Skip to main content

program a PIC with PICKIT 3

For programming the PICs used in many of my projects you can either build my DIY PIC programmer or purchase a PICKIT3. Clones of PICKIT3 can be purchased quite cheap ( around 35€ ) at Aliexpress.

For programming you can either use the 'MPLAB X IPE' from Microchip or the free software 'pickitminus'. See the brief documentation of both below.

I do recommend the pickitminus software as it is much easier to handle and do fully support the Aliexpress clones. However if you need 'high voltage programming mode' ( for e.g. my PIC_5101 or my Gottlieb LCD display ) you need to use the MPLABX software.

PICKIT3 from Aliexpress (link to seller)

For PIC18F45K22 & PIC18F45K42 (LISY MPUs) connect the pickit 3 to your USB port and place the PIC and jumpers as shown in the picture


​pickitminus (link to webpage)

Pickitminus is a great tool created by 'jaka' ( see link to his webpage on the left). You have only to configure the right 'device family' of your PIC and pickitminus will auto detect your PIC type.

For PIC18F25K22 use device family PIC18->PIC18F_K and for PIC18F45K42 use PIC18-> PIC18F MSB1st.


Microchip do provide a tool called 'MPLAB  X IPE' which can program the PICs together with their 'MPLAB  IDE'. You can download the tool here

During the installation process you can decide if you want to install both IDE & IPE or IPE only.

The tool can work with the original Microchip Pickit3 but do work also with the clones offered at Aliexpress.


- best to order a PICKIT3.5, I had feedback that PICKIT3 sets from Aliexpress sometimes do not work

- use MPLAB-X Version 6.00 or older, v6.10 has a bug in MPLAB resolting in not showing the PICKIT in the drop down menue.

start the IPE
your pickit3 should be shown up in the 'tool' section together with the serial number.
select advanced mode
goto power and select "Power target circuit from pickit 3". Choose a voltage level of 4.75V as especially the clone devices have problems to provide 5Volt
Choose 'PIC18F45K22' as device. Click 'apply' and then 'connect'. The tool will download necessary software to the pickit3 and show the type of the target device in the text field.
If this fails with the error message shown in the picture, check power settings again (they sometimes get lost) and repeat the step.
now select the hex file you want to use via 'browse' and push 'program'