Author Topic: Why do people not like Microchip?  (Read 21840 times)

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Offline AaronD

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #175 on: August 14, 2021, 06:46:23 pm »
If you don't care where anything goes as long as it works, then you won't see any of that.  But you probably *will* need to use the external programmer interface for any updates.  (depending on what you're doing, that requirement might be a feature)  Even a pre-fab bootloader needs to not be overwritten, which requires at least a little bit of linker code to not try to put stuff there, even if that bit of flash is protected otherwise.  (hardware fuses, and the bootloader itself checking addresses)
This is where many LPC series microncontrollers from NXP really shine; most of them have well designed serial port bootloaders so you don't need any fancy programming hardware to do field updates.

I think you misunderstood me, but you still make a good point.  There are some good pre-fab bootloaders for PIC and AVR too.  But the problem with any bootloader is that it requires some non-zero amount of code space, and the compiler/linker for the main project can't be allowed to put anything there.

Maybe other toolchains have an easy way to tell them that you're using a specific bootloader, and that's all it takes to reserve that space?  (and maybe even include it in the initial binary that gets programmed the first time?)  I haven't seen *that* from Microchip.

---

At any rate, that wouldn't have worked for the project that I mentioned above.  Most projects can get away with a completely independent bootloader that:
1. Has its own PC support app
2. Takes complete control of the entire chip, and then
3. Releases all of that control to the application code
But this project had a rather small amount of code space for what it was trying to do, and a large part of that was for our USB stack.  So I ended up sharing the same USB stack between the bootloader and the application code.  Not a complete separation as is usually done.  (for good reason!)

Or depending on how you think of it, this "bootloader" never released control, and the "app code" was more of an "add your code here" function that was called just before the "bootloader's" main loop, another one that was called each time around the main loop, another one for USB communications that the "bootloader" didn't intercept, and a goto for the ISR since the "bootloader" and its USB stack were entirely polled.  There were also some callback functions from the "app code" to the "bootloader" for USB communication back to the PC.

So because I had multiple function calls in both directions (and a goto), all of them of variable size, I had to have both the "app code" and the "bootloader" in the same project (if you can even make that distinction anymore), and download both at effectively the same time to keep the linker happy.  AND minimize the chance of bricking it in the field because the user unplugged it prematurely or whatever.

I ended up with a 2-part download that always overwrote the "app code" section, a small amount of non-erasable assembly to copy that to the "bootloader" section at the top of flash if needed (this was the only chance to brick it), and a "bootloader" that checked to see if the fixed ISR target (immediately after that protected assembly) had a valid ISR in it based on its first instruction.  If not, then don't call any of the "app code" functions!  (Since that location could also be the start of a freshly downloaded "bootloader", I conveniently put some USB strings there.  No chance of an ISR starting with a RETLW!)  There were checksums too, so both the first instruction and the checksum of the entire section had to be good before it would be called "valid".  The boundary between "app" and "bootloader" was flexible and could be communicated to the relocation assembly code, so we wouldn't be stuck with an unworkable boundary at some point in the future.

From the PC's perspective, the sequence was:
1. Download the new "bootloader" section (actually overwriting the old "application" section)
2. Let it reboot, drop off of USB, and eventually reappear (during this time, it's being copied to the "bootloader" section)
3. Download the new "application" section
4. Let it reboot again, drop off of USB, and eventually reappear
The custom PC app was automated to do that, starting at any point in that process as needed.  The state machine was driven by the reported version number from the "bootloader" and whether it reported having valid "app code" or not:
Code: [Select]
if (reported_version != current_version)
{
    download_current_bootloader();
}
else if (!has_valid_application)
{
    download_current_application();
}
else
{
    use_with_current_firmware();
}

Maybe now you can see where the complexity came from.   :phew:
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #176 on: August 14, 2021, 06:58:24 pm »
If you don't care where anything goes as long as it works, then you won't see any of that.  But you probably *will* need to use the external programmer interface for any updates.  (depending on what you're doing, that requirement might be a feature)  Even a pre-fab bootloader needs to not be overwritten, which requires at least a little bit of linker code to not try to put stuff there, even if that bit of flash is protected otherwise.  (hardware fuses, and the bootloader itself checking addresses)
This is where many LPC series microncontrollers from NXP really shine; most of them have well designed serial port bootloaders so you don't need any fancy programming hardware to do field updates.

