Re: PICKit 3, Are any Good?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by David L. Jones, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. RogerN wrote:
    > A couple of weeks ago I bought a PICKit3 debug express and a PIC18
    > demo board that came with a PICKit2. PICKit 2 worked great right
    > off, no problems at all. But, the PICKit3 has been nothing but
    > problems. First, the PICKit3 wouldn't work with the Debug Express
    > board it came with. After some experimenting I got the demo to work
    > a little bit by applying pressure between the board and the PICKit3. This
    > got the LED's to light somewhat but I had to use the PICKit2 in
    > order to find out what it was supposed to be doing. I also couldn't
    > get the PICKit3 to work with my other PIC18 board from them or my own
    > circuit using a PIC16F887, PICKit 2 worked fine with all.
    >
    > So, after a few days with MicroChip online support, they sent me out
    > a new PICKit3 board. They sent the board and it wasn't even in a
    > PICKit3 case. If I would have known how to get the case apart I might
    > have tried to get a good look to see if there were any problems with
    > the connector. Anyway, I figured the case must be easy enough to
    > open up since they sent me the board alone. Just a little prying
    > where the tabs were got the case open. Their replacment board failed
    > to connect! I got a PICKit3 detected message, a self test passed
    > message, but then it failed to connect. So, it appears MicroChip
    > sends me a bad PICKit3 board to repair mine with, great. I tried my
    > old board again and it works the best it ever has. I got all 3
    > boards working for a while, but after a little messing on my own
    > circuit I started getting messages that said the device ID was
    > incorrect. Not sure what is going on with that, I'll have to try it
    > with the PICKit2 and see if my device ID is messed up or something
    > else.
    > This just has me wondering if anyone else is having problems with
    > their PICKit3. It's hard to believe PICKit2 works so well but the
    > PICKit3 has been such a pain, maybe I just got unlucky.
    >
    > RogerN


    http://www.eevblog.com/2009/10/21/eevblog-39-pickit-3-programmerdebugger-review/

    Dave.

    --
    ---------------------------------------------
    Check out my Electronics Engineering Video Blog & Podcast:
    http://www.eevblog.com
     
    David L. Jones, Feb 3, 2010
    #1
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  2. "David L. Jones" <> wrote in message
    news:9X7an.187$...
    >
    > http://www.eevblog.com/2009/10/21/eevblog-39-pickit-3-programmerdebugger-review/


    I am a long-time user and advocate for Microchip parts and development
    tools, and I was quite surprised that this PICkit3 is apparently so bad. I
    still have a PICkit1 that works fine for most purposes, but of course I
    also have an ICD2 that does most of the heavy lifting.

    My friend got a PICkit2 about a year ago to use for programming a
    PIC16HV616 in a product I designed for him, and it worked somewhat
    erratically and then quit altogether. But the board I was testing does have
    some rather high voltage on it and I may have exposed one of the
    programming pins to it. I was going to troubleshoot it and fix it if
    possible, but since then the project has been sort of on hold, and I was
    able to do all I needed with my ICD2.

    The video blog by David Jones was very critical, but rightfully so on most
    of his points. And I was impressed that Steve Sanghi, CEO of Microchip,
    called him and discussed the situation honestly. I enjoyed Microchip's
    "rebuttal" video. I believe they will fix the problems noted and eventually
    the PICkit3 should be better than the PICkit2. Or maybe they will just move
    on to a PICkit4.

    Paul
     
    Paul E. Schoen, Feb 3, 2010
    #2
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  3. David L. Jones

    Jon Kirwan Guest

    On Wed, 3 Feb 2010 12:45:58 -0500, "Paul E. Schoen"
    <> wrote:

    >"David L. Jones" <> wrote in message
    >news:9X7an.187$...
    >>
    >> http://www.eevblog.com/2009/10/21/eevblog-39-pickit-3-programmerdebugger-review/

    >
    >I am a long-time user and advocate for Microchip parts and development
    >tools, and I was quite surprised that this PICkit3 is apparently so bad. I
    >still have a PICkit1 that works fine for most purposes, but of course I
    >also have an ICD2 that does most of the heavy lifting.
    >
    >My friend got a PICkit2 about a year ago to use for programming a
    >PIC16HV616 in a product I designed for him, and it worked somewhat
    >erratically and then quit altogether. But the board I was testing does have
    >some rather high voltage on it and I may have exposed one of the
    >programming pins to it. I was going to troubleshoot it and fix it if
    >possible, but since then the project has been sort of on hold, and I was
    >able to do all I needed with my ICD2.


    The early pickit2s required a changed resistor or two, as I
    recall. I know that out of the three units I have here, I
    had to open up at least one of them to change/modify the
    unit. One of them, for sure, was newer and had the fix in
    it, already. I bought mine late enough in the cycle that the
    fix was "already known" so I never did use unmodified units
    in a product. And never encountered any problems, once
    modified. I bought the units from two different suppliers,
    as I recall, and one of the suppliers was still shipping the
    older units. Not wise, but there it was. Luckily, I knew
    enough to carefully examine them upon receipt to make sure
    what was what.

    >The video blog by David Jones was very critical, but rightfully so on most
    >of his points. And I was impressed that Steve Sanghi, CEO of Microchip,
    >called him and discussed the situation honestly. I enjoyed Microchip's
    >"rebuttal" video. I believe they will fix the problems noted and eventually
    >the PICkit3 should be better than the PICkit2. Or maybe they will just move
    >on to a PICkit4.


