Need to program mcu from multiple manufacturers

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by iesusko, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. iesusko

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    I am looking for an inexpensive way to program uc from Atmel, Microchip, and TI. I am trying to get familiare with a few different uc's but do not have the funds to purchase any programmers. I heard that you can program a blank chip with a parallel port, but I wasn't sure which chips could and could not be programmed in this way. My motherboard has no parallel connection. I was told that usb to parallel would not work in this application, so I thought a pci to parallel might work.

    Would this work for programming uc's

    Any suggestions would be greatly appriciated.
  2. Ramussons

    Active Member

    May 3, 2013
    The PCI Printer Port Plug-in will give you a Parallel Port for your Motherboard. That's for sure.

    Someone else will have to confirm whether this will meet your requirements for programming the uC's.

  3. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
    It could be that address range the PCI card use. Will not match the range address range supported by the programming software. Get some cheap USB programmers from ebay instead. That will save you a lot of problems later on
  4. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    It is hard enough using several micros from the same manufacturer where they have a great deal in common; details from one get put in the mental box with another. Doing several at one time is madness.

    When beginning with micros you have several problems to solve: making good hardware to run, making good program code to run, and getting that code into the micro. If you start with a development kit (hopefully with lesson plans) you can eliminate 2 if not all of these difficulties while you gain experience. Trying to get all three working together ab a beginner is a maddening process.

    Many programmers can also work as an in circuit debugger. It is a wonderful thing to watch your code as it runs on your hardware to see what it is really doing and not have to guess. No parallel port programmer works as a debugger. Running with out a debugger is madness.

    Every fork on your path leads to madness. Pick ONE manufacturer (flip a coin, toss dice, make a guess: they are all good) and learn it well, then perhaps move onto another. Do get their programmer/debugger (I strongly suggest avoiding EBay clones) and a development board (here EBay can be a friend) and have at it. Even a simple dev board is useful; you don't need anything beyond a few buttons, LEDs, and a pot. The other stuff you can add on later.
  5. iesusko

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    I don't really have the money for programmers or kits from the actual manufacturers. I am a college student seeking a degree in Electrical Engineering. I already have a few projects that I want to implement some uc's into, so the kits are not necessary to me. I had considered the clone programmers as a option, but I have read that they can be problematic. I figured a parallel port would be the best option since it works with all manufacturers. Also, I had an old printer that I wanted to use for toner transfer that needed this connection. I was disappointed when my motherboard did not have it. I have also looked into building my own programmers, but you need a way to program the programmer, kind of ironic. I might ask around when school starts up again and see if I can find someone that has a programmer I can use, but it would be nice to have my own. Are there some specific clones that have any reputability?
  6. bertus


    Apr 5, 2008
  7. atferrari

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 6, 2004
    I went the clone way and can say it worked...for those that it worked with. :(

    Finally I made an extra effort and bought a programmer by Microchip, and until now, I am programming all micros I could put my hands on.

    While I do not feel bad because I cannot debug, having the chance, I would like to have it. Maybe in this next 2014.

    Trying to save few $ (I am not being pejorative or disdainful) is sometimes the best way to waste your time that is the only asset you could not recover(Have you realized that jointly with health it is the most valuable thing in life?)

    Even if you skip some meals and buy a working programmer, that would be much better. I am not joking. Good luck.
  8. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
    That is a discovery that is too often made after both are in short supply. I speak from experience.

    I also agree with buying tools that minimize the waste of time and the increase in frustration.
  9. nickelflipper

    Active Member

    Jun 2, 2010
    As already mentioned, cost wise, it would be hard to beat the Atmel USB ISP programmers on ebay for a few dollars. Also you get gcc included with Studio 6 now.