2020/11/12 07:09:48
I have a question regarding the "Licensed Debugger" which is available on the Digilent Pro MX7 board (Link).
I use this board with MPLAB X (v2.10) and it's easy to connect and debug per USB.
Now the problem is, we have built ~100 Devices using this board over the last years and we will need to build some more in future. Digilent has told me that this board is discontinued and they are selling out stock.
Also, we have a high pressure regarding pricing of our devices.
So, the idea is, to integrate the relevant parts of the board directly to our PCB...that means PIC32 Controller, CANs, RS232, .. in the way that we don't need the digilent board anymore.
But my big question is, how can we built the USB Debugger/programming interface on our own?
In the schematics of the digilent board, the debugger is hidden ("this page intentionally left free").
I can see on the board, that a PIC24FJ256 is part of it.
The Digilent reference Manual tells something about a "licensed Debugger", but I cannot find some detailed Information about it.
For example, is the firmware running on the PIC24 available, or is this "licensed Debugger" is something to buy from microchip?
Can anyone tell me something about this "licensed Debugger", what do I need to make it possible to program and debug the PIC32 per USB in MPLAB if we integrate it on our layout instead of using the digilent board?
2020/11/12 08:01:45
My guess is that the 'Licenced Debugger' used by Digilent,  is a derivative of PICkit 3,
with firmware delivered from Microchip.
Look up Schematics for a Curiosity Board with PKOB 3 programmer/debugger,
and compare it with traces on the Digilent Board.
Note, that Curiosity Boards have been made in different revisions,
some with PKOB3 using PIC24 processor, and later with PKOB4 using a SAM processor.
PKOB3 is a stripped down PICkit 3,  PKOB4 is a stripped down PICkit 4, similar to SNAP debugger.
The firmware is probably in a .jar file within MPLAB
There are many variations of PIC24FJ256, the next letters and digits are the most important part of the device identification.
My Discovery HPC board have  PIC24FJ256GB106, same as is inside my PICkit 3.
Schematics for PICkit 3 is in PICkit 3 standalone Programmer Application v3.10,
Programmer Application User Guide:    DS50002158A-page 65       
It is also part of the installation package available in MPLAB Archive webpage.
Do you really need the Integrated Programmer and Debugger tool,
or could you get away with just 6 pins or pads connected to   ICSP pins of the PIC32MX,
and use external PICkit 3 or PICkit 4 for programming and eventual debugging?
PIC32... devices use only 5 of those pins.
2020/11/12 08:03:02
Jim Nickerson
Can you provide a link to the board you are building that makes use of this Digilent board ?
If you "need" a debugger/programmer Microchip has quite a few available.
2020/11/12 17:36:58
The Digilent Pro MX7 appears to be a version of the PIC32 Ethernet Starter Kit II with PMOD interface connectors.

A complete schematic that includes the PIC24FJ256GB106 debug interface is in the user's guide: PIC32 Ethernet Starter Kit II User's Guide

I do not know where you can find the HEX image of a complete PKOB3 to load into your own hardware.

Microchip has moved to using an Atmel controller for the PKOB4 on board In-Circuit-Debugger.
Keep in mind that all of this stuff is viewed by Microchip as obsolete so if you are using MPLABX Harmony generated code you are going to be left on your own for any internet/WiFi driver issues.
Anyone know when the TCP/IP stack was last updated for the PIC32MX795F512L?
2020/11/12 21:35:56
You can just place an ISCP header onto your board. Then you can program/debug it with any programmer/debugger.
If you want on-board programmer, we sell chips which can do PIC programming and debugging. They are pre-programmed Microchip PIC16LF1454:
They also provide USB-to-UART or USB-to-SPI functionality. We have programming software and SDK. The programming can be easily integrated with MPLAB or alike - you simply specify the programmer in the post-build script and it programs every time you build.
Unfortunately, debugging software is not ready yet, so you won't be able to debug until it is released.
Price is slightly over $2 in quantity.
2020/11/13 07:53:14
Hello all,
many thanks for all your helpful posts.
I downloaded the schematics of PKOB3 and Ethernet Starter Kit and they really seem to be more or less similar. It's not easy to compare...but they are all using the PIC24FJ256GB106.
I don't use harmony. When we started the project some years ago, MPLAB X was used, and I see no reason to migrate to newer libraries. One thought was to change to any other modern platform, like ARM, beaglebone, Arduino, whatever. But this would make much more effort to rewrite the software application.
An opportunity for USB programming is something I would like to keep. It's so useful if you can send a hexfile to China or anywhere else in the world and tell them to install MPLAB IPE and program it without any need for special hardware or knowledge.
So however, I will have to look through the schematics and analyze the board, but even if the layout would be clear, I'm not sure if I can get the right software onto a naked PIC24 to get it running with MPLAB..
2020/11/13 08:36:18
if you want USB programming only, why not just use an usb bootloader?
2020/11/16 07:45:27
if you want USB programming only, why not just use an usb bootloader?

That's a really good question. I tried this one today.
I could program the USB bootloader to the MX7 Pro board over the debug interface.
Then I switched to the USB Interface of the board, Windows detected it as a HID Bootloader.
With the PC Apllication I could connect.
But if I load my hex file, verification Fails and after restarting the PIC32, I cannot connect again.
I guess that my hex file overwrites the Bootloader. How can I tell MPLAB in my existing Project, not to include the Bootloader to the hex file?
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