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Author Topic: Homemade or bought programmer  (Read 2849 times)

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Offline schwinger33Topic starter

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Homemade or bought programmer
« on: August 17, 2007, 10:25:29 AM »
I am just starting working with robotics and am an electrical engineering student. I am familiar with the electronics required to build a programmer and know it would not be a problem to build. I am looking to work with the PIC16F877A for a school project and am wondering if its worth it to get something like the PICKIT2 starter kit or to build myself. The reason i am unsure is software, PICKIT2 comes with what i would need to program in C and i have read that the free C compilers on the net aren't the best. Also, is there anyway to debug with a homemade programmer? Would it be worth the investment in the ICD 2 to be able to debug? I plan to use multiple sensors and possible audio and lcd interfaces as well and from programming experience know how many problems can arise. Without a specific debugger, does it make it significantly harder to create a a working design? Thanks,

Nick

Offline Qubix

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Re: Homemade or bought programmer
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2007, 12:01:33 PM »
The pickit 2 can be used as a debugger and 16F877A is fully supported mplab ( the microchip IDE)
http://www.microchip.com/stellent/idcplg?IdcService=SS_GET_PAGE&nodeId=1406&dDocName=en027813

HI-TECH PICC-Lite C compiler can be used for free. Its ANSI C. This is the free version so there are some limitations on memory you can use

http://www.htsoft.com/products/compilers/PICClite.php

There is also CCS compiler demo version, its NOT ANSI C but it is a nice compiler.
From Pickit2 web page : FREE! CCS PCM? Midrange C Compiler Demo for PIC16F887.

Personally I like the Pickit 2, I think it works very well without any hassle.  If you want to program in C some people would suggest looking at AVRs (instead of PICS) since there is a free C compiler (no limitations) available called WinAVR.
http://robots.ie  - Ireland's robot site

Offline schwinger33Topic starter

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Re: Homemade or bought programmer
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2007, 01:44:02 PM »
ok, i guess i'm just a little confused about the PICkit2 debugger express. You are able to debug other MCUs (like the 16F877A i will be using) right? not just the onboard chip it comes with? do my circuits have to be built onto that demo board it comes with for the debugger to work or can i build my own independent circuit and then connect it to that board to debug? I'm just not sure how that works. Thanks,

Nick

Offline ed1380

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Re: Homemade or bought programmer
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2007, 02:01:31 PM »
buy it

I learned the hard way.
well techniclly I didn't learn anything cause it don't work and I quit electronics/roboics.
Problems making the $50 robot circuit board?
click here. http://www.societyofrobots.com/robotforum/index.php?topic=3292.msg25198#msg25198

Offline Qubix

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Re: Homemade or bought programmer
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2007, 06:36:40 PM »
O.k it breaks down to this

There's the pickit2 programmer and then there's are different demo boards packages you can get with it (starter kit, debug express, serial analyser, ... )

The programmer is the same for each one. This is all you need to do the programming and debugging. The demo boards just help you get a quick start making a circuit and fits in with the lessons. You can program and debug all the different PICs as listed in the link in my first post (pretty much any PIC). The pickit2 programs the PIC by ICSP (in circuit serial programming). With ISCP you can design whatever circuit you want and than program the PIC in the circuit, all you have to do is include a 6 pin header for the pickit2 to fit into (and connect the header to the PIC properly, which is easy). The demo boards do this for you, but once you are design your own circuits you won't need them.

So in short, yes you can debug the 16F877A and you don't have to use the demo board.

Hope this helps :)

David
« Last Edit: August 17, 2007, 06:38:40 PM by Qubix »
http://robots.ie  - Ireland's robot site

Offline schwinger33Topic starter

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Re: Homemade or bought programmer
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2007, 06:41:23 PM »
Perfect, thanks for clearing that up for me. I'll order it for sure.

Nick

Offline schwinger33Topic starter

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Re: Homemade or bought programmer
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2007, 12:52:08 PM »
So i just found out that my course is going to be using the ATMega644P as the chip for our design class this year. I would like to be able to build my own robots but also work on that project at home. Problem is I can't seem to find anywhere that has that chip in stock. I can find the ATMega644 though, what are the differences?  also, for JTAG programming and debugging is there other options than the JTAGICE mkII? The one i am looing at right now is a clone of the JTAGICE

http://www.optimal-microsystems.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=22&products_id=91

Would this work for what i want? Thanks a lot

 


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