How to Build your Own USB PIC Programmer?

This DIY PIC programmer is a continuation of our PIC programming basics tutorial. By using this USB PIC programmer, you can program microchip PIC series of 10F, 12F, 16F, 18F, 24F, 30F. This is also an EEPROM programmer as it supports 12Cxx EEPROM. The main component of this PIC microcontroller programming circuit is a PIC182550 microcontroller which controls the overall circuit. Serial port PIC programmers are the widely used PIC chip programmer Kit, but since laptops have no RS232 ports they require an USB to RS232 converter.

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Now one of the main advantages of this circuit is that it does not require any external power supply, instead it uses USB power. It generates programming voltage of 13V through voltage multipliers. Linux PIC programmer software is also available for burning. You can program micro controller like pic16f84a, pic16f877a, pic18f4550, pic16f628a etc. and make your micro controller programming easier.

Circuit diagram of PIC Chip Programmer

                                     Click on the image for enlarged view
                                      (Download and zoom for closer look)


  1. Microcontroller PIC 18F2550
  2. Transistor (BC548-2Nos, BC547, BC557)
  3. Diode IN4148(6Nos)
  4. Resistor(IK-7Nos, 100K, 470-2Nos, 1M, 470K, 330-3Nos)
  5. Capacitor(0.01uF-3Nos,2.2uF-2Nos, 10uF, 22pf-2Nos)
  6. Crystal 8MHz
  7. USB Connector
  8. 5-Pin Header (2Nos)

Step by Step procedure

  • PIC 18F2550 has an inbuilt USB port which makes PC interfacing much easier.
  • First a firmware should be burnt to PIC 18F2550 using any PIC programmer and then connect the jumper as in the circuit diagram. Download firmware here.
  • The jumper connection decides the mode of the programmer, i.e. boot loader mode or programmer mode. Boot loader is used to upgrade your firmware and programmer mode is to burn the PIC microchip.
  • Now connect the circuit to the USB port of your PC and open hex file to PIC programmer software.
  • Connect any PIC microchip through the ICSP (In Circuit Serial Programming) Header, it include VPP, VDD, PGD, PGC, GND.

Components Pin Out



  1. AnonymousJuly 03, 2013

    this is great! but how can I download the firmware? I tried to do that but my browser couldn't do that.

    Also, how can I connect the PIC for burning?

    1. We have updated the download link please check now, sorry for the issue that you faced before.

      Follow the pin configurations for connecting the PIC for burning.

      VPP=MCLR/VPP pin,VDD=VDD pin, PGD=RB7 pin, PGC=RB6 pin,GND=GND pin

    2. will this programmer work fine for pic 18F4550

    3. Yes Bhavesh, it will work for PIC 18F4550 too.

  2. can't download the firmware through the provided link. please help

    1. The download link is working well enough.

  3. Nice work and very easy steps. I am trying to build one, but I am finding hard to get the same part number components (mainly the transistors). So is it ok if I replace them with a different one? Especially the transistors in the VPP path, are there any specific Hfe the transistors need to have?

    1. Hi Srikanth,
      Let us know which components are harder for you to find. We can recommend the equivalent components.

  4. when ever i have to program other PIC do I have to remove the 18F4550

    1. Your question is not clear. I guess this point from the above article will solve your problem. -The main component of this PIC microcontroller programming circuit is a PIC182550 microcontroller which controls the overall circuit.

  5. I made this circuit double checked connections.
    The LEDs blink only in bootloader mode not in programmer mode and there is no detection in software or PC (windows 7)



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