This process details how one can mount a Microchip PIC Programmer in a custom case. By performing this elaborate "mod", you too can have a super special DIY box for your el-cheapo PIC programmer. No more loose wires or bare circuit board sliding all over while you work on your high-tek project! Show your prowess by building one for yourself!
This page is not directly affiliated with Rice-a-Roni or the Quaker Oats company. All views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Quaker Oats Company. Rice-a-Roni is a registered trademark of the Quaker Oats company.
The following items will be required for those who wish to follow along at home:
- One P16PRO40 PIC programmer from DonTronics.
- One box of Rice-a-Roni and an appetite
- One SPDT panel mount toggle switch
- 4 PCB standoffs + 8 screws
- Soldering iron and solder
- Exacto knife
- Power drill
- Clear packing tape
- Adhesive backed rubber feet
- Apathy and a generally bad attitude sure help!
- Purchase the very cheap KIT96 programmer kit from Dontronics. Assemble/solder it yourself or get a parent to help. Stare at the completed circuit and wonder whether or not you will need those stupid parts mentioned in the addendum. Wonder why the genius designers put the power supply and parallel port connectors on opposite sides of the board.
- Use the kit for a few years. Regret the purchase. Get pissed because you should have bought a better programmer -- one that has better support for hardware in recent versions of MS operating systems. Take extra time to enjoy the tedium that is connecting and disconnecting the power supply every time you wish to burn code. Marvel at how easily the bare board slides around your work surface!
- Decide to mount the damn programmer in a box.
- Go to Wacky Willy's in search of a suitable container. Get pissed because they have nothing suitable. Assume that you can find one at...
- Radio Shack. Not. Get more pissed because their boxes are horribly misshapen and insanely overpriced. Scoff at the ridiculous displays of plastic consumer electronics crap. Go home depressed.
Tear apart house looking for suitable container. Find nothing. Decide to eat some Rice-a-Roni to restore your strength. Any flavor may suffice, but the author highly recommends "Rice Pilaf". Yum. It should look something like this:
Cook the rice as directed on the packaging. Eat. Wash down with 8 or 12 beers.
Realize later that you were supposed to keep the Rice-a-Roni box. Fish it out of the trash.
- Use the exacto knife to cut the box apart. Your goal here is to make the cardboard rice box about the same size as the PIC programmer. Cut one of the sides off so that the top is open. Apply generous amounts of clear packing tape as required for support and that "high-gloss" look.
- Decide that you need a power switch. Try to find an empty area on the board where you could mount a switch. Get frustrated because there's not very much room. Decide to drill in the corner near the DB25 connector. Come dangerously close to severing an important trace. Mount the switch.
- Cut one of the traces coming off the power connector in half. Solder a wire to each side. Solder the other ends of the wires to your newly mounted switch. Viola! Power switch. Complicated.
- Use the exacto knife and cut out holes in the cardboard for the DB25 and power connectors. The holes should be in the correct positions and cut to the "right" size. Just eyeball it.
- Mount the PCB standoffs to the underside of the PIC programmer board PCB. What's that? THE BOARD ONLY HAS 3 HOLES DRILLED? Yup. Again, poor design. I suppose you get what you paid for. You need 4 holes for stability...so drill the 4th hole yourself in the far corner. Again, it's best to come dangerously close to ruining those important, poorly placed traces. Depending on the size of screws being used, you may need to tap out the holes to make them bigger (I did).
- Unscrew the metal shield from the outside of the DB25 connector and place the board inside the box. Use the exacto knife to poke around and find the PCB standoffs on from the underside of the cardboard container. Once you find them, poke the exacto knife through and twist it around to make a little hole. Use the remaining 4 screws to secure the PCB to the bottom of the rice box. If your screws are long enough, it's probably a very good idea here to use some washers (I know from hindsight). After mounting, screw the metal shield back onto the DB25 connector from the outside.
- If you were smart, you have some rubber feet that are taller than the screws you used in the previous step. If you're like me, however, you'll soon discover that the screws are taller than the feet...making the feet useless. If you find yourself in this situation, you can either a) get shorter screws, b) get taller feet, or c) cuss loudly and decide that you "don't need those goddamn fucking feet anyway!" (my personal choice). If desired, push the rubber feet onto the bottom.
- That's it! Plug it in. Try it out. Enjoy!
Your finished Rice-a-Roni PIC programmer should look something like this:
Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: Are you affiliated with Rice-a-Roni or The Quaker Oats company?
A: No. There is no direct connection.
- Q: Are you an employee of Dontronics?
A: Ha! No.
- Q: Do you live in San Francisco?
A: Nope. Wrong again!
- Q: This is really stupid...why in the world would I want to do this?
A: Good question! You probably don't want to do this...
- Q: Ok, smart guy, then why did you do it?
A: Because I'm cheap and can't really justify buying a new programmer.
- Q: So I was trying to follow the steps you described here and [cut my hand with an exacto knife | shocked myself | broke my P16PRO40], what should I do?
A: Seek immediate medical attention and stop trying to attempt everything you read about on the 'net.
- Q: Is this a joke?
A: Yes...well, um, no. I actually built this, but I certainly don't honestly promote it. Maybe I'm the joke...