So I have a K150 PIC programmer, and spent about a week just getting the blasted thing to function in Linux. It managed to program a PIC12F675 twice... and then crapped out. Since I intend to abandon these chips before long, I don't want to put any more money into using them, and so I turned to a project that uses an Arduino as a PIC programmer. A couple hours later, bam, got that set up and re-engineered for my slightly different chip. Some of my best work. Except, it doesn't work.
Looong debugging process short, the PIC isn't entering programming mode. The one thing I managed to get onto this chip was just a "hello world" equivalent of turning on an LED, and that's become a shockingly useful tool; if the LED lights up, it's gone into run mode instead. According to the programming manual, VPP needs to be brought to at least ~8.5 volts, then wait no less than 5us, then bring VDD to ~5 volts to activate programming.
I've got 11.7 volts, and I've tried turning things on at precise times with the Arduino, as well as just manually plugging wires into the board (removing the Arduino from the equation entirely). I thought maybe VPP had to start at true 0 via pull-down resistor (despite no one else seeming to need it), but neither strong nor weak pull-downs made a difference. Of course, I've tried several different chips (though only one has the obvious indicator). Everything meets or exceeds the requirements stated in the programming guide - so what's going on? And why doesn't this seem to be a common issue?