I think you misunderstood me, but you still make a good point.  There are some good pre-fab bootloaders for PIC and AVR too.  But the problem with any bootloader is that it requires some non-zero amount of code space, and the compiler/linker for the main project can't be allowed to put anything there.
No, the bootloaders in microcontrollers from NXP reside in a dedicated piece of ROM memory which (on newer devices) may also have an API to control peripherals as well. This bootloader is programmed at the factory and doesn't take any space from the regular flash. The big advantage is that you don't need JTAG or SWD to program the controller; just hook it up to a USB to serial converter and off you go.
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Offline AaronD

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #177 on: August 14, 2021, 07:42:31 pm »
If you don't care where anything goes as long as it works, then you won't see any of that.  But you probably *will* need to use the external programmer interface for any updates.  (depending on what you're doing, that requirement might be a feature)  Even a pre-fab bootloader needs to not be overwritten, which requires at least a little bit of linker code to not try to put stuff there, even if that bit of flash is protected otherwise.  (hardware fuses, and the bootloader itself checking addresses)
This is where many LPC series microncontrollers from NXP really shine; most of them have well designed serial port bootloaders so you don't need any fancy programming hardware to do field updates.

I think you misunderstood me, but you still make a good point.  There are some good pre-fab bootloaders for PIC and AVR too.  But the problem with any bootloader is that it requires some non-zero amount of code space, and the compiler/linker for the main project can't be allowed to put anything there.
No, the bootloaders in microcontrollers from NXP reside in a dedicated piece of ROM memory which (on newer devices) may also have an API to control peripherals as well. This bootloader is programmed at the factory and doesn't take any space from the regular flash. The big advantage is that you don't need JTAG or SWD to program the controller; just hook it up to a USB to serial converter and off you go.

Ah!  I wasn't aware of that architecture.  That's a really good idea!
 

Offline Howardlong

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #178 on: August 14, 2021, 08:21:52 pm »
What I can't understand is the PIC18 extended instruction set. It's meant for high level languages like C.
The old mplab C18 did support it, but HiTech's PICC never did.
Microchip bought HiTech, renamed it to XC8, and abandoned C18.

I have used mcc18 with PIC18 MCUs, and it was fine AFAIR, but never used XC8. (Have used XC16 and XC32 on other PICs since then.)

Are you sure XC8 never got updated by Microchip for better support of the PIC18? I admit I've never bothered to check.
Why did they abandon mcc18? No clue. They probably wanted to redirect resources to XC16 instead. Maintaining a compiler is always costly. Dunno.

XC8 has always supported PIC18 as well as all the other 8 bit PICs. My XC8 licence was originally grandfathered in from my old C18 licence, but now I pay an annual maintenance fee... or at least I pay it when I need to (eg, new part support).

Maybe the OP was referring to PIC18's extended instruction set (XINST)? I can't ever remember using that in recent years.
 

Online DavidAlfa

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #179 on: August 15, 2021, 02:54:58 am »
I was refering to the extended instruction set (XINST config bit) which was one of the major enhancements coming from PIC16, actually not supported by any compiler.
Sure, the compiler works fine. But it's not using the full mcu potential.
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Offline Microdoser

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #180 on: August 15, 2021, 09:00:03 am »
It just struck me that the thread is titled "Why do people not like Microchip?" as opposed to "What do people think of Microchip?".

It's like we all know we don't like them, but why?
 

Offline Siwastaja

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #181 on: August 15, 2021, 11:54:47 am »
It just struck me that the thread is titled "Why do people not like Microchip?" as opposed to "What do people think of Microchip?".

