Regrettably all the PICs it supports are very obsolete. I belive it only supports PIC16C5x, PIC16C61, PIC16C71 and PIC16C84.
All except the PIC16C84 are CMOS memory parts, which means unless you have some in the /JW windowed side brazed ceramic CERDIP package, that can be erased in a UV EPROM erasor, they can only be used once. The /JW parts are no longer available and were about £15 (GBP) each ten years ago. If your friend has any /JW parts left you could have, then you could develop with these parts, and Microchip can still supply the plastic package variety - at a high price. It takes about 20 minutes to erase a /JW part so the development cycle is very slow and if you accidentally turn on protection, they become unuseable when you try to erase them. *NOT* *RECOMMENDED*
The PIC16C84 was Microchip's first FLASH part. It is also obsolete and very expensive compared to far more powerful modern parts, but at least it can be reprogrammed. If your friend also gave you some of these you are in luck, they are very similar to the PIC16F84 and you will find many tutorials for that that can be adapted to the older part. At least you can learn the basics of PIC programming that way. It is NOT worth trying to buy any unless you can get them cheaper than a packet of crisps.
It is easier to start PIC development from scratch
with the more modern FLASH PIC12Fxxx PIC16Fxxx or PIC18Fxxxx series parts, building your own dumb serial or parallel programmer from discrete components
then using that to program a PIC to build a MPLAB compatible USB interfaced programmer/debugger such as a clone of the ICD 2 or PICkit 2 than it is to either develop with a PICSTART 16B1 and the CMOS parts it can handle
, or to hack it to support slightly less obsolete parts.
It is NOT worth building your own programmer if the price of a genuine PICkit 2 in your country is less than the wages from a few days work. Beware of cheap programmers from EBAY - many do not work properly - if at all and there will be no support when they fail. At least if you build one, you will know how to repair it . . .
For a home made dumb programmer you need an old PC to control it, with a real printer port or serial port. USB converters WILL NOT work. It also should run Windows XP or earlier. Ask here if you want to try this for advice on a good circuit to build and software to use.
Don't throw the 16B1in the trash - it is a goldmine of useful components. The power supply and associated circuit are just what is needed for a home made programmer and the ZIF socket can easily be mounted on an adaptor board to connect to a ICD2 or PICkit 2 once you have built one, or used with whatever dumb programmer you build if you don't get as far as building a USB programmer.
post edited by Ian.M - 2011/06/14 08:32:24