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This PIC programmer, from Cana Kit, is a professional USB PIC Programmer offering ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) sockets, an ICSP header, and an ICD2 port for easy PIC programming. The programmer is 100% compatible with MPLAB (PICkit 2 interface), and therefore can program practically any PIC microcontroller including the PIC16F84A, PIC16F628, PIC18F458 and PIC16F877.
This PIC Programmer uses a USB port for power and connection to the computer, as opposed to the traditional serial port, eliminating the need for a separate power supply. The programmer offers in-circuit programming with a wide range of optional adapters available for all DIP sizes from 8 to 40 pin, together with a program-run switch for direct in-circuit program execution.
Standalone windows programming software fully supported by Microchip is included. The firmware of this USB PIC Programmer is also fully updatable as new devices are released and updates to the firmware can be easily downloaded via Microchip's official website.
If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.
Skill Level: Competent - The toolchain for programming is a bit more complex and will examples may not be explicitly provided for you. You will be required to have a fundamental knowledge of programming and be required to provide your own code. You may need to modify existing libraries or code to work with your specific hardware. Sensor and hardware interfaces will be SPI or I2C.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Noob - You don't need to reference a datasheet, but you will need to know basic power requirements.
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Based on 2 ratings:
The good: High quality, well made, plenty of connection options. Works well.
Not so good: The supplied software is very old. Will not install on Windows 8. Installs okay on Windows XP. The hardware will not work with MPLAB on a Mac but this is probably more a Microchip issue than a Cana issue.
Overall, I am happy with it and using it from Linux (Ubuntu) and under Windows XP in VirtualBox on both Mac and Linux. I rate it as one of the best for versatility and quality.
I needed to program several old PIC 16C73 parts to repair a device I built 20 years ago. The old programmer didn't work because it had a serial port interface and would not work with a USB to serial converter. So I bought this thing. Sadly it doesn't support EPROM PICs.