Velleman kit Vs. Pickit

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by strantor, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    I'm putting together my parts list for an upcoming project, my first foray into PIC μCs. I have pickit 3 on the list, plus a demo board, with total price around 100$. Then while browsing Radioshack today, I ran across this Velleman kit for PIC programming on clearance for $30 that's already on a demo board. I browsed through the users manual of the Velleman kit and looks like you still use MPLAB to program it. So now I'm wondering what does the pickit actually do? This kit doesn't seem to need it, so do I really need it to program PICs?

    Is the velleman kit going to be a waste of my time?
     
  2. spinnaker

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    Oct 29, 2009
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    I would go with the PicKit hands down. If you have troubles with the kit you will never know if it is the kit, your circuit or what.

    That demo board kit from microchip is really nice. All the lessons are step by step and it is great to start out with something that you know that works. Takes a lot of guess work out of the equation. I still use the demo board from time to time, testing things out or maybe helping a forum member with an issue.

    Not sure if it is the Velleman or not that is based on the Pic Kit2. I do know there is a dyi kit out there that is,. Once you get the PicKit3 it might be interesting to pick up the dyi kit too. The Pic Kit 2 has a lot of useful features that don't exist in the 3.

    But the 3 will program almost every chip out there. Another downside of the Veleman, I beat if you check the list there are a lot of newer pics that are not supported.
     
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  3. ErnieM

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    Not at all... well, maybe.

    The Velleman needs an RS-232 interface to program the PIC. It states a USB converter will not work.

    It has no in circuit debugger.

    It's a kit fer chrissakes, and if you make a mistake you may never find it. (see my post in the sticky here).

    However, if all goes well in the assembly process, for 30 bucks you you may get a pretty cool thing to experiment with. Anything that makes a hex file from code can be used to program this thing, so that includes MPLAB.

    So if you're feeling lucky, get one. The PICkit 3 is still a better thing.
     
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  4. strantor

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    You know, I think I'm just going to get the pickit. I'm not 100% sure what the pickit actually does other than communicate with the chip via USB and have an in-circuit debugger (another point of confusion), but it sounds like the more idiot proof route. In my case, the more idiot proof the better. Also, I'd like to be able to interface with the full range of chips.

    Thanks for the tips!
     
  5. takao21203

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    Apr 28, 2012
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    I had this kit bought it in 2004.

    The DIL sockets on the PCB beat the ICSP concept as such.

    You need the standalone software to write a hex file.

    It will not support most modern PICs.

    It is slow.

    You need a wall adapter.

    You need to make a serial cable for it.

    Enough?
     
  6. t06afre

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    If you get the Velleman kit your total bill will be 130 dollar total. As you will have to get the PICKIT anyway:rolleyes:
     
  7. elec_mech

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  8. t06afre

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    The Velleman kit dates back before PICKIT2 even the PICKIT1. In the days then the only "low" cost option was the horrible expensive PICstart plus. The Velleman kit had something to it. Now it belongs more or less in the bin. I can not understand why they sell that kit anymore:eek:
     
  9. spinnaker

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    You are making the right choice and pretty much correct on your assement of what it does. The pickit2 adds some tools like a logic analyzer. But it does not support all chips.
     
  10. strantor

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    Well I finally did it. I've only been pussyfooting around for 2 years on this forum, talking about how I was "on the cusp" of getting into PICs. Paid my $100 and took the plunge. Now let's just hope it doesn't end up next to my raspberry pi that's still sitting in unopened ESD wrap in the bottom of a drawer somewhere.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=230485675798
     
  11. ErnieM

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    Ah, now I see whay a PICkit was setting you back $100, it comes with the ZIF sockets.

    I prefer to use these and leave my PIC where it lies:

    [​IMG]

    Break off 6 pins and stick the PICkit into it. Also, that's how in circuit debugging is done.

    Good luck with your purchase !!!
     
