If you're going to use a Microchip PIC whether it's
with code written by someone else or with your own code you'll need a
programmer. I don't recommend any particular programmer however I
use genuine Microchip
PICkit programmers since they're reliable, well supported and not that expensive
compared to alternatives.
The full range of Microchip programmers
including those below can be bought worldwide through
You may find buying these programmers through a local
electronics distributor easier and with lower shipping costs so I have
provided some links below (correct at August 2011)
PICKit2 product page
PICKit3 product page
Microchip have recently (2009) brought out the
PICkit3 programmer which at first appears to supersede the PICkit2.
However they haven't stopped selling the PICkit2 and currently
the support and application features for the PICkit3 are, in my opinion, not as good as
the original PICkit2 while being more expensive to buy.
Although the PICkit3 does now
have a stand-alone Windows programming application currently
(August 2011) it's still at version 1 and is not as fully
featured as the PICkit2 app which as well as supporting
programming has a UART and Logic tool applications which makes
it a very useful device for the hobbyist developer.
I have both versions and find
the PICkit2 gets most use, particularly with the standalone
Windows application. Therefore if you're just using base
line and midrange PICs (which includes those PICs used on the
Picprojects website) I would still recommend
you buy the PICkit2 over the PICkit3.