Lets take the first steps in getting started with the MPLAB Xpress board. I don’t plan to go into depth yet, I just want to get an idea for what the out-of-box experience is with this dev. board.
Plug It In
This development kit is meant to be used in conjunction with Microchip’s new cloud-based development IDE, MPLAB Xpress. Before diving right into the IDE, why not just go ahead and plug in the Xpress board…see what happens.
After plugging it in via USB, the Xpress board immediately enumerated as a mass storage device as drive K. From what I can see (keep in mind, I literally have zero prior information about this board and how it works) the mounted drive K corresponds to the flash memory of the PIC microcontroller on-board this dev. board. In my next post I will get into the specifics of the board and what’s “under the hood”.
So I am led to believe that this means the programming of this Xpress board is handled by simply dragging your compiled code onto the board as if you were using a usb memory stick transferring files. A quick look on the box for this board confirms this…”USB Mass Storage Programming”. This should get interesting.
Upon opening K drive which has automatically shown up as ‘XPRESS’ K drive one file will be found sitting there. A lonely readme file. Opening up the file redirects to the Microchip website for MPLAB Xpress. This is a clear hint that some reading will be required as well as creation of an MPLAB Xpress account.
I will leave it there for now, except for a very brief video showing the board on initial powerup. It is clear it has been preloaded from the factory with some sort of ‘blinky’ program as an initial starting point as seen by the LED action. As mentioned I will go into detail of the board itself as well as get started with MPLAB Xpress next time.