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Why are people buying old Picstart Programmers?

Started by Unknown June 2, 2017
I was perusing eBay recently and noticed these old Picstart Programmers going for about $50.  Why???!!  With an RS232 port and I'm sure limited capability, the only theory I have is as collector's items.
On a sunny day (Fri, 2 Jun 2017 08:49:14 -0700 (PDT)) it happened
hondgm@yahoo.com wrote in
<7b11ca83-5bbd-4915-8955-08e571c42b61@googlegroups.com>:

>I was perusing eBay recently and noticed these old Picstart Programmers going for about $50. Why???!! With an RS232 port and >I'm sure limited capability, the only theory I have is as collector's items.
I wrote my own PIC programmer software and use a modified 'noppp' programmer and guess what: it uses the PC parport (just a PCI par port card), oh wait and I made an interface cable and wrote a Raspbery GPIO version. Why not? USB to serial adaptors plenty here too, but USB sucks. The most useful thing about the old PCs is the parport as I/O. It, PIC, is a freaking simple 3 or 2 wire programming system, WHY buy anything? http://panteltje.com/panteltje/pic/index.html all done with that programmer and gpasm in Linux, and without MPlab. I use the PC partport to test all sorts of i2c stuff from displays to GHz chips.
On Friday, June 2, 2017 at 11:58:21 AM UTC-5, Jan Panteltje wrote:
> On a sunny day (Fri, 2 Jun 2017 08:49:14 -0700 (PDT)) it happened > hondgm@.com wrote in > <7b11ca83-5bbd-4915-8955-08e571c42b61@googlegroups.com>: >
> I wrote my own PIC programmer software and use a modified 'noppp' programmer > and guess what: it uses the PC parport (just a PCI par port card), > oh wait and I made an interface cable and wrote a Raspbery GPIO version. > > Why not? > USB to serial adaptors plenty here too, but USB sucks. > The most useful thing about the old PCs is the parport as I/O. > > It, PIC, is a freaking simple 3 or 2 wire programming system, WHY buy anything? > http://panteltje.com/panteltje/pic/index.html > all done with that programmer and gpasm in Linux, and without MPlab. > > I use the PC partport to test all sorts of i2c stuff from displays to > GHz chips.
This is beside the point, but to answer why buy anything? Because some people don't have time to screw with it. I could for example buy a PICkit for $50 and be done with it. Or, try to get several hours of free time without the kids bugging me and trying to ignore all the more important stuff I should be doing. But the real question was why anyone is spending so much on such obsolete hardware.
>I was perusing eBay recently and noticed these old Picstart Programmers going for >about $50. Why???!! With an RS232 port and I'm sure limited capability, the only >theory I have is as collector's items.
At a guess: one market for them would be people who want/need to program certain legacy PIC chips that require a parallel interface and (I think) a relatively high programming voltage. The modern PIC chips use a "very few pins" serial programming interface, and the modern batch of inexpensive chip programmers often do not implement the parallal programming algorithm for PIC. Another option, of course, would be to disassemble the code for the older PICs, and port it to a modern PIC chip. However, I suspect that this may well be a non-trivial task in many cases - the chip pinouts and the peripheral sets are different enough to require significant re-engineering. So, for people who are repairing older hardware that uses the legacy PIC chips, or building "clones" of these devices, it may simply be cheapest and least-hassle to buy a tube of the old parts, and an old Picstart.
On a sunny day (Fri, 2 Jun 2017 10:10:40 -0700 (PDT)) it happened
hondgm@yahoo.com wrote in
<2279bbfd-a251-41aa-bccd-dfe824cd1409@googlegroups.com>:

>On Friday, June 2, 2017 at 11:58:21 AM UTC-5, Jan Panteltje wrote: >> On a sunny day (Fri, 2 Jun 2017 08:49:14 -0700 (PDT)) it happened >> hondgm@.com wrote in >> <7b11ca83-5bbd-4915-8955-08e571c42b61@googlegroups.com>: >> > >> I wrote my own PIC programmer software and use a modified 'noppp' program= >mer >> and guess what: it uses the PC parport (just a PCI par port card), >> oh wait and I made an interface cable and wrote a Raspbery GPIO version. >> >> Why not? >> USB to serial adaptors plenty here too, but USB sucks. >> The most useful thing about the old PCs is the parport as I/O. >> >> It, PIC, is a freaking simple 3 or 2 wire programming system, WHY buy any= >thing? >> http://panteltje.com/panteltje/pic/index.html >> all done with that programmer and gpasm in Linux, and without MPlab. >> >> I use the PC partport to test all sorts of i2c stuff from displays to >> GHz chips. > >This is beside the point,
Not really,
>but to answer why buy anything? Because some people don't have time to screw with it.