  12. Dawud Beale

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    Feb 10, 2012
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    Bare in mind the Velleman board allows you to simply insert your PIC into the board. The PICKit comes with a development board but it has PIC surface mounted. You have to use the PIC they provide, you can't just insert your own PIC like you can with the Velleman board. This means you are restricted to using the PIC microchip provides OR you have to be prepared to make your own development board, which isnt easy starting off.

    I'm in the same boat as you, been learning uControllers since september of 2012, Im into my second semester now. If I can be of any assistance I will as I was in your situation very recently.

    What sort of project are you thinking of doing and are you prepared to make your own development board? I woudl advise against it to begin with.
     
  13. takao21203

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    Apr 28, 2012
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    No PI here- as for now. See attach. Pussyfooting? Any chance to get a definition, history of developement as well means of usage on dictionary.reference.com? Does not really bother me but I never saw that one actually in print.

    Lined up my programming gear during the past few days- or what I was able to dig out.

    No Velleman PIC board here- given to recycling, same for the PICKIT2. Both more or less defective.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pussyfooting?s=t

    Actually a legimitate word.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  14. Dawud Beale

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    Forget the debugger for now, thats an optional extra.

    The PICKit basically sends the program you wrote, to the chip. It doesnt do it via USB. It communicates to the actual computer via USB. It communicates to the PIC chip via 6 pins
     
  15. takao21203

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    Connecting 5 lines is not that difficult. Most PICs don't essentially need any extra components. As well they can run from a button cell. No need for a wall adapter either or expensive batteries. CR2032 are sold here for 2 Euro as cards with 12pcs. Plus the holders are cheap.
     
  16. strantor

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    Pussyfooting- (my definition) indecisively dancing around an idea.

    As far as the not being able to insert other pics in the demo board, that's what the zif kit in my eBay purchase is for. Or at least that was the hurdle I hoped to avoid by ordering the zif kit.

    Anyway, I've already ordered it.

    The circuit I am planning to make is a signal conditioner which accepts quadrature encoder input and outputs +/- 200vdc. To simulate an analog dc tachogenerator for motor applications. I will need a pic with qei module and a dac, among other things. It's a pretty ambitious project for a noob, at least from my perspective. But I love a challenge.
     
  17. Dawud Beale

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    Feb 10, 2012
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    Ok best of luck with your project. I personally think that will be a massive challenge if your new ro uControllers but please keep us all updated with the progress of your project.

    If you find it too challenging please let me know and Ill give you some step by step developmental projects you cna do that will help you build up your experties and get you closer to being able to implement your project

    Its pretty easy to program the PIC given what hardware you have but I dont know how easy you will find it to make circuits for your PIC to run in. Presumably you already have analogue and digital experience so you'll find putting a uController into a circuit of components fairly easy?
     
  18. strantor

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    I'm planning to do a few mini-projects on the dev board before jumping head first into my project, just to take a bit of the edge off my noobness.

    Will do, and thanks for the offer. I will probably be calling the whole forum for help several times with this, and I'll make sure you get the memo when I do.

    Yes, I feel more confident about designing the circuit than writing the program. I have more than a layman's programming skills, but I've never attempted anything like this, and it seems to me like the programming skill required for a project increases exponentially for a linear increase in complexity.
     
  19. thatoneguy

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    Feb 19, 2009
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    Since your project is based entirely around Quadrature encoders:

    Take a look at the PIC 16F1509 which has 2 CLC (Configurable Logic Cell) programmable logic blocks.

    CLC Tips and Tricks Example #7 is a quadrature decoder in the CLC (basically, 1 cell of an FPGA, but on the microcontroller to do fast logic). It may simplify your development. The 16F1509 are available as free samples from Microchip, as is the graphical programming for the CLC config words.
     
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  20. strantor

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    Are you aware of the PIC18F2331/2431/4331/4431 and some dsPIC33 types with dedicated Quadrature Encoder Interface module? If so, do you have a specific reason for recommending the PIC16F1509 over one of those?
     
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