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NSDSP Chip

QFN Package

NSDSP is a pre-programmed Microchip PIC16(L)F1454 and is available in a variety of packages - 14-pin PIC, SOIC, SSOP or 16-pin QFN. Putting it on your production board will let you program and debug your PIC. In addition, NSDSP can provide USB connectivity through UART interface. This can be done even if PCB space is limited - QFN package (shown on the picture) has only 4x4mm footprint and requires only a handful of discrete components.

Traditional solution to firmware updates is a bootloader - small software program inside production chip which can download software updates and re-program the chip from the inside. Bootloader needs some sort of hardware which provides a USB link, which can be either a built-in USB module inside your PIC or an external USB chip, such as FTDI USB-to-UART converter. NSDSP eliminates the need for both bootloader and USB hardware.

Bootloader NSDSP
Provides firmware updates, but with limitations. For example, in many PICs, bootloader cannot reliably re-program configuration bits No limitations on what can be programmed.
USB hardware is required. This can be either on-chip USB module or a third-party (such as FDTI) external chip. USB hardware is already part of the NSDSP. Therefore, you can select any PIC, not necessary a PIC with USB module. NSDSP is available in the same packages as FDTI chips, but likely costs less and requires less discrete parts.
The firmware must be integrated with boorloader to ensure seamless operation. This step may require considerable development effort. No special effort is required during firmware development.
At least two pins are required for USB or UART communications. PGD/PGC pins are required for programming. The functionality of these pins at run time may be limited. If PIC needs USB connectivity at run time, at least two separate pins must be used for UART communications with NSDSP. MCLR pin must be enabled.
Uses device program memory, often significant portion. Doesn't use any device program memory.
Bootloader needs to be programmed on the device either before PCB assembly, or provisions must be made to allow programming after the assembly. Device doesn't need to be pre-programmed. It can be programmed through USB as a part of quality testing process.
Bootloader can support encrypted firmware transfer, however full security can rarely be achieved. The firmware cannot be encrypted and, given enough skills, can be sniffed while transferred to the chip on PGD/PGC lines.
If there are errors during firmware updates, the device may be bricked. Bricking can be virtually eliminated for most devices, but this ties up even more resources. The device cannot be bricked.
Cannot be used for debugging. Can debug with NSDS debugger.
Can only program itself. Can be used to program two PICs.

Power

NSDSP is based on one of two Microchip devices - PIC16F1454 or PIC16LF1454. These devices are similar, but not interchangable.

  • PIC16LF1454 must be run at 3.3V.
  • PIC16F1454 must be run at 5V.

NSDSP will not function unless the chips are powered as specified above.

NSDSP may be powered either by USB or by a board. We recommend using the same power source for both NSDSP and the target device.

It is possible to use USB power for NSDSP and a separate source of power for the target PIC. However, such arrangement requires special measures to deal with situations where only one of the two power sources is connected. To avoid these problems, we recommend powering NSDSP from the same power source as the target device. If NSDSP and target device must be powered from different sources (for example, when voltage levels are different or isolation is required), a buffer or an isolator may be used.

Follow one of the links below for the specific schematics and related discussion.

Target Power Source
Voltage BoardUSBUSB Isolated
1.8V N/A Details Details
2.5V N/A Details Details
3.3V Details Details Details
5V Details Details Details

It is also possible to use single NSDSP chip to program two PICs on the same board. These PICs may be different, but must run on the same voltage.

Function

Once you install pre-programmed NSDSP chip, it will function exactly as exernal NSDSP programmer. You can access it with the same software.

Orders

To order pre-programmed NSDSP chips, click on one of the links below.

Model Package
3.3V: PIC16LF1454 DIP SOIC SSOP QFN
5V: PIC16F1454 DIP SOIC SSOP QFN

For information on packaging and electrical characteristics of the NSDSP devices, please visit Microchip PIC16F1454 product page and download the datasheet.

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