Packs and Projects in MPLAB® X IDE

Last modified by Microchip on 2024/06/24 06:34

MPLAB® X IDE requires specific information about supported devices in order to simulate or emulate these devices. This information is found in the device (.PIC) files; it includes data on device power requirements, programming methods, architecture, etc.

As of MPLAB X IDE v5.00, the device files are grouped into versioned Device Family Packs (DFPs). Currently, each MPLAB X IDE version comes with device packs, though as of v5.30 you can upgrade the device pack version to include new devices, new device feature support, or device bug fix support.

As of MPLAB X IDE v5.35, Tool Packs are also included, with information on hardware debug tool firmware. In future releases, you can upgrade the tool pack version to include new firmware, new device support, or bug-fix support.

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Pack Locations

Packs are placed in a system directory when MPLAB X IDE installs.

For example, in Microsoft® Windows® 7 OS:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microchip\MPLABX\vx.xx\packs

In the Microchip subdirectory:
DFP names: <pack_name>_DFP, e.g., ATmega_DFP
Tool Pack names: <hardware_tool_abbreviated name>, e.g., icd4

Packs may be in a user directory if they are placed after an MPLAB X IDE install. For example, in Windows 7 OS:

​The file structure inside a pack can change at any time. For more on pack structure, see:
CMSIS-Pack Documentation

Install Packs during MPLAB X IDE Install

When installing MPLAB X IDE (as of MPLAB X IDE v5.20), you may now "Choose Microchip device support you want installed". This will install the packs related to the device architecture(s) chosen. Installing only what you need saves disk space and increases the speed of installation.

select the applications to install

Figure 1: MPLAB X IDE Install - Select Applications dialog

Information on installing MPLAB X IDE may be found in the MPLAB X IDE Readme.

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Install Packs after MPLAB X IDE Install

Select Tools > Packs to open a list of versioned packs that you can install via the MPLAB Pack Manager.

  1. When first opened, the list is filtered for packs known to be compatible with the current IDE release. Uncheck Show Packs Compatible with MPLAB X IDE x.xx to disable this feature and see all pack versions.
  2. Search for your device to narrow the list. Click to Install or Uninstall DFP or Tool Pack versions.
  3. At the bottom are pack locations for reference. For more on System Packs Location and User Packs Location, see the "Pack Locations" section. For more on Remote Packs Repository, see the “Packs on the Web” section.
mplab pack manager list

Figure 2: MPLAB Pack Manager - DFP List

pack manager toolpack list

Figure 3: MPLAB Pack Manager - Tool Pack List

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Switch Installed Packs

For a project open in MPLAB X IDE, right-click on an open project name in the Projects window and select Properties to open the Project Properties window. View the Packs list to see available packs for the project device.

project properties showing the tool packs

Figure 4: Project Properties - Packs

Packs followed by a [Resolve] link are not included in that version of MPLAB X IDE. To install the pack, click on the link.

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Packs on the Web

To find and download pack versions from the web, go to:
Microchip Packs Repository

Click on the name of a pack to see pack information, such as Supported Devices and Pack Version History.

microchip tool pack repository

Figure 5: Microchip Packs Repository

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