Do I need a PICkit?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by ke5nnt, Dec 31, 2010.

  1. ke5nnt

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Mar 1, 2009
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    Let me explain briefly what I'm doing.

    I know enough assembly to get by, I want to learn C. When I started learning assembly I had to have a way to program the chips I was writing code for, so I bought an ebay chinese special that I can program PIC micros with, so I already have what I need to program chips, and I'm familiar with MPLab IDE since that's what I've been using to write ASM with.

    So, my question is, is it worth buying a PICkit at this point? Will there be some benefit over just IDE and a programmer when doing C programming that PICkit can offer me? And, if the answer is yes, then please answer the following question as well...

    Would I be better off buying PICkit 2 Debug Express or the PICkit 2 Starter Kit.

    Thanks for the advice, as always.
     
  2. marshallf3

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2010
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    Last edited: Dec 31, 2010
  3. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
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    If you want to program PICs you do not need a PICkit but you will need some form of programmer.

    There are other 3rd party programmers out there but that is it, they are programmers and that is it.

    A PICkit will allow you to debug inline too. This is extremely useful for the newbie like you and me.


    I cannot speak to the PICKit 2 line of products, since I own the PICKit3. But the PICKit2 is now obsolete. It is not supposed to work on any chips produced after September 2010. But the 2 is supposed to have one or two features the 3 does not have like a rudimentary logic analyzer.

    If you want to program in C then PICKit2 or 3 will work but you really should concentrate on the 18F family of PICs.

    And compilers are free for a large number of types of compilers from various companies. Most are crippled a but by dialing back some optimization but they should work fine for you.
     
  4. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
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    I would have chosen a PICKIT 3 debug express bundle. As this kit use a 18F series chip. If you are on budget select a PICKIT 2 only kit. And build your own trainer on breadboard. Using a 18F chip. Since you are going to use C I will strongly recommend not using the 16F series, but step up to the 18F series. The 18F series is more optimized for C programming. And for the hobbyist the cost difference for the MCUs is almost nothing
     
  5. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
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    As an alternate to a development kit, you can go with something like this and build your own development board.


    If price is not a problem then something like this is nice. It would be much better if it had ZIF sockets.
     
  6. ke5nnt

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Mar 1, 2009
    384
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    Thanks for all the replies. I suppose for now I'll just use the programmer I have. Perhaps I could just get one of these various development boards to toy around with.
     
  7. Markd77

    Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    You could also build your own PICKIT2, the hardware details and source code are available on the microchip site. You need a PIC programmer to burn the main chip, but you've got one of those. There are simplified versions online that have a few less components like the memory chips (which I don't think are actually used, I think they were for some upgrade that never happened).
     
  8. marshallf3

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2010
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    There have been some updates to the thread I linked to, I even put some pics up.

    It's getting too late to download the software and plug it in but I am so tempted, however I'd probably end up staying up until dawn just playing with it.
     
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