Monday, November 21, 2011

Getting Started with the PIC32 Explorer 16 Board

My initial setup is made up of a PIC32MX processor, Explorer 16 development board, and a PICKit 3 programmer/debugger. I am also using the MPLAB IDE and C32 compiler both from Microchip. After updating the software from the Microchip website I plugged in the development board and found it running a demo program that would cycle through a display on the LCD screen showing the voltage and temperature being read from the various sensors. Next I tried connecting the PICKit3 and seeing if I could communicate with the board. This is where I ran into my first snag. MPLAB was able to detect the PICKit3 but it hung at the connecting stage with the connecting status bar just filling over and over again. After doing some web searches and talking to an experienced PIC developer, I learned that my issue is a common one with the PICKits. The work-around is to swap the USB port you have the PICKit plugged into on the host system. It doesn't matter which USB port you swap it to, as long as it is a different port. Rebooting can also fix this issue. With the connection issue resolved I was prompted to download new firmware for the PICKit, and after installing that, I was able to read the current image from the board. My next project will be to change the program image running on the PIC32 and then to write and install my own image.


After selecting the PICKit 3 programmer, if MPLAB hangs at the "Connecting..." step, try swapping the USB port for the PICKit 3.

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