As an introduction to embedded programming, development boards such as the TM4C123G launchpad provide a simple way to set up the hardware enough to start programming. However, the process of setting up a development environment for your board can be a little tricky. This guide aims to help you get around all the kinks of getting your launchpad ready to go.
Step 1: Unboxing the Hardware
When unboxing your brand new launchpad, you'll notice it comes with three things.
- TM4C123G Launchpad Board
- Small Micro USB to USB-A Cable
- Launchpad Quick Start Guide
For our purposes, we need to set the device mode to "debug" by using the dip switch on the corner of the launchpad. We can then plug in our usb cable into the debug port immediately next to the dip switch. From here, we plug in the other end to our development computer.
Step 2: Downloading Drivers and Other Tools - Downloading TivaWare for C Series
Now that we have our launchpad board out of the box, we now need to install some software on our development computer. These steps vary based on your operating system, so look out for platform specific instructions.
First up is downloading the TivaWare for C Series software package.
This software package contains all the support files and headers necessary for launchpad development.
Download the SW_TM4C-ver#.exe file. You must make a TI account in order to download this file.
- On Windows
After downloading run the .exe file, I recommend extracting the files into a folder where you plan to put your development files. For this, I made a folder on my desktop named "TM4C123G Files" and within it, I made a folder named "TivaWare" where I extracted the files.
- On Mac/Linux
On Mac and Linux systems, you cannot natively run the .exe file. However, you can extract the contents just the same. After placing the .exe in a "TivaWare" folder where you plan to put your development files, run "unzip SW_TM4C-ver#.exe in the terminal and it will extract all the files into your working directory.
WARNING - Make sure you use the "cd" command to set your working directory within a dedicated folder for your TivaWare files in the terminal, or you will have an absolute mess of files and folders in an unwanted place.
Step 3: (Windows) Downloading Drivers and Other Tools - Download Stellaris ICDI Drivers
The Stellaris ICDI drivers allow you to use the inline debugger attached to the launchpad board to flash and program the main chip. On Windows, it won't recognize the debugger until after you install the drivers. In order to do this, extract the driver files from the downloaded zip archive. From the driver manager, you can update the drivers by right clicking the unrecognized Stellaris debugger device and browsing to the driver files you extracted.
Step 4: (Optional) Downloading Drivers and Other Tools - Download UniFlash Software Flashing Tool
This tool allows you to flash already compiled programs onto your launchpad.
This is most useful for seeing the provided examples found within TivaWare/examples. The installation is fairly straightforward, as they provide platform specific installers on the website. After downloading the tool, you can open it, auto-detect the Stellaris Debugger, manually select the TM4C123G module you're using, and then press the start button. From there, you can load a .bin file from the examples and flash it into memory to see the code in action.
Step 5: Downloading Drivers and Other Tools - Download Code Composer Studio(CCS) Installer
Code Composer Studio is the portal by which you can compile your own assembly or C code and flash it directly onto the launchpad for debugging. The setup process for CCS is much more involved than the other software packages, so I'll go more in depth on how to configure it in the next step. After installing the software in this step, you're ready to configure CCS to write and flash your own code!