Microchip PICkit™ 3 In-Circuit Debugger Programmer - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Microchip PICkit™ 3 In-Circuit Debugger Programmer

Author: sakthi.1260

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: null

What were the biggest problems encountered?: null

Detailed Review:

Hello Guys,


A nice package from e14, was delayed due to clearance issues but reached safely.



Its the PicKit3, inside a plastic package (which I personally don't like). It weighs bit heavy than it appears to be I initially thought it was because of the long cable, then realized it was the package itself.

What do we have inside??


PicKit3, Connecting Cable, Couple of notes, Warranty Card  and a Big poster which could've been a smaller size leaflet.


But still you get a pretty long cable almost 1.6m, which I loved.


It was so familiar, just looks like the same old Pickit 2 in a translucent red casing.

Same 3 LED like the PICkit 2 for Notifications but renamed to

- Power, - Active, - Status


First thing I'd do when I get a hardware in a casing is tear it down!

A decent assembly and good soldering, It runs on a PIC24FJ256 16bit PIC MCU. Connector heads are standard 2.54mm pitched female headers so you don't need any adapters standard jumper cables are fine.

Mini USB to connect to the Computer and powering the programmer.

Supports a target voltage range of 2 V - 5.5 V.



Getting into the IDE, PICkit 3 is supported by the MPLABX IDE which is around 700Mb , you need to download another 400Mb for the XC compilers, if you need the code Configurator tool thats (graphical programming environment) like some 50Mb or simply use the cloud based IDE.



MPLABX its good but some how the UI looks a little Linux fashioned and old.


or you can simply use the MPLAB IPE to burn firmware into the chip.



Getting into the performance, it works fine, somehow felt its a little slower while programming larger firmwares than the PICkit2 (purely based on my instinct) Supports all the 8, 16 and 32bit PICs also dsPICs.


Tried programming a couple of PIC with me 8 Pin 14 Pin, 20Pin and 40 Pin Chips, works good. Debugging and breakpoints is also good with bigger chips, to debug tiny 8pin and 14pin you need additional hardware





The programmer to go is very useful feature when you do a high quantity prototyping works or on field firmware upgrade with a programming space of 512kb . You can't debug but you can burn the program into the chip, all you need is a USB power supply.


Comes with inbuilt over voltage and over current protection, its actually good when you are a beginner.


So Why the PICkit3? Why not some cheap clones from ebay?



I actually tried a couple of those cheap programmers from ebay, the problem is there is  no assurance that it'll work.

The PICkit 3 from Microchip will WORK for sure without any hassles.


Improvised voltage range, bigger programmer to go memory and support for latest MCUs are advantages over the Pickit2.

I loved the long cable, seriously for me it matters at times I might pull it to the end of my table. You do get a decent documentation too.