Microchip Explorer 16 Development Kit Hacks
The Explorer 16 is Microchip’s controller development boards for evaluating its 16 and 32-bit microcontrollers. While searching the web for reviews about the baord and its feasability, I came across [P]hillip Burgess’ website detailing some cool hacks that can be done on the board and also save you money.
- Hack1 – Use the built is ICSP connector on the board itself, instead of running around for a RJ11 – ICSP cable. Its been there since the earlier revisions of the board. One thing to remember though is that the slickscreen numbers on the connector are reversed. Pin1 is Pin6. All you need is a 6 pin header.
- Hack2 – Program the chip without using an ICSP programmer. Use the “forgotten” onboard programmer. [R]afal Waniurski managed to come up with a firmware for the programming micro( a PIC18F4550 ). All you need is an external programmer to initially program the chip and your ready to program your main controller. [P]hil details the type of USB connectors required for this operation.
- Hack3 – Power your development board through the USB port rather than the power jack. All you need is two Schottky diodes. Not that connecting to USB port allows for a maximum of 200ma draw. If you are connecting additional PICTail boards( like the graphics board), you may need to use the dc power jack.