MCUXpresso IDE: Installing Processor Expert into Eclipse Neon

In “MCUXpresso IDE: Importing Kinetis Design Studio Projects” I explained how Kinetis Design Studio projects can be imported and used inside the MCUXpresso IDE. Processor Expert projects can be used, but no new components added, modified or new Processor Expert projects created. To fully use Processor Expert, two plugins need to installed, and this is what this article is about.

Processor Expert in MCUXpresso IDE

Processor Expert in MCUXpresso IDE

MCUXpresso IDE Series

This article is part of a series to get up to speed using the new NXP MCUXpresso IDE. Published so far are:

Outline

Processor Expert is a great tool: It supports component based software development, has a graphical user interface to add and configure settings and to generate code on the fly. However, NXP does not continue is development and the Processor Expert functionality gets replaced by the new MCUXpresso tools. Pins and Clocks are available, but that ‘Peripheral’ tool not yet which should help me with configuring the microcontroller UART, SPI, I²C, etc. So until that tool is available (expected this year) I have to use Processor Expert if I want a graphical configuration tool.

💡 Processor Expert in MCUXpresso is a ‘not supported by NXP’ configuration. It works fine for me, but aware.

The steps outlined here should work for any Eclipse Neon distribution (using Eclipse Neon.3, I had issues with Neon.1). Processor Expert would need GNU tools for compile and build, see “MCUXpresso IDE: Importing Kinetis Design Studio Projects” how to install them into any Eclipse distribution.

💡 MCUXpresso IDE supports both the Kinetis and LPC microcontroller families. Processor Expert only supports Kinetis!

GNU ARM Tools

Processor Expert creates and uses projects with the GNU ARM Eclipse build tools and the GNU ARM Embedded (gcc) toolchain. Both are *not* installed by default in MCUXpresso. To install them, follow the steps outlined in my earlier article: “MCUXpresso IDE: Importing Kinetis Design Studio Projects

Processor Expert Installation

Go to

http://www.nxp.com/products/software-and-tools/software-development-tools/processor-expert-and-embedded-components/software-suites/processor-expert-software-microcontroller-driver-suite:PE_DRIVER_SUITE?&tab=Design_Tools_Tab

and download the Processor Expert for Kinetis v3.0 Eclipse plugin (Eclipse 4.4 or later):

Processor Expert for Kinetis

Processor Expert for Kinetis

The downloaded file is named

 PEx_for_Kinetis_3.0.0_Install_into_Eclipse_4.4_Unzip_me.zip

As the name indicates, unzip it first. This gives the following four files:

Unzipped files

Unzipped files

From the same page, download the Processor Expert for Kinetis v3.0.2 update:

Processor Expert v3.0.2 Update

Processor Expert v3.0.2 Update

Then unzip the file:

PEx for Kinetis 3.0.2 Files

PEx for Kinetis 3.0.2 Files

Install the ‘freescale_updater.zipfirst! That plugin is needed for Processor Expert as it allows to install any Processor Expert and the Processor Expert functionality. Without it, you cannot install Processor Expert!

For this, use the menu Help > Install New Software and drag&drop the file into the dialog, then install it:

Installing FSL Eclipse Updater

Installing FSL Eclipse Updater

After restarting Eclipse, install PEx_for Kinetis 3.0.0.zip in the same way:

Processor Expert v3.0.0 Installation

Processor Expert v3.0.0 Installation

Next, we install the v3.0.2 update for Processor Expert (file PEx_for_Kinetis_3.0.2.zip we have unzipped in the previous step!):

PEx for Kinetis 3.0.2 Files

PEx for Kinetis 3.0.2 Files

Then install the update it the same way as the other files:

Install PEx for Kineits 3.0.2 into MCUXpresso IDE

Install PEx for Kinetis 3.0.2 into MCUXpresso IDE

Restart Eclipse, and done: We have the Kinetis Design Studio V3.2.0 Processor Expert capabilities added to MCUXpresso IDE 🙂 !

Creating Processor Expert Projects

To create a new Processor Expert project, use the menu File > New > Processor Expert Project:

Processor Expert Project Creation

Processor Expert Project Creation

💡 I do not recommend creating new SDK 1.x projects: better use SDK v2.x projects with MCUXpresso IDE.

