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PICList Thread
'[PIC:] Chip programming services?'
2003\11\01@202901 by James Newton, webhost

face picon face
Hey, does anyone already, or want to, provide a PIC programming service? I
see a need for some people who want to buy a PIC pre-programmed with
existing code. There are projects that need a microcontroller and hobbyists
who may not want to get involved with microcontrollers enough to buy a
programmer. For a one time thing, it makes more sense to buy the chip with
the code burned in for a fee rather than buying the programmer just to
program one chip.

Anybody out there willing to be listed as a resource for programming chips?
What sort of fee would be expected?

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2003\11\01@223150 by Michael J. Pawlowsky

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Sure I would be willing to do that.
I suppose the rate would depend on the number of chips.

Setting everything up takes some time, but once that is done burning them is quick.
So I would see a setup fee and then a per chip fee.

But really how long would it take...  5 mins for the first chip????

How's 5$ sound.



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On 11/1/2003 at 5:29 PM James Newton, webhost wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2003\11\02@010531 by Josh Koffman

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I'd be willing to do that. One thing to think about might be to giving
preference to those with production programmers - ones that will verify
at the upper and lower voltage limits.

Josh
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"James Newton, webhost" wrote:
> Hey, does anyone already, or want to, provide a PIC programming service?

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2003\11\02@022154 by Kevin M., W8VOS

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Are we talking about programming chips that are sent to the programmer?
Or chips the programmer provides? Having the chips drop shipped to the
programmer would help cut the costs on shipping.  Only have to ship one
way then.

I have a picall programmer (LPT port w/ziff socket) that if someone sent
me the code and the chip I could take time out of my day to program the
chips at $5 for the first five chips and two dollars for each five after
that.  It shouldn't involve troubleshooting the source.  Just e-mail the
hex file and ship the chips.  It isn't too difficult to program them.
It just involves swapping them out of the picall zif socket.
How does this sound?
73/72 - Kevin, W8VOS

:Hey, does anyone already, or want to, provide a PIC programming
service? I
:see a need for some people who want to buy a PIC pre-programmed with
:existing code. There are projects that need a microcontroller and
hobbyists
:who may not want to get involved with microcontrollers enough to buy a
:programmer. For a one time thing, it makes more sense to buy the chip
with
:the code burned in for a fee rather than buying the programmer just to
:program one chip.
:
:Anybody out there willing to be listed as a resource for programming
chips?
:What sort of fee would be expected?

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2003\11\02@024233 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> Anybody out there willing to be listed as a resource for
> programming chips?
> What sort of fee would be expected?

I currently sell PICs, and I sell PICs with code I developed myself
(Wisp628 etc) for $2 extra per chip. The amount would be (much) lower
for (much) larger numbers, but higher when some kind of testing would be
involved.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2003\11\02@031215 by Russell McMahon

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flavicon
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> Hey, does anyone already, or want to, provide a PIC programming service? I
> see a need for some people who want to buy a PIC pre-programmed with
> existing code.


This would HAVE to be chips that were supplied by and programmed by the
person doing the programming.
That is probably what is intended and may or may not be obvious.
You mustn't, of course, have people sending you one off chips to program in
this context.
(You can do that separately of this application if you are constantly
seeking new & novel sources of personal pain & anguish:-) ).


       RM

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2003\11\02@045818 by Dominic Stratten

picon face
Bit of a can of worms here James. How many times have you written a program
that appears to work ok on MPLAB under simulation but doesnt work when its
ported onto the PIC.

I'd be quite happy to use my Picstart to program anyone a few PICs in the UK
if the source code / Hex file was supplied (along with fuse settings.

I'd charge a couple of UK pounds per chip plus postage for the service but
it would look like being more hassle than it was worth with customers
returning the Pics saying they didnt work etc etc.

I would have thought that if you had the electronics experience to be able
to knock up a circuit which used a pic then you'd be able to quickly knock
up a Parallel port programmer and blow your own with some of the excellent
free software thats available out there.

It costs a couple of UK pounds to make your own "Picall" or "Tait"
compatible programmer anyway + 30 minutes of your time to breadboard it out.

Maybe there would be a market in a cheap "universal" programmer (<$20) that
would hook up to the serial port of a PC and use some freeware programming
software.

I know this has been discussed before - in great depth last year and it all
amounted to nothing.

I would like to see an improved JDM compatible programmer that used an
external power supply. It would have to work on the serial port and be
reasonably cable length independent (the parallel port programmers complain
about certain parallel port voltages, cable run lengths etc etc.

The closest programmer I've come across that does this job is the WISP but
its always put me off having "all my eggs in the one basket" - what if
Wouter gets fed up and doesnt release any more updates for his programmer
(God forbid).

I think that a JDM based (or Hybrid) programmer with an external Power
Supply and an ICSP connector would be ideal. Piclist members who have the
experience could develop open source software with .ini files used to tell
the software what each Pic chip's programming algorithms were - i.e.
16F628.ini and 16F872.ini etc etc.

A seperate board with a Ziff or turned pin socket could also be sold with an
ICSP connector on it to mate with the programmer.

The free open source software could be kept updated on the Piclist along
with all the .ini files as a central store. People would be free to make up
their own boards, sell them at their own leisure for a "capped" price and
they could be supported through the Piclist.

I would quite happily make up boards for new members and donate $5 for each
assembled board to the Piclist to help keep it going and continually improve
it.

Out of the $20 charged for the board (Approx 12 ukp), $5 would go to the
Piclist, $5-$7 would be used for parts and PCB's, $3 would go towards
shipping and $5 would go in my pocket for assembly and time.

This is an idea that we could all benefit from - the new users get a
"standard" programming board and free programming software, experienced
members could sell the boards to the newbies and make a few bucks each time,
the Piclist would benefit from increased donations and everyone would be
happy.

Is anybody interested in this project ? For a minimal amount of work this
could really go somewhere. We would need to get a team of people together
and agree on the best way forward. There should be a couple of golden rules
here - not too many people involved initially - "too many cooks spoil the
broth" and my favourite - KISS - "Keep It Simple Stupid".

Let me know your thoughts my friends.

Dom



{Original Message removed}

2003\11\02@082923 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
James Newton, webhost wrote:
> Hey, does anyone already, or want to, provide a PIC programming
> service? I see a need for some people who want to buy a PIC
> pre-programmed with existing code. There are projects that need a
> microcontroller and hobbyists who may not want to get involved with
> microcontrollers enough to buy a programmer.

Then how is this hobbyist going to debug the code?  It seems that a
programmer is a relatively small investment compared to the other
infrastructure required to debug PIC projects.

> For a one time thing, it
> makes more sense to buy the chip with the code burned in for a fee
> rather than buying the programmer just to program one chip.

Only if you already know for sure the code works.  I don't see how that
can be true unless you are buying somebody else's code that has already
been tested.

> Anybody out there willing to be listed as a resource for programming
> chips? What sort of fee would be expected?

