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Buying PICKit Programmers  


  • Where to buy a PICkit programmer

  • PICkit2 v. PICkit3

  • Programming Adapters

Where to buy a PICkit programmer

If you're going to use a Microchip PIC whether it's with code written by someone else or with your own code you'll need a programmer.  I don't recommend any particular programmer however I use genuine  Microchip PICkit programmers since they're reliable, well supported and not that expensive compared to alternatives.

The full range of Microchip programmers including those below can be bought worldwide through Microchip Direct

You may find buying these programmers through a local electronics distributor easier and with lower shipping costs so I have provided some links below (correct at August 2011

Premier Farnell UK

PICKit2 Programmer

Microchip part # PG164120

Farnell - Electronics Distributor
Order Code: 9847170
Newark Part # 51M8937
RS Stock No 381-582

PICKit2 Debug Express

Microchip part # DV164120

With Low Pin Count Demo Board Supporting 8/14/20-Pin Mid-Range PICmicro Microcontrollers.

(This demo board is not a programming adapter)


Farnell - Electronics Distributor
Order Code: 9847162
Newark Part # 44K0230

Order Code: 97-0101
RS Stock No 615-3059

PICKit 3

Microchip part # PG164130

Farnell - Electronics Distributor
Order Code: 1771323
Newark Part # 25R8311
RS Stock No 687-2750



PICkit2 v. PICkit3

Microchip PICKit2 product page

Microchip PICKit3 product page

Microchip have recently (2009) brought out the PICkit3 programmer which at first appears to supersede the PICkit2.  However they haven't stopped selling the PICkit2 and currently the support and application features for the PICkit3 are, in my opinion, not as good as the original PICkit2 while being more expensive to buy. 

Although the PICkit3 does now have a stand-alone Windows programming application currently (August 2011) it's still at version 1 and is not as fully featured as the PICkit2 app which as well as supporting programming has a UART and Logic tool applications which makes it a very useful device for the hobbyist developer.

I have both versions and find the PICkit2 gets most use, particularly with the standalone Windows application. Therefore if you're just using base line and midrange PICs (which includes those PICs used on the Picprojects website) I would still recommend you buy the PICkit2 over the PICkit3.

Programming Adapters

To program the PIC you need to make five connections from the PICKit programmer to the PIC.  This is the ICSP (In-Circuit Serial Programming) method, slightly confusing because while it can be programmed in-circuit, it doesn't have to be.

Typically you will program the PIC chip using a small adapater and then fit it to the circuit.