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Where can I find a list of PIC microcontrollers that I can program and debug using a PICkit 2 in MPLAB X?

I am a hobbyist who would like to breadboard prototype a new project based on a PIC microcontroller. I'm selecting a PIC based on my needs, and would like it to be compatible with the PICkit 2 I already own. (I have previously used it with the dsPIC33 series).

I can't find any way to use the Microchip parts selector to filter by ICSP/PICkit revision compatibility.

I'm getting contradictory information from the datasheets. In the PICkit 2 readme, I'm told I can program and debug a PIC16F1938, but looking at the datasheet in section 32.0 I find that it is compatible with PICkit 3, with no mention of PICkit 2.

As the PICkit 2 is quite an old device and not receiving updates, should I assume that the readme contains the final list of devices supported by its most recent firmware? And that datasheets for any devices I find will refer to the most recent PICkit available at the time of writing?

The readme also contains the following warning

=================================================================
= NOTE: This list shows support for the PICkit 2 Programmer     =
= software application.  It does not show support for using the =
= PICkit 2 within MPLAB IDE.  For a list of MPLAB supported     =
= parts, see the MPLAB IDE PICkit 2 Readme.                     =
= (Typically in C:\Program Files\Microchip\MPLAB IDE\Readmes)   =
=================================================================

which I take to mean that I might be able to program certain devices, but not debug them. Is there a version of the 'MPLAB IDE PICkit 2 Readme' online?

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closed as off-topic by Hearth, Chris Stratton, Warren Hill, RoyC, evildemonic Aug 19 at 15:55

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave these specific reasons:

  • "Questions on the use of electronic devices are off-topic as this site is intended specifically for questions on electronics design." – Hearth, RoyC, evildemonic
  • "Questions seeking recommendations for specific products or places to purchase them are off-topic as they are rarely useful to others and quickly obsolete. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve." – Chris Stratton, Warren Hill
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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The devices supported depend on which device file is installed. The best way to determine which chips a particular device file supports is to install it and run the PICkit2 Programmer application, then set 'manual device select' and browse the list of devices for each family. The device file currently in use is shown in Help/About.

As far as I know the last official device file version was 1.62.14. Unfortunately the page that listed which chips it supported has disappeared. The Wayback Machine has an archived copy which does not list the PIC16F1938.

That's not the end for PICkit2 though, because an unofficial editor has been developed for adding new chips to the device list. I am using version 1.63.148 by GBert which does support the PIC16F1938.

Debugging is done through MPLab, which doesn't support newer devices with PICkit2. Most older PIC16's do not have debugging support anyway, so I have never attempted to use it. I check my code in the simulator first, then use generic real-time debugging techniques such as toggling pins and printing messages to the serial port.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for finding that page on the archive - that helps a lot. The distinction between devices that are debuggable and devices that are only programmable is a lot clearer on that page as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Arsmith Aug 10 at 7:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm accepting this answer for the wayback archive link. \$\endgroup\$ – Arsmith Aug 20 at 12:26
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I guess this is a list you are looking for.

But, as a lot of people mentioned: PICKit2 is a really old tool and there a so much nice and really cheap new ones. e.g. MPLAB Snap

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Nothing is so cheap as the equipment you already have. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Arsmith Aug 13 at 11:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ This tool is 13 € - a 50% discount this month!!!The cookies you eat when you develop software and wait for your old tool are much more expensive! \$\endgroup\$ – Mike Aug 13 at 11:52
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Microchip considers the PICkit2 to be obsolete and the PICkit3 is not recommended for new designs.

That said many developers realy like the PICkit2 because the USB interface uses a generic HID mode device class supported by almost every USB host implementation.

There is a project to expand support of the PICkit2 to newer controllers.

See this link on the Microchip forum for information. There are other topics on the forum that describe how to edit the device support file of the Microchip GUI for windows.

EDIT to improve this answer.

Arsmith asked: Is there a version of the 'MPLAB IDE PICkit 2 Readme' online?

I can find no direct link to the "Device Support.htm" file on the Microchip web site that lists devices supported by the PICkit2.

The latest version of any Microchip IDE that supported the PICkit2 is MPLABX v3.65, you can download all of the README files for this release at this link.

In this ZIP file you can fine the "Device Support.htm" that still has the PK2D and PK2P columns.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the information but that doesn't answer my question. \$\endgroup\$ – Arsmith Aug 13 at 9:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ Your question seemed to me open to some interpretation. Microchip has not added new devices to the PICkit2 for a long time. The documentation for what was supported seems almost unfindable on the Microchip web site. It was my hope that posting a link to a project that provides an updated PICkit2 application with support for some of the newer Microchip controllers would be of some use. This does seem to be of little use to you. . . . . Should my answer be deleted? \$\endgroup\$ – Dan1138 Aug 13 at 18:01

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