There are commercial places that do that.  You could probably get some to
do small volumes, but it probably won't cost much less than doing 100.

I'm expecting a bunch of people will pop up with an offer to program your
chips for $2-$5 apiece in singles using their homebrew Bugware Lite (tm)
programmer that works fine as long as you wave a dead fish over it.  Any
such offers should be treated with suspicion.

First, the true cost is not the 1 minute or so the actual programming of
the chip takes.  You have to break what you are doing, get the HEX file,
get the PIC, verify that you've got the right combination, run the
programmer (which really should verify at the Vdd limits if you're going
to take money for the service), package the PIC in an anti-static
container, package that into a shipping box, write the shipping label, get
the box shipped, then get back into what you were doing before you broke
off to do the PIC programming.  And, that doesn't count acquiring the PIC
(somebody has to order it, receive it, and file it somewhere it can be
retrieved later), spending 10 minutes per customer explaining the service
on the phone, and dealing with the inevitable "it doesn't work in my
circuit" phone calls from customers that probably don't have their circuit
wired right, but are going to call you first anyway.

If you look at all the *true* costs above for programming a single PIC, I
think it's generous to say it only adds up to 15 minutes on average.
Additional PICs in the same batch would only cost an incremental minute.
Let's say you want to be paid $50/hour (a commercial place would probably
figure twice that).  That means you'd have to charge $12.50 setup plus
$1/PIC, plus cost of materials and shipping.  Nobody is going to pay that
for small quantities, which is why this doesn't make any sense.


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2003\11\02@093904 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
Dominic Stratten wrote:
> Maybe there would be a market in a cheap "universal" programmer (<$20)
> that would hook up to the serial port of a PC and use some freeware
> programming software.
>
> I know this has been discussed before - in great depth last year and it
> all amounted to nothing.

Well, maybe "nearly nothing".  Take a look at
http://www.embedinc.com/easyprog.

This grew out of last year's PBK discussion, which started with Sean
Alcorn's generous offer to produce a product like this at cost sortof as a
donation to the PIClist.  I've had this thing in various forms working
since August 2002, but getting it into production has been a long painful
road that still has not lead anywhere.

Things stalled last December whan Roman Black who was supposed to do some
testing fell off the end of the earth.  Apparent miscommunication with
Sean left me with the impression he had fallen off the end of the earth
too, so I looked around for someone else to manufacture it.  I went to
somebody I had worked with before, but it took him months to produce 5
samples, of which only 4 worked, and still never got a volume production
price for manufacture in Taiwan.

Of the 4 working units, I kept 1 and sent the other 3 as beta test samples
to different PIClist people.  I explained to each beta tester what was
expected of them.  Many people applied to be beta testers.  I chose a mix
with the most diverse environments to test with, and some that had also
promised to make software available for it on non-Windows platforms.
Despite this, 1 just took the free unit and never responded, the second
seems to have tried it once, and the third actually had a hardware failure
which I fixed and sent back.  I haven't heard anything other than the fix
worked.

The beta test and an earlier thru hole version I leant to a customer
uncovered a vulnerability that was fixed by adding two resistors to the
design.  The PCB layout and BOM were updated and everything was ready for
production.

This is where things stalled again.  Getting contract manufacturers just
to quote you a build price turned out to be far more difficult that I had
imagined.  Some never got back at all although they said they would,
others got back 1 1/2 months later even though they had promised a quote
in 1 week.  Getting a reasonable price was even more difficult.

Sean piped up again during this process in July saying he'd still be
interested in producing these things.  I sent him the complete
manufacturing info.  He said he wanted to do the layout.  I sent back a
long reply discussing various alternatives and explaining my desires, but
got no response back at all.  Apparently he has fallen off the end of the
earth again.

After giving up on Sean, we did negotiate an acceptable price with an
outfit in Windsor Ontario that would front end production in China.  The
next step is to build 10 units to use as samples and the first sellable
units.  After that units would be built in quantities of 50-100 to get the
price down.

The problem now in a nutshell is cash.  The last 1 1/2 years have been
quite rough, with the economy sagging here and a major customer becoming a
deadbeat and still owing us $50,000.  Things have picked up a bit, but we
just don't have the cash lying around to get the first production run
built including some one-time setup fees and other costs associated with
getting things set up to sell this unit.

There is also the issue of price.  I started out wanting this thing to be
as cheap as possible, but still "complete".  This meant it comes with a
ZIF socket, wall wart power supply, and serial cable.  I deliberately used
all jellybean cheap parts, except for the ones that had to be what they
had to be, like the ZIF socket and the 16F648A PIC controller.  If a
hobbyist were to buy all the parts on the board in "hobby" quantities,
they would cost about $21 here in the US.  The wall wart and serial cable
add another $5.50 for a total of $26.50.  This doesn't include the PCB
itself nor the labor to put it all together, so the end user sell price
needs to be much higher.  Still, its price should compare very well
against the EPIC after you add in things like the ZIF socket and power
supply that aren't included in the base EPIC price.

I have considered laying out a thru hole version that hobbyists can build
themselves.  Perhaps we could sell the bare boards and maybe a few key
parts (ZIF socket, RS-232 connector, programmed 16F648A?), or maybe
complete kits.  However, I still don't see how I can afford to charge a
price that the average hobbyist is willing to pay.

Right now my "on the side" time is allocated to another higher priority
project, but I might be able to get back to the programmer late this
month.

If anyone is interested in reselling these units, please contact me.
Orders for the initial production run would certainly get the ball
rolling.


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2003\11\02@134022 by Denny Esterline

picon face
A couple moths back, I was selling some excess PICs on e-bay. I
offered programming services with the sale of the chip for an
additional $2.00. My thoughts at the time weren't so much "person
develops their own code", as programming third party code. Perhaps a
project from a magazine, or even a bootloader. Ultimately no one
availed theirself of the service and I quit offering it.

Considering the price of programmers such as the PG2C from Olimex
(about $13 including shipping) I have to wonder if such a service is
really needed.

-Denny

{Original Message removed}

2003\11\02@163527 by Herbert Graf

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{Quote hidden}

       Frankly Olin you have lost the ability to think "small". Most people
interested in this sort of service either: want to build a programmer which
uses a PIC, or b: wants to build something from the net (such as the UIR)
and doesn't want to get into PICs. Clearly, anyone interested in anything
more will WANT a programmer themselves, that part is obvious.

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2003\11\02@171143 by Stephen D. Barnes

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> Dominic Stratten wrote:
> > Maybe there would be a market in a cheap "universal" programmer (<$20)
> > that would hook up to the serial port of a PC and use some freeware
> > programming software.
> >
> > I know this has been discussed before - in great depth last year and it
> > all amounted to nothing.
>
> Well, maybe "nearly nothing".  Take a look at
> http://www.embedinc.com/easyprog.
>
Remainder of message snipped:

Olin,
Would you be willing to release the schematics for this programmer?
I see that all other resources including firmware are available
at the above link.

