Working With Hardware Tools

The new MPLAB® Xpress supported hardware tools currently are:

Preparing to use the USB Bridge Tool

To prepare to program your code using a hardware tool:

  1. If you have been using MPLAB X IDE, close this application. Its drivers can interfere with bridge operation.
  2. Ensure your MPLAB Xpress project builds without errors.
  3. If you will be using MPLAB Snap, MPLAB PICkit 4 or MPLAB PICkit 5, ensure the debugger is connected to a target.
  4. Connect your hardware to the PC using a USB port.

Starting the USB Bridge Tool

MPLAB Xpress needs a program called USB Bridge to connect to your local USB port. This allows MPLAB Xpress to send a compiled HEX file to a supported hardware tool.


Open the Manage USB Bridge Window

  1. Click on the Project Properties DashboardIcon_ProjProp.png icon on the dashboard.
  2. Click on your hardware tool under Debug Tool. Text and a link will appear below.
  3. Click on the here link.
Figure 1


Select the USB Bridge Installer

Follow the instructions on the Manage USB Bridge window to download a ZIP file containing the USB Bridge installer.

The Safari® browser requires a secure WebSocket connection which can be downloaded by clicking the Here link on the dialog.

Figure 2

Once the ZIP file is downloaded, click the red X in the upper right corner of the window to close it.
Then click OK or Cancel to close the Project Properties window.


Run the USB Bridge Installer

Unzip/extract the contents of the downloaded ZIP file. Then find and run the file(s) specified below.

Windows® run.bat
macOS® If using the Safari browser, import (double click) the certificate file xpress-bridge.cert (in figure), found in, to keychain access. Then*.
If NOT using the Safari browser,*.
* It is recommended to run with administrative privileges.
Figure 3

The running USB Bridge Tool application will appear as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4

Connecting to the USB Bridge Tool

To connect to the USB Bridge Tool, click on the Connect to USB Bridge ConnectToRunningBridgeApp.png icon.

You can see that the tool is connected to the USB Bridge Tool application.

Figure 5

Open the Project Properties dialog again to see that the specific debug tool is available.

Figure 6

Programming and Running Your Application

Select the MPLAB Xpress Make and Program Device ProgramDevice_Icon.png icon.

Other Resources

For tips on connecting and debugging, click on the Hardware Debug Tips TipsForHWDebug.png icon on the toolbar.
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