View Full Version : Need more explanation on difference between PICKit2 and ICD

09-11-2008, 04:59 PM
I've just got a few doubts on the differences between PICKit2 and ICD2. As I read through the specifications and manual of both the Programmers, I found that they are almost the same, except these facts:

1. PICKit2 can program at 3.3v - So where does it primarily differentiate from the ICD2 and what are the benefits of having another programming voltage?

2. If I need to program a LF PIC using ICD2, then do I need to connect an external 3.3v power source to it?

3. What are all the 3rd party IDE's and compilers which support the PICKit2 and the ICD2? Cos I've got a licensed version of MicroC IDE and don't know which are all supported. Also, does MicroC IDE support the Debugging feature of the ICD2?

4. I found the following programmers in a site called Sure Electronics, and they priced the PICKit2 clone for around $28 and ICD2 LE Clone for around $46. So which programmer do you folks suggest that I should buy. I would like to make a point here that I'm a newbie into uC programming. Or is there any programmer which is comparitively cheaper or approximately of the same price and available here in India. The main issue is that, I don't have a Serial Port and have to use only the USB.

5. Is MPLAB the only IDE which supports debugging of the PIC's?

6. The site said that the ICD2 and PICKit2 they sell are clones, but am not too sure that as to they'll be identified as like the real ones. Also, how far are they compatible with the upgrades supplied by Microchip.

7. I want to do more of researching of the PIC's and their applications, so I found another site named Cytron, which is supplying Interface Free Cards, and they are of maximum benefits in the side of programming, because they can be programmed for various purposes by adding the appropriate cards. So my question is that, are there any plans or schematics or commercial products available like that here in our country?

8. Are there any aurdino type boards for available for PIC's?

Thanks a ton folks.

PS: Some questions might be a repetition, but still, I would be very happy if you can take the time to help me out once again by giving me the details or pointers.


09-11-2008, 06:29 PM
PicKit2 is a programmer, while ICD2 is a debugger as well. MikroC does not support ICD2, only MPLAB Supports ICD2 and Pickit2, the clones are recognized by MPLAB, i made a ICD2 Clone and it worked perfectly with MPLAB, yes they can be upgraded with newer versions of MPLAB.

You can start with other cheap programmers like EL Cheapo, JDM Programmer, but you will need programmers with external supply, even JDM programmer can be powered with external supply.I am not sure if a USB to Serial Cable will support the programmers. There are many ICD2 USB clones, but are a little difficult to build for a newbie. And all the companies selling clones, i doubt whether they are based in India.

Some USB Clones are based on PIC16F877A and PIC184550, try for it,if you can make that.

Some newer pics require lesser programming voltage, than their ancestors, older pic required voltage is 13v approx. ICD2 can program more pic's than pickit2

09-11-2008, 07:12 PM
Even PICkit2 is a debugger. I'll recommend PICkit2.

Last I checked both ICD2 and PICkit2 have almost the same capability now. Check Microchip forum for detailed comparison of both.

I have 2 ICD2s lying around (one of them a clone), both unused. I have 2 PICkit2s which I use daily. No need to buy cloned PICkit2s, they real one is cheap enough and very well supported by the PICkit2 developer at Microchip forum.

09-11-2008, 10:49 PM
archaic knowledge.. yes.. even pickit2 is a debugger nw.. did not notice that, i use icd2 though

09-15-2008, 12:03 PM
So does this mean that the MPLAB only supports debugging using the PicKit2 and the ICD2?

And what options do I have if I want to setup the debugging with MicroC. I'm insisting on this, because I've spent some money on buying the original version. Orelse friends, can you guide me on which is the best IDE and the C Compiler to go in for? Cos I want to work in a platform where everyone works and so getting help for me should be a breeze from you folks. :)

Also, will I be able to run the C codes that I've developed on MicroC in MPLAB? ie. I mean to say that, will be able to migrate the old code to MPLAB and work on henceforth, ie. making changes and running it?

Regarding the JDM type programmers, the difficulty I'm facing is that I don't have a Serial port in my computer, and so I've got to go for the USB version of the programmer only.

