Projects: F84 Programmer – The Can

Featuring “The Can”…


Hey dudes…don’t give me that nasty look. I’m not selling mango candies around here. Well I got the idea to give my first programmer a can-like look to imitate the aesthetics of the commercially available programmer. It’s the ICD2 programmer by Microchip.


Microchip’s ICD 2 Programmer

I looked at the grocery for a can that could house my programmer and bingo! I found this nice can of mango candy. To tell you honestly the taste of the candies are awful. It took me a week to consume all of it because it taste like expired medicines. But anyway, the can is nice.

I showed the can to my colleague, a co-enthusiast of PIC microcontroller, and he couldn’t believe I can turn it into something useful. But, I believe that with enough creativity and ingenuity (I believe that electronics is not just a science but also an art) I can make it. Hehehe

The Circuit…

Here’s the original circuit I found at the net. .


F84 Programmer Circuit

Modified Circuit…

I made a little modification to make my programmer universal and to make it run on 7812 voltage regulator IC.


Main PCB




Before we can start here are the materials needed to construct our PIC Programmer


Parallel Port

Of course, what we’re making here is a parallel port programmer that’s why we need it. What we need is a DB25 male type connector which we will use for connecting the programmer to the PC.

It costs Php60 on Alexan but I think its cheaper on other suppliers.


Pre-fabricated PCB

Remember that I am a very busy guy and the pre-fabricated board saves me a lot of time. I often use it in constructing simple projects but I do recommend creating your own PCB when it comes to creating a more complex projects. This one is available at e-Gizmo for Php10/piece. Deeco and Alexan also sell this.


Ribbon Cable

I use ribbon cable to connect the programmer’s body to the DB25 connected. One disadvantage of using a ribbon cable is that its wire spreads apart after many times it is used. It also gets easily burned when in contacted with a soldering iron (who would place the programmer near a soldering iron anyway?). Just to be safe I had a solution for these problems I use a shrinkable tube.


Stand Off

I use stand offs to elevate the main board from the base of the case. These are available at scrap sale at raon (our wonderland).


Shrinkable Tube

As I have mentioned before shrinkable tube protects the ribbon wire and conceals the shredding of the ribbon cable. It adds strength to the wires. Available at Deeco for Php46/meter


ZIF Socket

I use a 40pins ZIF socket (Zero Insertion Force) to hold the microcontroller to be programmed. I had it at Alexan for Php825, its quite cheap compared to e-Gizmo’s ZIF which costs Php120, very very cheap, hehehehehe.

Other parts and components I’ve used are available at the schematics.

Here is the procedure in building our programmer…

Drilling Holes for Zip Socket…

image image

A rectangular window is drilled at the face of the can to allow the ZIF socket to protrude on the top of it. After the holes were drilled the top of the can is abraded with a sand paper and painted black. Two holes were also bored on the face of the can; holes will be used for the LEDs.

Abrading the edges of the PCB to fit into the can…


The pre-fabricated PCB’s were abraded (two of them, one for the main PCB, it’s the bottom PCB, and the other for ZIF Socket and LED’s, top PCB) to fit into the circular body of the can.

Mounting the Zip and LED’s…


image image

After the can is painted black the ZIFs and LEDs (green to signal power and red to signal programming mode) can now be mounted using our top pre-fab PCB to hold them up. Wires that will connect the top and bottom PCB were also soldered.

Mounting the programmer on the bottom part of the can…


The programmer circuit is assembled at the bottom PCB. Additional hole is created on the side of the bottom part of the can to protrude the DC socket. This is used for powering up the programmer.

Mounting the parallel port…



Ribbon cable is cut at about a meter or less and soldered to the DB25 connector on their corresponding pins. Before connecting it to the main PCB the ribbon cable is slip into the shrinkable tube then soldered to the main PCB.

Final product…


Before and After…



~ by glutnix_neo on August 26, 2009.

7 Responses to “Projects: F84 Programmer – The Can”

  1. nice job. permition to copy ur work sir. tnx a lot

  2. wow sir, its really great!!!!

    can i interface youre ZIF socket module for PICKIT2 programmer?

  3. this is a great project !

    this my first time to use parallel port
    can you tell me how did you connect the ribbon wires with the male connection !
    I’ve been looking in google but I didn’t find something clear

    and also If I want to connect these kind of parallel port to my laptop .. can I use an USB adapter and connect it with the male connector ?

    • Perhaps this diagram might work…

      you need to find a true USB to Parallel port converter, the one with a driver that creates an LPT port and not just a USB to Printer port adapter

      • the diagram was helpful my friend
        OK I hope I’ll find a suitable converter ..
        thanks alot for your help ^^

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: