pic2    pic3


PICKIT3  seems to be a DEGRADED version of PICKIT2 . PIC may be a Microcontroller Giant , but a newer version of Toolkit should be more user friendly than the previous versions.In case of PIC the design Team has never bothered this.

Following are the Changes made in PICKIT3 , which many have criticized  :

1. The little useful standalone program  PICKIT2 to fuse HEX files is scrapped now.There is no standalone program to fuse HEX files.Now you need to install MPLAB IPE along with MPLAB X IDE & use that for fusing target IC with HEX file.

2. PROGRAMMER TO GO function of PICKIT2 is scrapped in PICKIT3.

This function allows a PIC MCU memory image to be downloaded into the PICKIT 2 unit for later programming into a specific PIC MCU. No software or PC is required to program devices once the PICkit 2 unit is set up for Programming-To-Go

3. TARGET is not powered automatically in PICKIT3. In PICKIT2 Automatic Power feature is enabled by default.In case of PICKIT3 you need to CONFIGURE manually , else you get TARGET NOT FOUND error.

4.PICKIT3 does not detect DEVICE automatically.You need to select the device from drop down list.

5.PICKIT3 uses PIC24 series MCU , while PICKIT2 was designed on PIC18 series.But PICKIT2 seems to be faster than PICKIT3.

6.If you change the target IC , Firmware upgrade happens every time in PICKIT3 , an annoying feature.   

As MICROCHIP has stopped production & support to PICKIT2 we’ve to live with PICKIT3.Let us now see the solutions for common problems faced in using this “ADVANCED Device”.

You can fuse the HEX file from within MPLAB X IDE or through MPLAB IPE..

MPLAB X IDE Method :

From within MPLAB IDE click the Icon with down Arrow image “Make & Program Device Main Project”.

The project is now BUILD.

Once you get BUILD SUCCESSFUL in the OUTPUT Window , the IDE will try to connect with PICKIT3 Programmer




But you get TARGET NOT FOUND error.



Click on RUN –>set project configuration –>CUSTOMIZE



On the new window select PICKIT3


Under OPTIONS CATGEGORIES drop down select POWER



Tick mark “Power Target circuit from Pickit3”

& select voltage level as 5.0



Click OK & then click on the  “Make & Program Device Main Project” again

Now the target is detected & HEX file fused on to target.


Method 2 : Through MPLAB IPE

From MPLAB IDE click RUN –> BUILD MAIN PROJECT  to create the HEX file.


The HEX file is created inside the PROJECT File –> dist –> default –> production

Note the location of HEX file.

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Now open MPLAB IPE the Integrated Programming Environment


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Select the IC , here PIC16F877A , Apply & then click on CONNECT

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You get Target Not found ERROR.

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To enter Advanced mode you need to type in the password –     microchip

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Now a new set of buttons appear on left side.

Click on POWER button

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Select Vdd as 5.0 & then tick mark “POWER TARGET CIRCUIT FROM TOOL”

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Now click on OPERTATE button

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The target is found & connected now.

Click the browse button & navigate to select the HEX file stored.

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Click PROGRAM button to fuse the target chip with selected HEX file.

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