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Maldus
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2019/10/22 23:45:04 (permalink)
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Programmer To Go feature not working

Hello everyone,
Two years after buying the shiny PicKit4 Microchip finally decided it was time to release the fabled Programmer-to-go feature to the public. They even made a Youtube how-to video (I can't post links on this god forsaken forums and I had to bump on their cryptic "you have no permission to post on this server" error three times before remembering it. Just look it up in their Youtube Channel).
 
Perhaps unfortunately but not surprisingly, it does not work.
After connecting the PicKit4, inserting an SD card, selecting the target, loading the hex file and pressing the "Programmer to go" button, the procedure fails with the following error:
 

*****************************************************



Connecting to MPLAB PICkit 4...

Currently loaded versions:
Application version............00.05.14
Boot version...................01.00.00
Script version.................00.03.10
Script build number............5aef1e175b

The configuration is set for the target board to supply its own power but no voltage has been detected on VDD. Please ensure you have your target powered up and try again.
Connection Failed.

 
I'm using MPLAB IPE v5.25.
Has Microchip failed to deliver yet again or is the procedure I'm following somehow botched?
#1

25 Replies Related Threads

    DevMod1
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    Re: Programmer To Go feature not working 2019/10/23 09:00:38 (permalink)
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    Did the target have power when you connected the PICKit 4 as you were provisioning for Programmer to Go??  You have to connect to a target and program the part as part of getting the PICkit 4 into PTG mode.  This is part of the process and is documented.
     

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    #2
    Maldus
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    Re: Programmer To Go feature not working 2019/10/23 23:46:48 (permalink)
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    DevMod1
    Did the target have power when you connected the PICKit 4 as you were provisioning for Programmer to Go??  You

    No. Since I have to load an hex into the programmer itself I see no discernible reason to connect it to a target (unless it's the obscure requirement of some dirty hack put in place to make it work).
     
    DevMod1
    You have to connect to a target and program the part as part of getting the PICkit 4 into PTG mode.  This is part of the process and is documented.

    Documented where? It does not count as documentation if you write it on a sticky note and then hide it under a rock in your back yard. The youtube video is so far the only documentation I could find on the programmer to go feature; the PicKit4 user guide only mentions that said feature will come soon (a.k.a. two years apparently).
    By all means, prove me wrong and point me to this documentation. I want to get this job done just as badly as the next guy.
     
    Speaking of which, it's still not working. Even after connecting a target the procedure fails with the following message:

    This device does not currently support the programmer to go operation.
    Connection Failed.
     

     
    I'm working on a PIC24EP512GU810. This time the message is pretty clear, but somehow it still feels like the tools I'm given are at fault. I guess I'll come back in 2022, provided I'll still be working on the same device.
    #3
    picy2620
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    Re: Programmer To Go feature not working 2019/10/24 03:26:30 (permalink)
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    • Look into the MPLABX release notes (you find it on the download page). There you will find some information about PTG.
    • at the moment, 16 bit PICs are not supported. They will be added with the next release of MPLABX. (which should be released this or next month)
     
    picy2620
    #4
    JPortici
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    Re: Programmer To Go feature not working 2019/10/24 06:09:20 (permalink)
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    Maldus
    Documented where?



    C:/Program Files (x86)/Microchip/MPLABX/v5.25/docs/Readme for PICkit 4.htm
    #5
    jarin
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    Re: Programmer To Go feature not working 2019/10/24 12:05:11 (permalink)
    5 (1)
    The requirement for having target connected when downloading image for PTG operation is new concept to me. PK3 worked with no target attached during image loading phase - that is useful for programming remote devices in the field. I loaded image from PC into PK3 memory, disconnected from PC and then visited all places that needed reflash with loaded PK3 and power bank.
    The need of having target connected when preparing PK4 image somehow defeats the purpose of PTG, at least for most of my use cases. I'm pretty sure my modus operandi isn't the only one possible.
     
    Is this requirement only because it's beta release, or it's going to stay?

    Jaromir Sukuba, Bratislava, Slovakia
    http://jaromir.xf.cz/  - open source PIC18 debugger.
    #6
    NorthGuy
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    Re: Programmer To Go feature not working 2019/10/24 13:52:41 (permalink)
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    jarin
    Is this requirement only because it's beta release, or it's going to stay?