See, that is already where you go wrong, Programming does not 'stop' there, now you have your programmer it only STARTS there, And for you to proceed you MUST know how the programming works, read the related documents, else your program will be just like many out there, needless tinkering bloated crap. It is like saying: 'I do not have to know how pliers work, I can just build the cabinet'. There is a 'top down' approach, and in the end it results is an app called 'mama' that sits on the CEO's desk and all he has to know and do is say 'mama I want <whatever>' and it will be done. President's desk too...
>I could for example buy a PICkit for $50 and be done with it.
No, now you need to program, and guess what, learn what you wanted to skip to save time.
>Or, try to get several hours of free time without the kids bugging me and trying to ignore all the more important stuff I should be doing.
Huh I am multitasking 99% if not more of the time.
>But the real question was why anyone is spending so much on such obsolete hardware.
Maybe they like it and it is not so 'obsolete' as you may think OR WANT OTHERS TO THINK Comprendre? And on that tune, show me some code you wrote,
On Friday, June 2, 2017 at 1:06:58 PM UTC-5, Jan Panteltje wrote:
> On a sunny day (Fri, 2 Jun 2017 10:10:40 -0700 (PDT)) it happened > hondg@com wrote in > <2279bbfd-a251-41aa-bccd-dfe824cd1409@googlegroups.com>: > > >On Friday, June 2, 2017 at 11:58:21 AM UTC-5, Jan Panteltje wrote: > >> On a sunny day (Fri, 2 Jun 2017 08:49:14 -0700 (PDT)) it happened > >> hondgm@.com wrote in > >> <7b11ca83-5bbd-4915-8955-08e571c42b61@googlegroups.com>: > >> > > > >but to answer why buy anything? Because some people don't have time to screw with it. > > See, that is already where you go wrong, > Programming does not 'stop' there, now you have your programmer it only STARTS there, > And for you to proceed you MUST know how the programming works, > read the related documents, else your program will be just like many out there, > needless tinkering bloated crap. > It is like saying: 'I do not have to know how pliers work, I can just build the cabinet'. >
Sounds like you assume I don't know how to program in C or assembly.
> There is a 'top down' approach, and in the end it results is an app called 'mama' that sits on the CEO's desk > and all he has to know and do is say 'mama I want <whatever>' and it will be done. > President's desk too... >
Ummmm, what? I don't know how we even got off on this tangent.
> > >I could for example buy a PICkit for $50 and be done with it. > > No, now you need to program, and guess what, learn what you wanted to skip to save time. >
I know how to program. The problem is getting the machine code into the PIC. My original post was about a PIC programmer, not a "programmer" as in someone who writes code.
> > >Or, try to get several hours of free time without the kids bugging me and trying to ignore all the more important stuff I should be doing. > > Huh I am multitasking 99% if not more of the time. >
LOL you obviously haven't been around kids very much, especially toddlers.
> > >But the real question was why anyone is spending so much on such obsolete hardware. > > Maybe they like it and it is not so 'obsolete' as you may think OR WANT OTHERS TO THINK > Comprendre?
What's with the attitude? You not getting any? Seriously, what is your problem?
> > And on that tune, show me some code you wrote,
I have a webpage with projects I've built; schematics, source code, pictures and descriptions of how they work. I believe I may have posted it here at one time. I almost posted it for you but your attitude is pissing me off and I decided I got nothing to prove.
On a sunny day (Fri, 2 Jun 2017 11:59:34 -0700 (PDT)) it happened
hondgm@yahoo.com wrote in
<dcc6da06-14e0-4196-ae05-6f2d00d38068@googlegroups.com>:

>> needless tinkering bloated crap. >> It is like saying: 'I do not have to know how pliers work, I can just build the cabinet'. >> >Sounds like you assume I don't know how to program in C or assembly.
Why to you take it it refers to you? Your question was 'Why do people' I could not care less 'why do people', just ask them, I gave you why 'I' would.
>> There is a 'top down' approach, and in the end it results is an app called 'mama' that sits on the CEO's desk >> and all he has to know and do is say 'mama I want <whatever>' and it will be done. >> President's desk too... >> > >Ummmm, what? I don't know how we even got off on this tangent.
Well that is your limitation :-)
>> >> >I could for example buy a PICkit for $50 and be done with it. >> >> No, now you need to program, and guess what, learn what you wanted to skip to save time. >> > >I know how to program. The problem is getting the machine code into the PIC.
So then you do NOT know how to program, do not know the hardware, cannot design the hardware. period. I showed you how I did that. Don't want to learn fine with me.
On Friday, June 2, 2017 at 2:21:42 PM UTC-5, Jan Panteltje wrote:
> On a sunny day (Fri, 2 Jun 2017 11:59:34 -0700 (PDT)) it happened > hondgm@.com wrote in > <dcc6da06-14e0-4196-ae05-6f2d00d38068@googlegroups.com>: >
> >Sounds like you assume I don't know how to program in C or assembly. > > Why to you take it it refers to you? > Your question was 'Why do people' > I could not care less 'why do people', just ask them, I gave you why 'I' would. >
You didn't tell me why you'd buy an obsolete RS232-based PIC programmer. That was my question. You only told me why you'd make your own.
