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Does the PICKit 2 support ICSP ?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by ian field, Nov 30, 2007.

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  1. ian field

    ian field Guest

    Please can anyone tell me whether it is possible to use a PICKit 2 to
    connect to the target board via ICSP, and what hardware I need to order to
    do so?

  2. Of course, that is what the pic kit is all about about. From my experience
    with it, it is pretty simple to use. The software could be better as it
    doesn't give you many details and the hardware is somewhat overpriced(look
    at the schematics of it) and cheaply made but it does seem to do the job
    very easily.

    Unfortunately it doesn't do ICD yet because MPLab doesn't support it.
    Supposedly it will in the future.

    If you plan on programing a lot of pics its probably worth it though(pretty
    much being the cheapest commercial programmer). But if your just trying to
    program a few chips here and there then you can do it yourself with freely
    available software and very simple and cheap hardware circuits. (although
    none support the newer pic24's AFAIK)
  3. ian field

    ian field Guest

    So far I've spent the whole week trying to get a straight answer out of
    Microchip sales, so I thought if I find out what the minimum list of parts I
    need to order to use a ICSP lead directly to the target board without the
    cost of the myriad of header boards for all the different PICs.

    Its hard to tell from the sales literature and data sheets but it looks like
    a USB lead, a plastic box which is the PICKit 2 and a circuit board with a
    row of pins that slot into the PICKit 2, some drawings also show a small pod
    that may possibly be used with an ICSP lead, I don't want the SMD PCB which
    looks like its intended to be used once then replaced - all I want is to
    connect a PICKit 2 to the final project target board with an ICSP lead.
  4. I pic kit 2 will do what you want. You have a header that essentially runs
    to the pins of the pic that you want to program. It can supply the power if
    needed too.

    What I did was was make my own connector cause I didn't want to order the
    demo boards. The connector on the pic kit for the icsp is 6 pin female
    connector. Not sure what they are called but I simply ripped some pins off a
    damage mother board and made my own connector. It doesn't look pretty and
    slips some times but does the job(I'm sure you could make one and probably
    nicer than mine).

    What I suggest is that you look on there site for the pic kit 2 documents as
    they explain everything. There are some issues when interfacing ICSP with a
    circuit that uses the same pins because the other circuit could interfer
    with it. (so either dedicate the pins on the pic for icsp programming or
    look at the pic kit datasheets/user guides/app notes)

    Its really not that difficult and I think you might be making it more
    complicated than it is. You will obviously need some way to connect the
    programmer to the chip but pretty much thats up to you and is extremely
    easy. I say if thats your only issue then buy the pic kit 2 and then deal
    with it once you get it. Chances are you'll see that it's not hard and can
    figure something out for your needs.

    BTW, the circuit board stuff is the demo board which is seperate if you just
    buy the pic kit standalone.... which is just a cd, pic kit 2 programmer, and
    USB cable and costs about 35$. If you buy the demo board then thats like 50$
    or something total but you'll see need to make an interface somehow(might
    copy there design or just hack it like I did).

    BTW, There are no different headers for different pics. Each pic has 2 pins
    for ICSP(although sometimes duplicated for easier routing), nMCLR, Voltage,
    and voltage regulation. Depending on the pic it can be easier or hard to
    deal with but ultimately its just a routing and header issue. (you can
    always rig an adapter from the pic kit 2 to the pcb if you use something
    that is directly incompatible with the pic kit 2)

    You can also get the schematics for the demo board and see what they did for
    ICSP. It almost is essentially just connecting the header pins to the
    various pins on the pic but there is that issue I mented earlier.

    I think you think that the demo board has to be used to program a pic and
    that is not the case. Get the standalone pic kit 2 programmer and you'll be
    able to program any pic in no time. (You will have to rig a way to get the
    signals from the pic kit 2 ICSP header to the pins on the pic but that could
    be as simple as using a few wires and inserting them into the female header
    of the pic kit.)

  5. ian field

    ian field Guest

    Thanks for explaining it, I've spent a whole week trying to get a straight
    answer out of the burger flippers at Microchip sales!
  6. NP. I'm not sure exactly what you are trying to do but if you got a bread
    board, some wire, a few tantalum caps(for some of the newer end pics) then
    you shouldn't have a problem program most, if not all, the pics supported by
    the pic kit 2. Although with just wire you'll have to rig some kinda header
    to make it work but its not all that difficult.
  7. ian field

    ian field Guest

    My previous understanding was that the development area pcb that slots into
    the PICKit 2 is a SMD only experimenters board, I still use only
    through-hole components so I figured the best way would be not to use the
    development area and programme the MCU via ICSP, When I asked Microchip
    sales what I needed to do ICSP with a PICKit 2 they sent me a link to
    pictures of numerous header boards for various MCUs that slot into the end
    of the PICKit 2.

    This would be a strip board with the basics like the crystal and GND + Vdd +
    Vpp rails needed with a 6 pin header for the ICSP lead, or in the future a
    finished project board with an ICSP connector.

    What I regard as the established standard ICSP connector, has 6 pins - one
    pin is snipped to act as a key to prevent plug reversal leaving 5 wires:
    GND, Vdd, Vpp, PGD & PGC.
  8. No, one is an AUX which I think is auxillary power IIRC. I don't use it for
    programming though. But the rest of pins are correct. As far as
    interfacing with the pic to be programming, its just a matter of connecting
    those pins on the pic kit 2 to the appropriate pins on the pic. If the pic
    is on some board and that board has some icsp connecter then you could
    easily rig something up so it will work.

