Thursday, 27 August 2015

Can you PIC it? Yes you can!

After the disaster that was my previous K150 PIC programmer, I opted to order a clone of the Microchip PICkit 2 ICP device, and a ZIF adapter for it.To test this out now its arrived, I found out a previously programmed PIC chip, which I know contains code for a CTCSS generator.

A few little teething troubles to start with. First, the actual style of USB connector on the PICkit2 fooled me, and I tried them all before finding the right one! But I was rewarded by the PC finding the driver, and by the devices power light coming on. So far, so froody. Next, I had to find software that would interface with it. None of the programming packages I had installed would see it, which was worrying. A perusal of the unmarked CD that came with it led me, via a swim through a sea of Mandarin, to a copy of the PICkit2 software. With this installed, it sees the device! Yay! It tests the device ok - another Yay! So I attached the ZIF adapter and installed the chip - another yay? nay!

It took me quite a while, and a lot of head scratching, to fathom out exactly where in the ZIF socket the chip was supposed to sit. In the end, it turns out its one place left from the far right hand side! And theres three jumpers to set correctly as well. With this worked out, I told the programming software that it was a 16F628A chip and hit read... the programmer tells me "No 16F628A detected - Found a 16F628 Instead", but it still makes me go and change the selection myself!

But, that done, and it read the chip, and verified it. So im pleased that its working at this stage. Next step is to find a simple bit of code, say an LCD message display, blow the chip with it, and test it on the breadboard. Once im happy its all working, I can start doing some of those PIC related jobs ive had hanging about.

Another correction to a previous disaster, the demolition of my antenna coil, has had me order a nice shiny new coil all the way from Canada. Im hoping that this 21uH coil will let me build a 20m Bugcatcher mobile antenna, and then allow me to find tapping points to match 17m, 15m, 12m and 10m, oh and perhaps 6m too. It has two sides with alternate indented turns, which will make tapping easier, so long as the ideal tap points are on those sides!

But this might have to wait a bit. Ive yet to test the satellite beam on air, and this is the priority as far as antennas goes.

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