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I want to try programming a PIC chip and just see, how much different it is compared to an AVR. I've got an AVRtinyISP and would like to know, if it would be possible to use that to program a PIC chip at all? What would limit me from doing that?

Both today's AVR and PIC chips have ICSP interfaces for program uploading and use apparently compatible pinouts for programming (PIC used to require a higher voltage supplied to program it, but newer chips don't require that anymore).

So my question is: is it even remotely possible to program a PIC chip with an AVR ISP programmer, such as AVRtinyISP or AVR ISP MkII?

Has anyone ever tried that?

If it's not possible or is too hard, then what are the limitations -- it is the protocols used, pinouts not matching exactly, voltages/current ratings, anything else? Is it possible to do that vice versa, i.e. using a PICKit clone to program an AVR chip? What would be the modifications needed to make anything of that possible at all?

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This page has the circuit diagrams, C code, and compiled windows executable for using ISP to program a PIC. The (windows) software is different form the AVR software, so maybe it is just a cheap way to program PICs. Certainly cheaper than $1200.

http://elm-chan.org/works/avrx/report_e.html (near the bottom)

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The protocol is different.

Here's a good thread from dangerousprototypes.com detailing their development of a PIC programmer for Bus Pirate. Lots of juicy technical detail.

http://dangerousprototypes.com/forum/index.php?topic=550.0

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Programming a chip is basically a serial communications operation. From what I've looked at it's basically a lot of 'put this data here' routines with some startup commands. Essentially, the chip is programming itself (or at least one part programs another). PICs and AVRs don't use the same command-set so one programmer can't program the other.

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I have recently seen this article on Xeltek's website:

http://www.xeltek.com/Atmel-AVR-pages-282

I believe, you can use their ISP programmer; IS01. But it won't be a low cost solution just like PICkit. as far as i know, IS01 even supports ATE...

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    \$\begingroup\$ Won't be low cost...at $1200, you got that right \$\endgroup\$ – davr Sep 14 '10 at 1:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I haven't mentioned, but should be understandable from the way question was put, that I'm on a tight hobby budget here, so I can't afford anything worth more than about 30 $. \$\endgroup\$ – Andrei Sosnin Sep 14 '10 at 8:23

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