    I guess PICkit4 works more than PICkit2 rather than PICkit3, that is the programming is scripted from PC rather than being done by the programmer. So, you can just record the set of commands sent by the PC to the programmer, then play them back in the field and PIC gets programmed automatically.
     
    Since the programming process is interactive, it cannot be done without a target device. Thus, you must connect a target device first, let the programmer program it. During programming, all the scripting commands and responses are logged and become your "programmer to go" script. This is very clever. Otherwise, you would have to write separate scripts for PTG manually, and when you have 1500 PICs this is lot of work. I was thinking about doing the same thing, but I don't think there's enough demand for PTG.
     
    There are some caveats, such as silicon revisions, but otherwise this should be more reliable compared to PICkit3's method.
     
    #7
    Jim Nickerson
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    Re: Programmer To Go feature not working 2019/10/25 07:14:01 (permalink)
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    NorthGuy
     I was thinking about doing the same thing, but I don't think there's enough demand for PTG.
     

    I have become increasingly disenchanted with bootloading.
    I am thinking of an onboard programmer with shared ( with the processor ) access to spi memory so the processor could for example from a web location get a file and store it on the shared flash and ask the onboard programmer to flash the processor.
    It would require at least twice the memory of the processor flash and ( I think ) control of the processor power.
    #8
    NorthGuy
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    Re: Programmer To Go feature not working 2019/10/26 08:36:21 (permalink)
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    JANickerson
    I have become increasingly disenchanted with bootloading.
    I am thinking of an onboard programmer with shared ( with the processor ) access to spi memory so the processor could for example from a web location get a file and store it on the shared flash and ask the onboard programmer to flash the processor.
    It would require at least twice the memory of the processor flash and ( I think ) control of the processor power.



    Or you can install a little tiny programmer directly onto your PCB :)
    #9
    Jim Nickerson
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    Re: Programmer To Go feature not working 2019/10/26 09:32:45 (permalink)
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    NorthGuy
    Or you can install a little tiny programmer directly onto your PCB :)

    I was thinking of one of yours with the memory and power control
    #10
    MadMatt
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    Re: Programmer To Go feature not working 2020/02/23 15:17:19 (permalink)
    5 (1)
    I just tried to use this feature myself with the Pickit4 and am wholeheartedly disappointed with it.
     
    The whole point of the PTG feature with the PK3 was to make a small revision to a program, load it into the PK3 and then take the PK3 out into the field. You know, where the actual equipment to be programmed is, not next to your PC, where the equipment isn't. It is downright stupid for them to engineer this so that you need to have the device connected to initially configure it for PTG. What am I supposed to do now as a workaround, have every single uC that I've ever used populated on a PCB just so that I can configure the PK4 for PTG mode? Ridiculous.
     
    If you're reading this microchip this needs changing ASAP.
    #11
    Maldus
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    Re: Programmer To Go feature not working 2020/02/24 00:51:48 (permalink)
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    It is downright stupid for them to engineer this so that you need to have the device connected to initially configure it for PTG.

    I doubt it was "engineered" for this purpose, they probably just messed up the project. They pushed out an incomplete product promising features that they were not able to deliver in the end.
     
    What's really enraging is the fact that they also actively block the end user from finding a custom solution. If they just released a command line tool to program their devices (just like ST or Espressif do with theirs) I could simply hook up any PIC programmer to a headless, battery powered Raspberry Pi and have my own field programmer. Not easy or cheap, but doable.
     
    Instead we're stuck with MPLAB as the only way to build and flash controllers, preventing any shot at automated builds, CI systems or a flashing procedure that doesn't take forever.
    #12
    KTrenholm
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    Re: Programmer To Go feature not working 2020/02/24 09:32:54 (permalink)
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    At the very least, you should be able to write (or even configure via the IPE GUI) what is essentially a command line script for the PK4 to follow, and just drop it on the microSD without having to have the device present and in front of you.
    I understand how "intercepting" the programming steps may result in higher reliability (less chance of user-error, the script it generates should be almost guaranteed to program the target) I guess?  But it really shouldn't be required.
     
