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How to program a PIC16F84A with PICkit
or other ICSP programmers

Michael A. Covington
Institute for Artificial Intelligence
The University of Georgia
and
Covington Innovations
Athens, Georgia

2019 July 15

In general, to perform in-circuit serial programming (ICSP) of a PIC microcontroller, all you have to do is connect it to the PICkit or similar programmer like this:

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Here's the diagram with the actual pin locations of the PIC16F84A:

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This can be done on a breadboard, but I built mine in permanent form for repeated use (see top of page). The 0.1-F capacitor is icing on the cake; it is not strictly necessary, since there should be a capacitor inside the programmer. But it could provide greater reliability under some circumstances.

Next, you need to get your PICkit 2, 3, or 4 working and connected. The PICkits 3 and 4 are supported by MPLAB X; the PICkit 2 is supported only by its own programming software, available from Microchip's archive of older downloads.

Each PICkit has more than 5 connectors, but only the first 5 are used, beginning with pin 1.

Programmers that do not provide +12V for programming, such as the ersatz PICkit 3 on the 8-bit Curiosity board, will not program the PIC16F84A because it does not support low-voltage programming.

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