It's like we all know we don't like them, but why?

This is weird, like the "have you stopped beating your wife" question. I don't hate Microchip and never heard of anyone who really did. Some prefer other microcontollers, or ICs from other manufacturers.

Sure, there always is someone who doesn't like some company, but in general, Microchip's been mostly fine and mostly "accepted" by nearly everyone, no? Same cannot be said about Maxim for example due to unavailability of their parts.

I took the title of the thread as an exaggerated clickbait title which is OK to me, I never considered someone seriously thinks Microchip is generally disliked.
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #182 on: August 15, 2021, 04:52:39 pm »
I took the title of the thread as an exaggerated clickbait title which is OK to me, I never considered someone seriously thinks Microchip is generally disliked.

Yes, this was an exxagerated generalization. Still, many of us have indeed witnessed there was kind of two categories of people regarding Microchip MCUs, those that have used them, often a lot, and see the strong points, and those that have hardly (with bad experience) used them, or even never at all, based on prejudice. So it was still interesting to discuss why this would be so, and I think we managed to figure out a few points, some related to objective issues, and some mostly related to prejudice.

Oh, and this said, all points "against" Microchip that were really considered here were about their MCUs. But Microchip makes a lot of other stuff, and even for those that don't want to or don't like their MCUs, they may still be using (and if not, they should at least have a look) other parts from them. One strong point of Microchip as mentioned above is the availability in general, and that of the high-temperature parts in particular, at reasonable prices.
 

Offline Nominal Animal

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #183 on: August 15, 2021, 05:36:52 pm »
Oh, and this said, all points "against" Microchip that were really considered here were about their MCUs.
My points apparently don't count.  :o

It is an attitude I have with several companies: I like their products, but dislike the company for reasons related to how they do business.

Like I said there, it matters a lot what one means by "like Microchip"; and it seems many (most?) members here have brushed all that aside, instead speculating on why some other people have different opinions than themselves.  Just silly chatter, that, in my opinion.
 
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Offline HB9EVI

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #184 on: August 15, 2021, 08:52:57 pm »
there's always something to like (and/or dislike) about almost every company

like I said, I dislike Microchips PIC compiler policy; but from my point of view they do harm to themselves with it. on the other hand they offer the same (old) chips over decades, which makes Microchip one of the more reliable supplier of semiconductors on the market.
 

Offline spostma

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #185 on: August 16, 2021, 08:51:46 am »

I read on another forum a post of a personal experience of the developer of the Proton development system
(an early Arduino-like system for PICs) banging his head on the arrogant non-cooperative managers of Microchip:
http://protoncompilers.com/index.php/topic,169.msg946.html#msg946
 

Online DavidAlfa

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #186 on: August 16, 2021, 09:00:16 am »
C'mon, The only really hateable companies are nVidia and Allwinner. The rest do ok-ish :-DD
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Offline Nominal Animal

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #187 on: August 16, 2021, 12:01:45 pm »
Do consider how useful the reasons listed for liking/disliking Microchip the company or the products in some of the messages in this thread are.
Not only with respect to Microchip and its products, but overall, by comparison to other companies.

Nvidia has cornered most of the asymmetric HPC domain (i.e., high-performance computing using CPU + another processor type, here graphics processors via CUDA; AIUI OpenCL is not nearly as widely used yet).  Because almost all of that is done on Linux, it means sysadmins cannot really do any debugging/fixing of the issues themselves (unless they can duplicate the bug on a Linux machine with all open source components), and need to report the bug upstream to Nvidia devs, and hope they can do something about it – and the mean time, try to work around the issue.  If you want to use CUDA, this is what you do; no "hate" involved.

I won't ever use Nvidia cards on my Linux dev machines, but I wouldn't mind having a powerful rack-mounted HPC unit with a couple of Nvidia cards to do CUDA.
Does that mean I hate Nvidia, or that I love Nvidia?  No, it means I choose rationally.

