REVIEW: Olimex PICkit3 programmer clone

in tools by DP | 6 comments

A few weeks ago we wrote about a PICkit3 clone from Olimex available on eBay for $30. Compared to the original it is considerably smaller and at first glace it looks sturdier as well. We like that Olimex decided to use the large type-B connector which seems more reliable then the original mini-B.

The ICSP programming header doesn’t have any markings referring to the first pin. This was an immediate annoyance that lead to repeated use of a multimeter to figure out which pin is which. The fact that the supplied cable uses the same color for all six pins didn’t help either.

We tested it out with MPLAB 8.8, MPLAB X, and the standalone PICkit 3 app. The device worked exactly like the original. Follow below for a look inside.

The board is two sided, and there’s lots of components. This wouldn’t be simple to remake in all through hole like our favorite ICD2 clones.

The pin spacing of the USB connector doesn’t seem to quite fit the board, it’s too large. This could be a potential cause of problems with excessive use.

All in all, the Olimex PIC-KIT3 seems as a well designed piece of kit. So far it functions like the original on the PIC 24F and 32s that we tested.

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  1. arhi says:

    what is the big black thing on the bottom picture ?! External power supply?

  2. Aleksandar Mitev says:

    Yes, exactly. Olimex PIC Kit3 can work in standalone mode powered from a regulated power supply and not only from the USB port as the original. This should be quite handy when you do not have a PC around.

  3. JTR says:

    $30 dollars? Sure that is not 30 Euros?

    My thoughts exactly… However on the plus side given that the ICSP connection is via flying leads potentially there is a lot less movement/repositioning of it so that may help reduce the accumulated strain. I wonder though what it does for the USB signals.

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