    Microchip does work hard to remedy issues, my experience of
    20+ years now. I've never before been given reason to
    question that commitment. For the professional tool owners,
    they support them forever and do well by them. For low cost,
    entry level tools, the path has a slightly different focus
    and "support forever" isn't in the business plan as I
    understand it. But I thought they still worked almost as
    hard there.

    So far, I have NOT purchased a pickit3. I just dropped over
    to the forums, which is the first place I'd tend to go.

    Microchip includes various HEX files for their programmers in
    the MPLAB distributions. It's possible that earlier and
    later MPLAB distributions have buggy HEX code in them and
    that only one distribution (or two) have a workable one. It's
    one reason I _always_ save full distributions of MPLAB,
    nearly forever. In this case, I note that some people on the
    forum indicate _some_ success with this HEX file:

    http://www.microchip.com/forums/forceddownload.aspx?file=0;469018

    If I read the post correctly, the author says the file there
    in the ZIP should be PK3RS_010832.hex.

    The forum discussion is here:
    http://www.microchip.com/forums/tm.aspx?m=468826

    Another poster talks about having to pull the USB plug in the
    middle of MPLAB's attempt to connect, and then reconnecting
    the USB and having it take okay. Worries about wearing out
    the USB connector, too. I noted that pickit3 uses the
    Windows HID driver, too.

    This forum is a little disheartening, by the way:
    http://www.microchip.com/forums/tm.aspx?m=474136

    But still a newish thread. However, someone commented about
    not yet getting a response to a support ticket. That's a
    problem in my mind.

    Also noted elsewhere that pickit2 (not pickit3) has disclosed
    the software source code.

    http://www.microchip.com/stellent/idcplg?IdcService=SS_GET_PAGE&nodeId=1960

    I don't see pickit3 code there, sadly.

    Since some of the solutions seem to suggest that an external
    USB hub helps at times, that plugging and unplugging the USB
    helps at times, and that certain software HEX files helps at
    times, and that a 3.3V processor was used... it may be a
    combination of errors here, hardware _and_ software.

    Very odd. It's a relatively new tool, but I'm feeling lucky
    now that I didn't depend upon one for a project. So far, the
    pickit2 seems to be working out fine when I use it. Blemish
    for Microchip, it seems at this point. Time will tell, I
    suppose.

    Jon
     
    Jon Kirwan, Feb 3, 2010
    #3
  4. Jan Panteltje wrote:
    > On a sunny day (Wed, 3 Feb 2010 16:36:07 +1100) it happened "David L.
    > Jones" <> wrote in <9X7an.187$>:
    >
    >> http://www.eevblog.com/2009/10/21/eevblog-39-pickit-3-programmerdebugger-review/
    >>
    >> Dave.

    >
    > Just as a remark, I do not understand all that PIC-kit stuff..
    > People have called me die-hard, but OK, this is what I have been up
    > to lately:
    > All the 16F PICs I have so far, I programmed with the noppp
    > programmer:
    > http://www.covingtoninnovations.com/noppp/
    > wrote my own software for that, and use the Linux gputils (gpasm).
    >
    > Now I recently got some PIC 18F14K22 and that does not work in the
    > noppp programmer.


    No kidding. That's what you get with those DIY programmers.

    > So I modified it a little bit, and wrote a completely new pic
    > programmer software for PIC 18.
    > It has what *I* always wanted, a nice command line interface,
    > this will bulk erase, program, and verify a chip, and then remove all
    > voltages from the socket: # date;jppp18 -i io.hex -e -p ;date
    > Wed Feb 3 13:27:43 CET 2010
    > Loading hex file:
    > Program 7028 bytes at address 0x000000
    > ID 0 bytes at address 0x200000
    > Config 14 bytes at address 0x300000
    > EEPROM 0 bytes at address 0xf00000
    > Erasing chip
    > Writing program space.
    > Writing config space.
    > Verifying program space
    > Verifying config space.
    > Ready.
    > Wed Feb 3 13:27:53 CET 2010
    >
    > 10 seconds guys:)


    To program the chip, yes, but not to hack the software and write your own
    programmer software.

    > So, anyways, Linux rocks, especially when you write your own soft.
    > Of course 'jppp18' (it stands for Jan Panteltje's PIC programmer for
    > 18 xxx PICs),
    > with 'ppp' a hint to the noppp name,
    > also has a menu function and a lot of other options....
    >
    > So consider it a pre-announcement (GPL), I am still in the testing
    > phase.
    > But anyways, why bother with a PIC kit? :)


    Because it's cheap, it just works, is certified by the manufacturer, and
    works with MPLAB.
    And it can do in-circuit debugging.
    And it can power your circuit under test.

    > I just used the Microchip PIC18F1XK22/LF1XK22 Flash Memory
    > Programming Specification document to write the soft.
    > The modified hardware for the noppp consist of one extra NPN, one
    > zener, 2 LEDs, some resistors....
    > The whole thing is still less then 5 $, not counting the D25 par port
    > connector (those are more expensive hehe).


    So your time is worth nothing then?
    That's fine, but others usually don't want to dick around like that.

    There is nothing worse than a development tool that gives trouble IMO.
    Just as you have demonstrated these DIY programmer often don't work.

    > If anybody wants the code (written in C), ask for it here, but of
    > course that is not finished and may not work for you :) Eh, probably
    > *will* not work for you, just to be on the safe side.


    There you go, who wants that potential hassle to save $40 and not get the
    other benefits of the PICkit?

    IMO DIY PIC programmers are just not worth it when the PICkit is under $50

    Dave.

    --
    ---------------------------------------------
    Check out my Electronics Engineering Video Blog & Podcast:
    http://www.eevblog.com
     
    David L. Jones, Feb 3, 2010
    #4
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