Microchip’s HPC curiosity board is a neat basic development board for most 28 and 40-pin microcontrollers, however, as usual, Microchip’s support of newer PIC microcontrollers on this board is lacking at best. Let’s fix that.

Many times, when using the HPC Curiosity board, while configuring a new project MPLAB will refuse to allow you to use the PKOB even the device has all the correct pinout and on paper it would be supported by the PICkit3 programmer which the PKOB is based on.

This comes from an MPLAB file which has a list of supported devices by the PKOB programmer which is different from PICkit3’s due to some devices PGD PGC Vss Vcc and ~MCLR pins not matching with HPC Curiosity board socket, however, many devices that do have a compatible pinout are not on the list, limiting what you can use on the board.

The file responsible is located inside a .jar file at:

  -> .\com\microchip\mdbcore\pkobskde\pkobskde.platformTool.xml

Inside this file is the compatibility list:

    <mp:family mp:family="24x">
        <mp:device mp:name="PIC24EP512GU810" mp:support="beta"/>
        <mp:device mp:name="PIC24EP64MC204" mp:support="yes"/>
<!-- Lots of entries -->

If we replace the entire <mp:deviceSupport> block with the one from PICkit3’s own XML file:

<mp:deviceSupport mp:lookInMplab="true" mp:mplabDebuggerName="pk3d" mp:mplabProgrammerName="pk3p"/>

Now MPLAB will allow you to use the PKOB for any device PICkit 33 supports but, keep in mind that many devices have incompatible pinout and may damage the HPC board so check the pinout compatibility before attempting to program any device using the “patched” XML file.

I’ve also made a very simple script that will extract the .jar file and replace the XML automatically when run as administrator on MPLAB’s root directory (the directory where Uninstall_MPLAB_X_IDE_v5.50.dat is located). No warranty at all that this may break your software or hardware but it works for me. Enjoy!

Dec. 2021: I’ve received a report via email regarding the HPC boards, these boards have different revisions where revision 1 has a PICkit3 on board and subsequent revisions might have a PICkit4 instead. Keep that in mind when editing the XML files. I have also updated the script to make some basic error checking and making execution more robust.

Rev. Description Download
Rev.1 Initial revision Link
Rev.2 Added error checking Link