MPLAB® Development Ecosystem: Debugger/Programmer Interfaces

To debug or program a target device, you must connect the debugger/programmer to the target using a communication interface supported by the device. See your device datasheet and hardware tool documentation for details.

MPLAB® Development Ecosystem Hardware Tools - PIC® MCUs

All MPLAB Development Ecosystem hardware tools use in-circuit serial programming (ICSP) for communication with a PIC MCU target. This is also called standard communication. For an example, see Emulator Standard Communication.

The current tools are:

  • MPLAB PICkit™ 4 In-Circuit Debugger
  • MPLAB REAL ICE™ In-Circuit Emulator
  • PICkit 3 In-Circuit Debugger
  • MPLAB PM3 Programmer
  • MPLAB Starter Kits

Other communication options are available depending on the device, tool, and available accessories. For example:

  • High-Speed/LVDS Communication - MPLAB REAL ICE Performance Pak (AC244002)
  • JTAG - MPLAB REAL IDE JTAG Adapter Board (AC244007) - select as 'Supported Plugin Board' in MPLAB X IDE Project Properties.

Hardware Tools - AVR®, SAM, CEC MCUs

There are many different target communication choices depending on the target device. Below is a list of hardware tools that support some of these connections:

  • MPLAB ICD 4 In-Circuit Debugger with the Debugger Adapter Board (AC102015) - JTAG, SWD
  • MPLAB PICkit 4 In-Circuit Debugger with the Debugger Adapter Board (AC102015) - JTAG, SWD
  • Atmel-ICE - JTAG, PDI, ISP/debugWire, SPI, UPDI, SWD
  • Xplained boards - dependent on on-board device communication features

Select the interface in MPLAB X IDE through Project Properties > Debug Tool > Communication > Interface.

As more device support is added in MPLAB X IDE, more interface options may also be supported.

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