> > >> There is a 'top down' approach, and in the end it results is an app called 'mama' that sits on the CEO's desk > >> and all he has to know and do is say 'mama I want <whatever>' and it will be done. > >> President's desk too... > >> > > > >Ummmm, what? I don't know how we even got off on this tangent. > > Well that is your limitation :-) >
I guess. What a condescending bunch.
> >I know how to program. The problem is getting the machine code into the PIC. > > So then you do NOT know how to program, do not know the hardware, cannot >design the hardware.
If you're talking about designing a PIC programmer, yes, I do not care. Sometimes I reinvent the wheel, but in this case there's no value for me to do so. A micro programmer is a tool. In the same way I don't make my own screwdrivers and wrenches, I don't care much to make my own programmer because it's a waste of time. I'd rather design the product that contains the micro, that needs programming. If you're talking about designing a circuit with a ucontroller, yes I can do that. There's industrial products out there with PICs that I was the primary designer on. I did the circuit design and firmware, and customers purchased them. In fact there's an airport somewhere in eastern Europe with our equipment on their radar. You can say any smart-ass thing you want but like I said I got nothing to prove.
> period. > I showed you how I did that. > Don't want to learn fine with me.
I'm always up for learning something useful, but so far you've only preached to me that I should build my own programmer instead of buying one, or something along those lines.
On 6/2/2017 1:59 PM, hondgm@yahoo.com wrote:
> On Friday, June 2, 2017 at 1:06:58 PM UTC-5, Jan Panteltje wrote: >> On a sunny day (Fri, 2 Jun 2017 10:10:40 -0700 (PDT)) it happened >> hondg@com wrote in >> <2279bbfd-a251-41aa-bccd-dfe824cd1409@googlegroups.com>: >> >>> On Friday, June 2, 2017 at 11:58:21 AM UTC-5, Jan Panteltje wrote: >>>> On a sunny day (Fri, 2 Jun 2017 08:49:14 -0700 (PDT)) it happened >>>> hondgm@.com wrote in >>>> <7b11ca83-5bbd-4915-8955-08e571c42b61@googlegroups.com>: >>>> >>> >>> but to answer why buy anything? Because some people don't have time to screw with it. >> >> See, that is already where you go wrong, >> Programming does not 'stop' there, now you have your programmer it only STARTS there, >> And for you to proceed you MUST know how the programming works, >> read the related documents, else your program will be just like many out there, >> needless tinkering bloated crap. >> It is like saying: 'I do not have to know how pliers work, I can just build the cabinet'. >> > Sounds like you assume I don't know how to program in C or assembly. > > >> There is a 'top down' approach, and in the end it results is an app called 'mama' that sits on the CEO's desk >> and all he has to know and do is say 'mama I want <whatever>' and it will be done. >> President's desk too... >> > > Ummmm, what? I don't know how we even got off on this tangent. > >> >>> I could for example buy a PICkit for $50 and be done with it. >> >> No, now you need to program, and guess what, learn what you wanted to skip to save time. >> > > I know how to program. The problem is getting the machine code into the PIC. > My original post was about a PIC programmer, not a "programmer" as in someone who writes code. > >> >>> Or, try to get several hours of free time without the kids bugging me and trying to ignore all the more important stuff I should be doing. >> >> Huh I am multitasking 99% if not more of the time. >>
You're lucky to be part of the 2.5% of people that can do that effectively.
On 6/2/2017 8:49 AM, hondgm@yahoo.com wrote:
> I was perusing eBay recently and noticed these old Picstart Programmers > going for about $50. Why???!! With an RS232 port and I'm sure limited > capability, the only theory I have is as collector's items.
How much of your *time* would $50 buy? Or, more generously, how much of your time would you SPEND $50 to *save*? Cables are reasonably mindless undertakings. Why would anyone *buy* a cable when they could MAKE one for far less money? I.e., if you have a *need*, then YOU decide what the most effective way to satisfy that need is likely to be. Build vs. Buy? Or, use something *other* than a PIC?? I've got an old Compaq Portable 386 (lunchbox) that I use as a "two slot ISA machine" for some legacy tools that I support. It harkens from the days of 20MB 5" disk drives. I can either try to find a tiny IDE drive that its' BIOS will recognize -- or, modify its BIOS to support a "less tiny" (but still incredibly tiny!) disk drive. [I chose the latter option] Should I replace the EPROMs holding the BIOS with FLASH devices? Or, erase/reprogram them directly -- which requires a UV light source and a PROM programmer. Will the PROM programmer have a USB interface? Serial? Parallel? Ethernet? etc. How far down this list of prerequisites do you travel before you consider it "not worth your effort"? [BTW, I keep a slew of old "development boards" in the garage for just that sort of legacy problem solving]