Reasons NOT to buy a ...!

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Ian.M
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2011/07/29 11:46:38 (permalink)
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Reasons NOT to buy a ...!

I'm starting this thread in the spirit of the well known "Flying with ... gallery list"s and in the hope of collecting the disadvantages of various programmers in one place while avoiding a flame war. 

Those contemplating a clone of a Microchip programmer should read both the original disadvantages and any for the specific clone. 

If you think that a programmer should be added to the list, please post in this topic, but first please read my guidelines and policies below the list in this post.  Factual corrections are also welcome.

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Genuine Microchip ICD2
mzoran contributed:

Ian.M contributed:

I can only conclude the trade-in program was  to minimise their Lifetime Support liabilities and to provide stock to refurbish. As it is tied to MPLAB to run it, I would strongly advise NOT buying an ICD 2 (or any clones) unless you need to freeze a complete development toolchain to support a legacy product and need spares. (Ian.M)

Genuine Microchip PICKIT 2
mzoran contributed:

To clarify: initially the PICkit 3 was recommended as a replacement on the PICkit 2 page, but this is no longer the case and the PICkit 3 is now merely listed as "What's New". LoL  The PICkit 2 is even supported in MPLAB X. The remaining official support  life is uncertain . . .  (Ian.M)
Ian.M contributed:
  • Limited device support, and the list supported under MPLAB 8.xx is officially frozen.  Some devices have since been added to the standalone programmer.  See  the  PICkit 2 Device Support list.
Genuine Microchip PICKIT 3
Ian.M contributed:
Many of these objections have been removed by the introduction of the standalone PICkit 3 Scripting tool which adds a PICkit 2 emulation mode, unfortunately with the same limited device support.  Also the UART tool and serial EEPROMS are not (yet) supported.
May have been damage to the PIC resulting from a mishap with a breadboard 'lashup' (Ian.M)
  • Problems programming from MPLAB X
See the topic Pickit 3 Problems by Mearvk + many similar topics.  The PICkit 3 firmware loaded by recent MPLAB X releases appears to have issues . . .
 
Third Party Programmers
Ian.M contributed:
newfound contributed:
  • Kits 'R Us DIY.... series (+ clones) - Very buggy PC application with NO possibility of future fixes as the Delphi source can no longer be compiled. Also extremely slow. (#4 below)
dan1138 contributed:
Do not even contemplate this programmer unless you are a native Chinese scholar and can locate the original manual. The 'Engrish' one is practically useless (Ian.M)
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Posting Guidelines and inclusion policy
In addition to the normal guidelines and customs of this forum:

  • I ask those participating to keep posts as brief as possible, *ALWAYS* name the programmer and give a link to the actual problem
  • Please trim any quotes as much as possible and summarise rather than quote. 
  • Try to confirm it was actually a programmer problem and not operator abuse.
  • I will add your contribution to the list but will rephrase as required to keep it concise and informative and may research the issue further. 
  • I am trying to keep the reasons listed factual.
  • If I add a personal opinion it will be in italics and clearly attributed. 
  • I will NOT add any programmer solely on the basis of personal opinion and without evidence.
  • I reserve the right NOT to add a contribution to the list, and may cease to maintain the list at any time.
Edit: Last update (PICkit 3) 6/3/2013

post edited by Ian.M - 2015/01/05 09:04:21
#1

19 Replies Related Threads

    newfound
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    Re:Reasons NOT to buy a ...! 2011/07/29 14:17:30 (permalink)
    5 (1)
    Ian.M

    Here are a few to get it started:




    That's because it is an "unauthorized copy" if a rather obsolete and buggy design to boot. I strongly suggest that anyone offering advice on what programmer NOT to buy universally advise: "Stay away from any and all  of the generic DIY (kits'r'us) programmers, genuine or not.

    Reasons:

    • The PC side app contains too many bugs that just cannot be fixed as no one can recompile the delphi source. There is no comprehensive support or updates although there is genuine intent to help buy someone who is more savvy with the AVRs.
    • The software cannot read most PIC18 hex files and requires the use of utilities to reformat it each time.
    • The utilities themselves contain bugs. 
    • No support for enhanced mid-range PICs.
    • No PIC24, dsPIC, PIC32 support.
    • Cannot support PIC18 larger than 64k bytes or data EEPROM greater than 256 bytes.
    • Cannot correctly handle blank check and verify of newer PIC18 config words.
    • Very slow programming speeds.

    There are many rip-offs of the DIY programmers and they all pretty much suffer from the same issues.

