Microchip’s PICkit2 and PICkit3 are both In-Circuit Debugger/Programmers, designed for programming and debugging Microchip PIC microcontrollers (and occasionally EEPROMs).
The PICkit2 programmer was released back in 2005, and allowed the user to program and debug most of the 8 and 16 bit PIC microcontrollers and dsPIC controllers as well. Its successor, the PICkit3 programmer, was released some years later.
In 2009 and 2012, Microchip stopped providing support for the PICkit 2 and PICkit3 software , respectively. They released the source code for the Windows GUI software, making it possible for users to update and maintain it themselves. This resulted in the launch of the PICkitPlus software in 2018 by the PICkitPlus team.
The PICkitPlus software is a total replacement for the original PICkit 2 and PICkit 3 software, designed to facilitate programming of any 8-bit PIC microcontroller using a supported programmer (either genuine or clone). In contrast to the original PICkit software, which doesn’t provide support for the newer 8-bit microcontrollers, PICkitPlusincludes support for old chips and new chips alike.
The PICkitPlus software comes in 3 main variants for the PICkit™ 2 and PICkit™ 3 applications called PICkit 2Plus, PICkit 3Plus, and PICkitCommandLine.
- PICkit 3Plus Graphical user interface application. A specific solution for the PICkit™ 3 In-Circuit Debugger/Programmer and clones
- PICkit 2Plus Graphical user interface application. A specific solution for the PICkit™ 2 In-Circuit Debugger/Programmer and clone
- PICkit Command line user interface application.
The PICkitPlus command line application supports both the PICkit2 and PICkit3 programmers and even potentially clones as well. It can run alone, but is mainly intended for use with Integrated Development Environments such as Great Cow BASIC. The PICkitPlus command line software does not support EEPROM chips; although the PICkitPlusGUI software does.