Mistaken identity

A couple of weeks ago I came across FreeTrak, a PIC based APRS tracker developed by N0QBH. I have wanted to build a small ‘grab-and-go’ tracker for a while now. The FoxTrak works fine but is too big and bulky by the time it is paired with an HT. The TH-D72 is too much hassle as I need strong reading glasses to see the LCD screen and inevitably go out with some essential menu option disabled. Consequently these days I rarely bother taking APRS with me when Olga and I go for a walk around town.

I sent off for a couple of PIC 16F628A microcontrollers, thinking that I could program them in my EasyPIC5 development board. But when I tried, I immediately hit a snag.

My PICFlash programmer detects a PIC 12F508 instead of a PIC 16F628A.

I don’t think I’ve been sold a fake MCU. If I remove the 16F628A so there is no micro plugged in at all I still receive the same warning. So I don’t know what to do. I’ve bricked too many PIC chips by programming them with the wrong settings to try crossing my fingers and clicking Yes. So it looks like my FreeTrak project is not going to get off the ground.

Julian Moss, G4ILO, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Cumbria, England. Contact him at [email protected].

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