As to Allwinner, their business model is odd.  They ignore copyright laws with gay abandon, which makes no sense –– unless they know they'll never expand outside China.  And they are utter shit when it comes to the software side.  Comparing their operations to e.g. RockChip (which is a very similar company), especially their software efforts, means I will definitely focus on RockChip-based SBCs instead of Allwinner-based ones, for my tinkering/development devices.  (The other companies that I like for Linux SBCs are Amlogic and Samsung, since I can use fully open source upstream vanilla Linux kernels for these.)
For tablets running vendor-provided software anyway, who cares?  Not I; I choose my Android tablets mainly based on their display properties anyway.

See? No hate.  But background information –– experiences, history, typical behaviour wrt. products –– to base ones own opinion on, means one can make a rational choice, knowing what to expect, what the likely problems and benefits are, instead of an emotive one (which the "not like" in the thread title kinda implies to me).
« Last Edit: August 16, 2021, 12:03:58 pm by Nominal Animal »
 

Offline AaronD

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #188 on: August 16, 2021, 04:32:12 pm »
Nvidia has cornered most of the asymmetric HPC domain (i.e., high-performance computing using CPU + another processor type, here graphics processors via CUDA; AIUI OpenCL is not nearly as widely used yet).  Because almost all of that is done on Linux, it means sysadmins cannot really do any debugging/fixing of the issues themselves (unless they can duplicate the bug on a Linux machine with all open source components), and need to report the bug upstream to Nvidia devs, and hope they can do something about it – and the mean time, try to work around the issue.  If you want to use CUDA, this is what you do; no "hate" involved.

I won't ever use Nvidia cards on my Linux dev machines, but I wouldn't mind having a powerful rack-mounted HPC unit with a couple of Nvidia cards to do CUDA.
Does that mean I hate Nvidia, or that I love Nvidia?  No, it means I choose rationally.

Hmm.  I like a Linux box with Nvidia graphics.  All free software, including the closed-source driver, but closed-source is fine with me as long as it's still free and it works.  And both Linux and Nvidia can do *anything*, as opposed to Windoze/Mac and AMD graphics, that each have a specific use in mind and can do that REALLY WELL, but anything else is a barely-functional hack.

As to Allwinner, their business model is odd.  They ignore copyright laws with gay abandon, which makes no sense –– unless they know they'll never expand outside China.  And they are utter shit when it comes to the software side.  Comparing their operations to e.g. RockChip (which is a very similar company), especially their software efforts, means I will definitely focus on RockChip-based SBCs instead of Allwinner-based ones, for my tinkering/development devices.  (The other companies that I like for Linux SBCs are Amlogic and Samsung, since I can use fully open source upstream vanilla Linux kernels for these.)
For tablets running vendor-provided software anyway, who cares?  Not I; I choose my Android tablets mainly based on their display properties anyway.

Before the Raspberry Pi 4 came out, I used a Banana Pi in a couple of projects because the hardware was (nominally) better than the Raspberries at the time.  It had an Allwinner chip on it, and used its own derivative of Debian to make it work.  After a lot of |O with far worse support than the RPi community, I was able to work around enough hardware issues to make it reliable, and those projects are still running today.  Now that the RPi 4 is widely available though, I don't use Bananas anymore.

I was in a Facebook group for a while for the Raspberry Pi, and every couple of months or so, a user post (not an ad) would come up (in the Raspberry Pi group) to promote a Banana Pi variant.  It would get slammed down pretty quickly and reliably, sometimes for a laundry list of genuine basic technical problems with the product itself (onboard WiFi is the absolute dirt-cheapest speck of sand they could get their hands on, for one example, and it shows badly), but usually for the audacity to post *that*, *there*.  It's like the Chinese don't understand Western culture at all, but keep trying anyway in hopes that something they still don't understand will stick.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2021, 04:35:31 pm by AaronD »
 

Offline Nominal Animal

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #189 on: August 16, 2021, 05:26:45 pm »
Hmm.  I like a Linux box with Nvidia graphics.  All free software, including the closed-source driver
You mean "free" as in "no cost"; my definition is different ("libre").  There is also an open-source driver, noveau, which may or may not work for given Nvidia hardware, but does not provide CUDA compatibility (I believe).

anything else is a barely-functional hack.
No; for typical web-browsing and video-watching needs, built-in Intel graphics in Linux work just fine too.  Yes, video playback is properly accelerated nowadays, with Nvidia/Noveau/AMD/Intel drivers in Linux.

