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Figure 1. The 'scope CH1 coupling is set to AC. This switches a capacitor in series with the input. A positive going square edge causes the input to rise with it but discharge at a time set by the 'scope's input capacitance and resistance. A similar effect happens on the falling edge. Switching to DC coupling should fix it.


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Looks like this particular case was an XY problem. I never found how to add my device to PICPgm's supported list, but a slightly different permutation of the Google search terms got me a thread that I hadn't seen yet on Microchip's forum, where someone mentioned a different programmer that I hadn't seen before either. "Pickle" appears to come ...


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I was able to program the target board by connecting only the data pins and ground. It seems sufficient to simply leave the two Vdd pin unconnected.


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Welp, I found the problem. I soldered a new chip to a new breakout board, and everything worked... classic. Anyways, thanks to everyone who tried to help. I'll close this question down.


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