 8051-like instructions
>(which I am familiar with).  I am about to purchase the Parallax
>programmer, but I would like to hear from other developers.  Any
>comments?

   Here's my standard Parallax comment:

   Parallax's hardware is ok.  Nothing wrong with it, and it fills a
   big niche in the hobbyist market.  I've been told that their
   customer support is pretty good, too.

   Their assembler, on the other hand, is a toy.  In my opinion, it
   isn't really suitable for professional software development.

   By including "8051-type" macros, their assembler "protects" you
   from having to learn the PIC instruction set.  Unfortunately, it
   also protects you from such assembler features as conditional
   assembly, macros, multi-module assembly, source-level compatibility
   with the PIC-Master emulator and MPSIM simulator, object-level
   compatibility with the MPC C-compiler, an optional Windows
   interface, etc.

   For the same cost (free), you can get Microchip's MPASM assembler,
   a real state-of-the-art assembler that DOES have all those
   features.  The fact that you already know the 8051 instruction set
   makes little difference; the PIC's 35-or-so instructions can easily
   be learned in one sitting.

   -Andy

--
Andrew Warren - spamBeGonefastfwdspamBeGonespamix.netcom.com
Fast Forward Engineering, Vista, California

Steve Addison
University of Aberdeen
Tillydrone Avenue
Aberdeen
Scotland
UK
AB9 2TN
Tel: UK 01224 272889
Fax: UK 01224 272396

1995\10\16@095156 by Paul Christenson [N3EOP]

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>2.) PIC Programmer from Parallax (PICPGM) at $215.58 plus $49.00 for 40 pin
>ZIF adaptor

Get the "hobbyist" version of the PICPGM directly from Parallax themselves.
It's only $99; the difference is that the documentation is provided on disk,
and you have to make your own cable.  (I used an old phone cord, and the
DB25 to RJ-11 adapter from Radio Shack.  Under $10.)  The hassle is that the
documentation is in Adobe's proprietary format (I forget which); you'll need
Windows to print it out.

1995\10\16@125050 by Falstaff

picon face
> How much of an issue is this?  One of the projects I'm designing includes
> a connector so that, if needed, firmware updates may be done in-system (it's
> a 16C84).

Is there a standard pinout for the ISP connector?  Would be nice if
everyone used the same pinout, so that a standard programmer & cable
could be used -- much like the background debugger connector Motorola
specifies for the 683xx series.

I use a 5-pin SIL header (0.1" pin spacing) with the following pinout
       1       VCC
       2       /MCLR VPP
       3       RB6
       4       RB7
       5       GND
in my programmer, which I intend to release soon (DOS, OS/2 and Linux
support)

Frank

"Mutual respect, even if we disagree."
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Frank A. Vorstenbosch        +31-(70)-355 5241        TakeThisOuTfalstaffEraseMEspamspam_OUTxs4all.nl

1995\10\17@143115 by Edward Tang

picon face
"Paul Christenson [N3EOP]" <hksuper!PSUVM.PSU.EDU!PJC130> writes:

> >2.) PIC Programmer from Parallax (PICPGM) at $215.58 plus $49.00 for 40 pin
> >ZIF adaptor
>
> Get the "hobbyist" version of the PICPGM directly from Parallax themselves.
> It's only $99; the difference is that the documentation is provided on disk,
> and you have to make your own cable.  (I used an old phone cord, and the
> DB25 to RJ-11 adapter from Radio Shack.  Under $10.)  The hassle is that the
> documentation is in Adobe's proprietary format (I forget which); you'll need
> Windows to print it out.

       Would you tell me the series of chips that the programmer can
work with?

Edward Tang

1995\10\17@145224 by Paul Christenson [N3EOP]

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>> Get the "hobbyist" version of the PICPGM directly from Parallax themselves.

>        Would you tell me the series of chips that the programmer can
>work with?

It _is_ the PICPGM that Digi-Key sells.  The only difference is in the
documentation, and that you have to come up with your own cable.

1995\10\17@231224 by Mike Goelzer

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>"Paul Christenson [N3EOP]" <hksuper!PSUVM.PSU.EDU!PJC130> writes:
>
>        Would you tell me the series of chips that the [Parallax]
programmer can
>work with?
>
>Edward Tang

All PIC16Cxx.

But, for anything other than the PIC16C5x's, you need to get special adapters.

-mike
--
Mike Goelzer
<RemoveMEmgoelzerspamTakeThisOuTus.net>

1995\10\18@033114 by Newfound Electronics

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>>"Paul Christenson [N3EOP]" <hksuper!PSUVM.PSU.EDU!PJC130> writes:
>>
>>        Would you tell me the series of chips that the [Parallax]
>programmer can
>>work with?
>>
>>Edward Tang
>
>All PIC16Cxx.
>
>But, for anything other than the PIC16C5x's, you need to get special adapters.
>
>-mike
>--
>Mike Goelzer
><mgoelzerEraseMEspam.....us.net>
>
>
This is not correct! The parallax programmer will program 16C61/71/84
devices in the onboard 18-pin socket.  No adaper required! Actually any
programmer that can program the 16C71 can program the 16C61 as they are
exactly the same programming wise.  This also applies for the 16C74/65 and
73. These are the same also. The 16C73 can be programmed in the TOP of the
16C74/64/65 socket PROVIDING the serial program method is used.

The 16C63 is different programming wise but still can be programmed as a
16C64 but the checksum is different and the brown out reset will be turned
off unconditionally.

Actually, did you know that...... .No, No, shut up Jim, I think I was told
that in confidence? (yes, yes, I know talking to yourself is the first sign
of madness but I well past that anyway!)

Anyway, back to the parallax hunk of junk. Currently, it will NOT program
all announced 16Cxx devices. Parallax are working on new firmware/software
and updating their assembler also. The new software will program the 16C62x
devices also.

As a side note, parallax aren't the only ones providing a update for their
programmer. I intend to "port" my own software/firmware over to the parallax
platform. This will increase the usefulness for the parallax programmer
considerably more than Their upgrade I believe. We will have to wait and see
what they come up with.

I m just waiting on their embedded device numbers form their assembler to
maintain complete compatability with both microchip and parallax formats.

Further details are available but please email me direct as I don't want the
piclist to become commercial  (But I will post some general details
regarding my ultra fast proto programmer "WARP-3" as a general interest item
very soon).

Regards,
Jim Robertson




-----------------------------------------------------------------
NEWFOUND ELECTRONICS,  Makers of low cost,
mega featured PIC programming tools.
EraseMEnewfoundspamne.com.au
------------------------------------------------------------------

1995\10\18@182542 by Mike Goelzer

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>>>"Paul Christenson [N3EOP]" <hksuper!PSUVM.PSU.EDU!PJC130> writes:
>>>        Would you tell me the series of chips that the [Parallax]
>>programmer can
>>>work with?

>>All PIC16Cxx.
>>
>>But, for anything other than the PIC16C5x's, you need to get special adapters.
>>
>This is not correct! The parallax programmer will program 16C61/71/84
>devices in the onboard 18-pin socket.  No adaper required! Actually any
>programmer that can program the 16C71 can program the 16C61 as they are
>exactly the same programming wise.  This also applies for the 16C74/65 and
>73. These are the same also. The 16C73 can be programmed in the TOP of the
>16C74/64/65 socket PROVIDING the serial program method is used.

Yes, my apologies for the incorrect info.  I must have written the above
very late at night.  :-)

-mike
--
Mike Goelzer
<RemoveMEmgoelzerEraseMEspamEraseMEus.net>

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