For ARMs, Mali-400 and Mali-450 are supported by the Lima Mesa drivers for Utgard-based hardware; some other Mali versions are supported by the Panfrost Mesa drivers, if one wants to run an accelerated Linux desktop on ARM.  Exact support, and whether a binary blob is needed or provides better video performance, depends on the exact hardware; but Samsung, Amlogic, and RockChip at least seem to be trying to get fully open source support for their System-on-Chip implementations in Linux.  (Which makes very much long-term sense, maintenance and support-wise, if you make your money by making and selling those SOCs, and not charge for SDKs and dev support too, like e.g. Microchip is trying to.)

(Although only business success will really tell which approach actually made most sense, of course!  If it makes business sense, it makes business sense; no way to argue around that.)

It's like the Chinese don't understand Western culture at all, but keep trying anyway in hopes that something they still don't understand will stick.
I'm not sure these companies are interested in understanding.  RockChip seems to understand it pretty well, pushing support for their hardware upstream to Linux kernels, although some of their devs still do seem to prefer to push binary blobs out via their GitHub account instead of doing development in the open, so perhaps there indeed is a cultural aspect.  Then again, many Western companies have the exact same attitude (just look at Linux-based routers and WiFi Access Points), so maybe not.
I blame the middle management for keeping it up, and upper management not caring about the long-term effect it has on the brand and their products.  Same for all other embedded appliances.

(Then again, sometimes the software support is deliberately time-limited, to ensure customers will shift to the next hardware version; hopefully from the same vendor.  Problem is, the risk of customers choosing a different vendor is unknown, and if any vendor decides to provide much longer support for the same cost and successfully communicates this to their customers, they're likely to grab significant market share from the "augh; I have to get yet another router/AP" customers, which are an increasing portion of the entire customer base.)

What really surprises me every time I look at provided Linux-based firmware images for all sorts of appliances, is the utterly shitty quality of the systems integration (i.e., the filesystem images, the open source components used to provide the necessary services in the Linux userspace, and so on).  It isn't difficult to do better, so who the hell are they hiring to do this stuff?  First timers?  High-school kids?  I dunno.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2021, 05:36:03 pm by Nominal Animal »
 

Offline AaronD

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #190 on: August 16, 2021, 06:29:27 pm »
anything else is a barely-functional hack.
No; for typical web-browsing and video-watching needs, built-in Intel graphics in Linux work just fine too.  Yes, video playback is properly accelerated nowadays, with Nvidia/Noveau/AMD/Intel drivers in Linux...

I meant that the commercial paid platforms each have a specific use in mind, and to try and use those platforms for anything other than their intended use is a barely-functional hack.  There are lots of other platforms that are far more capable as true general-purpose machines, and you've only mentioned some of them.  :)

It's like the Chinese don't understand Western culture at all, but keep trying anyway in hopes that something they still don't understand will stick.
I'm not sure these companies are interested in understanding...

I think you're right.  And I think it's a big hindrance to their progress in taking over the world, if they keep getting rejected for not understanding.

Or maybe they want to change our culture instead???  If the average consumer gets stupid enough, that might actually happen, as the cheap stuff encourages that culture or even requires it to make it work...
(yay, conspiracy theories! :scared: ::) ;D)

(Then again, sometimes the software support is deliberately time-limited, to ensure customers will shift to the next hardware version; hopefully from the same vendor.  Problem is, the risk of customers choosing a different vendor is unknown, and if any vendor decides to provide much longer support for the same cost and successfully communicates this to their customers, they're likely to grab significant market share from the "augh; I have to get yet another router/AP" customers, which are an increasing portion of the entire customer base.)

