Powering the board up

There are two ways to power the board: by , well, powering it up, or by plugging in a PICKIT3 programmer/debugger unit, and powering the board through that. It’s surprisingly convenient to use just the PCIKIT3, especially when you are travelling.

If you are powering by batteries, we find two AA cell batteries in a small two cell battery holder works best during development. The board will run happily from two Alkaline, NiCad or NMiH batteries. No external regulator is required; just connect the batteries directly to the appropriate board pins ( GROUND and 3v3, as shown on the PCB layout drawing.)

Powering via the PICKIT3 is even simpler. Just plug in the PICKIT3 as normal:


Note how the PICKIT3 appears “upside down”. It’s not a problem; the LEDs on the top of the PICKIT3 are not really interesting. Only five of the six header pins are used, starting at pin1 (marked by a triangle on the top of the PICKIT3.)

Plug the PICKIT3 into the PC, and start the MPLAB-X application. Click on the “Hold in Reset” icon, as shown in the figure below.


Once the text in the lower “Output” dialog indicates that the PICKIT3 has connected to your board (“Target Detect”,) click the button again, and the board will power up.

Please note: If you continue to use the board with the bootloader application, you should add a resistor ( a value between 4K7 and 50K) between pin 18, PORTC7, and 3.3V. This ensures that the bootloader does not start when you are running your board without a serial cable connected. This resistor is only required for application that use the serial port (like the bootloader.)


  1. Hello Mike,
    I’m not familiar with Pickit and MPLAB-X, I am used to work with LCD3 and MPLAB8. Is there any interest for me to continue working with these tools AND your module ? Honnestly I thought it was a dev. board supposed to emulate or simulate any microcontroller. I understand I have to work now with the new MPLAB as older won’t be supported no more. Why should I use your module, it seems I don’t need it, do I ?
    Maybe I’ll take it for a single project, I don’t know…

    • Hi Raph,

      ICD3 and MPLAB8 will be fine with my dev board. My point is that the PICKIT2 cannot be used. MPLAB8 is no longer supported by Microchip, so there wont be any improvements.

      >Is there any interest for me to continue working with these tools AND your module ?
      >Why should I use your module, it seems I don’t need it, do I ?

      Only you can answer those questions :o)

      • Hi Mike,
        To be honnest, I’m totally confused. I’ve got two excuses, first I’m french next I’m sixty, so please accept my apologies if I bore you.
        I think that from a hardware point, I can connect LPLC to ICD3, it should work, even if I suspect some issues regarding clock management. With ICD3, some µP need a dedicated “header” and a “template” file, depending on the µP used. Can I consider LPLC as a header ? And where’s the template file ?

        • Hi Raph,

          The “header” is a converter board that you use to attach the ICD3 to your target board. For example, this is a header board

          You would use one of those headers, connect one side to the ICD3, plug the other into a breadboard, and then plug the LPLC board into the breadboard.

          Unfortunately I cannot teach you how to use the ICD3 with the LPLC, as I do not have an ICD3. The ICD3 is very expensive, and I designed the LPLC board to work directly with the PICKIT3.



          • Hi Mike,
            Sorry for this late answer, I lost the discussion address.
            There’s a huge misunderstanding regarding LPLC, you cannot name it a “development tool” cos it’s not. You need a Pickit, which is a real dev tool, unless you choose to work with the bootloader alone and, in this case, naming it a dev tool would be exagerateed. If you, Mike, can’t tell me how to work with LPLC and ICD, who’s gonna tell me ?
            I’m quite sure I’ll find a way to utilize LPLC, this to tell you I don’t regret my purchase.
            All the best

          • >There’s a huge misunderstanding regarding LPLC, you cannot name it a “development tool” cos it’s not.

            I do not call it a “development tool” I call it a development board. I have been working with development boards for over 20 years, and that is the accepted term for what it is. The PicKit3 and ICD are programmer/debugger units.
            Please don’t tell me what I may or may not call my board.

            >If you, Mike, can’t tell me how to work with LPLC and ICD, who’s gonna tell me ?

            The people who sold you the ICD of course. The PIC processor uses five pins for programming; +3v, GND, MCLR, PDC and PGD. I designed the LPLC to kit the pickit3 header. The user guide that came with your ICD will explain how to connect the ICD’s programming pins to a target’s programming pins, or they will supply a header to adapt the ICD header (an RJ11 I think) to a pickit style header. I dont own an ICD, and I do not intend to buy one just so I can explain to one person how to use it.

  2. Good morning Mike.
    All the best.

  3. I have lot of leaded solder, can I use it, or would damage the SMD parts? if no, which solder should I use?

    • If anything, leaded will be better – it melts at a lower temperature. Just don’t go eating the board afterwards!

  4. having soldered connectes to , connected PICKIT3 to laptop, I get output reply device not detected, check my PCB, looks good, any other ways to check it?

    • Hi Glen,

      can you send a photo of your board connection to the Pickit3?
      Although before you do that, can you explain what you mean by “I get output reply device not detected”
      So for example,
      what program are you running, that gives that response?
      What commands did you enter to get to that response?

      If you are running mplab-x, can you check that you have selected “Power target circuit from pickit3 in the Project properties?

      If that is not clear to you, I can do a video explanation (If it is not clear to you then I expect other people will be confused too, and it will make a good tutorial video)



      • there’s no point sending picture it looks the same as yours, how can I test the PicKIT3 is working correctly, because I get same answer, whether or not the PCB connected? I also have a pickit2 which I know works as I used it before, can I try it, if so how? is there any way of knowing whether my PCB is okay?

  5. one other thing, you talked about doing a video, how about showing how to write a program in C to get LED on PCB to blink, to prove PCB works? as the beginning as you know is the best place to start, as you did 30 years ago,you have probably worked out that’s here I am.

    • That’s a good idea, I will do that this weekend.



      • Hi Mike,
        not been able to follow your Great Video until tonight, I have a LED going no & off, very happy, getting there, well done!!

        many thanks Glen

  6. Hi Mike

    my lplc broad works find with kit3, but with 3 re-chargeble battery givin 3.8v it does not, remowed one of the battery and connect it so there was only two giving 2.6 v and its works.


    • Hum, 3.8v is the absolute maximum input. Take care with what batteries you use; re-chargeble batteries should be 1.2V; poor quality ones can be higher due to impurities in the materials used. You may find that these batteries are giving a higher voltage until put under load, but by this time the CPU has locked up.

      I’ve seen cheap Chinese batteries generate 1.7v ‘off load’. Take care!

      With decent batteries, 3 rechargeable batteries is still the best solution IMHO.


      • Mike, I agree 3 is better under load conditions, may be resister & 3.6 volt zener diode to control supply voltage.


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