    I have no experience with all the demo and daughter boards but I imagine it
    can't be all that complex. You might not find a "pretty" solution but I'm
    sure you could rig something up in 5 mins if you have to.

    if you goto

    all those boards that connect to the pic kit 2 are just pcb's with a pic on
    them for easy programming/debugging/experimenting. They are not needed.

    If you know how to program, know how to solder, have a breadboard, a few
    pic's, and some wire then you can program those pic's.

    You see you can buy the demo board seperately. You do not need them to
    program a pic. All you need is the pic kit 2.

    You can see the ICSP header on the boards though. They are 6 pins and have
    the various functionality you mentioned.


    here is what I did. Ordered pic kit 2. Got it but it had no male connector
    for interfacing with any pic. I got 6 wires, 6 "pins"(the kinda that you
    find on motherboards and that you see on the demo board), soldered the 6
    wires to the pins, used hot glue to hold everything together(not very pretty
    but works), and stripped the ends of those wires.

    Now all I do is stick in my rigged connecter into the header on the pic kit
    2, connect the appropriate wires to the pins on the pic I'm trying to
    program(and doing any extra stuff I need), and program it.

    The only issue I have is that sometimes the connecter slips out of the pic
    kit 2. This is probably an issue with the header on the pic kit because
    there is no latching mechanism. Its not a huge issue and I suppose a dab of
    hot glue or some tape would fix it. Just happens every once in a while.

    I think maybe all those different headers is just for differen demo boards
    and such. If your not involved in demoing anything then it shouldn't be an
    issue. If you are then its probably still not necessary if you don't mind
    rigging stuff.

  9. ian field

    ian field Guest

    Thanks - I found those, the pinout diagrams make everything clear. What
    isn't clear is why Microchip couldn't just tell me that all I need for what
    I want to do, is the standalone PICKit 2 !
  10. lol. Don't know. Could be many reasons. Maybe they would rather you believe
    that you needed more than just the pic kit 2 so you would buy more.

    Also realize that you can do the exact same thing with just a pc and a few
    components(maybe 5$ worth) and program most of pic's. In a weekend or two
    you can probably build a pic programmer. The software is done for you and
    there are a lot of schematics for different programmers. Essentialy the main
    issue is that you have to have an external power source(or two) for the
    various voltages(I used a bench supply before I got the pic kit) and a few
    components(either a simple oc tri state and a transistor or two or a few
    mosfets and resistors).

    If you just want to start programing pics then probably just buying it is
    the way to go but want to know a little more then you can do it yourself
    quite easily and cheaper(although it won't look as nice).

  11. ian field

    ian field Guest

    The main issue is the number of devices supported by any given programmer
    and whether the list is updated as new devices appear. There are other
    issues too, the Velleman K8048 which I have only has 8, 18 & 28 pin sockets
    which are all 0.3" so any 0.6" devices that may be supported will require an
    ICSP header board, as it happens the K8048 makes the same non-standard use
    of the RS232 I/F as the Tait style programmers so I assume its probably
    possible to use the associated programmer software with the K8048.
    Unfortunately the Tait websites have notices that they will no longer be
    updated and the Tait inspired Serpic 2 programmer which is almost identical
    to the K8048, except additional support for AVR couldn't be found last time
    I searched for it. Hopefully it is easier to keep a native Microchip
    programmer up to date.
  12. I'm not sure about the other programmers. The pic kit 2 doesn't use sockets
    so you don't have to worry to much about that. OTH you will have to somehow
    connect the header to the pic you want to program. I seriously doubt you'll
    have an issue with it.

    If you are just wanting to program pic's(and a few other devices that it
    supports) as a "hobby" then its probably the way to go. The programmer can
    be updated to program any devices that support ICSP and I suppose if you
    really wanted you could modify the firmware to program other devices.
    Luckily you are given the schematics and source code to all the software to
    do that.

    The pic kit 2 supports all ICSP devices AFAIK except the latest devices. It
    also cannot be used with ICD in MPLAB for all the devices yet but MPLAB
    supposedly will eventually be updated for it.

    I think if you compare the price with other programmers then its unbeatable.

    If you still have doubts then why don't you post a specific comparision
    between the programmers you are looking at and your specific
    needs/application. I'm not sure if you want to just program pic's and if
    you are doing this in a production environment.

  13. ian field

    ian field Guest

    Thanks that pretty much answers my question.
  14. Guest

    The PICkit 2 is an excellent little ICD, but I too dislike the 6pin
    inline connector (and the ICD2 RJ-12) so I choose a 2x5 type IDC
    connector for the Junebug kit.
  15. Au Groups

    Au Groups Guest

    The PICkit 2 is great design.
    The CB0703 (PICKit2) design has some enhanced features (which makes it
    even better): a RJ12 connector and an optional external power supply
    are implemented.

    With a RJ12 cable (part #:CBL-RJ12-RVS), the BB0703 (PICKit2) can work
    directly with most target board/programmer designed for ICD2.

    DIY kits are available here:

    Full function units with life-time warranty are available here:
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