What really surprises me every time I look at provided Linux-based firmware images for all sorts of appliances, is the utterly shitty quality of the systems integration (i.e., the filesystem images, the open source components used to provide the necessary services in the Linux userspace, and so on).  It isn't difficult to do better, so who the hell are they hiring to do this stuff?  First timers?  High-school kids?  I dunno.

Yeah, everything's geared towards making a buck now.  Run that through several layers of ramifications, and you're not really buying a product at all; you're buying the marketing.  The product is simply a prompt for the marketeers to go nuts with, and it shows.
 

Offline Nominal Animal

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #191 on: August 16, 2021, 08:51:29 pm »
I meant that the commercial paid platforms each have a specific use in mind, and to try and use those platforms for anything other than their intended use is a barely-functional hack.  There are lots of other platforms that are far more capable as true general-purpose machines, and you've only mentioned some of them.  :)
Oh; right.

Yeah, everything's geared towards making a buck now.  Run that through several layers of ramifications, and you're not really buying a product at all; you're buying the marketing.  The product is simply a prompt for the marketeers to go nuts with, and it shows.
Yup.  For the masses, the brand as marketed is indeed everything; the actual properties seem to be secondary, if that.

What I'd like to know, is how much Microchip marketing efforts have affected those who use their parts for commercial purposes.  Including freebies and directed marketing, or lack of (for those who decided to not use Microchip parts).

That's a difficult question to answer, though, because humans extrapolate, and brands are the marketing tool that targets that human behaviour precisely: "if you liked that thing, here is another thing from the same brand that you'll like too!".  It is very difficult to analyze oneself and even accept that some decisions are based on emotive reasons like good marketing, instead of objective comparisons or such.  Mainly, this means it is difficult to separate what one considers "good experience" and what is the result of marketing and not finding any fault yet to bring one down from the high of having a yet another tool one feels one likes.  Myself very much included.

(Those we like to call "fanboys" are the ones who reject the concept of "fault" in their preferred "brand" altogether.  I've only noticed one or two in this thread, early on, speculating that anyone having a negative opinion must be inexperienced or misinformed.)
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #192 on: August 16, 2021, 10:24:41 pm »
That's a difficult question to answer, though, because humans extrapolate, and brands are the marketing tool that targets that human behaviour precisely: "if you liked that thing, here is another thing from the same brand that you'll like too!".  It is very difficult to analyze oneself and even accept that some decisions are based on emotive reasons like good marketing, instead of objective comparisons or such.  Mainly, this means it is difficult to separate what one considers "good experience" and what is the result of marketing and not finding any fault yet to bring one down from the high of having a yet another tool one feels one likes.  Myself very much included.
Does marketing actually work on engineers? In the end it is about the numbers and a good workflow. Isn't marketing mostly targeted at technically inept managers that might be tricked into thinking a product suddenly cuts development time in half or cut component costs?

A long time ago I gave a Freescale 'Coldfire' microcontroller a try because the sales rep kept nagging my boss about it touting the Coldfire microcontrollers are cheaper. So we got a devboard and I wrote some simple code for it. Much to my surprise the devkit didn't include a way to get firmware into the controller.  :wtf: For that you needed to spend another several k euro for a special JTAG interface. That just didn't make sense. The NXP LPC series ARM controllers we where already using have a factory programmed serial port bootloader and a simple USB to UART board + software tool allowed to do field updates as well (life can't be easier). So the Coldfire devboard went back for a refund.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2021, 10:53:48 pm by nctnico »
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Online DavidAlfa

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #193 on: August 16, 2021, 10:39:21 pm »
That's crazy. These companies smoke serious stuff.
For sure, you want these expensive, huge, ultrafast  programmers for production.
But you should also make a los cost device for the everyday thing.
Otherwise, 10 programmers developing different firmware sections, each one with a $1000 programmer in their desk just for debugging simple stuff?
No need to be a genius here, after showing the middle finger several times, the company proceeds to buy microchip/atmel/st $20-50 programmers, end of story, goodbye Freescale!

