Microchip PIC programmer for the Mac

Whilst not strictly a DMX based project, most of my projects are based around a PIC, and I have found it to be a real pain having to use a Windows machine when I need to program them.

I used to use microchips ICD (well a clone made by Olimex), this used to work really well using virtual PC on the mac. The problem is that it does not support the newer pic16F87xA devices. I did occasionally use the ICD features, and rather than buy / build a simple programmer it figured I should look at the ICD2. Olimex brought out a really nice ICD2 clone, called a tiny ICD2. It only has a serial port on it, and is a lot cheaper than the full ICD2.

However once I received the ICD2, I found that no matter what I tried I just could not get it to work with Virtual PC. I decided using MPLAB and virtual PC just to program the PICs was somewhat of a pain anyway, so I would write a simple command line utility to program and verify the PICs from the Mac.

In addition I always used to include a debug header into my circuit boards. This allowed me to program, and if needed debug, the PICs in the final circuit. However some of my recent projects have been very short of space, thus have no room for the debug header. I designed a simple little board with a ZIF socket on it. It lets me program my PICs as you would with a normal programmer.

USB DMX interface schematic

Copyright © 2005 Ben Suffolk.