Debugger/programmer for Microchip PIC microcontrollers

March 23, 2018 // By Julien Happich
RS Components has introduced the MPLAB PICkit 4 in-circuit debugger/programmer from Microchip, which enables fast and easy debugging and programming of PIC microcontrollers (MCUs) and dsPIC digital signal controllers (DSCs) using the MPLAB X integrated development environment (IDE).

Offering the features and performance at a fraction of the cost of comparable debugger/programmers, the new low-cost PICkit 4 builds on its predecessor – the PICkit 3 – to deliver five times faster programming, increased functionality, a wider target-device voltage range and more debugging interface options.
Meeting the needs of development engineers involved in programming and debugging 8-, 16- or 32-bit devices, the faster programming time will make the tool especially suitable for 32-bit microcontrollers with larger memory capacities. In addition to supporting Microchip’s PIC MCUs and DSCs, the tool also supports debugging and programming for the CEC1702 family of hardware cryptography-enabled devices.
A key feature of the development tool is the wider voltage range, which provides support for a variety of PIC MCU devices with voltages from 5.5V down to 1.20V. The tool connects to a computer via a Hi-Speed USB 2.0 interface and can be connected to the chip to be programmed via an eight-pin single in-line header. This connector uses two device I/O pins and the reset line to implement in-circuit debugging and In-Circuit Serial Programming (ICSP). The PICkit 4 also supports advanced interfaces such as four-wire JTAG and serial wire debug with streaming data gateway; and is also backward compatible for demo boards, headers and target systems using two-wire JTAG and ICSP compatibility.

The PICkit 4 also has a unique ‘programmer-to-go’ function with the addition of a micro-SD card slot to hold project code and the ability to be powered by the target board enabling in-the-field programming. Other features include: automatic programming, as fast as allowed by the device; supply of up to 50mA of power to the target; and minimal current consumption at less than 100µA.

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