Requirements for Debugging With MPLAB® X IDE

Last modified by Microchip on 2024/06/24 06:30

When it comes to debugging applications with MPLAB® X Integrated Development Environment (IDE), developers have two options. They can either debug while running on hardware or make use of the IDE's Software Simulator. These two options have different requirements in order to debug.

However, the requirements for debugging differ depending on the option chosen.

Option 1: Debugging Code on Hardware

Debugging on hardware requires three items.   

MPLAB X debug requirements

  • Integrated Development Environment - MPLAB X IDE running on a PC or Mac® that has a USB Interface. If the application is written in C you will also need an MPLAB XC C Compiler.
  • Target Hardware - A Microchip microcontroller (MCU) or microprocessor (MPU) running on a development board. This board can be your design or a demonstration/evaluation board offered by Microchip. 

Microchip MCUs interface to the programmer/debugger using shared Input/Output (I/O) pins. AVR® MCUs and PIC® MCUs have different programmer/debugging interface pins and protocols. While Microchip’s latest programmer/debuggers work with both of these device families, it is imperative that any board you design brings out the appropriate signals to the debug header.  Please consult the datasheet for the device you are using to ensure proper board layout.

  • Programmer/Debugger - A programmer/debugger such as the PICKit™4, MPLAB ICD 4, or MPLAB ICE 4.  Or a development board from Microchip with on-board programmer/debugging circuitry, such as a Curiosity or Xplained development board.

MPLAB X debug circuitry

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Option 2: Debugging Using the Software Simulator

An internal software simulator is included with the MPLAB X IDE. The user interface to the software simulator is identical to using a programmer/debugger. The software simulator provides the ability to test the code without the risk of any physical damage caused by an error. Other than the IDE and a no-cost MPLAB XC C Compiler license there are no additional tools required to use the software simulator.

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