This PIC programmer, from Cana Kit, is a professional, compact USB PIC Programmer offering a 20-pin ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) socket for easy PIC programming. The PIC Programmer is 100% compatible with Microchip's MPLAB IDE, and the PICkit 2 interface, and can program all popular PIC 5V microcontrollers 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 PIC Programmer offers In-circuit programming through a standard 6-pin ICSP connector as well as a built-in 20-pin ZIF socket for easy programming of any PIC of up to 20-pins right on the programmer. Higher pin count PICs can also be programmed, but through the ICSP connection header.
Standalone windows programming software, fully supported by Microchip, is available for download. The firmware of the 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.
Find a list of supported PICs here.
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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I bought this to flash the firmware back onto my GoGo Board 5.0 beta. Unfortunately it was not compatible with my MacBookPro. I was able to run it on another computer but also he to purchase an additional cord to connect the ICSP pins.
I am sure this works with many things, it just didn't work for my needs at this time.
Sorry it didn't quite fit your needs, but I'm glad you were able to run it on another system. I believe it's fairly Windows-centric, which is more of a Microchip thing, although people have been able to run it on a Mac under Windows XP in VirtualBox.