So if I decide to buy a programmer, will PICKit2 be the best programmer for me rite now?

And how about the schematics for building the ICD2 clone? Where do I find them? Can some post some links on it? Also, what is the difficulty level on building the same?

09-15-2008, 12:30 PM
Microchip did not allow the MikroC people to integrate MikroC into MPLAB.

If you want debugging support directly from MikroC, buy a MikroICD sold by the same people, or just load the hex file generated by MikroC through the MPLAB ide and do the debugging using pickit2 or icd2

09-15-2008, 02:59 PM
What is the common platform that is being commonly used for PIC development?

Is it MPLAB with compiler or someother IDE?

09-15-2008, 08:26 PM
Can you check the Microchip forum at:

All your queries are answered there. Check this recent discussion:

Although I have a clone ICD2 for sale, I would still suggest the PICkit2 over the ICD2. and buy it at www.microchipdirect.com

09-15-2008, 08:33 PM
And use MPLAB for the development work, its free.

And if you want a C compiler, use C18 (for 8 bit PICs) and C30 (for 16-bitters) from Microchip. The student versions are free and run for 60 days, after which some optimisations are disabled. Unless you are writing huge code, this doesn't really matter. More on this on the forum, again.

Just go ahead and buy the PICkit2. It comes with its own application software. Since you have MikroC, write code using it; and program it using PICkit2. Although AFAIK you won't be able to use it as a debugger unless you use MPLAB.

09-16-2008, 01:54 AM
Finally I've decided to buy the PicKit2 after reading through all you guys suggestions. I'm so happy because everyone here in this forum are really very helpful and very quick in responding back! Hats off guys!!!

Now I'm moving into the next step, I don't know on whether I should be starting a new thread or not, now I've decided and placed my order in Microchip for the PICKit2, I would like to know on what other components and development boards that I should purchase to step into programming of these uC's.

Also, if anyone of you guys are free, I found this company called www.sureelectronics.com -- ie. Sure Electronics dot com, a chinese company selling many spares along with the programmers and much more. So what do you guys think about the hybrid development board that they are selling, and what others should I purchase.

PS: I'm planning on making a purchase in that site, and if anyone wants anything, we can actually place the order together and make the package as a single shipping.

Do let me know.

09-16-2008, 01:57 AM
Thanks a lot shobhitkukreti and Mohit for sharing all this information and being so patient enough to help me out with my issue.


09-20-2008, 04:40 PM
Mate, i was a student lately, and my college does not give a damn about projects untill it is final year, there are few professors who have a lot of knowledge and it is good to talk to them, but the majority does not know anything, the person who took my viva did not know anything about MAX232, i had to show him the data sheet to convince him

When you are the lone warrior, use your resources well, if you go on a shopping spree, soon you will have a lot of worthless meaningless stuff, just buy things as you need them

You bought a pickit2, good enough for you, but i would have waited untill i actually tried a home made programmer and built a few small projects, after that you could move on.

Best of luck though

09-20-2008, 05:43 PM
You bought a pickit2, good enough for you, but i would have waited untill i actually tried a home made programmer
I wouldn't. You'll probably spend a lot of time making these work, and it'll be frustrating. Time better spent elsewhere... At least if you have a good programmer/debugger you know that if the processor isn't working, its not the programmer that is at fault. And with well-supported tools now selling so cheap, there isn't any reason for not buying them. Home made ones were okay when there were serial ports around, official programmers were too expensive and the dinosaurs roamed around.

Development tools should be the best your money can buy. Decide on a reasonable budget and begin. Rs. 5000-7000 should get you going in electronics and microprocessors (including the programmer, components etc.)... This is probably the only hobby/vocation/profession where you can do so much with so little (of money).

Others may beg to differ. And no flames please!

09-20-2008, 08:08 PM
Like mohitM said , if you can buy a programmer do it . Building programmers is frustrating in cause u run into problems.

Any experienced guy will tell u to buy one, dont waste time on stuff which is does not lead to the solution or the problem. Work on stuff u want to [:)].