PIC MicroController Tools

Note: This product is being phased out.
A few kits and many parts are still available to support customers.
Once these are gone no new boards will be produced.
Our thanks to all the many users of PICSPA/PICPRO/PICPGM
over the years for your interest and support!

Dr. Russ Reiss

Our PICSPA serial-mode PIC programmer and accessories originally appeared in print on page 22 of the June 1994 issue of Circuit Cellar INK magazine. Since that time it has been improved and upgraded to handle an ever-increasing variety of PIC microcontrollers.

The PICSPA (available as a kit or assembled and tested) was originally designed to program the Microchip EEPROM based PIC16C84 microcontroller. What's unique about these chips (and the PICSPA programmer) is that they use a serial, two-wire connection for programming. This, in turn, permits the PICSPA to make economical use of a PC's standard (uni- or bi-directional) parallel printer port as an interface. This approach avoids the need for costly external hardware. The PICSPA's basic function, in fact, is to serve as a fancy "level converter." It provides an interface between the PC's TTL signals and the special programming voltages required by the PIC. In addition, it generates and controls the switching of these precise voltages. This is one of the big differences between the PICSPA and other low-cost programmers which only approximate the programming voltage requirements.

The PICSPA is powered by either a 13VAC (or 16VDC) wall-pack power supply. It connects to the PC's parallel port via a six-conductor modular phone cable (terminated in RJ12 connectors) and an RJ12-to-DB25 adapter. These items are included in the PICACC accessories kit.

By using the PC's parallel port and the hardware incorporated within the PICSPA, the actual programming algorithm may reside in software. The PICPGM software is a very powerful and flexible tool. It permits the user to load his assembled (or compiled) .HEX files into a buffer where the data may be viewed, edited, saved, or sent to the PICSPA to program the chip. In addition, the contents of the chip may be read back into the buffer for editing or saving. Also, the buffer contents may be verified against either the .HEX file on disk or the contents of the programmed chip. This approach provides both economy as well as future flexibility simply by upgrading the programming software. Free updates of the software (within each major version) are provided to registered users for at least a year from the date of purchase.

The PICSPA connects to the target board/system containing the PIC16C84 via a 10-conductor ribbon cable. Following the instructions given in the Circuit Cellar INK article, you may construct your own target (processor/system) board and use the PICSPA to program, reprogram, verify, or modify the contents of the microcontroller without having to removing it from the board. Alternately, you might wish to use HOPCO's PICPRO development kit.

The PC board provided with the PICPRO kit contains a socket for the PIC16C84 (or any other 18-pin PIC) as well as all the normally required support circuitry. A prototyping pad area accomodates additional chips and components for small projects. Power may be brought to the board via 9V battery clips, a PC floppy-disk compatible 4-pin connector or soldered wires. An on-board regulator provides 5V for powering the microcontroller and peripheral circuitry. Components for a 4MHz RC oscillator are included, but the flexible oscillator area accomodates RC, crystal, or ceramic resonator oscillators as desired. A 2x5 pin header connects to the PICSPA programming ribbon cable.


PICSPAPIC Serial Programmer Adaptor (kit)$35.00
PICSPASame as kit, but assembled & tested$65.00
PICPGMProgramming Software (V2.1)$20.00
PICACCAccessories Kit for PICSPA $15.00
PICPROPrototyping Kit (for all 18-pin PICs)$15.00
PICBOARDPrototyping Board (for all 18-pin PICs)$7.50
PIC16C84EEPROM PIC chip, 4 Mhz, 18-pin DIP$6.50
ShippingPer Order (Continental USA)$5.00


Get started right with everything you need in one package.

PICPACK contains one each PICSPA (kit), PICACC, PICPRO (kit), PICPGM, and three (3) PIC16C84 microcontrollers.

Complete kit is only $100.00 ppd. in continental USA.

Please include check or money order with your order.

Why not capture this listing and use it as an order form?

EMAIL or FAX it to us, and we'll have your order ready to ship
as soon as your check arrives in the mail!

New! What's Coming New!

Version 3 of the PICPGM software is now under development. It will give the user the capability to program the entire set of "mid-range" Microchip microcontrollers. This includes the PIC16C- 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 71, 73, 74, as well as the new 62x, 71x, 12Cxxx series and others.

In addition to the new software, an adapter board will permit all DIP PIC's of 18, 28, and 40 pins to be programmed by the PICSPA. No PICPRO board will be required for holding the target chip. This makes sense, as all these devices (except the PIC16C84) are either one-time-programmable (OTP) or require UV erasure before reprogramming.

Adobe PDF format DATA SHEET (same info as here).

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