Give the project a name and pick your device:

Device Selection

Device Selection

Then choose Processor Expert with no SDK selected:

Processor Expert Project

Processor Expert Project

💡 With the Processor Expert option disabled, I can create ‘bare’ projects (no SDK, no Processor Expert) which is a nice benefit I get with the plugins.

Go through the next dialog and have GNU tools selected, and I have a Processor Expert project in MCUXpresso IDE :-).

If the Processor Expert views are not shown, use the menu blow or Window > Show Views > Other > Processor Expert.

Processor Expert show views

Processor Expert show views

With this, I have the power of Processor Expert in MCUXpresso IDE available:

Processor Expert in MCUXpresso IDE

Processor Expert in MCUXpresso IDE

Summary

MCUXpresso does not have Processor Expert installed, as the new route is to use the SDK with the Pins and Clocks tool. As the Peripheral tool is not available yet, and for continue using projects from Kinetis Design Studio, it is possible to install Processor Expert into the Eclipse Neon based MCUXpresso IDE. That way I have the same capabilities as in Kinetis Design Studio v3.2.0 (or any other Eclipse distribution with Processor Expert). To be clear: this is something ‘out of the main road’, and Processor Expert does not support the SDK v2.x (there is only a ‘hack’ I’m using it with SDK v2.x projects, see “Tutorial: Using Eclipse with NXP MCUXpresso SDK v2 and Processor Expert“). Regardless, adding Processor Expert to the MCUXpresso IDE allows me to leave both LPCXpresso and Kinetis Design Studio behind, as I have now a truly combined IDE and toolchain.

Happy Experting 🙂

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22 thoughts on “MCUXpresso IDE: Installing Processor Expert into Eclipse Neon

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      • Hi Erich,
        I use on KDS ok, thanks.

        other question, install MCUEprosso, update ok
        now it problems license not found
        Install the first! <—-second install, error order.
        unitall all, re-install firt ‘freescale_updater.zip‘, others…

        install components Components 2017-03-12.zip ok
        I creat project PE ok, no oped project, not show views.

        thanks,
        Carlos.

        Like

      • Hi Carlos,
        what kind of license not found? If you have this in the console view:

        Processor Expert license file = not used (no license file)
        CDE: no license found, using Community Edition License

        then it is normal.
        And use the menu Window > Show Views > Processor Expert to show any other views.

        Like

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  6. Hi Erich,

    I followed the entire blog thread on this topic and everything installed as expected.
    Processor Expert was working and all was well.
    Until… I close Eclipse and restarted. Now it just hangs in the splash screen at: “Loading com.freescale.processorexpert.ui.selector”

    If I select a different workspace before the splash screen, it comes up.
    After that, Switch Workspace back to the original, it crashes.

    Any ideas? Perhaps some java related switches for mcuxpressoide.ini
    It is running on Windows 7-64

    Thanks, Bill

    Like

    • Hi Bill,
      I remember I had that for some of the views showing up, but do not remember what was the problem.
      What I did was open that workspace with another Neon Instance without processsor Expert, then closed all the Processor Expert views so they do not show up at the startup.

      Like

  7. I have install, but do not support MK66 and MK26, just the Kinetis microcontrollers I need.
    Some solution to install Processor Express in MCUXpresso with support for MK66 and MK26 ??

    Thanks

    Like

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  11. Hi, Erich, I’ve succeeded in install the Processor Export within MCUXpresso, but when I selected the components, it reminds of some error, saying “An internal error has occurred, java.lang.NullPointerException. “and when I restart MCUXpresso, it stalled somewhere. Saying “Loading com.freescale.processorexpert.ui.selector. “Could you help me figure out what happened?

    Like

    • Not sure if this is the same problem I saw occasionally. It seems to be triggered by the Component Library view, if it is open and visible in the workspace/perspective.
      The solution I have used is the following:
      a) I have installed MCUXpresso IDE in a separete directory (‘native’ installation, without Processor Expert)
      b) launch that ‘native’ MCUXpresso IDE and open that workspace with the problem
      c) Close any Processor Expert views (especially the ‘Component Library’ one
      d) Close the IDE and and use the Processor Expert IDE with that workspace
      That solved the problem for me. I’m not sure if there in easier way. But there seems to be a problem withe Eclipse loading the view during startup. I saw the same issue with Eclipse Oxygen too.
      I hope this helps,
      Erich

      Like

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