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by Steve McGrath


Simplicity Studio 4 is an Eclipse-based IDE by Silicon Labs which supports development and debugging of code on EFM32 devices. PEmicro provides hardware debug probes which provide sophisticated debug of these same EFM32 devices. This blog demonstrates the three steps needed to install and configure PEmicro Multilink and Cyclone debug support in Simplicity Studio.

Installation Step

Frequency

1. Install the GDB Hardware Debug Plugin

Only Once

2. Install the PEmicro GDB server for Arm device Plugin

Only Once

3. Create a Launch Configuration

Once Per Project


1. Install the GDB Hardware Debug Plugin


The first step is to start Simplicity Studio 4:

PEmicro Multilink and Cyclone debug support is included in the PEmicro GDB server for ARM devices. Note that the GDB hardware debug plugin must be installed before installing the PEmicro plugin. Follow these steps to determine the current version of the plugin to install:

a. To start the install process, first close the Installation Details dialog Then use the CTRL-3 key combination to bring up the Quick Access dialog. Type the word “Install” and select the “Install New Software” option which appears.

b. This will bring up the Plug-in Installer. In the “Work With” input box, enter the following software repository link  (http://download.eclipse.org/tools/cdt/releases/8.8.1) and hit Enter on the keyboard. This will cause Eclipse to display the software and updates available from this site. 

c. In the “CDT Optional Features” Category, select the “C/C++ GDB Hardware Debugging” option and click Next. In the following dialog click Next, accept the License, and click Finish.

d. This will install GDB Hardware Debug support into Simplicity Studio. A dialog will pop up prompting you to restart Simplicity Studio. Click Yes.


2. Install the PEmicro GDB server for ARM devices Plugin

The following steps will help to install the PEmicro GDB server for ARM devices.

a. Use the CTRL-3 key combination to bring up the Quick Access dialog.

b. Type “install” and select the “Install New Software” option.

c. In the “Work With” input box, enter the following address : http://www.pemicro.com/eclipse/updates and hit the keyboard Enter key.

d. In the “PEmicro Software” category, select the “GNU ARM PEmicro Interface Debugging Support” as well as the “PEmicro ARM Device Expansion Plugin” option and click Next.

e. In the following dialog click Next, accept the License, and click Finish.

f. This will install support for PEmicro's Multilink and Cyclone hardware into Simplicity Studio. You will also be allowed to connect all corresponding target devices that are supported by PEmicro hardware. A dialog will pop up prompting you to restart Simplicity Studio. Click Yes.

PEmicro debug support has now been added into Simplicity Studio.


3. Create a Launch Configuration

The following steps will help you to create a Launch configuration:

a. Open or create the EFM32 project of your choice.

     i. For example. select the Silicon Labs MCU Project option and click Next.


    ii. Then select your target board you wish to work with under the "Boards" option, as well as the specific part that your target board provides, under the "Part" option.


   iii. For this case, the SDK will be the "Gecko SDK Suite: Kernel, MCU 5.5.0.0, Micrium, OS (v2.3.0)...". Click Next and then choose your project of choice from the options listed


   iv. Click Next and name project if prompted, then click Finish.

b. Build the project by right clicking on the project and searching for the “Build Project” option. Alternately you may click on the project in the Project Explorer popup menu and click the icon with the picture of a hammer on the main button bar. Alternately,

c. Once you are ready to debug the project for the first time, open the Debug Configurations dialog. This can be done from the main button bar, the main menu, or the Project Explorer popup menu. The main button bar method is shown here:

d. This brings up the dialog where launch settings are configured. Normally, you would select the configuration of your choice to edit it. In this case, we have never configured a launch before and need to create a launch configuration. Double click the “GDB PEmicro Interface Debugging” category in the left pane.


This will create a GDB PEmicro debug configuration with default settings which need to be adjusted.



e. Notice that the C/C++ Application box is empty. This box contains the project that will be loaded (flash programmed) upon debug. As long as the project has been compiled, the search capability can be used to properly configure the application load. Click “Search Project…” to bring up a list of binary files in the project. Choose the .AXF extension (the ELF file) and click OK.


f.) When the popup disappears, the C/C++ Application input box should have a string in it showing the path to the application binary to load. Click Apply to save this setting

g.) Next select the “Debugger” Tab of the Debug Configurations dialog. This brings up launch settings for the currently selected configuration

h.) Select the PEmicro hardware being used to interface with the target device. In this case, we are using the Cyclone hardware via USB connection

i.) Next we need to select the specific microcontroller type to be debugged. This is done by clicking the “Select Device” button which pops up the “Select Target Device” dialog. This dialog shows a tree structure of all supported devices. There is a box where a string may be entered to filter the devices shown (blank = everything). In this example, since we are interested in the EFM32WG990F256 device, we enter WG990 in the filter box to make the selection easier. 


Select the device to be programmed and click the “Select” button.


j.) The GDB Debug Client also needs to be specified to launch a debug session. There is a panel titled “GDB Client Settings” on the Debugger Tab which has a path to the GDB client executable (provided by Silicon Labs). Click the “Browse...” button and navigate to the proper GDB client executable (usually arm-none-eabi-gdb.exe). In this example, the path is “C:\SiliconLabs\SimplicityStudio\v4\developer\toolchains\gnu_arm\7.2_2017q4\bin\arm-none-eabi-gdb.exe”. Once selected, the path is shown in the “Executable” input box.

There are many settings in this dialog. Refer to the plug-in documentation for these details.

We are now ready to debug. Click the Apply button to save the settings and then the Debug button to launch a debug session.





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