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Pic Programmers

Last update: 31/07/2015

This is not the right place to suggest one or another pic programmer, there are real universe of microcontroller programmers on the market at any price.

All depends on the frequency of use. If the programmer is rarely used even a simple,  serial programmer can be realized, but if this instruments is used often very probably it is better to focus on a product more evolved.

At first, just to avoid further misunderstanding, we have to say that there are several different common ways to program a microcontroller:

Utilizzare la porta seriale del PC

Serial programmers were probably the first programmers created to program picmicros. Unfortunately the programming speed is quite low and very often it is possible to get errors during the write procedure because many of these programmers work out of technical specifications required by microcontrollers (using for power supply the voltage of the rs232) but if the programming activity is done very rarely they can be considered because theyr price is really low (only very few basic electronic components).

Many open projects has been realized for such a devices like (just as examples):

JDM pic programmer  Serial port pic programmer Another serial

Utilizzare la porta parallela del pc

Using the parport of the pc the programming process is surely faster and safer even because they are normally externally powered providing the necessary technical specifications required by the programming process of the microcontrollers.

Even in this case there are a lot of open source schematics and projects (even in this web site) both for low and high voltage pic pogramming:

Parport Pic Programmer PicPGM PPWIN

Utilizzare la porta USB
Very probably these programmers are the best on the market at the moment. They are faster and safer and are indicated to an extensive use of the programmers. Many of them are sold at very reasonable price (personally we use the Microchip PicKit2 and Pickit3, used even as simple logic analyzers). In the open source world there is a nice project: the USBPICPROG, very interesting, to realize by ourself such a device. USB picprogrammers must not be confused with USB to serial or to Parallel port converted pic programmers because they work in a totally different way (using a serial/parallel converter FT245).


Most picmicros created by Microchip allow the in-circuit serial programming, a very convenient way to program the chip without remove it from the circuitry. This is a really convenient way because during the programming (of the software) phase the chip can be programmed and reprogrammed simply to che the result of the code created. Moreover the use of external picmicro programming requires the removal of the chip from the socket and, as a result, it is quite easy to damage the pins of the picmicro.

Other higher end picmicros allow the self-programming but they require a precharged bootloader in memory. Many software houses provide together they compilers the bootloader to be charged toghether schematics of the programmers. Mecanique Picbasic pro is one of this while in the open source world we can find a few bootloaders connected to the programming language in the respective web sites (JAL  MicrochipC etc).

In very few words, in our humble opinion, it is not important the way to go to reach the goal, particularly for an hobbystic environment, what really matters is the final result: the programming of the microcontroller.

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