Regards,
Stephen D. Barnes

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2003\11\02@185822 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
Stephen D. Barnes wrote:
> Would you be willing to release the schematics for this programmer?
> I see that all other resources including firmware are available
> at the above link.

How would that help me get this thing into production?  If anything, that
would decrease, not increase, the hardware volume because some people
might try to make it themselves.


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2003\11\02@191118 by Stephen D. Barnes

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> Stephen D. Barnes wrote:
> > Would you be willing to release the schematics for this programmer?
> > I see that all other resources including firmware are available
> > at the above link.
>Olin Wrote
> How would that help me get this thing into production?  If anything, that
> would decrease, not increase, the hardware volume because some people
> might try to make it themselves.

Olin,
I understand fully. I was basing my inquiry on the difficulties you
described
in producing the product and the statement at the top of the EasyProg page,
to quote:
"NOTE: This page describes a product that is not yet available to the
public.
There is no guarantee that this product will ever be publicly available,
or that its specifications will match the preliminary product described
here."

If you still intend to market EasyProg I understand....If it ever becomes
more
trouble that it's worth, please consider sharing it.
Thanks for the reply.

Regards,
Stephen D. Barnes

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2003\11\02@191738 by Djula Djarmati

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face
Olin Lathrop wrote some time ago:
>... someplace in eastern Europe.  I checked them out a while ago, and they
>didn't have some services I wanted (like more than two layers!), plus
>there's always the issue of shipping from outside the civilized world
>(how's an ox cart going to get accross the Atlantic?).  Maybe things have
>changed.

Olin,

   I can't believe you still have trouble with the production of your
programmer. Maybe it's time to try a company in Eastern Europe.
Other than the ox cart problems, you may be surprised.
   Contact me privately if you are interested...

Regards,
Djula Djarmati

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2003\11\03@054656 by Mohit Mahajan

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> time to try a company in Eastern Europe
...or you could try India. I wouldn't even dare to hardsell on PICList,
but we guys here are doing some pretty good work at low cost.

And you got the geography wrong :-) You'll find ox carts here, not in
Eastern Europe... Besides if the ox cart gets the job done reasonably
well and at a nice low price, what's the harm - especially for a
"hobbyist" programmer.

Do let me know if you still feel like going ahead with the programmer.
You could consider outsourcing here. Others have done so and are mighty
pleased.

Regards,
Mohit.

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2003\11\03@070933 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
>     I can't believe you still have trouble with the production of your
> programmer. Maybe it's time to try a company in Eastern Europe.
> Other than the ox cart problems, you may be surprised.

Actually one of the companies we contacted was Olimex.  They were the only
ones that responded quickly.  However, they weren't intersted in buying
parts for less than 1000 units at a time.

As I said before, we have found someone to manufacture the unit at a
reasonable price.  The problem now is the up front cash to get the first
production run built and for other associated costs.


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2003\11\03@071805 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
Mohit Mahajan wrote:
> ...or you could try India. I wouldn't even dare to hardsell on PICList,

You could at least provide contact info or a web address.

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2003\11\03@074050 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
> Mohit Mahajan wrote:
> > ...or you could try India. I wouldn't even dare to hardsell on PICList,
>
> You could at least provide contact info or a web address.


       Perhaps RemoveMEbiozenTakeThisOuTspamspamSANCHARNET.IN  ? :-)

Once upon a time

       http://www.SaddaPunjab.com/

           but it seems to have gone away :-(

Was that really you Mohit? It sounds like you. EE etc.





           RM

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2003\11\03@084942 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
picon face
Dominic,

On Sun, 2 Nov 2003 09:57:16 -0000, Dominic Stratten wrote:

{Quote hidden}

I think you may be misunderstanding what James is talking about - it would be one-off to each customer, for
electronics hobbyists who aren't PIC people, so they know which end of a soldering-iron gets hot, but just
want to treat a programmed PIC as a component, the same as any other IC.

The UK magazine "Everyday Practical Electronics", as you probably know, publishes a lot of PIC projects for
hobbyists.  You can download the PIC program from their site for free, or buy a diskette containing it, or in
some cases the author will sell you a programmed PIC, and I think it's the case where this latter isn't
offered that James is looking at.  There are kits available from the likes of Magenta Electronics, but only
some projects are covered, and take some time before they appear.  For someone who wants to buy the PCB from
the magazine,  and the components from Maplin, a ready-programmed chip would complete the supply-chain.

The problem is that you won't know when the first order arrives whether it's the only one for that particular
program, for the first of a thousand, so pricing is tricky!

> Maybe there would be a market in a cheap "universal" programmer (<$20) that
> would hook up to the serial port of a PC and use some freeware programming
> software.

Some of the Olimex ones pretty-much fit this description (PG2C, I think is wide-ranging, but not Universal).

> I know this has been discussed before - in great depth last year and it all
> amounted to nothing.
>
> I would like to see an improved JDM compatible programmer that used an
> external power supply. It would have to work on the serial port and be
> reasonably cable length independent (the parallel port programmers complain
> about certain parallel port voltages, cable run lengths etc etc.

Again, the Olimex I mentioned fits this.

But I think this is like saying to someone who wants to buy a screwdriver: "just buy or build yourself a forge
and make your own"!  :-)  For someone who just wants to solder a board together, it's OTT to expect them to
also buy or build a programmer for a one-off project (as they see it, at least the first time! :-)

It always amuses me that electronics kit construction instructions always say to solder the wire links first,
using offcut component leads.  What if this is your first project and you haven't got any offcuts yet?  :-)

> KISS programmer stuff snipped <

> Let me know your thoughts my friends.

A good idea but I think the JDM / Olimex have it covered (even with the annoying UK exclusive dealership) and
I think they are close enough that you'd be competing.

Incidentally, does anyone know why prototyping boards, or programmers with prototyping areas, always just have
each hole with a copper pad around it, with no connections?  This presumably means you are expected to make up
the circuit with solder-side, rats-nest wiring, which seems like a really bad idea.  Or have I missed
something?  If I was designing it, I'd have three or four pads grouped together with common copper, so you can
wire from the component side and multiple-connections are easy, but nobody seems to do this on prototyping
boards (although you can get tri-pad strip ("Vero") board which is made entirely like that).

My favourite design would have pairs of power strips vertically, and tri-pads going out from them, so you can
have good power decoupling, easy tying of pins high and low, and easy connecting-up of the circuit.  But what
do I know?  :-)  Has anyone ever designed a hardware counterpart of Olin's software "environment"?

Incidentally, I tried to use Eagle to design a board like that, but it doesn't seem possible to do an empty
board where you just design the tracks, that I could find.  Is there a trick?

Cheers,

Howard Winter

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2003\11\03@101318 by biozen

flavicon
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> Was that really you Mohit? It sounds like you. EE etc.
Yeah that was me!!! I'm impressed you dug that up from somewhere. You must've searched real well. And how does that sound like me? Off the list please.

