Release Notes for PICkit™ 3

Development (nonproduction) Programmer &

In-Circuit Debugger

MPLAB® X IDE v1.95

DLL and Firmware versions:

 PICkit 3 Suite (OS, FW)   v01.29.33  (PK3FW_012933.jam)


October 29, 2013


Table of Contents

1       Device Support

2       Other Support

3       Reference Documents

4       What's New in v1.95

5       Repairs and Enhancements Made in v1.95

6       Known Problems

7       Important Notes

8       Reserved Resources

9       Number of Hardware Breakpoints per Device

1      Device Support

Click the link below to see device support for “PICkit 3 Debugging” (PK3D) and “PICkit 3 Programming” (PK3P).

Device Support List

For device family feature support, see the debugger on-line help file, “Device and Feature Support”.

1.1      Debugging Considerations

For low pin-count devices (8 to 28 pins), a Header board is usually required. See the Header Board Specification (DS51292) or Header help file (hlpHeader.chm) for a list of available headers by device.

For high pin-count devices (40 to 100 pins), a Header board may be available, but is not required. See the Header Board Specification (DS51292) or Header help file (hlpHeader.chm) for a list of available headers by device.

2      Other Support

See the Readme for MPLAB X IDE.htm for other support information.

3      Reference Documents

The following documents may be found on our website:

·         Using PICkit 3 In-Circuit Debugger for MPLAB X IDE (DS52010)

·         PICkit 3 Programmer/Debugger User's Guide for MPLAB X IDE (Help Only)

·         Development Tools Design Advisory (DS51764)

·         Header Board Specification (DS51292)

·         Transition Socket Specification (DS51194)

On-line help may be found in MPLAB X IDE under Help>Help Contents.

4      What's New in v1.95


5      Repairs and Enhancements Made in v1.95


PICkit 3 User’s Guide is not clear on how much power can be supplied. Fixed in v1.90 PICkit 3 help, see “Installation and Setup” and “Debugger Powered” sections.



Failed to get PC' error - For the PIC18LF13K22 device, PICkit 3 debugging fails at 64 MHz (16 MHz with 4X PLL enabled).



6      Known Problems

The following is a list of known problems. For information on common problems, error messages and limitations please see Troubleshooting in the online help file for the PICkit 3.

6.1      Software/Hardware Conflicts

Some applications, plug-ins or widgets may take control of, or interfere with, the system provided HID USB driver, which can cause problems communicating with the PICkit 3. If you cannot connect to the PICkit 3, review the Task Manager for these types of programs and close them.

For more information, see forum posts:

6.2      PIC12F/16F Devices

On PIC16F88X devices it is necessary to pull the RB3/PGM pin low for ICSP programming. This is due to a silicon issue.

If you cannot enter debug mode with one of the devices listed below, set the PWRTE (Power-Up Timer Enable bit) to DISABLED.

PIC16F1937 / PIC16LF1937

PIC16F1936 / PIC16LF1936

PIC16F1934 / PIC16LF1934

For the following Processor Extension Pak products:

AC244026 - PIC16F727-ICE Processor Extension Pak

AC244027 - PIC16LF727-ICE Processor Extension Pak

Physically isolate the Processor Extension Pak’s target /MCLR signal from any connection(s) to the board being debugged. (For example, if a simple pull-up resistor reset circuit is connected between /MCLR and Vdd, completely isolate it by removing the pull-up resistor.)



6.3      PIC18F Devices

Watch window – It will take 1 cycle for the watch window to update properly for PORTx registers. Use an instruction that reads the port such as ‘MOVFF PORTx, PORTx_copy’ before the breakpoint is reached. This affects the following devices:



















For the PIC18F14K22 family, MPLAB X IDE debug/programming tools will not work below 1.9v. The work-around is to run the device above 1.9v.

PIC18F2520 MCUs: Table Read Protect (EBTRx) will not work unless Code Protect (CPx) is enabled. Also, once Table Read Protect is enabled, you cannot perform a Verify on the protected block.

For PIC18F8720, MEMCON cannot be read if in a microcontroller mode. This is a silicon issue.

PIC18F45K20/46K20 MCU family: There is a silicon issue that prevents some device revisions from being programmed with "power from programmer". The workaround is to use "power from target" OR increase the capacitance across VDD, VSS (for example to 47uF.)

See Section 6.6 SSRs (System Service Requests).

6.4      dsPIC30F Devices

PICkit 3 does not support preserve EEPROM memory during programming.

6.5      dsPIC33EP/PIC24EP Devices

Stopwatches don’t work on PICkit 3.

If there is a Software breakpoint on a function that is in Auxiliary memory, single stepping over that breakpoint will not work properly.

Verifying Auxiliary memory sometimes will proceed even when verifying Program Memory has failed.

When programming in Debugger mode, a message may come up that protection bits need to be turned off even though they show as being turned off in the Configuration Bits window.

