This page shows you how to use ICSP for PIC programming giving some ICSP connection diagrams.
Note Part of this page shows you how to use ICPROG which is a parallel port/serial port based software that requires use of an older computer having either a serial port or a parallel port - there are lots around. These days those interfaces have been replaced with USB ports so you can not use ICPROG if you only have USB interface ports.
For USB ports, buy a USB programmer such as pickit2 or pickit3 (programmable
using the Free MPLAB X software from Microchip - see screen shots on
programming a pre-bult hex file below).
ICSP (In Circuit Serial Programming) is the
serial interface used by the PIC micro to download a program into the PIC
micro's program memory.
Note: You can also program the internal EEPROM as well.
You can learn more about ICSP here.
MPLAB X is a big program and it is sometimes difficult to see exactly how to do the simplest task. One of those tasks is programming a simple hex file without doing anything else!
The instructions below will guide you to effortlessly complete this fundamental task:
Download MPLAB X (Currently Version 2.2)
Start MPLAB X…wait...wait...wait...
...Click Menu: File-->New Project...
...and select “Prebuilt (Hex, Loadable Image) Project”,
Choose your programmer, in this case PICKit3.
Click the Browse button and navigate to your hex file e.g.:
In this case program 1 in the PIC C Course.
Choose the Family: Mid-Range 8bit MCUs,
Choose the device PIC16F88
In the new pop-up window (not shown here), leave everything else at default values,
Click Finish, and a project will be created at directory:
Click Finish and the main project pane will be updated with the new project named:
The above screen-shot shows the hex file that will be used.
To program in the new hex file you can hit the “green down arrow-to-chip” icon.
You can also program the file using the menu (in this case no build is performed since it is pre-built):
Run-->Run Main Project
This section shows connection pins for PIC programming.
to use ICPROG requires a parallel or serial port.
The rest of this page is left for reference for if you are using ICPROG and it is also useful to see the ICSP connections, that remain the same whichever programming method you use.
Note: The following
dicsussion on ICPROG is left here for reference. Most computers only have USB
port so ICPROG is not useful to you. Therefore you should use the standard
programming interface either Pickit2 or Pickit3 and use MPLABX as the
ICPROG is a free windows program that you can use for PIC Programming. It
interfaces using either the serial or parallel port on a PC, via programming
hardware, to the ICSP pins on the PIC micro.
You can download ICPROG here [opens a new window].
ICPROG uses the hex file generated either from an assembler such as MPASM or a compiler such as MikroC.
When you first start ICPROG this is the screen you see for selecting the hardware for the PIC programmer; I have selected AN589 programmer - a parallel port programmer.
After this the main program screen is displayed. Don't be put off by all the address program code area. The important controls are the Open button and the buttons with ICs underneath.
To use it for PIC programming select the device from the menu
Here I have chosen a PIC16F877A device.
The Device menu also shows a lot of other devices that you can use with ICPROG.
Note: The screen changes to accommodate the chip features (here EEPROM oscillator, program 'Write enable' and chip configuration bits).
You can check to see if ICPROG is communicating with your hardware by using
the menu option Settings-->Hardware check. This lets you toggle the state
of individual ICSP signals and the VCC power.
Note you'll need an oscilloscope or multimeter to check the signal state.
The next thing to do with the PIC software is programming the PIC
by loading up the hex file (unless you have a 12F675 that has an oscillator
calibration value that you will want to keep -in this case do a read first).
Note: You have to select the device manually it is not defined in the hex file. Although ICPROG stores the current device in use between sessions you have to select a new device manually when you start a new hardware project
Note: Fuses and oscillator settings are controlled from the hex file so all you need to do is check that they match your settings in the compiler or assembler.
Hit the open button to load your hex file.
Note how the oscillator, write enable and fuses have changed (controlled from the hex file):
PIC programming action is to erase the device by hitting the erase device
button. It sends a command to the PIC which erases the whole device including
protection bits (in newer devices). Old devices used to be un-usable after
you had set the protection bits!
So this command quickly erases the chip.
Note: You don't have to use the erase button as the program button will overwrite the chip contents anyway. It is sometimes useful if you want to convince yourself that the program is actually programmed into the device correctly.
program device button does just that it programs the contents loaded from the
hex file (in ICPROG memory) into the program memory of the PIC micro. If
there is any EEPROM in the chip then it programs this as well. Finally it
programs the configuration word.
verify device button reads back the entire contents of the chip ensuring that
it matches the hex file (loaded into ICPROG).
Note: Depending on settings in menu :
Settings--> Options--> Programming
verification may automatically happen at the end.
Once you get used to ICPROG and your hardware works reliably you may only want to do a verify if something does not work otherwise it takes more time up.
The read device button reads back the entire contents of the chip into the
currently selected buffer (shown at the bottom of the ICPROG window). So you
can save the hex file or compare it to the contents of another buffer.
These are the only controls you need for successful PIC programming using ICPROG.
Note: The above discussion is left in for reference, use PicKit2 or PickKit3 and MPLABX for USB operation.
Find out how to use the AD9833 to generate sine, square and triangle waves at 0.1Hz resolution.
Arduino Nano ISP: How to program an ATmega328P using an Arduino Nano as the ISP programmmer. One common problem: Programming a sketch into the chip without a reset control - solved here.
Arduino Voltage reference: Both the Uno and Nano have a built-in voltage reference: Find out how to make it more accurate. In addition find out how to use it to measure the supply voltage 1V8 ~ 5V5
Arduino EEPROM: How to use it and How to preserve the life of EEPROM. Two examples sketches to save multiple values to EEPROM.
A tutorial on using the ADS1115 precision 16 bit ADC for low power use.
Learn how to use the TP4056 properly. There's a right, and a wrong way, to use it to safely charge Lithium Ion batteries.