Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hardware: Universal PIC / PROM programmers - low cost

A correspondent commented:

"Just wondering if (you) have any experience with universal programmers is.
I have been looking for one that can do just about any PIC or EEPROM under the sun and is priced under $120.
- The TL866CS Universal Programmer
- The Wellon VQ 1"

I only have a little bit of experience with programmers.

Years ago I scratch built a EPROM programmer, and write the software to drive it in "C" via a parallel port on PC. It only worked with one family of EPROMS and I gave up trying to update it when new ones came out. The Software is now lost and the parts recycled or tossed. Moral of the story - if you homebrew, you are the support for new SW.

I purchased an "aftermarket" programmer for PICs when I first started with them. It worked OK, but had some bugs that had to be worked around by adding some caps to the programming leads. Only problem is that after about 6 the company went out of business, and there were not further updates to the software, so it would not support new devices.

I then bought a geniune Microchip PISstart programmer used from eBay that worked OK.

A while later bought another one, a PICKit II starter kit (not as much because the other one did not work, but because this one supported in circuit programming directly and had a proto board with it).

Both the those devices are still supported by Microchip.

So the point I am trying to make is that if you CAN find a "universal programmer" the key is going to be buying if from a real company with a track record that will issue SW updates in the future to support new devices in the future. A "hobby" device from a small one person company may not do that.

Eric Pierce VA3EP - See the Disclaimer in the Introduction

© Eric Pierce and "VA3EP Amateur Radio And Other Geek Pursuits", 1952-2099. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eric Pierce and "VA3EP Amateur Radio And Other Geek Pursuits", with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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