Getting Started with MPLAB® Harmony v3 Drivers on SAM E70/S70/V70/V71 MCUs Using FreeRTOS™


MPLAB® Harmony v3 is a flexible, fully integrated embedded software development framework for 32-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) and microprocessors (MPUs).

MPLAB Harmony v3 includes the MPLAB Code Configurator (MCC) tool, a set of modular devices, and middleware libraries. Additionally, there are numerous example applications, all of which are designed to help you quickly and easily develop powerful and efficient embedded software for Microchip’s 32-bit PIC® and SAM devices.

This tutorial shows you how to use MCC to create an application that gets you started in developing applications on SAM E70/S70/V70/V71 MCUs using MPLAB Harmony v3 software framework with FreeRTOS™.

In this tutorial, you will use Arm® Cortex® Microcontroller Software Interface Standard - Real Time Operating System (CMSIS-RTOS) adoption of FreeRTOS version 10.4.6. FreeRTOS is a market-leading RTOS for microcontrollers having ports for Microchip’s microcontrollers. The FreeRTOS kernel is released under the MIT open source license.

Harmony v3 drivers support Asynchronous and Synchronous modes of operation.

Asynchronous Mode

  • Non-blocking Application Program Interfaces (APIs)
  • Works seamlessly in bare-metal and RTOS environment
  • Interrupt and thread-safe

Synchronous Mode

  • Blocking APIs
  • Suitable for use in RTOS environment
  • Interrupt and thread-safe
  • Blocking API: A blocking API hangs up execution flow until it has performed its function and returns a result.
  • Non-blocking API: Non-blocking API receives the application request and returns immediately without providing the result. The result of the non-blocking API call is provided separately through an asynchronous event. The application verifies the event to take further action.
  • Interrupt-safe: A sequence of code is said to be “interrupt-safe” when the occurrence of an interrupt(s) doesn't alter the output or functional behavior of the code. To be "interrupt-safe", the sequence of code in consideration must be atomic (indivisible and uninterruptible), and the relevant interrupts must be disabled before entering the sequence.
  • Thread-safe: In an RTOS-based environment, it is possible that a driver and its clients may each run in their own RTOS thread. If the RTOS is preemptive, it is possible that the scheduler may interrupt any of these threads at any time and switch to another. If the other thread happens to also non-atomically access the same shared resource or executes the same critical section of code, that section of code must be guarded and made atomic. The sequence of code with such guards is known as “thread-safe” code.

In this tutorial, you will use Harmony drivers in the Synchronous mode of operation.

The application uses the SAM E70 Xplained Ultra Evaluation Kit and I/O1 Xplained Pro Extension Kit (sold separately).

The application reads the current room temperature from the temperature sensor on the I/O1 Xplained Pro Extension Kit. The temperature reading is displayed on a serial console periodically every second. Further, the application writes the temperature readings to EEPROM. When a character is entered on the console, the last five written temperature values are read from the EEPROM and displayed on the console. Also, an LED (LED3) is toggled every time the temperature is displayed on the serial console.

The application you create will utilize:

  • Two-Wire Interface High Speed (TWIHS) (I²C) Synchronous Driver to read the temperature from a temperature sensor and store/retrieve to/from EEPROM.
  • Universal Synchronous Asynchronous Receiver Transmitter (USART) Synchronous Driver to print the temperature values on a COM (serial) port terminal application running on a PC.
  • PORTS Peripheral Library to toggle an LED.
  • FreeRTOS library to create application threads and intercommunicate between application threads.

In the process, the lab will also demonstrate the use of callback functions.

Two Ways to Use This Tutorial:

  1. Create the project from scratch:
    • Use the provided source files and step-by-step instructions below.
  2. Use the solution project as an example:
    • Build the solution project and download it to the SAM E70 Xplained Ultra Evaluation Kit Board to observe the expected behavior.

Lab Objectives

  1. Create an MPLAB X IDE Harmony v3 project for a SAM E70 microcontroller from scratch.
  2. Use MCC to configure and generate Harmony Synchronous Driver code for I²C and USART peripherals.
  3. Along with the configuration of drivers for I²C and USART peripherals, use MCC to configure and generate Harmony v3 peripheral libraries for the I²C, USART, and PORTS peripherals.
  4. Use MCC to configure application threads using FreeRTOS.
  5. Use the Harmony v3 Driver, Peripheral Library APIs, and FreeRTOS APIs to implement the application.


Hardware Tools

Tool About Purchase
SAM E70 Xplained Ultra
Evaluation Kit
I/O1 Xplained Pro
Extension Kit

The Xplained Pro series evaluation kits include an onboard Embedded Debugger (EDBG). No external tools are necessary to program or debug the ATSAME70Q21B. For programming/debugging, the EDBG connects to the host PC through the USB Micro-B connector on the SAM E70 Xplained Ultra Evaluation Kit.

Connection Diagram

The application has the temperature sensor and EEPROM connected to the SAM E70 over the I²C interface and the console (serial terminal) on a PC connected over the USART interface (through USB to USART converter).


Software Tools

This project has been verified to work with the following versions of software tools:
MPLAB XC32 Compiler v4.30
MPLAB Harmony CSP v3.17.0
DEV_PACKS v3.17.0
MCC v5.3.7
CORE v3.17.0
CMSIS_FreeRTOS v10.2.0

Because we regularly update our tools, occasionally you may discover an issue while using the newer versions. If you suspect that to be the case, we recommend that you double-check and use the same versions that the project was tested with.

