Explorer 8 Development Board

The Explorer 8 Development Board is a full-featured development board and platform for 8-bit PIC® microcontrollers. This board 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.

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The Explorer 8 Development Board 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 Board, 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 Board 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 Board 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 programs and debug solutions including the PICkit 3, ICD 3 and MPLAB® REAL ICE In-Circuit Emulator.


The Explorer 8 Development Board 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.

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 5 V, 3.3 V, variable (1.5 - 4.5 V)
  • 2 x 16 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-defined inputs

Documentation and Software

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