{Original Message removed}

2003\11\03@101319 by biozen

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> Perhaps EraseMEbiozenspamspamspamBeGoneSANCHARNET.IN  ? :-)
Nope. Maybe a year or two hence, when I've a few good designs ready and marketable and an in-house assembly plant, I could offer you my services. Right now having just gotten into PICs and EE I'm too raw and young for that.   ;-)

> You could at least provide contact info or a web address.
I will try, Olin. However, what I meant was you could try some searching in India. They work really cheap here (I mean the price, not the quality). Mine was just a suggestion that besides Taiwan, China etc., you could give a shot at trying quotes from some Indian companies. That "minimum order for x pieces" doesn't really apply here. They'll even work on 50-100 pieces single p.o. very happily. Regarding transport to US/Europe, FedEx, UPS, DHL etc. do have a network here and charge in Indian Rupees (which turns out to be pretty reasonable when converted to $$$).

And now I'm hardselling my countrymen's services.   :-)

Regards,
Mohit.

PS: http://www.electronicsforu.com... Its an Indian EE magazine. You might find something there.

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2003\11\03@105127 by Intosh, Ph.D.

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Olin and Djula have written

>     I can't believe you still have trouble with the production of your
>programmer. Maybe it's time to try a company in Eastern Europe.
>Other than the ox cart problems, you may be surprised.

Actually one of the companies we contacted was Olimex.  They were the only
ones that responded quickly.  However, they weren't intersted in buying
parts for less than 1000 units at a time.

As I said before, we have found someone to manufacture the unit at a
reasonable price.  The problem now is the up front cash to get the first
production run built and for other associated costs.


- --------

I did not know about the organizations that Djula and Mohit are with.  I
assume that "advertising" has a rich discussion history on the list and I
don't want to open a can of worms, but it would be nice if their contact
information were available.  If nothing else, I would read private email.

I have sent two prototypes to Olimex, and gotten back results that I am
well satisfied with.  I am poised to send out another.  The oxcart seems to
invole a wheel change, from parts grown on demand, in customs ...

My RS-232 controller board is of similar complexity as your
programmer.  Olimex provided me with quotes for 1, 10, and 100 units, they
supply the parts and assemble the device.  The quote at 100 is in
reasonable agreement with the $19-$26 figures that you have given.  I have
found that Tsvetan is responsive and prompt, though not chatty.

I wonder why you had a 1,000 minimum.  Why not ask him is there has been a
change in policy, or if there is a particular part that sets the minimum at
1,000.

Does the outfit that you chose do single boards in prototype?

- ---
Aubrey  McIntosh
http://www.piclist.com/member/AM-vima-Y84
PIC/PICList FAQ: http://www.piclist.com


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2003\11\03@105813 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> My RS-232 controller board is of similar complexity as your
> programmer.  Olimex provided me with quotes for 1, 10, and
> 100 units, they
> supply the parts and assemble the device.  The quote at 100 is in
> reasonable agreement with the $19-$26 figures that you have
> given.  I have
> found that Tsvetan is responsive and prompt, though not chatty.

Same experience. My Wisp628 (assembled/tested version) is soldered by
Olimex (I insert the chips and do the testing myself). Olimex quotes for
any number, but the quote for small numbers is somewhat higher (I guess
even in Bulgaria the startup time for a person soldering a set of boards
is not neglectible). It might help that I don't use any exotic
components. If you do you could exclude such components, or supply them
to Olimex instead of having them aquire them.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products

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2003\11\03@111004 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
> I have sent two prototypes to Olimex, and gotten back results that I am
> well satisfied with.  I am poised to send out another.  The oxcart
> seems to invole a wheel change, from parts grown on demand, in customs
> ...
>
> My RS-232 controller board is of similar complexity as your
> programmer.  Olimex provided me with quotes for 1, 10, and 100 units,
> they supply the parts and assemble the device.  The quote at 100 is in
> reasonable agreement with the $19-$26 figures that you have given.  I
> have found that Tsvetan is responsive and prompt, though not chatty.

I've found both those to be true also.

> I wonder why you had a 1,000 minimum.  Why not ask him is there has
> been a change in policy, or if there is a particular part that sets the
> minimum at 1,000.

I didn't know he did smaller volumes for others.  He did say he only
wanted to buy whole reels of parts.  A reel usually contains 1000-5000
parts.  I specifically asked for the turnkey price to produce 10 and 100
units.  He made it clear he would do the manufacturing only if I supplied
the parts.  That is his choice, and I didn't push any further.  I thought
it a little odd that he didn't just charge a higher price for the smaller
quantities instead of refusing altogether, but I'm not going to argue with
him about something that is his decision to make.


*****************************************************************
Embed Inc, embedded system specialists in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com

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2003\11\03@112248 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
> Same experience. My Wisp628 (assembled/tested version) is soldered by
> Olimex (I insert the chips and do the testing myself). Olimex quotes for
> any number, but the quote for small numbers is somewhat higher (I guess
> even in Bulgaria the startup time for a person soldering a set of boards
> is not neglectible). It might help that I don't use any exotic
> components. If you do you could exclude such components, or supply them
> to Olimex instead of having them aquire them.

I wasn't using any exotic components, other than the PIC controller and
the ZIF socket.  The suface mount parts are mostly generic 0803 resistors
and the like.  I could redo the board for thru hole components, but I
wasn't given any indication that would have made a difference.

All in all I appreciated the prompt response from Olimex, but I also
didn't feel they really wanted my business.  The message I got back were
rather terse and in one case cryptic so that I had to ask for a
clarification.  For example, I didn't know that "nb" meant "no bid".  This
turned out to apply to buying the parts in small quantities and that the
quoted price didn't include the parts, but that wasn't obvious to me.  I
got the impression they were busy and didn't want to bother with someone
asking about small volumes, like 100 pieces.


*****************************************************************
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(978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com

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2003\11\03@113103 by Intosh, Ph.D.

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Howard Winter wrote:
...
Incidentally, does anyone know why prototyping boards, or programmers with
prototyping areas, always just have
each hole with a copper pad around it, with no connections?  This
presumably means you are expected to make up
the circuit with solder-side, rats-nest wiring, which seems like a really
bad idea.  Or have I missed
something?  If I was designing it, I'd have three or four pads grouped
together with common copper, so you can
wire from the component side and multiple-connections are easy, but nobody
seems to do this on prototyping
boards (although you can get tri-pad strip ("Vero") board which is made
entirely like that).

My favourite design would have pairs of power strips vertically, and
tri-pads going out from them, so you can
have good power decoupling, easy tying of pins high and low, and easy
connecting-up of the circuit.  But what
do I know?  :-)  Has anyone ever designed a hardware counterpart of Olin's
software "environment"?

Incidentally, I tried to use Eagle to design a board like that, but it
doesn't seem possible to do an empty
board where you just design the tracks, that I could find.  Is there a trick?


