Welcome back to Digilent’s Show and Tell!
This episode covers the smallest– but possibly the most powerful– member of the chipKIT family, the chipKIT PGM. To understand the chipKIT PGM, you need to know the difference between a chipKIT and a chipKIT Pro.
The chipKIT line is the primary line of microcontroller products that we offer. All chipKIT boards are built around Microchip’s Pic32 product line and are compatible with both MPIDE and MPLAB X. The chipKIT boards come in a variety of forms and fits — they are geared towards application-based projects, rapid prototyping and people who may be learning electronics.
In comparison, chipKIT Pro boards are more microcontroller-centric, where the user wants greater control of a professional development environment, which is MPLAB X. To use MPLAB X, you need to have a “debugger circuit” that allows communication between the board and the development environment to occur. On chipKIT Pro boards, this debugger is included in the hardware. On chipKIT boards, you need to add a debugger in order to get it usable with MPLAB X.
That’s where the chipKIT PGM comes in! The chipKIT PGM is a licensed debugger that was designed to turn your chipKIT board into a chipKIT Pro board. If you look at any of our chipKIT boards, you’ll notice a row of six offset holes. This is so you can plug the chipKIT PGM into the board without having to solder. Once you have the chipKIT PGM connected to the board, then you can connect it to MPLAB X.
So, this is the chipKIT PGM. Add it to any chipKIT board to turn it into a chipKIT Pro board.