Getting Started with MCU Projects Using MPLAB® Code Configurator (MCC) Melody

MPLAB® Development Ecosystem for MPLAB Code Configurator (MCC) Melody

Last modified by Microchip on 2024/06/10 11:44

   Get Started  Installing MCC Melody Toolchain   

MPLAB Software Components

When developing a microcontroller (MCU) application there are many software and hardware tool options. Microchip offers both hardware and software tools for developing PIC® family MCU-based applications. MPLAB® X Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is the main software tool and there are various hardware options for programming and debugging the application circuitry.


The IDE provides a user-friendly interface for you to write, compile, debug, and program microcontroller firmware. It's available for Windows®, macOS®, and Linux platforms. There is also a Plug-in Manager built into the IDE to assist you in installing, updating, and removing various MPLAB X IDE plug-ins which expand the capabilities of the IDE. MPLAB X IDE can be downloaded for free from the Microchip website.
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 MPLAB X IDE desktop

MPLAB XC Compilers

Microchip also provides a suite of C compilers including the MPLAB XC8 compiler for 8-bit devices, MPLAB XC16 for 16-bit MCU devices, MPLAB XC-DSC for dsPIC® digital signal controller (DSC) devices, and MPLAB XC32 for 32-bit devices. These are installed separately from MPLAB X IDE. This training will use the MPLAB XC8 compiler for our application development. You can select a specific version and configure specific compiler options from within the MPLAB X IDE.
MPLAB XC Compiler
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MPLAB Code Configurator (MCC)

MPLAB Code Configurator (MCC) is a free graphical programming environment that generates easy-to-understand C code to insert into your project. It consists of three embedded software development frameworks: 

MPLAB Code Configurator
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This training will focus on getting started with the MCC Melody tool.

MCC Melody screenshot

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MPLAB Hardware Components

Microchip has a variety of ways to program and debug our microcontrollers.

The following are just a few options.


The MPLAB PICkit™ 5 in-circuit debugger/programmer enables quick prototyping and portable, production-ready programming for all Microchip devices and is controlled directly from the MPLAB X IDE.

The PICkit 5 requires a USB port on a laptop or desktop computer to communicate with MPLAB X IDE and a 6-pin connection to the development circuitry to perform programming and debugging.

PICkit 5
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The PICkit 5 is also portable and can be powered from any USB type of power supply and controlled thru a Bluetooth connection from a mobile device. Programming files are stored on the internal SD card.
PICkit 5 on Development Board
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The MPLAB ICD 5 In-Circuit Debugger/Programmer is perfect for lab-based development. It offers advanced debugging capability and power options such as support for Fast Ethernet connectivity and Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+). The MPLAB ICD 5 Debugger/Programmer can also operate isolated remotely when applications require custom environmental chamber testing.
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On-board Programmers/Debuggers

The simplest and least expensive option is to use a Curiosity Nano board for the device being developed. It has the surface mounted MCU, a power indicator LED and a second LED plus momentary switch for simple applications.
PIC18F56Q71 Curiosity Nano Board
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The Curiosity Nano board has a built-in programmer/debugger and connects to the MCU thru the curiosity circuit board. MPLAB X IDE can control it through a micro-USB connector.
Programmer/Debugger on Curiosity Board
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Now that many of the popular options for hardware and software tools have been introduced, this training will use the MPLAB X IDE, MPLAB XC8 compiler, MCC Melody plug-in and a PIC18F56Q71 MCU Curiosity Nano board for all the application examples.