I remember Maxim 8051-based mcus from ages ago already embedding uart bootloader.
Microchip, meh, there are cheap tools available. Although they're getting more expensive every time.
I remember the pickit 2 was $25, the pickit 3 was $40, and now the pickit 4 is $70!
« Last Edit: August 16, 2021, 10:42:37 pm by DavidAlfa »
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Offline Nominal Animal

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #194 on: August 16, 2021, 11:16:48 pm »
That's a difficult question to answer, though, because humans extrapolate, and brands are the marketing tool that targets that human behaviour precisely: "if you liked that thing, here is another thing from the same brand that you'll like too!".  It is very difficult to analyze oneself and even accept that some decisions are based on emotive reasons like good marketing, instead of objective comparisons or such.  Mainly, this means it is difficult to separate what one considers "good experience" and what is the result of marketing and not finding any fault yet to bring one down from the high of having a yet another tool one feels one likes.  Myself very much included.
Does marketing actually work on engineers?
Marketing that is appropriately directed at engineers, yes.  Things like samples, journals/articles by their engineers and hardware designers, access to higher-tier support, and so on.

My point is that even people who are thing-oriented rather than people-oriented, (specific types of) marketing still works.  When it is done effectively, thing-oriented people don't even notice it; they just find that "I've somehow always had a suitable device at hand".

Note that I am including everything that is done to increase sales that does not modify/affect the product sold, as marketing; not just advertisements.

Do you really believe you are immune to everything companies do to increase sales (excluding actual modifications to their products)?
I know I am not (immune).

Isn't marketing mostly targeted at technically inept managers that might be tricked into thinking a product suddenly cuts development time in half or cut component costs?
Mostly, yes, because it is those inept managers that make the most purchase decisions across the industry.
 

Offline AaronLee

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #195 on: August 17, 2021, 02:13:51 am »
As to Allwinner, their business model is odd.  They ignore copyright laws with gay abandon, which makes no sense –– unless they know they'll never expand outside China.  And they are utter shit when it comes to the software side.  Comparing their operations to e.g. RockChip (which is a very similar company), especially their software efforts, means I will definitely focus on RockChip-based SBCs instead of Allwinner-based ones, for my tinkering/development devices.  (The other companies that I like for Linux SBCs are Amlogic and Samsung, since I can use fully open source upstream vanilla Linux kernels for these.)
For tablets running vendor-provided software anyway, who cares?  Not I; I choose my Android tablets mainly based on their display properties anyway.

Allwinner pricing is great for the features you get. Unfortunately they're only willing to provide tech support to customers ordering huge quantities. I suspect that a person's view of the company would depend a lot on if they're just a hobbyist or a small quantity customer vs a huge quantity customer. Regardless though, their ignoring copyright laws is still an issue.

RockChip is much better, though in my case it was due to having an inside track in order to get proper documentation that I couldn't for Allwinner. Price-wise, I think Allwinner is better though.

For Samsung, I've had terrible luck. Their documentation has been very poor, and their product life cycle is very short. Though it's been over 10 years now since I last touched their CPUs, so things might have changed, but I'm definitely not willing to risk spending months of my time ever again on developing for a Samsung CPU only to trash that time and need to switch to a different CPU with proper documentation. For Samsung memory chips though, I have no issues.

My comments are based on my experience with using the bare chips inside a design, not with SBC's designed by the chip maker or a third party. So comments about pricing is for CPU pricing, not SBC pricing.
 

Offline hulk69

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #196 on: August 17, 2021, 07:32:28 am »
I have used most of the brand out there ST, Ti, Atmel, Renessas, NXP...

And to be honnest the C drivers library offered by Microchip were the worst one maybe with the exeption of NXP.
From my experience PIC programing tools are shockingling bad (PICKit 3/4 or watever they call it nowdays). Where I worked there used to be around 10 of those dead units in a basket.