Tool About Installers
Windows Linux Mac OSX
Integrated Development Environment
C/C++ Compiler

For this lab, download the following repositories from GitHub:

  • CSP: The following table shows the summary of contents.
Folder Description
apps Example applications for CSP library components
arch Initialization and starter code templates and data
docs CSP library help documentation
peripheral PLIB templates and configuration data
  • DEV_PACKS: The following table shows the summary of contents.
Folder Description
Microchip Peripheral register specific definitions
arm Core Specific Register Definitions (CMSIS)
  • CORE: The following table shows the summary of contents.
Folder Description
apps Example applications for core library components
config Core module configuration scripts
docs Core module library help documentation
driver Core module peripheral device drivers
osal MPLAB Harmony Operating System Abstraction Layer
system MPLAB Harmony system services
templates Application and system file templates
Folder Description
CMSIS CMSIS-FreeRTOS related files
CMSIS/RTOS2/FreeRTOS/Config CMSIS-FreeRTOS configuration file
CMSIS/RTOS2/FreeRTOS/Examples CMSIS-FreeRTOS example projects
CMSIS/RTOS2/FreeRTOS/Source CMSIS-FreeRTOS source code
Config FreeRTOS Kernel configuration file
Demo FreeRTOS demo projects
DoxyGen Source of the documentation
License FreeRTOS Kernel license text file
Source FreeRTOS Kernel source code
Utilities Utility programs


This lab shows you how to create an MPLAB Harmony v3 project from scratch, configure, and generate:

  • Harmony v3 Peripheral Libraries code for TC, I²C, USART, and PORTS peripherals
  • Harmony v3 Synchronous Driver code for I²C and USART peripherals
  • Harmony v3 application threads using FreeRTOS

It demonstrates the reading of temperature sensor values from the temperature sensor available on the I/O1 Xplained Pro Extension Kit periodically and displays it on a serial console. It further writes the temperature readings to EEPROM. When a character is entered on the console, the last five written temperature values are read from the EEPROM and displayed on the console. Also, an LED is toggled every time the temperature is displayed on the serial console.

The application functionality is divided into three threads.

  1. Sensor Thread – To read and display temperature periodically.
  2. EEPROM Thread – To write the temperature values to EEPROM and display it on the COM (serial) port terminal when requested by the user.
  3. User Input Thread – To read the character entered on the COM (serial) port terminal.

Sensor thread, EEPROM thread, and the User Input thread run the corresponding application function in an infinite loop. These threads are created from SYS_Tasks routine. Following the creation of these threads, the FreeRTOS scheduler is invoked. The scheduler performs the preemptive scheduling of these threads based on the waiting, ready, and running state of each of them. You will use MCC to generate the template files for the three application threads.

Figure: The Application Threads.

Once the scheduler is invoked the threads start to run based on the default scheduling method (preemptive).

By default, the sensor thread is blocked and wakes up every time the temperature sampling period expires. Once active, the sensor thread reads the latest room temperature value from the temperature sensor and prints the same on the serial terminal. It also notifies the EEPROM thread through the RTOS queue of the availability of the latest temperature value which needs to be stored in the EEPROM. Once notified, the sensor threads block again for the temperature sampling period duration.

By default, the EEPROM thread is in the waiting state for an event to occur. It wakes up when there is an event in the RTOS queue to either write the latest temperature value or the read last five temperature values. Based on the event, the EEPROM thread performs writing or reading and goes back to the waiting state.

By default, the user input thread is blocked to receive a character on the USART receive line. Once a character is received the user input thread becomes active and submits an EEPROM read request to the EEPROM thread through the RTOS queue to read the last five temperature values stored in EEPROM. After serving the user input request, the thread goes back to the blocking state to receive another character on the USART receive line.

Figure: The Application Thread Functioning.

Lab Source Files and Solutions

This ZIP file contains the completed solution project for this lab. It also contains the source files needed to perform the lab as per the following step-by-step instructions (see the "Procedure" section on this page).

The contents of this ZIP file need to be placed in the <Any directory of your choice>/training/ folder.

(example Directory = C:/microchip/harmony/v5_3_7)


  1. The project location of a Harmony v3 project is independent of the location of the Harmony Framework path (i.e., you do not need to create or place a Harmony v3 project in a relative path under the Harmony v3 framework folder). The project can be created or placed in any directory of your choice.
  2. The point above is true because when created, a Harmony v3 project generates all the referred source/header files and libraries (if any) under the project folder.
  3. Both points above contrast with the Harmony v2 project location. In Harmony v2, the project was supposed to be created in a location under the Harmony framework.

Extracting the ZIP file creates the following folders:

  • getting_started_freertos contains the lab solution (in the firmware folder) and source files (in the dev_files folder).
    • dev_files contains subfolder sam_e70_xult containing application source files and other support files (if any) required to perform the lab (see "Procedure" section below).
    • firmware contains the completed lab solution project. It can be directly built and downloaded on the hardware to observe expected behavior.


You must complete all of these steps before you can build, download, and run the application.

Lab Index

Step 1: Create Project and Configure the SAM E70

  • Step 1.1 - Install the MPLAB Code Configurator (MCC) Plugin in MPLAB X IDE
  • Step 1.2 - Create MPLAB Harmony v3 Project using MPLAB X IDE
  • Step 1.3 - Verify Clock Settings

Step 2: Configure I²C and USART Drivers in Synchronous mode

  • Step 2.1 - Configure I²C Driver and I²C Pins
  • Step 2.2 - Configure USART Driver and USART Pins

Step 3: Configure Pin for LED

  • Step 3.1 - Configure LED Pin
  • Step 3.2 - Rename the Default Main File
  • Step 3.3 - Configure Application Threads

Step 4: Generate Code
Step 5: Add Application Code to the Project
Step 6: Build, Program, and Observe the Outputs

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