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Explorer 8 Development Board


The Explorer 8 Development Kit is a full-featured development board and platform for 8-bit PIC®microcontrollers. This kit is a versatile development solution, featuring several options for external sensors, off-board communication and human interface. Additionally, it offers ample room for expansion, making it an excellent solution for developers and engineers looking for a tool with the largest number of supported 8-bit PIC MCUs.

Enterprise-Class 8-bit Development

The Explorer 8 Development Kit is the latest offering in a long line of enterprise-class tools for 8-bit PIC microcontrollers. The board is an evolution of the popular PIC18 Explorer Board, and has been updated to take advantage of our most modern features including:

  • On-chip Core Independent Peripherals
  • Compatibility with all PIC MCUs
  • 8-, 14-, 20-, 28-, 40/44-, 64- and 80-pin footprints

With the Explorer 8 Development Kit, you can have a single development platform that allows you to update a legacy design while supporting our newest MCU offerings.

All-in-One Solution

Microchip designed the Explorer 8 Development Kit to be your main tool for 8-bit development with support for a wide variety of functions. On-board components enable easy development of human interface, power conversion, Internet of Things (IoT), battery charging and other applications using a powerful 8-bit PIC microcontroller. Additionally, the Explorer 8 Development Kit also has a large capacity for expansion. Two Digilent Pmod™ interfaces, two MikroElectronika Click™ board sockets and two custom expansion headers allow you to quickly adapt as your development needs change. The Explorer 8 Development Kit supports several program and debug solutions including the PICkit™ 3, ICD 3 and MPLAB® REAL ICE™ In-Circuit Emulator.

Explore New Ideas

As with all of our modern development platforms, the Explorer 8 Development Kit is designed to use the internet as a conduit for design ideas. To that end, we provide application and code examples for many new 8-bit PIC MCUs on our website in order to energize your creativity. Code examples and application schematics can be found at www.microchip.com/Explorer8.

Made for MPLAB® Code Configurator

The Explorer 8 Development Kit seamlessly integrates with MPLAB Code Configurator (MCC) for a modern embedded development experience. MCC is a free software plug-in that bridges our MCUs, development hardware and MPLAB X Integrated Development Environment (IDE). It allows you to generate easily modifiable, production-ready application code for many 8-bit PIC MCUs in just a few mouse clicks. Find out more at www.microchip.com/MCC.

Click image to enlarge
Click image to enlarge

Key Features

  • Supports all 8-bit PIC microcontrollers from 8 to 80 pins
  • Programming headers and power connections for all MCU sockets
  • Three individual power supplies
  • 5V, 3.3V, variable (1.5-4.5V)
  • 16 × 2 character LCD module
  • External connections for industry-standard communications and expansion interfaces
  • RS232 and Bluetooth® Low Energy interfaces
  • Push button switches for device reset and user-defi ned inputs

Connection Points

The Explorer 8 Development Kit supports several options to easily add functionality to your design.

  • Micro USB to I2C or Serial - Use the USB interface for diagnostic or control interfaces. USB to I2C/serial conversion is handled automatically.
  • MikroElektronika Click Board Support - Two sockets provide access to nearly 100 add-on boards, with capabilities ranging from GPS to alcohol sensing.
  • Digilent Pmod Support - Two 12-pin interfaces provide access to expansion boards with options for communications, sensing and power conversion capability.
  • Multiple Expansion Options - A legacy expansion header for PICtail™ daughter card connectivity and a 120-pin edge connector enable you to expand the Explorer 8 Development Kit's capability to suit your needs.
  • 20-pin Add-On Board Connector - Design your own add-on boards for sensor interface or motor drive, and connect them with this simple header.

Whether you're an analog engineer looking to add intelligent closed-loop control to your design, or a university professor who desires an extremely versatile teaching platform, the Explorer 8 Development Board can fulfill your requirements. Flexible hardware, seamless integration with our latest development environment and a wide array of supporting labs give you the functionality you need and the freedom to innovate.