- ----------------
I have attempted several "tricks" with the EAGLE editor to add hobby
friendliness to a board.

An EAGLE file is located at
http://www.jump.net/~vima/PIC/rs232_control_3_003.brd (and .sch)

This file has my current effort to provide "hobby" space on this
project.  I have tried several styles of solution to this problem.  The
ones that are visible on this board are:

1.  Interconnected pads.  You may type the command "show hobby1" in either
the board or the schematic to locate this area.  This provides an area for
a 28 pin 0.300" dip, and both arriving and leaving areas to solder in a
socket such as the 3M part.  This is formed by connecting several standard
"pinhead" parts.

2.  At the request of a reviewer, a SO28W space on the PCB.  To locate this
device, execute "show Empty"  This is a custom device made from a standard
library package, and a standard library symbol, but connected in a new
device as shown in the EAGLE files.

3.  A row of pads for a 3M socket around the PIC.  This row has 21 holes,
because I can find a 1x21 socket in Mouser, but not a 1x20.  (Leads to a
1x21 part appreciated.)  You may locate this part by executing the command
"show PIC1"  This is formed by a custom package on the PIC device, and the
placement of 2 PIC devices in the schematic.

4.  A ruler in the silkscreen, along the bottom edge.  This does not have a
corresponding element in the schematic.

For a limited time, I will consider recommendations for changes to this design.

- ---
Aubrey  McIntosh
http://www.piclist.com/member/AM-vima-Y84
PIC/PICList FAQ: http://www.piclist.com


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2003\11\03@113708 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
Frankly, I think the number of people who can collect parts for a
"project", put together a PCB or similar, write or acquire firmware,
and so on, but NOT program the PIC involved (or find someone local
to do it for them)  ... is quite vanishingly small. :-(  Especially
with the modern set of microcontrollers being programmable without
much more than a carefully designed cable and some software.
Sure, there are people who say "I'd do this, but I don't have a
programmer for the chip", but chances are that the lack of programmer
is just one obvious obstacle in a long line of problems
that they're likely to run into.  Been there, done that :-(

Now, if you can figure out how to do "just in time" KITS of projects
published in arbitrary places, that would be a more interesting idea.
A service to which project authors could submit their designs and use
as a place where "customers" could order programmed PICs would be
somewhat interesting...  A programmed PIC (with freeware
SW) is worth what?  $5 to $10 depending on which chip ?

BillW

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2003\11\03@114605 by David VanHorn

flavicon
face
>
>Incidentally, I tried to use Eagle to design a board like that, but it
>doesn't seem possible to do an empty
>board where you just design the tracks, that I could find.  Is there a trick?
>
>
>- ----------------
>I have attempted several "tricks" with the EAGLE editor to add hobby
>friendliness to a board.

When I did this in Orcad, I defined a part called 300Holes, which had 300 pins on 100 mil grid.

I also did a version for the M128, that had the chip and support stuff off to one side, brought all the ports out to 8 pin headers plus a ground and VCC pin, and the other side had the conventional 5 hole row breadboard arrangement.

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2003\11\03@120438 by

picon face
William Chops Westfield wrote:
>  A programmed PIC (with freeware
>  SW) is worth what?  $5 to $10 depending on which chip ?


The pre-programmed chips (mostly PIC and Atmel) for Elektor
projects are between $20 and $40 each. But that might be including
a part for the author, don't know, but they often has the HEX
file for (free) download anyway...


Jan-Erik.

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2003\11\03@142402 by Mike Singer

picon face
Olin,

Better drop the idea of "Yet Another PIC Programmer"
The idea was dead even more than a year ago.
Do we need to reproduce James Newton's remarks on PBK.

Mike.

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2003\11\03@173724 by

picon face
Howard Winter wrote:
> The problem is that you won't know when the first order arrives
> whether it's the only one for that particular
> program, for the first of a thousand, so pricing is tricky!

Well, Elektor askes anything between aprox $20 and $40 a chip
for pre-programmed PCIs and AVRs that they sell to the
kits published in Elektor. The naked chip is normaly $5-$10
depending on the project and how you are able to source the chips,
of course. Probably lower if you can by them in batches of 100's.

At that price, I'd be ready to program and send them one by one...

> For someone who just wants to solder a board together, it's OTT to
> expect them to also buy or build a programmer for a one-off project...

Fully agree !!
And thats probably why publications like Elektor can sell there
pre-programmed chips at those prices mentioned above !

B.t.w, Elektor has "outsourced" part of their PCB bussines to someone
called "The PCB Shop" (or something like that), maybe they'd be
interested in someone running "The MCU Shop" !?

Well, if they quit publishing *new* project using the 16F84, that is :-)

Jan-Erik.

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2003\11\03@175805 by Djula Djarmati

flavicon
face
>I didn't know he did smaller volumes for others.  He did say he only
>wanted to buy whole reels of parts.  A reel usually contains 1000-5000
>parts.  I specifically asked for the turnkey price to produce 10 and 100
>units.  He made it clear he would do the manufacturing only if I supplied
>the parts.  That is his choice, and I didn't push any further.  I thought
>it a little odd that he didn't just charge a higher price for the smaller
>quantities instead of refusing altogether, but I'm not going to argue with
>him about something that is his decision to make.

   We used Olimex with very good results but it seems that nowadays they
have so much business that they can't spend a lot of time on small orders -
that doesn't seem unreasonable. They probably use one big supplier for
everything and can only buy parts in reels/rails.


>I did not know about the organizations that Djula and Mohit are with.  I
>assume that "advertising" has a rich discussion history on the list and I
>don't want to open a can of worms, but it would be nice if their contact
>information were available.  If nothing else, I would read private email.

[AD:]
   We offer turnkey production for small/medium quantities. We work for the
domestic market and for a few Swedish companies (references on request) and
we are trying to expand business.

We do:
- through hole or SMD on both PCB sides
- maximum 4 layers
- quantities 100 or more are preferred
- functionality testing if needed
- widely used components in stock
- good prices
- delivery by UPS, FedEx, DHL, air-mail

- quantities 1-99 ok with some limitations (money/quality)
- exotic components ok but it takes more time/money

Contact info:

Djula Djarmati <RemoveMEjulianKILLspamspamEUnet.yu>
Djordje Simeonovic <dsimeonSTOPspamspamspam_OUTEUnet.yu> (CEO)

Data Technic
+381 63 523-826
Serbia & Montenegro

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2003\11\03@181507 by Jinx

face picon face
> B.t.w, Elektor has "outsourced" part of their PCB bussines
> to someone called "The PCB Shop" (or something like that),
> maybe they'd be interested in someone running "The MCU
> Shop" !?
>
> Well, if they quit publishing *new* project using the 16F84,
> that is :-)
>
> Jan-Erik

