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DPRG: PIC programmer/software thoughts?

Subject: DPRG: PIC programmer/software thoughts?
From: Jason Plumb z9d58 at ttacs.ttu.edu
Date: Mon Jun 7 00:34:42 CDT 1999

Just wanted to again echo the thanks for having us (the Texas Tech fire
fighting robot team) at the recent meeting...needless to say, we had a
great time.  I took a few pictures with my digital camera that I will
download when I get the time (if the group wants these, who can/should I
mail these to?)

I've been looking into PICs for some time now, and I've got at least a
couple of projects here which I think I'd like to implement with PICs.

After searching several hours on the net, I've seen expensive retail
programmers, reasonable kits, and schematics.  My question is this:  What
do you guys recommend?  What do you use for development and what do you
(dis)like about it?

I'm hoping for a free/cheap solution (ie. building it myself from parts I
have or can easily obtain) with flexibility (ie. program a variety of
PICs).  I'm also only really interested in programming in C or assembly.

The DonTronics kit seems reasonable at $25, but cheaper is always better.
Because the schmatic is available, has anybody built this from scratch?
I've also seen other schematics, but most seem limited to a (single?) type
of PIC.

I believe that I've seen downloads for assemblers, but is there a free C
compiler lurking somewhere?  What utilities are available to drive the
programmer once I have built/purchased it?  Are there problems with using a
certain compiler or programming software with certain programmers?  Should
I stop obsessing and just break down and buy the DonTronics kit and
software for ~$45?  :)

Thanks in advance,

- -Jason

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