Please recommend a well-rounded PIC/AVR programmer

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by eli2k, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. eli2k

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Hello - I'm trying to get myself into the world of circuits, since I've been interested in them, but haven't had the resources to get the equipment to play with. One of the projects I'm interested in doing uses the ATmega168 AVR microcontroller, and they recommend getting this AVR programmer kit:

    I'm just wondering, to make it more useful in the future, is there something else that I can get that can program both PIC and AVR? I might get the above programmer, and another one for PIC and/or AVR, to make it easy. At school, I think I worked with a PIC chip, and they had a little programmer (ZIF socket), where I just put in the chip, and write the program on a computer and transfer it that way. It looks like the device can accomodate multiple chip sizes. I checked the price on this a while ago, and it's several hundred dollars, so I don't think it's worth it for me yet.

    I saw a previous post asking about what is a good programmer to buy, and one of the replies asked whether the OP wanted to use it for debugging or ISCP (not sure what that is). I guess at the moment I just need something to be able to write to the chip, I'm not sure of the other options. Someone also recommended one of the Arduino platforms.

    So to summarize, I'm looking for a generally overall good programmer. I think the AVR programmer I linked can accomodate chips of various sizes, correct? I'd like the same flexibility in a suggested programmer. Nothing too fancy. Just something for a beginner to gain experience.

    - Eli
  2. mik3

    Senior Member

    Feb 4, 2008
    If you can afford to buy a good programmer look for Galep5.

    Otherwise have a look in ebay for cheap programmers. I have the TOP2049 and it can program many microcontrollers and EEPROMS brands including AVR and PIC.
  3. eli2k

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Thanks for both responses. The Galep5 is overkill for my budget, the TOP2049 seems more reasonably within budget (~$130 on eBay), and I think this is the one I used at school. The pickit2 starter kit is pretty cheap, but would I be limited in the near future with this? Though it does seem like a good kit to start learning?
  4. John Luciani

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 3, 2007
  5. adventtech


    Feb 10, 2009
    Atmels 8051 mcu aren't bad either.
  6. mindmapper

    Active Member

    Aug 17, 2008
    You do not say if USB is a must. To program the AVR the cheapest way is just using a number of resistors and the parallell port of a PC.
  7. Vaughanabe13

    Active Member

    May 4, 2009
    For PIC, I would HIGHLY recommend the PICKit2 programmer/debugger. ICSP refers to "In-circuit Serial Programming." This means you don't need a separate board to program your micro, you can program it in its own embedded system, as long as you provide connections to the correct pins. Read the PICKit2 manual and it will start to make more sense.

    Generally I would say the do-it-all programmer's are probably out of your price range. I would go with a cheaper programmer, one for AVR and one for PIC. You could build your own AVR programmer cheaply and pretty easy, but it depends on how much trouble you want to go to.
  8. Dragonblight

    Active Member

    Aug 19, 2009
    Just a note on the pickit 2- it's whatchu neeeeed. It may seem like a cheapie, but with that, a prototyping breadboard and a handfull of scrap single-strand wires, it will work with MOST any pic that the microchip catalog has to offer. I've looked up many chips; I haven't found one yet that I was looking into purchasing that the pickit 2 didn't have compatibility for.

    That is all.

    This message brought to you by the letter W, as in Whiskey.
  9. Tahmid

    Active Member

    Jul 2, 2008
    I use the PICKit2 for programming PICs and I use TOP2005 to program AVRs. I know the TOP can program PICs, but it can't program the 24F and dsPICs, not even the PIC18F. So I use the PICKit2 for that.
    I got the TOP2005 around 4 years back at $100 from the local market.
  10. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
    The PICKIT 2 also have some debugging options. But this is not true for all the PIC controllers. The reason for this is the internal structure of the controller. All this is well documented. If you are going to stay in school for some time. You should choose a programmer you can use for homework and school project. As this will give a big advantage. Stay away from any serial port based programmer.
    I have a PICKIT 2 and use for my hobbyist project. I can recommend it