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Microchip MPLAB versions

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I considered adding my question to one of a few Microchip/Pickit threads, but I finally decided that I will just ask my question separately.

Although I'm a degreed electrical engineer, and a former electronics technician, I've only been what can be considered an electronics hobbyist.   I've always wanted to learn to use microcontrollers,  but I never actually did anything.  After watching one of Dave's blogs, I bought a Pickit 3 with the development board that is included.   While waiting for it to arrive, I read about some tutorial articles in the EEVBLOG forum.  Good stuff. 

When the Pickit 3 arrived, I noticed it included a surface mount microcontroller (I can't remember which_ while the tutorials I am reading start off with a baby - the little 6 or 8 pin model, while using the older "low pin count" demo board.  So, figuring that I'm just starting and don't need further complication, I'll buy the same hardware used in the tutorial. 
The cheapest way to get the low count eval board was to buy a pickit 2 kit with the board!  (I bid low on "famous auction site" and got it)

So, we finally get to my question, after almost a book of expository info:

What version of MPLAB should I install on my computer?

Can I install the software that came with the Pickit 3 and use it with the smaller microcontroller and the "low pin count" eval board?
Should I install the older version that came with the Pickit 2, and, when I get to the newer microcontrollers, then download the latest software?
Does MPLAB prompt for auto-update?

The only thing I'm sure about is that I've over-anlyzed this.

I thank everyone for any help/advice you can give me.

Install the lastest one. It will be the most up to date and it will support same micros the old one support plus the most recents.

yup. download the latest from microchip website ;)

Some recent MPLAB versions had some minor troubles when using the CCS compiler and Windows 7. Versions 8.43 or before worked OK.

If the current version still has problems, I'd recommend version 8.43.

Yep, just get the latest one. It has the most recent PICkit 2 and 3 firmware, and latest device support. They are always backward compatible for every PIC chip and programmer ever made as far as I am aware.



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