In the interests of their constructors it would be cheaper. The
F84 is still in production

asp.microchip.com/wwwParamChart/chart.aspx?branchID=1005&mid=&gdir=10
10

and is one of the more expensive (perhaps the costliest per
function) parts. Silicon Chip is only just starting to break into
the F628 but still persists with the F84. Of the two large retail
outlets in Auckland the F84 is sold for NZ$14.50 (one outlet
has just the -20, listed as "NEW !", the other just the -04) and
only one stocks the F628 (NZ$12.95). RS is equally pricey.
Tube quantities from Arrow are of course the economic way to
go for the habitual user, and if you've the resources to change
F84 code to F628 then all the better. Obviously MC know they're
onto a cash cow with the F84 and MC and the magazine publishers
probably feed off each other to some extent

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2003\11\03@184244 by

picon face
Hi. Just to get things in perspective,
here's a few examples of one-offs chips from Elektor :
(from theirs fully open "webshop" pages)

PIC16C765-I/P, programmed   :  $ 23.45 USD
AT90S8515 8PC, programmed   :  $ 54.05 USD
PIC16F84A-10/P, programmed  :  $ 25.55 USD  ("Polyphonic Doorbell")
PIC16F874-20/P, programmed  :  $ 41.65 USD  (for a PIC programmer !)
PIC16F84A-20/P, programmed  :  $ 26.00 USD
AT90S4433-8PC, programmed   :  $ 54.50 USD  (free hex file available)

As far as I can see, there seems to be a bit of "headroom"
compared with the listprice of these devices.

Jan-Erik.

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2003\11\03@184903 by Phyllg8

picon face
Djula,
Where are you located?
Do you have and English web page?

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2003\11\03@185658 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
Jinx wrote:
> Silicon Chip is only just starting to break into
> the F628 but still persists with the F84.

The 16F628 has now been obsoleted by the 16F648A.  The '648A has twice the
code space of the '628.


*****************************************************************
Embed Inc, embedded system specialists in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com

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2003\11\03@190524 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Monday, Nov 3, 2003, at 15:41 US/Pacific, Jan-Erik Söderholm XA (TN/PAC) wrote:

> Hi. Just to get things in perspective,
> here's a few examples of one-offs chips from Elektor :

Well, there you go.  Elektor seems to offer a service very close to what we're talking about,
and they charge enough for most people to acquire their own programmer :-(  I wonder if
other magazines would be interested in offering similar services, perhaps for web-zine based projects.  That'd be sorta nice - one central location that has the "article", the code,
and provides programmed microcontrollers.  Perhaps several of the magazines would be interested - my general impression is that such magazines are pretty much starved for construction articles, and it isn't that hard to get something published.  Unfortunately,
like "I don't have a programmer", the difference between "I put it together and it works"
and an intelligible magazine article is usually a pretty steep cliff :-(

BillW

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2003\11\03@190939 by Herbert Graf

flavicon
face
> Jinx wrote:
> > Silicon Chip is only just starting to break into
> > the F628 but still persists with the F84.
>
> The 16F628 has now been obsoleted by the 16F648A.  The '648A has twice the
> code space of the '628.

       I don't know Olin, considering the problems with the 18F series I'd step
back a little from relying on MChip's latest and greatest. I'll be sticking
with the 628 for a while yet. TTYL

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2003\11\03@193034 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Monday, Nov 3, 2003, at 15:55 US/Pacific, Olin Lathrop wrote:

> The 16F628 has now been obsoleted by the 16F648A.

Sigh.  how does one keep track of this stuff?  And where's that binary
code translator
to convert one to another?  The 648 ought to be binary compatible with
the 628 and 627,
right?  And the 16F84 is such a 'small' subset of any of those that it
really ought to
be 'fixable' with some initialization code (and there's plenty of room
for that, right?)

Hmm.  an entire "basic stamp 1" will fit in a 648 now that it has 256
bytes of EEPROM,
won't it?  Cute.  Probably easy, too, since you don't have the code
size limitations
of the x54 (or whatever the original stamp was based on.)  And faster
too (no serial
loading of the instructions.)  Hmm.

I think we'd get further on "hobbyist programability" by designing
standardized
bootloader software and circuitry.  Then we'd just need site selling
chips pre-programmed with the bootloader.  (what are the cheapest and
smallest PICs with bootload capability,
anyway?)

BillW

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2003\11\03@200638 by Victor Faria

picon face
16F818 as far as I know.
Victor

----- Original Message -----
From: "William Chops Westfield" <spamBeGonewestfwSTOPspamspamEraseMEMAC.COM>
To: <KILLspamPICLISTspamBeGonespamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Monday, November 03, 2003 7:24 PM
Subject: Re: [PIC:] Chip programming services?


{Quote hidden}

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2003\11\03@222827 by Gaston Gagnon

face
flavicon
face
Olin Lathrop wrote:
> Jinx wrote:
>
>>Silicon Chip is only just starting to break into
>>the F628 but still persists with the F84.
>
>
> The 16F628 has now been obsoleted by the 16F648A.  The '648A has twice the
> code space of the '628.
>

Do you know if it can be programmed by David Tait program FPP ?
FPP does not show A parts in pic selection.

Gaston

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2003\11\04@013714 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> And where's that binary
> code translator
> to convert one to another?

Feel free to make one.


> The 648 ought to be binary compatible with
> the 628 and 627, right?

As far as I can see it is, except that my beloved 'external resistor
oscillator mode' is gone.

> I think we'd get further on "hobbyist programability" by designing
> standardized
> bootloader software and circuitry.

There are lots of bootloaders around, just choose your standard :)

BTW I sell both blank PIC chips and pre-programmed PICs ($2 extra),
including a 16F877 bootloader. I do occasionally sell a pre-programmed
chip, but not much.

> (what are the cheapest and
> smallest PICs with bootload capability,
> anyway?)

16F818? But in a 1k chip a bootloader leaves very little space for an
application :( But a client of me uses the 16F819 with a 1 k bootloader
(1k for the application).

Wouter van Ooijen

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2003\11\04@013716 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
>         I don't know Olin, considering the problems with the
> 18F series I'd step
> back a little from relying on MChip's latest and greatest.
> I'll be sticking
> with the 628 for a while yet. TTYL

I have used both the 16F628 and 16F628A in my Wisp628 programmers and
found no problem. But I have not used the 16F648A yet (beyond a quick
check).

Wouter van Ooijen

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2003\11\04@024631 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> Do you know if it can be programmed by David Tait program FPP ?
> FPP does not show A parts in pic selection.

In that case you will probably need new software, the algorithm for the
62x and 62xA are different.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2003\11\04@041504 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>> Hi. Just to get things in perspective,
>> here's a few examples of one-offs chips from Elektor :
>
>Well, there you go.  Elektor seems to offer a service very close to
>what we're talking about,

This is one of the ways that Elektor make their profit. You cannot get the
code on disk from them for these chips, and one of the conditions on the
author is that Elektor has sole rights to selling the code. Have a look at
the Gameboy Scope web page for an authors apology for not being able to do
anything about this.

