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Is this a good PIC programmer?

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New Member
I want to learn how to use microcontrollers, both for general projects and for use in robotics, which I am starting to learn. But there are LOTS of programmers in existence, so I'd like to run this one by those who have more experience in such matters. It's very pricey, $86.95, but it can program all DIP PICs, has a ZIF socket, and includes everything needed, even a 16f628 microcontroller.

What do you think, is this a good deal? I can afford the price, but naturally I don't want to pay more than I have to.


Active Member
Seems to be a good buy to me. But buy if your are going to try your hands with all those controllers that it supports. Otherwise if you are trying to just program 16F84 or 16F877/16F876 then its worthless.
Then you should try for some cheap ones at http://www.olimex.com/dev/index.html


New Member
Thanks for that link kinjalgp.

I think I will probably buy a cheaper programmer for now, but I have to say, the zif socket is a fairly attractive feature that doesn't seem too common.

After some more searching, I think I may buy this one or this one.


Active Member
matt - I am in about the same place as you - interested in learning about PICs. I purchased a book by John Iovine. My knowledge of PICs is leaps and bounds ahead of where it was thanks to the book but 3/4 of the value in the book appears to be in the tutorials. The author recommends the purchase of specific hardware and software then takes the reader thru several applications. For what I want it appears to be right on. He describes the "electronics" quite well so that the PIC enthusiast doesn't get stuck on the electronics end.

My concern is the same - I might shell out $150 for the hardware and software described. The cost of the book was $20 so for $170 I have the equivalent of a short course in one package. Maybe this is a really good deal BUT maybe others have found better for the same money or the same for less.

I'd appreciate the input and thoughts from others who have been down this road.


New Member
More self-advertising

The Ziff socket programmer is a very good powered programmer - I wouldn't call it worthless :wink:

There are many differences between the dongle and powered programmers. With power programmers you have the benefit of isolating your computer's serial port from overloading damage. I haven't managed to do harm to my motherboard yet - and we've done some really silly stuff - but anything is possible! And as kinjalgp pointed out, if you do not need the extended PIC support, go with the cheap programmer.

I used a Warp13A extensively for about a year before I fried it with some wire trash under the programmer - never thought it would happen until some sparks and blue smoke and $100 evaporated!

I moved on to the PG1 serial dongle programmer thinking it probably would be more hassle than anything. Wow. I don't want to go over board, but it does everything I need.

If you are programming a popular flash PIC (16F628, F84A, F873A, F876A, F877A, or even some of the exotic F819s or 12F675) the PG1 is the programmer you need. I've sucessfully programmed all these PICs in circuit on a breadboard.

If you would like to work under MPLAB and would like the rock-solid dependability of a PicStart+ programmer, the more expensive MCP is for you.

If you are trying to program PCBs fully of capacitors and ICs that require a noticable amount of current - you will want a powered programmer. The computer's serial port simply does not have the needed power.



New Member
I'll probably get the PG2 package, as it contains everything I'll need to start out with, and is pretty cheap.

The only other option I'm considering is buying a kit, that has all the stuff and includes projects and information on using the microcontroller.

Since I'm still new to microcontrollers, if I were to just buy the programmer and microcontroller, are beginner projects easily available online?

Edit: I think I've sold my parents on paying half the cost of the device, since they have typically paid half of my brother's expenses for drama, so I can guilt them into it ;) So I may go with the MCP after all, but I'm still searching.


New Member
Stevez, what it this book by any chance?

If so, what kind of projects are in it, how did you like it, and how is the software and programmer that the author uses?



Active Member
matt - look up John Iovine on Amazon for exact title (don't have it with me) but I like his book. It's a very descriptive book that has thing like LED flashers, stepper motor control, toxic gas alarms, LCD panel outputs, voice synthesizer, serial memory addition. It will not teach you all you need to know about all these things but there is enough in there so you can follow his instructions and actually accomplish stuff. It's my opinion that the book is good for the skilled hobbyist - probably a good place for someone to get a good overview and some hands-on practice.

For each project he gives the part description and source. With very few exceptions parts sources are places like Radio Shack, Jameco, Digikey, etc. He gives enough so you don't get bogged down in the electronics.


New Member
Howdy all,

Is this the one?

Fantastic electronics : build your own negative-ion generator & other projects / John Iovine.
Blue Ridge Summit, PA : Tab Books, c1993

I took this one out of the library recently, and it blew my mind. Sadly. Radio Shack (in Canada) no longer stocks ANY of the components that are routinely on his parts lists.

I'm new to this PIC thing myself, and on the topic of what programmer to buy: somebody tell me right up front if I'm stupid to be thinking about building my own, based on the numerous designs that seem to be kicking around the net? I just bought a 16F877, and feel like a kid with a new toy and no batteries.



New Member
You can always snag a JDM programmer from us, you can contact us by emailing [email protected]

This is very very small and uses IC Prog to program the entire line of PICs offered by Microchip (as long as they are supported by IC Prog).

Thank you.


New Member
i own a warp13A pic programmer.

but i got schematic and built a serial jdm programmer. it says in the site it programs only pic16f84 and pic16c84. but i tried to use it with a pic16f877 as well as pic16f84a, through my amazement, it worked. im still using that jdm programmer. cost me approximately 2 dollars less. im happy with the one i built. i havent tried it with other pics but i hope it will work.


Active Member
I have the $109 Warp13 and I think it's a great programmer. They do a lot of work with PIC programmers, provide updates as necessary. When later PICs came out that could be programmed faster if the oscillator is changed out, they gave a patch and said how to put in a new osc on your own, rather than try to sell everybody new programmers. Very respectable!

The Warp13 software is pretty good too.



New Member
How about MCP-USB? He doesn't need pwr supply, and work compatible with MPLAB too. The upgrade of MCP work with MPLAB 6.5, everything is the same. I would like to know the differences.

Below is the PIC-PG2C programmer, same to JDM. Layout on 2 layers in orcad. If anyone need single side, I will rebuild it. However, because I may make 2side board with ease, and free in labo, thus, I output to 2 layer board.

Copy the whole file with Drillhole .TAP file may help to make pcb with machines.

Use 2N3904 NPN or similar NPN general purpose transistors. May use C1815 but note that it's BCE standard.


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