Electronic Engineering Blog

Issues with ICD3 in Mac OS X

I’ve been using Microchip’s MPLAB X on Mac OS X for some time now, and really getting along nicely with it.

I use it for various projects and with a range of different hardware targets and programmers.

I’m using MPLAB X v1.90 with PicKIT2, PicKIT3 and ICD3 and until recently I’ve had little or no trouble.

Last week, however, I allowed the 2013-005 Java Software Update from Apple to install. This updated my VM from JRE 6 to JRE7 (aka Java version 1.7).

Everything seemed fine until I tried to program a device using my ICD3 debugger/programmer.

With Java 1.7 installed MPLAB X can no longer see my ICD3. When connected my ICD3 shows a flashing red status light.

MPLAB X also ships with a utility called MPLB IPE – which is the Integrated Programmer Environment: a tool which allows you to use your programmer outside of the main IDE. This utility can not detect the ICD 3 either.

There is a forum post over at the MPLAB X forums which states that Mac OS X 10.7 and 10.8 require the use of JRE6, but it is light on information, and the link it gives for downloading JRE6 is out of date.

I tried to remove Java 1.7 following the instructions on the Oracle website here. I followed the instructions for removing the applet plugin and the JDK. (Note: On my system the JDK was installed at /System/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines and not /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines)

However my ICD3 still does not work. I have rebooted and checked which version of Java the system thinks is installed. From a terminal window I type:

java -version

and it responds with:

java version "1.6.0_65"

But still no joy. Ho Hum. Looks like the install of Apple’s 2013-005 Update has hosed my ICD3 usage. As a matter of interest the same programemr still works great on a PC running Windows 7, and in a Virtual Machine running Windows 8.1 Pro on the same Mac where is will not work natively.

I think this dependency on Java 1.6 will start to bite Microchip because many people will just automatically update to Java 1.7 when prompted by software update on the Mac, and I cannot find a way to successfully redact the update. With OS X Mavericks just around the corner, who’s going to be caught out? Maybe there are too few of us Mac OS X users with ICD3 about for anyone to care anyway!

Best wishes.


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