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2003\11\04@071447 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
>> The 16F628 has now been obsoleted by the 16F648A.
>
> Sigh.  how does one keep track of this stuff?

The line card.

> The 648 ought to be binary compatible with
> the 628 and 627,
> right?

I think so, but haven't looked at it in detail.  In any case binary
compatibility doesn't matter.  Reasonable source code compatibility is
much more important.  I think all that should be necessary is changing the
processor declaration and choice of processor-specific include file, using
a different linker file that makes the extra program memory visible, and
rebuild.

> And the 16F84 is such a 'small' subset of any of those that it
> really ought to
> be 'fixable' with some initialization code (and there's plenty of room
> for that, right?)

That happens automatically if you use my environment.


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2003\11\04@095320 by Herbert Graf

flavicon
face
> >         I don't know Olin, considering the problems with the
> > 18F series I'd step
> > back a little from relying on MChip's latest and greatest.
> > I'll be sticking
> > with the 628 for a while yet. TTYL
>
> I have used both the 16F628 and 16F628A in my Wisp628 programmers and
> found no problem. But I have not used the 16F648A yet (beyond a quick
> check).

       Please understand, I'm not saying I know of any problem with that chip, and
personally I kind of doubt there is one. However, in light of recent events
I'd hold back on recommending a practically brand new part until at least
some feedback from the community is seen. I haven't seen ANY feedback, so
recommending that part to a beginner is not a good idea to me. Just think
how hard tracking down a chip level bug is for an expert, imagine a
beginner? For now I recommend sticking with the 628. TTYL

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2003\11\04@095522 by Herbert Graf

flavicon
face
> > Do you know if it can be programmed by David Tait program FPP ?
> > FPP does not show A parts in pic selection.
>
> In that case you will probably need new software, the algorithm for the
> 62x and 62xA are different.

       I believe ICPROG works with that programmer, give it a try. TTYL

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2003\11\04@124232 by Olin Lathrop

face picon face
Herbert Graf wrote:
>         Please understand, I'm not saying I know of any problem with
> that chip, and personally I kind of doubt there is one. However, in
> light of recent events
> I'd hold back on recommending a practically brand new part until at
> least
> some feedback from the community is seen. I haven't seen ANY feedback,
> so recommending that part to a beginner is not a good idea to me. Just
> think
> how hard tracking down a chip level bug is for an expert, imagine a
> beginner? For now I recommend sticking with the 628.

The 16F648A is not a radically new design.  It is essentially a 16F628
with 2K more program memory added.  And, that whole family has been
reasonably trouble free.  Do you remember any problems when the 16F628
first came out?

I've also tried the 16F648A in one application where I had a 16F628 that
was maxxed out.  So far no problems have been noticed.


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2003\11\04@171839 by Sergio Masci

picon face
Olin Lathrop wrote:

> The 16F648A is not a radically new design.  It is essentially a 16F628
> with 2K more program memory added.  And, that whole family has been
> reasonably trouble free.  Do you remember any problems when the 16F628
> first came out?
>
> I've also tried the 16F648A in one application where I had a 16F628 that
> was maxxed out.  So far no problems have been noticed.

I can't remember the exact details but there is a problem with the 16F648A.
Something to do with writing to the data eeprom.

a google search of old news (last 4 months) should find the details.

Regards
Sergio Masci

http://www.xcprod.com/titan/XCSB - optimising structured PIC BASIC compiler

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2003\11\04@182824 by Djula Djarmati

flavicon
face
>Djula,
>Where are you located?

   South-Eastern Europe, Serbia & Montenegro.


>Do you have and English web page?

   Not yet unfortunately. We have a few regular clients and we couldn't
except new business until now. There were also some export/import/legal
restrictions, but now they're gone.


Regards,
Djula

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2003\11\04@195456 by Herbert Graf

flavicon
face
> Herbert Graf wrote:
> >         Please understand, I'm not saying I know of any problem with
> > that chip, and personally I kind of doubt there is one. However, in
> > light of recent events
> > I'd hold back on recommending a practically brand new part until at
> > least
> > some feedback from the community is seen. I haven't seen ANY feedback,
> > so recommending that part to a beginner is not a good idea to me. Just
> > think
> > how hard tracking down a chip level bug is for an expert, imagine a
> > beginner? For now I recommend sticking with the 628.
>
> The 16F648A is not a radically new design.  It is essentially a 16F628
> with 2K more program memory added.  And, that whole family has been
> reasonably trouble free.  Do you remember any problems when the 16F628
> first came out?
>
> I've also tried the 16F648A in one application where I had a 16F628 that
> was maxxed out.  So far no problems have been noticed.

       Agreed in all points, however, it is still WAY to new, IMHO to recommend to
beginners, especially when the benefits are so small (extra program memory
is something a beginner won't need for a while). TTYL

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2003\11\05@023638 by Charles Craft

picon face
www.joezgarage.com/

Came across one of these chips on eBay and followed info to site above.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2569833747&category=4663

Hmmmm - I think the reference to MCLR makes PICs a pretty good suspect:
http://www.joezgarage.com/led_ic.htm

Additional services lists "Microcontroller Programming Services"


> Hey, does anyone already, or want to, provide a PIC programming service? I
> see a need for some people who want to buy a PIC pre-programmed with
> existing code. There are projects that need a microcontroller and
hobbyists
> who may not want to get involved with microcontrollers enough to buy a
> programmer. For a one time thing, it makes more sense to buy the chip with
> the code burned in for a fee rather than buying the programmer just to
> program one chip.
>
> Anybody out there willing to be listed as a resource for programming
chips?
{Quote hidden}

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2003\11\07@015330 by vze27bym

picon face
Hi guys.

I would agree with Olin that using programming service for small
quantities ( 1 .. 10 chips ) will quickly become a nitemare with
answering phone calls "why my software doesn't work"

For this case inexpensive programmer is only an logical option
so the person can deal with undetected bugs himself and quickly.

For programming large quantities of micros ( 100..1000 chips per hour )
it has a sense to hire somebody to do that work unless your company has
all those low/high voltage verification industrial type of programmers
and a personnel who keep tracking off all those software upgrades,
updates, troubleshootings and the rest of maintenance things.

I will be interesting to program medium / large quantities of chips
( I'm capable of most Microchip and some other manufacturers micros
and EPROM / EEPROMS as well ) If anybody would be interesting please
reply to me direct.


WBR Dmitry.

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2003\11\07@021937 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
> For this case inexpensive programmer is only an logical option
> so the person can deal with undetected bugs himself and quickly.

So what's the simplest and (then) cheapest "always works" programmer out of
the zillions of cheap and simple PIC programmers that have appeared over the
years.

Is there perhaps a place for a group specification and design of a
programmer aimed at being the ultimate beginners PIC programmer. Presumably,
once a spec was established, an existing one may well fill the bill well
enough.

Lets start it off:

Free (almost)

No parts (almost)

Trivially easy to build

Works with all PICs (almost)

Works with any PC hardware (almost)

Works with most OS's


Needs not have run or emulate or .... capability as we are competing against
a programming service.

