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PIC kit

PIC kit is a family of programmers for PIC microcontrollers made by Microchip

Technology. They are used to program and debug microcontrollers, as well as
program EEPROM. Some models also feature logic analyzer and serial
communications (UART) tool.

The people who develop open-source software for the PIC kit use a mailing list for


PICkit 1

The PICkit 1 introduced on March 31, 2003 for US$36[2] was a

rudimentary USB programmer for PIC microcontrollers, produced by Microchip
Technology, the manufacturer of the PIC series of microcontrollers. It was
integrated into a demonstrator board, featuring eight LEDs, a switch, and
a potentiometer. Its default program, explained in the documentation, rotates the
LEDs in series. The light display's direction and speed of rotation can be changed
with the button and potentiometer on the PIC kit board.

PIC kit 2

PIC kit 2
The PIC kit 2 introduced in May 2005[3] replaced the PIC kit 1. The most
notable difference between the two is that the PIC kit 2 has a separate
programmer/debugger unit which plugs into the board carrying the chip to be
programmed, whereas the PIC kit 1 was a single unit. This makes it possible to use
the programmer with a custom circuit board via an In Circuit Serial
Programming (ICSP) header. This feature is not intended [3] for so-called
"production" programming, however.

The PIC kit 2 uses an internal PIC18F2550 with Full Speed USB. The latest PIC
kit 2 firm ware allows the user to program and debug most of the 8 and 16 bit PIC
micro and ds PIC members of the Microchip product line.

The PIC kit 2 is open to the public, including its hardware schematic, firmware
source code (in C language) and application programs (in C# language). End users
and third parties can easily modify both the hardware and software for enhanced
features. e.g. Linux version of PIC kit 2 application software, DOS style CMD
support, etc.

The PIC kit 2 has a programmer-to-go (PTG) feature, which can download the hex
file and programming instructions into on-board memory (128 KB IC EEPROM
or 256 KB I2C EEPROM), so that no PC is required at the end application.

The Microchip version of PIC kit 2 has a standard 128 . 256 KB memory can be
achieved by modifying the hardware or from third party.

Additionally, a 500 kHz three-channel logic analyzer and a UART tool are built
into the PIC kit 2. These features are missing from the PIC kit 3.
Since release of V2.61, PIC kit 2 PC software now supports a maximum 4
megabytes of memory for the programmer-to-go feature. This modification makes
the PIC kit 2 support eight times as much memory as the PIC kit 3. This
enhancement has been contributed by Au Group Electronics and the PIC kit 2
firmware is also reported to be submitted to Microchip PIC kit 2 team in the
middle of March 2009. This enhancement may be integrated into future firmware
releases, too.

PIC kit 3

PIC kit 3

Microchip has gone on to manufacture the PIC kit 3, a variation of the PIC kit 2
with the same form factor and a new translucent case. It features a faster 16-bit
PIC24F processor and a wider voltage regulation range. There are some complaints
of it not being as reliable as the Pic kit 2.

Both PIC kit 2 and PIC kit 3 have internal, switch-mode voltage regulators. This
allows them, in the case of the PIC kit 2, to generate voltages from 2.5 to 5 volts,
or in the case of the PIC kit 3, 2.5 to 5.5 volts, from a 5 V USB supply, at around
100 mA. Both have options for calibrating the output with a multi meter, for
increased accuracy. Additionally, for some PICs, the MCLR programming voltage
can be generated, at around 13 to 14 volts. This voltage is required to reprogram
the flash memory.

PIC kit 2 has been an interesting PIC programmer from Microchip. It can program
most PICs and debug most of the PICs (as of May-2009, only the PIC32 family is
not supported for MPLAB debugging). Ever since its first releases, all software
source code (firmware, PC application) and hardware schematics are open to the
public. This makes it relatively easy for an end user to modify the programmer for
use with a non-Windows operating system such as Linux or Mac OS. In the
meantime, it also creates much DIY interest and clones. This open-source structure
brings many features to the PIC kit 2 community, such as Programmer-to-Go, the
UART Tool and the Logic Tool, which have been contributed by PIC kit 2 users.
Users have also added such features to the PIC kit 2 as 4 MB Programmer-to-go
capability, USB buck/boost circuits, RJ12 type connectors, and more. It even
penetrated into the Atmel community as it is able to be configured into an AVR ISP

There are many other USB PIC programmers other than the PIC kit series.