Other than that their prices in europe are good but ST microcontrollers (which are better in almost every way) are cheaper. So for me Microchip micros are used for maintening old projects never on new one.

My rating of Microchip 8 bits microcontrollers is as follow:

Price: 9/10
Availibility: 10/10
Ultra Low Power: 7/10
Functionalities: 2/10
Programing tools: 1/10
Free IDE: 1/10
Drivers: 0.5/10

« Last Edit: August 17, 2021, 07:40:00 am by hulk69 »
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #197 on: August 17, 2021, 07:38:48 am »
That's a difficult question to answer, though, because humans extrapolate, and brands are the marketing tool that targets that human behaviour precisely: "if you liked that thing, here is another thing from the same brand that you'll like too!".  It is very difficult to analyze oneself and even accept that some decisions are based on emotive reasons like good marketing, instead of objective comparisons or such.  Mainly, this means it is difficult to separate what one considers "good experience" and what is the result of marketing and not finding any fault yet to bring one down from the high of having a yet another tool one feels one likes.  Myself very much included.
Does marketing actually work on engineers?
Marketing that is appropriately directed at engineers, yes.  Things like samples, journals/articles by their engineers and hardware designers, access to higher-tier support, and so on.

My point is that even people who are thing-oriented rather than people-oriented, (specific types of) marketing still works.  When it is done effectively, thing-oriented people don't even notice it; they just find that "I've somehow always had a suitable device at hand".

Note that I am including everything that is done to increase sales that does not modify/affect the product sold, as marketing; not just advertisements.

Do you really believe you are immune to everything companies do to increase sales (excluding actual modifications to their products)?
I know I am not (immune).
If a product really is better and/or cheaper then I like to know about it OTOH if it is just a load of BS then I discard it. It is all about the numbers.

For example: where is comes to connectors and inductors I use quite a bit from Wurth. But that is because they are competitively priced, their quality is OK and they usually have a lot of stuff in stock locally. I do enough volume for Wurth to send a sales rep to me once a year. Still that doesn't prevent me from looking somewhere else; Wurth parts are not always the best fit.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Online MIS42N

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #198 on: October 06, 2021, 11:33:41 am »
I am in a love/hate relationship with Microchip. I am a hobbyist and program 8 bit PICs in Assembler. I think MPASM is great and now they have stopped supporting it. So now if I send code to someone I have to explain download MPLAB X 5.35 to compile it. Then there is the problem of programming. My latest effort I decided I would make a bootloader that worked with Tera Term Xmodem. Then the program can update itself. Not quite there yet - Xmodem protocol works OK, reading and decoding the hex formats works OK, now have to do some defensive stuff to stop the bootloader overwriting itself.
As an aside, There's a lot of reading hex characters and converting two characters into one byte. I came up with a bizarre way of doing it, I haven't seen it anywhere else. It doesn't check the data and alpha hex (A-F) has to be in upper case. It reads the hex output of MPLAB just fine:
Code: [Select]
SWAPF CHAR1,W
ADDLW 0x55
BTFSS CHAR1,6 ; test if letter
ADDLW 0x71
; 2nd hex char
ADDWF CHAR2,W
BTFSS CHAR2,6 ; test if letter
ADDLW 0x07
 

Offline Jan Audio

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Re: Why do people not like Microchip?
« Reply #199 on: October 06, 2021, 02:31:26 pm »
Microchip offers all the DIP.
I cant imagine starting this hobby with STM32 and a microscope.

Yes the software sucks, could have been much better if i was the boss of microchip.
They was thinking we could integrate online so we can have microtransactions also.
Just add java depency because everybody have the latest computer and the latest windows and a good internet-connection.

Next step : like everybody does, sell your personal info.
They start asking for your email already if you want to download the latest compiler.
They denie, i see right trough, why else they ask info for something free ?
Info-data is the new gold, dont forget.
 


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