COULD if appropriate need a specially programmed IC (PIC?) if this helps
meet the above specs.

Thoughts ????



       Russell McMahon

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2003\11\07@024640 by vze27bym

picon face
Obvious choice ( and cheapest after everything being discussed /
/ sorted out ) is to use Flash based micros with ICSP capabilites.
( again and again ;)
For those who deal with OTP parts "normal" programmer is right decision.

I think device similar to Microchip ICD / ICD2 , priced $10 .. $40 is what
of most beginners wanted to start with.

Simple serial protocol to download compiled .hex file into micro.
(source code of downloader is available and portable to any OS )
Perhaps USB is replacing serial on the 2nd thought ...

Can be powered up throught external AC adapter ot thru USB / etc

Available in two optins fully assembled or as a kit.
( thruhole components so anybody holding average solder
iron from RadioShack can put things together for fun ;)

Other options ?

I afraid we have all of this dicussed a while ago already.


WBR Dmitry.




Russell McMahon wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2003\11\07@025713 by Dominic Stratten

picon face
----- Original Message -----
From: "Russell McMahon"
> Lets start it off:
>
> Free (almost)

I agree - free open source design but with the option of buying a ready
assembled device from a Piclist member.

>
> No parts (almost)

I agree on this one too - the less parts count the better

>
> Trivially easy to build

Yup

>
> Works with all PICs (almost)

That would be good ;-)

>
> Works with any PC hardware (almost)

That would be impossible ;-)
I would like to see a serial port based programmer - parallel port
programmers although they have advantages in their simplicity seem to have
problems with cable lengths over 1 meter.  I would like to see a serial port
programmer with an external power supply capable of running with a
reasonably long interface cable.

>
> Works with most OS's
>
Again - serial port programmer. If a user wants to use it on USB then they
can use a USB to RS232 converter. We musn't forget Apple Mac users as well.

>
> Needs not have run or emulate or .... capability as we are competing
against
> a programming service.
>
Yup - agreed - keep it simple.

> COULD if appropriate need a specially programmed IC (PIC?) if this helps
> meet the above specs.
>
Nooooooooo ............ this would mean that you have to source the PIC and
program it before you have a programmer - bit of a "Which came first - the
egg or the chicken" problem. It needs to be built from off the shelf parts,
open source software with seperate .ini files for individual part
programming algorithms and some sort of "nagware" on the software that
encourages the user to donate $5 to the Piclist for continued support ;-)

> Thoughts ????
>
Plenty of them :-)

I'd like to see a "standard" programmer designed and supported by the
Piclist that is cheap, easy to build from off the shelf parts and simple. A
Tait programmer would be ideal if it wasnt for the problems that people have
with different standards of printer ports.

It doesnt need to be the fastest programmer - I use a Picstart + and find it
reliable if not slow - I'd rather wait for an extra 30 seconds and know that
my Pic will be programmed properly than live on the edge with a rapid
programmer and get failures quite regularly.

It needs to work !
It needs to be very cheap.
It needs to be simple.
It needs to be serial.
It needs to be externally powered.
It needs to be open source.
It needs to support the Piclist in some way financially.


Dom

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2003\11\07@031828 by

picon face
Hi.
Wasn't this thread in the beginning targeted at those who have
seen a "project" in some electronics paper that they would
like to build, and in that project is some new/weird "thing"
called a "PIC" that has to be programmed? This guy/girl don't know
anything about PIC's, don't want to know anything
about PICs, they just want to have that specific project built.

These guys/girls are *not* "PIC-beginners".
These do *not* need a PIC programmer. Why build
one for a one-shot programming ?

The (programmed) PIC just happens to be "just another component"
in the BOM.

Probably Elektor (and others) will continue to sell programmed
chips with a good margin.

Now, those having PIC as their main interest are a completly
different case, of course, but I don't remember that as beeing
the main issue with this thread from the start.

Best Regards
Jan-Erik.

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2003\11\07@033111 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
1> Free (almost)
2> No parts (almost)
3> Trivially easy to build
4> Works with all PICs (almost)
5> Works with any PC hardware (almost)
6> Works with most OS's

7: I guess it must also be reliable?

From engineer to manager: you can choose any 6.

My Wisp628 falls short of (4) [(and of course (2)], but do you realy
need to program EPROM PICs?

=================================

> priced $10 .. $40 is what

> Simple serial protocol to download compiled .hex file into micro.
(source code of downloader is available and portable to any OS )
Perhaps USB is replacing serial on the 2nd thought ...

Sounds like Wisp628 :)


Wouter van Ooijen

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2003\11\07@054552 by Colin Constant

picon face
Here's my 2 cents (3 cents CDN) for the ideal basic programmer:

Start with the PICkit 1.

Lose: the prototyping area, the pot, the keyswitch, the 8 LEDs, and
asssociated components.

Replace the socket with an ICSP header.

Add support for a bunch more PICs.

The resulting board would be about 2 x 3 inches;  maybe less if we didn't
need the 1 inch square Microchip logo.

Regards,
Colin

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2003\11\07@094553 by Mike Hord

picon face
>Free (almost)
>No parts (almost)
>Trivially easy to build

I would argue at this point that the ideal solution
would be to write a Java-based, highly portable
programming utility which is capable of doing LV
programming on one PIC, through the Parallel
port, and doing that well.  Make the circuit for
writing that PIC trivial, and make the PC app
pretty simple so that initial PIC can be written
quickly and easily.  Then, add a little bit more
hardware (jellybean components) to the PIC
and VOILA! you have a serial port based PIC
programmer.

>Works with any PC hardware (almost)
>Works with most OS's

The problem with the above is that you cut
out any PC without a parallel port, but I
don't think you'll ever find a good solution
for making a cheap and easy programmer
with anything but the parallel port.

>Works with all PICs (almost)

Easy as well, since you'd be using a PIC to
do the grunt work.

Basically, the ideal trick would be to write
a program that can automatically and with
minimal hardware program a 16F628 to
work in Wouter's Wisp628.

Of course, we'd need Wouter's permission,
and to figure out a way around the fact
that the Wisp628 uses the LVP pin for
something else, but that's probably doable.

Mike H.

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2003\11\07@161709 by Larry G. Nelson Sr.

picon face
I could do that for $5.00 for up to 5 chips provided by the end user with
the hex file and another $2 for every 5 after that in the same batch with
the same hex code. Price includes programming and verification. Additional
cost for shipping at post office rates and additional cost if I provide the
chips. Extra charge for some surface mount chips if I do not have the
proper adaptor but less than the adaptor cost. I do have most of the
adaptors. Email me for a quote. I already can support all the dip packages
and most of the surface mount stuff.

Larry


At 05:29 PM 11/1/03 -0800, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

Larry G. Nelson Sr.
EraseMEL.Nelsonspam@spam@ieee.org
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