    Citation: Myself, I fixed many firmware issues and added support for 100+ PICs.


    post edited by newfound - 2011/07/29 16:47:14
    #2
    DarioG
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    Re:Reasons NOT to buy a ...! 2011/07/29 14:28:20 (permalink)
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    I have a clone and it works well since years Smile          

    GENOVA :D :D ! GODO
    #3
    dan1138
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    Re:Reasons NOT to buy a ...! 2011/07/29 15:26:36 (permalink)
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    It seems to me that the most reliable devices programmers I have are obsolete:

    PICSTART Plus, PICKIT1, PICKIT2, Needham EMP-20

    The less reliable:

    ICD2, PICKIT3, ICD3

    <EDIT>  
    With regard to the OP's thread topic:
     
    What not to buy:
     
    GENIUS G540/G840 universal device programmer
     
    Why see: http://www.microchip.com/forums/fb.ashx?m=592088
     
    post edited by dan1138 - 2011/07/29 16:33:16
    #4
    Ian.M
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    Re:Reasons NOT to buy a ...! 2011/07/29 15:56:04 (permalink)
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    @newfound: Please edit and TRIM the quote! (The last two lines of it were enough to make your point.)  Thanks for trimming that. Smile I have added your contribution to the list.

    @All,
    Advising what to buy is NOT the point of this thread.  Everyone has personal preferences that they will strongly defend, sometimes well past the point where there is any evidence to support them. 

    I request those who did not add useful content to go and find me a topic here that was due to a programmer bug that has not been satisfactorily resolved.   N.B.  Free replacement is NOT a satisfactory solution to a recurring problem but it is a lot better than no support at all . . . .

    List updated.

    post edited by Ian.M - 2011/07/29 17:01:35
    #5
    pityukecske
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    Re:Reasons NOT to buy a ...! 2011/07/29 15:58:06 (permalink)
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    i've built my own pickit2 clone, it works perfectly
    very useful tool indeed. im _SO_ glad i didnt buy a pickit3, many friends of mine had problems using it...

    Pityu


    #6
    mzoran
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    Re:Reasons NOT to buy a ...! 2011/07/30 09:00:44 (permalink)
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    I would say don't buy the PicKit 2.  Pay a bit more and get the PicKit3.
    I would also say the RealICE is overpriced especially once you add on the almost essential but not included performance pack.  Some of the features are great but it's missing a few features I expected in something this price range such as the ability to printf/DebugStr to the debugger window.   

    Disclaimer: I got my RealICE during the cash for clunkers sale a few years back. 

    #7
    Ian.M
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    Re:Reasons NOT to buy a ...! 2011/07/30 11:52:35 (permalink)
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    *GOOD* question! However I do expect the reply to give links to topics with actual problems that make the PICkit 2 undesirable, NOT just your personal opinions! [:-)]
    #8
    mzoran
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    Re:Reasons NOT to buy a ...! 2011/07/30 13:45:09 (permalink)
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    http://www.microchip.com/...519&param=en534451

    Microchip has been saying for a long time that the PicKit2 is going to be dropped at some point.   Why would you invest in something that has a very limited support time?

    For the same reasons, I would also add ICD 2 to the list.
    #9
    Ian.M
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    Re:Reasons NOT to buy a ...! 2011/07/30 14:29:46 (permalink)
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    No doubt Microchip would *LIKE* to phase out the PICkit 2, but until the PICkit 3 gets the same feature set and is debugged enough to offer similar reliability it is obvious that they have a problem actually doing so.    Even if it is phased out, I expect it will continue to be manufactured as a open source community supported third party programmer - and it would still be a better choice than many other types of third party  programmers.  As to investment, I expect my PICkit 2 programmers to be fully depreciated by the time Microchip stop production.  They weren't exactly expensive to start with . . . and they are less than the price of a meal out for one in a fairly cheap restaurant at the moment.

    The ICD2 is a slightly different case. It is already discontinued and there isn't an open source stand-alone app to extend its life as a third party programmer.  Buying a 3rd party ICD2 when the next MPLAB version might drop it at any time would be a real gamble . . .

    However in the interests of fairness, I'll add your reason to the list.




    #10
    drolleman
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    Re:Reasons NOT to buy a ...! 2011/08/04 17:22:37 (permalink)
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    As to the clones scare, it's the oldest one out there. no facts just scare. What is in the clone that blows up a device.
     
    I have made the error of thinking i have a 5v device when it was a 3v device with genuine mc emulators. needless to say what happend. it would be nice if microchip would check if the emulator is connected to a low voltage device when the current project settings are for a high voltage device.
     
    i have icd2, realice, pk2, pk3
     
    the one i grab first is the pk2!
     
    if the pk2 won't do the job, realice won't ethier. I'm not talking features.
    #11
    BugHunter
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    Re:Reasons NOT to buy a ...! 2011/08/10 22:07:16 (permalink)
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    drolleman

     As to the clones scare, it's the oldest one out there. no facts just scare. What is in the clone that blows up a device.  
     
    I don't know if there's any teeth in the clone "Scare" any more, but, buying one now simply makes no sense.

