Cheap ebay stuff, K150 programmer

jaromir.sukubajaromir.sukuba wrote 12/27/2015 at 14:22 • 3 min read • Like

As probably a lot of folks here, I developed very slight hoarding disorder, known also as "impulsive midnight aliexpress shopping sessions" over the time I tinker with electronics. I buy stuff that goes into "messy box" and after a time I find out it is very valuable item that can help me with my project.

Now, when thinking about future development of my arduino PIC programmer I remembered that I bought K150 programmer somewhere, perhaps ebay or aliexpress. It is available for price as low as 5-6USD that is absolutely unbeatable, as usual for chinese suppliers.

Not just price is unsurprisingly here - build quality is usual too, though for home and laboratory use it is IMHO OK. Engineering is classic too - rip-off of western product, in this case it is kitsrus K150 programmer, with a touch of engineering - MC34063 added as step-up converter for generating Vpp for older PIC micros. The ebay sellers point to download software directly from kitsrus website, it is classic clicky-blinky kind of software

A bit of googling shows the software leaves a lot of to be desired and is not very friendly with other than Windows OS and as its development ceased some 8 years ago, with every new version of Windows, probability of its proper working decreases. Linux/Mac users are out of luck - though the screenshot above was done in Linux, it obviously can't connect to hardware.

There were some initiatives to bring this programmer to other than Windows platforms - searching for K150 I found this site, pointing to this unavailable site. Digging in history points out that author planned his marriage and new apartment, so this is where hobbies and other fun are gone. As Dave Jones says, trap for young players.

I found this blog, pointing to sourceforge here, but it looks forgotten too.

Looking at the original schematics I can see they made a few changes (MC34063 mention above, FT232 to PL2303 conversion), but I believe the firmware is still untouched original, so except of the few changes the target interface part is the same, so not much of reverse engineering is needed.

Not that I don't have plenty of PIC programmers at hand, but this is hackaday, isn't it? If I'd like to bring this programmer out of dust, I have three options:

- Use windows and the old software.

- Use whatever platform and python software from the link above. Running 10 years old piece of software may not be great fun and bringing new chips into it could be problematic - I'm poor Python programmer. But this is definitely and option. There is even sketch of communication protocol inside the package.

- Rip off the PIC16F628 and stick in newer, pin compatible chip with custom firmware to accomodate newer PIC MCUs and use whatever software I like, for example fork of my arduino PIC programmer.

Oh yes, and there is even theoretical possibility of using USBASP compatible programmer for some newer PIC micros. I have to take a look at the sources.