I have a loginway PIC-01 Development board (it was sat in a cupboard for years).
Does this board require additional adaptor hardware to blow a PIC (ICSP stuff etc), or can the on board serial port be used to do that?
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Yes, it requires additional hardware to program a new PIC (as indicated in the manual). PICkit is one such with good features for the price, including debugging, serial communication and logging. Once you have a way to program your PIC, it can communicate through the serial port; this could be used to implement a bootloader in self programming capable chips, the way boards like Arduino work. Your Loginway PIC-01 is a pretty good host board to build on, and certainly more featureful than the host board in the PICkit bundle.