    Back when Mcp had no really low cost programming solution, clones and third party programmers were a valid low cost alternative.  I own one to this day that I've had for greater than 10 years, and it still is plugged in as I type this, ready for action.  It was less than half the cost of the PicStart Plus it cloned, and it worked dramatically faster and had features such as ICSP that the Picstart did not.  It works with MPLab 8.66 now, and programs all the parts it ever did.  That was a good deal and a smart buy.  Thanks Newfound!

    I can't really say I got it due to price, since I already had a Picstart Plus.  However, the real point I should make is that the stuff with the Microchip name has significant resale value.  Almost laughable really.  I sold my PicStart Plus on Ebay several months back.  Now, some group of fools not only paid me more for it than the price of a Pickit 2 and Pickit 3 combined, they BOTH bid higher than you could pay for a Picstart Plus Brand New from Mcp TODAY!  All I said in the auction was, this isn't a knockoff and it's supported in MpLab natively, has the firmware upgradeable module in it, and it's up to date and works, guaranteed.  Now, try that with a clone...

    With the price point of the current low cost tools (Pickits), I can't imagine why anyone would be looking to cheapen up and get some possibly unsupported tool.  Even less so I can't understand why someone would make such tools now and spend time to support them, when they need to hit a price point where there can't be a lick of margin making the things.  Where's the profit come from to cover needed firmware upgrades and future product support.  Why bother?   It's sorta analogous to the people who buy new cars to "save money on gas".  Yea, if they drive that car for 10 years and it never uses any gas, they might break even...

    --Edit to add

    The Pickit3's shortcomings vs the Pickit 2 are predominantly software and firmware related.  A person who owns one (me) has a good chance that the product will someday soon, do not only all the 2 did, but a good bit more.   The standalone app is available now, and though I've not tried it, the Programmer to go function is said to be working.  (I don't really have a use for that in my situation).  So, it looks like the Pickit 3 may be close to earning a removal from this list.  
    post edited by BugHunter - 2011/08/10 22:15:10
    #12
    programmer5
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    Re:Reasons NOT to buy a ...! 2012/11/05 19:43:29 (permalink)
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    G540 is really bad for PIC, and if you are starter in PIC then go for some better one instead of this universal programmer. 
    #13
    programmer5
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    Re:Reasons NOT to buy a ...! 2012/11/05 19:43:37 (permalink)
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    G540 is really bad for PIC, and if you are starter in PIC then go for some better one instead of this universal programmer. 
    #14
    Ian.M
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    Re:Reasons NOT to buy a ...! 2012/11/05 20:11:24 (permalink)
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    Give your reasons and a description of your G540 problems - but *PLEASE* start a new topic and I will summarize it for the list above.
    #15
    kalpak
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    Re:Reasons NOT to buy a ...! 2012/11/05 21:15:20 (permalink)
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    The legal "clones" made in India by Logic Power, both ICD2 and ICD3 are top class.
    Never had any problem with them.
    But their enclosure and connnectors could do with with a bit of quality upgrade.
    I do not know if they are for sale outside India.
    #16
    Ian.M
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    Re:Reasons NOT to buy a ...! 2013/03/06 04:09:17 (permalink)
    5 (1)
    <BUMP>
    Small update to PICkit 3 entry.
    #17
    vruno
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    Re:Reasons NOT to buy a ...! 2013/10/01 18:50:16 (permalink)
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    Hi everybody, I have the  G540 genius programmer, i had some trouble programming a PIC18F4550, but finaly understood that you have to change the configuration registers that are shown in the config set menu on the G540 software. the way to change the configuration bits depends on what you whant, specially for the oscilator, the specification of each bit is on the datasheet of the device you are using. just look for configuration registers.
     
    Sorry for posting about this programmer again here but i think it's important for the owners of one of these.SmileSmileSmile
    #18
    vruno
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    Re:Reasons NOT to buy a ...! 2013/10/01 18:50:17 (permalink)
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    Hi everybody, I have the  G540 genius programmer, i had some trouble programming a PIC18F4550, but finaly understood that you have to change the configuration registers that are shown in the config set menu on the G540 software. the way to change the configuration bits depends on what you whant, specially for the oscilator, the specification of each bit is on the datasheet of the device you are using. just look for configuration registers.
     
    Sorry for posting about this programmer again here but i think it's important for the owners of one of these.SmileSmileSmile
    #19
    RISC
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    Re:Reasons NOT to buy a ...! 2015/01/05 09:10:46 (permalink)
    5 (2)
    Hi,
     
    For those reading this thread not too late (before end of february 2015), there is a special buy back offer on Pickit2, ICD2 (original ones ;=) and Promate II to get a 50% discount on Pickit3, ICD3 and PM3 here :
    http://www.microchip.com/devtoolmigration
     
    regards
    #20
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