6.6      SSRs (System Service Requests)

The following is a list of issues that are being tracked for this tool.





Communications to PICkit 3 fails if programming with preserve EE is checked for the dsPIC30F devices.



PICkit3 fails to debug a PIC18F46K20 device when using HITECH C PRO for PIC18 v9.80. PICkit 3 fails to program the Debug Executive.

The workaround is to use MPLAB XC8 or MPLAB C18 compiler.



Enable the low voltage programming settings for the devices that support this feature.

PIC18F23K22 and family


PK3CMD.exe operation without PICkit3 connected locks up PK3CMD.exe



PICkit3 cannot program PIC18F97J94 device if a 64 MHz oscillator is connected. As the frequency is reduced the occurrence is less frequent.

PIC18F97J94 device family


The last Program memory location is ignored for a verify cycle if "Allow PICkit 3 to select memories" option is selected under programmer settings.

Workaround: Go to programmer settings, and manually select memories and ranges. Check the appropriate memories to verify and ensure to click full range for program memory.



MPLAB reports errors sending image to the PICkit 3 in the 'Programmer To Go' (PTG) mode for the PIC24EP256GU814 device if the user selects "automatically select memories and ranges".

Workaround: Change the Project Properties, Memories to Program option category, Auto select memories and ranges option to “Manually select memories and ranges" and clear the Auxiliary Memory check box.



For the PIC24FJXXGA00X family of devices, the unimplemented upper bits in the configuration word are programmed to a "0" instead of "1".

PIC24FJ64GA004 and most likely the whole family


For PIC24F devices during a programming/verify operation (or subsequent verification operation) of user code that performs self-writes and/or self-erases to program space, a verify sequence may fail if the code execution occurs within the first execution cycles following reset.

Workaround: Place a delay in your code before the code section that performs the self-write and/or self-erase. The specific delay value may need to be adjusted, but 100 ms would be a conservative value to start out with. Here is a C language example that illustrates the workaround:

int main (void)


    // Place 100 ms delay here before any self-write/self-erase code

        :       :       :





When reading a device with a programmer, code or write protection applied to either the General or Auxiliary Segment is being applied to both; therefore all flash memory will read back as zero. Only devices with no code or write protection applied can be successfully read using a programmer. This limitation applies to revision B1 (0x4002) of the following devices:















SPI misses SDI input when single-stepping with freeze in debug enabled.



PIC24FJ256DA210 Family: Data Memory not functional unless 96 MHz PLL is enabled. This is a silicon issue that is being worked on.



If you are not able to enter debug mode when power-up timer is enabled for the following devices, please disable power-up timer during the debugging session. (If the final application firmware requires power-up timer enabled, please enable it after the debugging session is complete and program the part with the final application firmware.)












PIC24F devices can start to run after programming but before verification. This can result in a verification failure if the code performs self-write to either program memory or Data EE.



Below 4.5 V, PICkit will not overprogram User ID's on these devices:



















Don't read the FIFO when single stepping in debug mode. The FIFO should get set back to the user mode pointer when exiting debug, but instead it just keeps incrementing on its own. Work-around: Always reads the full FIFO.

dsPIC33EP512MC20x, dsPIC33EP512MC50x, dsPIC33EP512GP50x

6.7      Processor Extension Paks

For the following Processor Extension Pak products:


            AC244026         PIC16F727-ICE Processor Extension Pak

            AC244027         PIC16LF727-ICE Processor Extension Pak


Full debugging support is not available for the PICkit 3 at this time when using the above Processor Extension Paks. Full PICkit 3 support is planned for a future MPLAB release.

Workaround: use either the MPLAB ICD 3 or MPLAB REAL ICE tool if debugging support is needed for these products.

6.8      Engineering Technical Notes (ETNs)

The following ETNs are related to the PICkit 3 in-circuit debugger. Please see the product webpage for details.

ETN-32: Applies to Assembly #10-00424-R4 or below.

7      Important Notes

7.1      16-Bit Devices

1.     RB0 and RB1 pins:
If the PICkit 3 is selected as a debugger, it initializes all the A/D input pins - AN0 (RB0) through AN15 (RB15) pins - as "digital" pins, by setting all 16 bits in the ADPCFG register.

  1. If you have selected a pair of "debug pins" (EMUD/EMUC, EMUD1/EMUC1, EMUD2/EMUC2 or EMUD3/EMUC3) that are multiplexed with A/D input pin functions on the particular dsPIC30f device being used, then you must never clear the bits in the ADPCFG register that correspond to those A/D pins.

For example, if EMUD3 and EMUC3 are used as the debug pins on a dsPIC30F2010 device, then bits 0 and 1 of the ADPCFG register must remain set at all times. Similarly, if EMUD and EMUC are used as the debug pins on a dsPIC30F5011 device, then bits 6 and 7 of the ADPCFG register must remain set at all times. In such cases, you must also take proper precaution to isolate the application circuitry from the corresponding A/D pins during debugging.

