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PICList Thread
'Pro-Mate vs. Everything Else (was: "programmer kit'
1995\04\08@061025 by Andrew Warren

Chuck McManis ( wrote:

>        Cheapest        Kit programmer such as David Taits
>        Moderate        Parallax "Hobby" programmer
>        Moderate+       Microchip's PICSTART programmer
>        Moderate++      Parallax's deluxe programmer (Clearview?)
>        Expensive       Microchip's PICMaster programmer
>        Expensive       EMP-20, etc.
> ....
>        One kind (16C84)         Kit programmer, no EEPROM parts have
>                                 A/D yet
>        Few kinds (16C5x, 16c7x) Microchips PICSTART (16B or 16C)
>        Many kinds               Parallax "hobby" programmer
>        Many Kinds               Both microchip PICSTART 16B and 16C
>        Many Kinds               PICMaster, EMP-20, etc.
> ....
>        Few per day/week        Kit programmer
>        Few per day/week        Parallax or Microchip "Hobby"
>                                programmers.
>        10+ per day/ 50+/week   PICMaster, EMP-20, etc.


What you're saying, obviously, is that one gets what one pays for.  I
have a couple of comments, though.

This is minor, but it bugs me every time I see someone make this

Microchip's production-level programmer is called "Pro-Mate", not
"PIC-Master".  The PIC-Master is, of course, Microchip's in-circuit
emulator.  Microchip is partly to blame for your confusion; before they
realized that the name was already trademarked by DATA I/O, they called
their programmer a "Pro-Master".

I'm not at all familiar with Parallax's hardware, but I believe that
their "Clearview" products are emulators, too.

Ok... The main point:

Your third criterion (number of parts programmed) shouldn't really be an
issue.  The difference in programming speed between the "hobby"
programmers (Microchip's PICSTART or Parallax's DOWNLOADER) and the
much-more-expensive Pro-Mate is fairly slight, and, in the case of the
PICSTART-to-Pro-Mate upgrade, the user interface is even the same.

A more important reason to choose the Pro-Mate is that it programs PICs
using Microchip's production-approved multiple-voltage verification
protocol.  If the reliability of your programmed PICs over their full
voltage range is important to you, you pretty much have to use the


Andrew Warren -
Fast Forward Engineering, Vista, California

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