Author Topic: Are there any Holtek programmers on this site?  (Read 1194 times)

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Offline jerrykTopic starter

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Are there any Holtek programmers on this site?
« on: January 25, 2024, 09:10:46 pm »
I have some questions on the e-link and the debugging process if anyone besides me is using one.

Jerry
 

Offline jklasdf

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Re: Are there any Holtek programmers on this site?
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2024, 08:57:32 am »
Does anyone know what the programming protocol is for the Holtek 8-bit microcontrollers that use the e-link programmer/debugger ($60 + shipping)? Their 8-bit parts seem to have a completely custom protocol, which is different from their 32-bit ARM parts (which use the much-more standard SWD), although the 8-bit parts use a similar number of pins to do the programming (a data and clock pin ICPDA and ICPCK).

I did find the esk-303 evaluation board ($31 + shipping) which has a "e-link lite" built-in to debug an 8-bit HT66V2390 microcontroller on the board (the "e-link lite" can also be used to program/debug other 8-bit microcontrollers on another board). There is a (blury) schematic of the e-link lite in the user's guide, and it's basically just one of their 32-bit USB microcontrollers with bidirectional (push-pull) level shifters connected to GPIO pins:


Jay Carlson has a little bit more information about trying the Holtek 8-bit microcontrollers here. Interestingly, by default these microcontrollers don't have the debug functions built in (to save cost) unless you buy a special "V" model of the part. Holtek seems to design these for the high-volume, low-cost market (e.g. this cheap hair clipper), and also makes cheaper one-time-programmable microcontrollers as well.

GreatScott has a video of trying to use a 20 cent Holtek HT66F002 in his video I tried the Cheapest Arduino Alternative (that Nobody heard of):

The video kind of has a click-bait title, and also the cost of the 8-bit e-link programmer makes it not worth it. A lot of people suggest the 20 cent Puya PY32F002 ARM microcontrollers or the WCH CH32V003 which Dave reviewed instead:

The people in the comments are probably right, but interestingly although what GreatScott is trying to do doesn't make the most sense, his video currently has 500k views compared to only 300k for Dave's video on the CH32V003.

Anyways, it would be interesting to know what kind of programming protocol Holtek uses for their 8-bit microcontrollers (it's probably physically fairly similar to SWD).
« Last Edit: May 30, 2024, 09:02:51 am by jklasdf »
 

Offline brucehoult

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Re: Are there any Holtek programmers on this site?
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2024, 12:03:59 pm »
GreatScott has a video of trying to use a 20 cent Holtek HT66F002 in his video I tried the Cheapest Arduino Alternative (that Nobody heard of):

8 MHz, 64 bytes of RAM, 1k instructions (14 bits each, basically 8 bit PIC so even "A = B + C" needs three instructions).

Quote
the cost of the 8-bit e-link programmer makes it not worth it.

I don't know the cost of that, but I assume it's irrelevant if you're using it to program hundreds of chips.

If you're only using 1 then you don't need the absolute cheapest MCU anyway. Except for fun.

Quote
A lot of people suggest the 20 cent Puya ARM microcontrollers or the WCH CH32V003 which Dave reviewed instead

3K RAM and 20K flash, vs 2K RAM and 16K flash, respectively. And they're both around US$0.10 not $0.20 in their 8 pin versions. And running at 24 MHz or 48 MHz. No wait states at 24 MHz for the WCH, but 2 cycles per 4 bytes at 48 MHz (which can still be two 16-bit RISC-V "C" extension instructions).  The Puya is 16-bit ARMv6-M (Thumb1, basically) for almost all instructions except BL and CSR read/write.

The CH32V003 is $5 for a dev board, a USB programmer, AND five bare 20 pin chips.

https://www.aliexpress.us/item/1005004895791296.html

Oops, $7.50 now. I don't know when that happened.

I can't see any good reason to use the crufty PIC ISA and pseudo assembly language instead of Arm or RISC-V and full C or C++.

The actual Arduno library API and IDE works with the WCH (WCH themselves ported it). I don't know about the Puya, but I'd hope so!
 
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Offline mariush

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Re: Are there any Holtek programmers on this site?
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2024, 12:59:49 pm »
Microchip snap is under $40 ... you can buy pickit 2 and pickit3 clones for under 20 dollars ...  you can use the 40 bucks programmer with  loads of chips, from a 20 cent one to a 5$ one.


chips cost as little as 60 cents on digikey (just yesterday was checking out an 8 pin pic12f1571 and it's 60 cents in 100pcs at digikey, 30 cents at lcsc (ex https://www.lcsc.com/product-detail/Microcontroller-Units-MCUs-MPUs-SOCs_Microchip-Tech-PIC12F1571T-I-MS_C628274.html )
 


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