  1. If your application needs to use certain A/D pins as analog input pins, then your code must clear the corresponding bits in the ADPCFG register during A/D module initialization.

For example, if AN4 and AN5 are required as analog input pins, then bits 4 and 5 of the ADPCFG register must be cleared.

2.     SLEEP, IDLE, WDT, Clock Switching:
For dsPIC devices, debug operations can be executed on programs which use SLEEP or IDLE mode, Watchdog Timer, and/or Clock Switching.

3.     Debug during SLEEP or IDLE Mode:
When the device is in SLEEP and IDLE mode and a Halt command is issued, the PICkit 3 debugger will wake up the device and halt execution on the instruction immediately following the PWRSAV instruction.

4.     Interrupts:

  1. In general, single-stepping an instruction will not generate an interrupt or trap, because the corresponding interrupt/trap status flag bit would not get set. Essentially, the interrupt or trap condition would be ignored.
  2. However, if the user has explicitly set an interrupt/trap flag bit, either in the user program or by modifying the status flag values in the MPLAB Watch, SFR or File Registers window, then the interrupt/trap would get generated, and the user would be able to single-step into the Interrupt or Trap Service Routine.

5.     Break Point Behavior:
If a break point is set on an instruction that follows a taken branch, the Breakpoint will be triggered even though the branch went elsewhere.

6.     Break Point Behavior and Skidding:
It is possible that a breakpoint halt will exhibit program memory skidding in that the execution stops N instructions after reaching the breakpoint. The following definitions are provided and referred to:

One skid  - A breakpoint occurs AFTER the instructions is executed (PC+2)

Two skid  - A break point occurs AFTER the NEXT instruction (PC+4)

Break Point Behavior:

If a Non-Program-Flow, modifying, Single-Word, Two-Cycle instruction (such as Table or PSV) precedes a break point instruction, then the breakpoint occurs BEFORE the instruction at the breakpoint address is executed (ONE SKID).

All other instructions have a "TWO SKID", which means the break occurs AFTER the NEXT instruction is executed.

7.     The CAN module, unlike the other peripherals, does not get frozen in the following situations:

during a Halt

during a stop on a Breakpoint

after a Single-Step

For example, if you set a Breakpoint and run to it, the CAN module continues to run in the background, and it may seem that data transmissions and receptions have completed immediately.

8.     DISICNT register:
In five dsPIC30F devices (dsPIC30F6010, dsPIC30F6011, dsPIC30F6012, dsPIC30F6013 and dsPIC30F6014), since the DISICNT register continues to decrement even when the device is halted by the debugger, the DISICNT value will always be seen as 0x0000 in the Watch, SFR and File Registers windows. To monitor the DISICNT value, add code to copy the DISICNT register contents to a W register or memory location and monitor the value of the corresponding W register or memory location in the Watch, SFR or File Registers window.

9.     ADCMD bit in PMD1 register:
The user application must not set the ADCMD bit (bit 0 of PMD1 register). This would lead to incorrect ICE operation.

10.  SPLIM register:
When using the PICkit 3 as a Debugger, your software must initialize the Stack Pointer Limit register (SPLIM) before using the stack (device errata).

11.  Single-stepping a DO loop:
In five dsPIC30F devices (dsPIC30F6010, dsPIC30F6011, dsPIC30F6012, dsPIC30F6013 and dsPIC30F6014), single-stepping through a DO loop in dsPIC30F assembly code results in the loop getting executed one less time than expected.

12.  Pass Counter feature in Advanced Breakpoints:
For a specified Pass count of 'N', the code will break after 'N+1' occurrences of the breakpoint instead of 'N' occurrences.

13.  If you need to use the Fail-Safe Clock Monitor feature on a dsPIC device when using the PICkit 3 for debugging your application, a Watchdog Timer Device Reset will occur, even if the Watchdog Timer has not been explicitly enabled in the application. To work around this issue, use the "CLRWDT" instruction in the main loop of your application code. This will ensure that the Watchdog Timer gets cleared before it causes the device to reset.

14.  For PIC16F616 devices PICkit 3 does not row erase the device below 4.5V.  A bulk erase will be required which must take place with Vdd above 4.5V. (ICD3-125)

8      Reserved Resources

Due to the built-in in-circuit debugging capability of ICE devices, and the ICSP function offered by the debugger, the PICkit 3 programmer/debugger uses on-chip resources when debugging, i.e., some device resources are reserved for use by the debugger.

Refer to the on-line help for the most up-to-date list of resources used by the debugger.

9      Number of Hardware Breakpoints per Device

To see the number of breakpoints supported for your device and the number of breakpoints used in your project, use the Dashboard window (Window>Dashboard).

Breakpoint support per device is as follows:


Number of Breakpoints



PIC16F1xxx enhanced




PIC18F enhanced



3 or 5 (Note 1)











Note 1: There is a limitation for these devices that only 1 data capture is available.