Arduino Like IDE for PICs

arduino like ide for pic - chipkit uc32

Before the Arduino became popular, PICs were the go-to microcontroller device for most electronic hobbyists. PICs were cheap and the resources (at that time) were plenty. But then Arduinos came, which offer a much simpler way to code and so only a few now use these microcontrollers. Arduino's strength relies on it being a development platform rather than a single-chip microcontroller. Its creators have managed to create a system that makes things work in a simple and less time-consuming way. I am a PIC fan but most of the time I would opt to use an Arduino because of how easy it is to code, upload, and connect stuff. With this in mind, I tried looking for an Arduino-like IDE for PICs. Here's what I found.


Pinguino is an open-source Arduino-like development platform that uses 8-bit or 32-bit PICs. The 8-bit Pinguinos feature 18F PICs while the 32-bit version showcases the PIC32MX . They have their own IDE but the coding is very much the same as with the Arduino. Here are some screens from their IDE:

arduino like ide for pics - pinguino 1

arduino like ide for pics - pinguino 2

The 18F4550 Pinguino has 29 digital inputs/outputs with 8 shared analog inputs, UART for serial communications,
2 fast PWM output ( 3000 Hz ), and 8 analog inputs. However, the board picture above seems to not use all the mentioned pins in an effort to follow the Arduino's form factor.

There's no official Pinguino board and I have found a number of versions. Here are some of the iterations:

The Pinguino Wiki has all the information you need to build your own device. I'm planning to build my own Pinguino someday and might write about it here.


arduino like ide for pic - chipkit uc32

The chipKIT boards were introduced by Microchip and Digilent way back in 2011 to introduce 32-bit computing to the Arduino platform which was non-existent at that time. According to their official website, there are now 25 chipKIT-compatible boards available in the market.

All of those 25 chipKIT boards feature the PIC32MX microcontroller. The chipKIT hardware itself is open-source but the official programming tool, named chipKIT PGM, is based on a licensed design (i.e. not free).  However, there are non-official programmers that you can clone without issues.

The chipKIT boards use their own IDE, named MPIDE, which thankfully is also open-source. This IDE is much more Arduino-like than Pinguino's IDE:

arduino like ide for pic - mpide

All boards use 3.3 V logic levels but all digital pins are said to be 5V tolerant. Also worth mentioning is that the number of PWM pins is less than the Arduino.

Head over to ChipKIT's official website if you want to have one of these boards. The UC32 board (pictured above) will cost you 29.95 USD as of this writing.


CIKU is a PIC184550 Arduino-like board designed by Malaysian company Cytron Technologies. The board is designed very much like an Arduino UNO. The user can access 20 digital I/O pins, 6 of which are also analog pins, and 2 PWM pins.

arduino like IDE for PICs - ciku

This board doesn't have its own IDE and uses Microchip's MPLAB X IDE. You can code the CIKU like an Arduino board by including "Arduino.h" as one of the headers. The core compiler used is XC8, which means you will have to deal with the limitations of C (Arduino uses C++).

The CIKU is not open-source and is available for a price of around 16 USD.

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