Emulator Firmware Upgrade


When you install a version of MPLAB® X IDE, the associated version of the MPLAB® REAL ICE™ in-circuit emulator firmware (operating system) will be installed on your system. The next time you use the emulator, MPLAB X IDE will automatically upgrade the firmware on the emulator. You can see the progress in the Output window.

If you want to use a version of MPLAB X IDE with a firmware version other than the one MPLAB X IDE uses by default, you will have to manually install the firmware as described in the following sections.

Default Firmware File Location

The default firmware file (.jam) is stored in a Java archive (JAR) file for the debug tool (i.e., REALICE.jar).

The default location of the firmware is:
<install path>MPLABX/vx.xx/mplab_ide/mlablibs/modules/ext/REALICE.jar

Manual Firmware Installation

For an active project that uses the emulator:

  1. Select File > Project Properties to open the Project Properties window.
  2. Click on the 'Real ICE' category and select 'Firmware' from the drop-down 'Option Categories'.
  3. Uncheck 'Use Latest Firmware'.
  4. Click in the “Firmware File” field that says, “Press to browse for a specific firmware file”. A long button will appear. Click it.
  5. In the dialog under “Directories”, browse to the location of the file containing the firmware file you want (REALICE.jar). Select this file.
  6. In the dialog under “Firmware Files”, select the firmware file (.jam) and click OK.
  7. In the Project Properties window, click Apply and then OK.
  8. In the Dashboard window, click Refresh Debug Tool Status.

Communication Interruption when Installing Firmware

If the emulator becomes disconnected from the PC when firmware is being installed, reconnect the emulator. It will begin to erase what had been written so it can restart. This erasing will take about 75 seconds (1:15 min.). Please be patient.

You will see:

  • the orange busy light turn on for approximately 25 seconds
  • the light turn red for another 25 seconds
  • the light turn orange again for another 25 seconds or so

When it turns back to red again, MPLAB X IDE will recognize the device and start the recovery process, i.e., begin the firmware download.

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