Saturday, August 19, 2006


A note on the JDM PIC programmer board...

The JDM PIC programmer appears to be a nice little board and it is used a lot. I've had a world of trouble with it, though. I discovered that I was only getting a few programming cycles out of my PIC 16F628A chips before they would refuse to be programmed again.

I did a diagnostic rundown on the board and used one of the many checks that Simon thoughtfully included. This one was the problem...

Measure the voltage between pin 5 (-) and pin 4 (+). Tick the Enable MCLR box and it should go to +12V.

I got +7.53v. That low a voltage makes PIC programming a hit or miss affair. This sort of problem had been reported regularly with laptops trying to use the JDM programmer. I had it happen with desktops.

At first I thought that it might have been just a poor serial port design in my PC even though I had an Intel motherboard in it that the serial signal was coming from. I tried it again on my new top-of-the-line Dell workstation and had the same thing happen, though. At that point I decided that the JDM card was simply obsolescent.

I'd lost a month playing guessing games with the JDM by that time so was in no mood to try building up another kit or getting another plan off of the internet. I wound up paying about US$130 for a really good ME Labs USB PIC programmer with a 40 pin ZIF socket (that lets you program PIC chips without having to use a little screwdriver to get them out of the socket). It's a lot easier on the pins. The ME Labs PIC programmer also is very forgiving. If you put in a chip backwards it politely asks you what the hell you're playing at on your PC screen instead of staging an impromptu white smoke and burned electronics event on your worktable. I've never regretted the expense for a moment.

Now I can program every PIC chip made without worrying.

I know that there are a lot of PIC programmer board designs out there that you can get both as kits or ready-to-use boards that are a lot cheaper than what I bought. I've no doubt, as well, that there are PIC programmer boards out there that are a lot better value for money. My experience is currently limited to the JDM and the MELabs, however.

thanks for the note : )
Nice takeoff on Dragostea din Tei. I still laugh when I watch Gary Brolsma's lip sync of it. :-D
Thanks for the feedback, I was wondering what was wrong with that JDM!

Mental note #3426 Never dance in front of a camera.
***Mental note #3426 Never dance in front of a camera.***

Why not?
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