Universal PIC programming adapter

Development of the Bus Pirate PIC programmer involves testing a bunch of different chips. This $10 universal programming adapter from Sure Electronics will be really handy.

This board doesn’t actually program any chips. It’s an adapter that accepts a lot of different 18-40pin PIC chips and connects the programming pins to a header. The ZIF sockets make it easy to swap chips without damaging pins.

Thanks for the tip Sjaak!

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  1. There’s one drawback, however. Sure’s prices are not final prices – they add 30..40% postage per article. This obfuscates the real price, which is substantially higher than what they show in their shop.

    That means, if you add some e.g. small and lightweight article (which doesn’t really increase postage costs), the total price will increase by the article plus 30..40% of its price. So add at least abt. 30% to their price to see the real price, then add some postage, and you get an idea about how much you will have to pay.

    To see at their real prices, use their ebay shop. It carries unobfuscated prices.

    1. SO funny — I intended to make the very same comment as soon as I saw this blog entry.

      30% is the bare-minimum premium. Sometimes it’s as high as 160%.

      For example, the shipping charge on one of these is $6.50. On 10 is $37.

      Sure! :-)

      The other thing that’s nasty is that your Shopping Cart contents only sticks around for a small number of days. Given that it’s the type of place that you might be inclined to get 10-20 items from at a time, don’t dally and/or always save a local copy of your shopping cart for when they empty it.

      I didn’t know about the time-saving “check the EBay store” trick-neutralizer. That’s huge to know, as going a shipping-cost check is a many-click operation the way they’ve got their store set up. Thanks!

      1. I noticed the shipping after mizch’s comment, and saw it would be $20 for this $10 board. That’s actually fine for me, it would cost more to track down the sockets, make a PCB, and ship everything. The time it will same breadboarding and connecting different PICs to test is worth $20 too. I still didn’t order one because dodgy shipping irks me (that’s why all our projects include worldwide shipping).

        I just saw e’s comment and it spurred me to check ebay. I saw the same boards including free worldwide shipping. I ordered one and will let you know if there’s any issues.

      2. My quoted shipping cost scale is based on shipping to California. $20 to Continental Europe is brutal. I also won’t buy from places with dodgy shipping. I was going to place a $280 order from Sure last year, but when the shipping came out >$150 I tweaked my order for hours trying to minimize the shipping charge based on what I wanted to buy most. It was pretty fruitless.

        One the positive side, I’ve asked about stocking out-of-stock items, and they’ve put them back into the store more than once. Their products seem to be reasonably well-regarded, except for just the one case mentioned here in the Forum about the the PICkit2 clone that presumably ate itself with its own flux residue.

        I won’t suggest that they’re to be avoided, but people just need to be aware of how their advertised charges are bogus. Shipping charges don’t degrade very quickly with the number of items ordered together, which is a common symptom of a hidden-shipping-charges “scam”.

      3. You can use the favorites instead, they are around till you delete it from the favorites.

        (no I’m not involved into (with?) their bussiness)

      4. I just got notice that this shipped, so check ebay first for real prices and maybe free shipping :)

  2. I feel a bit sorry because I tipped DP. I didn;t know the shipping cost untill I ordered something (different) from them. Unfortunately they sell some nice things (LED displays and such)

    This idea (without looking at the shipping cost) is quiet OK and wellthough. I checked other sources for ZIF sockets and the overall cost (suppose you use a generic pcb is around 20-25 $). You don’t get a plexiglas finish, but who needs one ;) The schematic is on the productpage though..

    1. I’m glad you tipped, this board (especially with free shipping via ebay) is way cheaper than spending hours moving wires on a bread board to prototype the PIC programmer. It also has a secondary header for ICD programming while sniffing with a logic analyzer ;)

      1. Ok, Ok, I’m feeling better already ;)

        I skipped this product when ordering something else (because the total costs where getting skyhigh!). Tells us how it did work out

    2. Not a problem at all. My own warning was to prevent people from blindly investing a lot of time going through the whole site (there’s probably >50 pages of product) accumulating a good sized shopping cart, believing that they had a clue what they’d actually be paying. And then losing the contents of the shopping cart after a few days, then spending hours going back through the site again, re-building their shopping cart, etc. etc. It’s not the easiest/fastest shopping site to navigate either, making the whole effort all the more painful.

      If I had known about both the shopping cart volatility and the *real* final cost, I probably would have saved myself 10-15 hours going through their shop altogether. The warning was more about how to approach their site, not necessarily to avoid it. As I mentioned, people seem to generally be pleased with their stuff, as many people use their products as part of their published projects.

  3. It arrived today. I got a notice to pick it up, but then they made a second attempt tonight and the neighbor picked it up for me :) IT had the classic Sure styro packaging. The main thing I notice is my fingers are too big and fat to fit in the quick release handle hole :) I’ll just remove the face plate. pics tomorrow.

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