Let’s start with the hardware. You really want a PICKIT3 debugger/programmer. It works with every PIC processor made, and it costs very little (my first PIC emulator cost £1600 18 years ago. The PICKIT3 is about forty quid. That’s a steal. ) You can get one here:
Or an Olimex official clone here:
We’ve already mentioned the other nice things to have; a USB to 3v TTL serial cable, breadboard, hookup wire. All available on ebay. If you look through the Example Programs section you will come across other recommended hardware, such as LCD and LED displays, but these are more project related items. The stuff above is more for general purpose software and project development.
So, software tools then. These are the ‘free’ things. We will list these in the order in which you should installed them. Now for some of the later items the order is not important, but for the first two it is.
So here we go:
Click on the “MPLAB-X Free Download” button and then select the MPLAB X IDE vx.xx link. That will download a zip file; you will have to extract the contents and run the .exe file within it.
Having installed MPLAB-X, it’s time to install the C compile:
From the weblink above scroll down and open the link to “MPLAB XC8 Compiler vx.xx”. This will download the installation program. Once downloaded, run it. Accept the defaults, as we will be running this in the free ‘unlicensed’ mode.
If you are going to use the serial port on the LPLC to communicate with a PC, then you are probably going to want to use a serial terminal program. HyperTerminal, the program supplied with the Windows OS, is rubbish. Install Putty instead.
If you are going to make your own designs and would like to share them with other people, I cannot recommend strongly enough the program Fritzing. At the time of writing this webpage – July 2014 – there is no symbol for LPLC available. One will be made available soon, however.