    I suppose in the case where a customer has a PK4 already in PTG, and you need to issue an update, an engineer could configure and program the PK4 microSD card, put the generated contents of the microSD all in a zip, and send it to a customer via email and have them overwrite the contents of their PK4 microSD?  Does anyone know if that works?  I can try it if nobody has yet.
    post edited by KTrenholm - 2020/02/24 09:34:18
    #13
    NKurzman
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    Re: Programmer To Go feature not working 2020/02/24 12:33:20 (permalink)
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    Actually id you read the SD Card, you could drop a file on it After you set it up the first time.
    #14
    KTrenholm
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    Re: Programmer To Go feature not working 2020/02/24 12:41:44 (permalink)
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    NKurzman
    Actually id you read the SD Card, you could drop a file on it After you set it up the first time.




    Presumably you'd need to replace the whole folder on it.  Looks like it splits the hex file into a multiple .dat files and saves the configuration of the tool as a number of files with no extension:
     
     
     
     There's also a "conf.ptg" in the root.

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    #15
    Jack Bowers
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    Re: Programmer To Go feature not working 2020/04/14 08:29:12 (permalink)
    5 (1)
    This is so disappointing.  If I have to connect to a target in order to use "programmer to go" then it is useless for me.  I will now have to drag my Laptop around to do firmware updates. Or I will just continue to use Pickit 3, which actually works as advertised.  I have been using Pic for over 10 years and this is unacceptable.  I cannot be expected to have every single micro that I ever used on hand and in my office to do tech support for our customers.  
    #16
    DevMod1
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    Re: Programmer To Go feature not working 2020/04/15 10:10:51 (permalink)
    5 (1)
    With MPLAB X v5.35 (on the web now) you no longer need to have a target connected to provision the PICKit 4 into Programmer To Go mode.

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    #17
    ematicon
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    Re: Programmer To Go feature not working 2020/04/23 08:22:02 (permalink)
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    Have wasted the whole working day (today) trying to find tricks to use PK4 PTG with K80. Without success. The best result is: programming (purple blinking) ended up by error (red blinking). Maybe I am just not clever enough, or this tool is not for this job or not for me. Pity.
    #18
    NKurzman
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    Re: Programmer To Go feature not working 2020/04/23 08:49:49 (permalink)
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    Who is powering who?
    Is it configured correctly?
    Is there enough power?
    Is the PICKit4 connected to USB for power?
    Does it program correctly with the PICKit4 for directly from the computer?
    What version of MPLabX?

    K80? Because typing the full part number is too much work? Can we assume you’re talking about a PIC18?
    You do realize that it’s possible there’s a bug in just your specific chip You do realize that it’s possible there’s a bug in just your specific chip, not the whole family.
    #19
    ematicon
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    Re: Programmer To Go feature not working 2020/04/24 04:54:35 (permalink)
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    NKurzman
    You do realize that it’s possible there’s a bug...

    Thank you for your attention. My point is — it was too much time for me to spend to make a tool work, investigating whether "configuration" is not correct or chip is broken or me just stupid. Or it's just beta. My point was not about to ask for a help in my particular case of combination of versions, chips, powering e.t.c. 
     
    If you really are interested and not only suppose to teach a newbie then listen... I have MPLABX5.35, PICkit4 updated by this version, PIC18F25K80 and PIC18F26K80 were successfully programmed (many chips and the particular devices too, the same hex) before by exactly the same PICkit4 from MPLABX5.35; parameters where switched in different combinations: powering self/fromtool (setting appropriate expectation for PICkit4 in soft), reducing(and not) desired voltage for powering from tool, program-n-send-image or just send or just set in PTG. An "image" for PTG is copied to card, and maximum achievement is purple blinking before red error. Both IDE and IPE were used to set PTG. PK4 was powered from USB. Document 2050002751E.pdf, was used as a manual.
     
    I did not say that there could not be my own mistake. I just said that something is not OK if, say, an "average" engineer have trouble in tuning a simple(?) 40$ tool. Or my expectation is wrong that this tool does not have to be simple to use. Or maybe reality is just opposite — you _will_ have a problem using a 40$ tool ;)) A worse case would be if you will have problems using Microchip tools. I do not want to have such future. Do you?
    post edited by ematicon - 2020/04/24 05:05:34
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