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.
MCUXpresso IDE Series
💡 The approach described in this article works for a DYI Eclipse Oxygen or with MCUXpresso IDE 10.0. With MCUXpresso IDE 10.1 (see “Eclipse MCUXpresso IDE 10.1 with integrated MCUXpresso Configuration Tools“), there is a conflict as the NXP configuration tools conflict with Processor Expert: you have to uninstall the Configuration Tools in 10.1 first.
This article is part of a series to get up to speed using the new NXP MCUXpresso IDE. Published so far are:
- MCUXpresso IDE: Unified Eclipse IDE for NXPs ARM Cortex-M Microcontrollers
- MCUXpresso IDE: S-Record, Intel Hex and Binary Files
- MCUXpresso IDE: Adding the Eclipse Marketplace Client
- MCUXpresso IDE: Importing Kinetis Design Studio Projects
- MCUXpresso IDE: Installing Processor Expert into Eclipse Neon
- MCUXpresso IDE: Terminate and Disconnect a Debug Session
- MCUXpresso IDE: Blinky the NXP LPC800-DIP Board
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
and download the Processor Expert for Kinetis v3.0 Eclipse plugin (Eclipse 4.4 or later):
The downloaded file is named
As the name indicates, unzip it first. This gives the following four files:
From the same page, download the Processor Expert for Kinetis v3.0.2 update:
Then unzip the file:
Install the ‘freescale_updater.zip‘ first! 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:
After restarting Eclipse, install PEx_for Kinetis 3.0.0.zip in the same way:
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!):
Then install the update it the same way as the other files:
Restart Eclipse, and done: We have the Kinetis Design Studio V3.2.0 Processor Expert capabilities added to MCUXpresso IDE 🙂 !
SDK Project Menus
💡 I don’t use the SDK 2.x projects anymore, as there is the newer (and better) MCUXpresso SDK available. So you can skip this part.
To have the ability to create SDK 2.x projects, install the following plugin from
with the Help > Install new software menu:
This adds the SDK 2.x project menu:
Creating Processor Expert Projects
To create a new Processor Expert project, use the menu File > New > Processor Expert Project:
💡 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:
Then choose Processor Expert with no SDK selected:
💡 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.
With this, I have the power of Processor Expert in MCUXpresso IDE available:
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 🙂
- MCUXpresso IDE web page: http://www.nxp.com/mcuxpresso/ide
- MCUXpresso IDE community: http://www.nxp.com/mcuxpresso/ide/forum
- MCUXpresso Config tools and SDK: https://mcuxpresso.nxp.com/
- Installing Processor Expert into LPCXpresso IDE: https://mcuoneclipse.com/2015/05/27/merging-nxp-lpcxpresso-ide-with-the-freescale-kinetis-design-studio-processor-expert-and-kinetis-sdk/
- Processor Expert Driver Suite: 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