Open On-Chip Debugger - OpenOCD

Open On-Chip Debugger support on OS X

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OpenOCD is a software project started by Dominic Rath several years ago. It is now a open source project and can be downloaded from here. It now connects to several target machines through many debug/programming interfaces. A list of supported targets can be found in chapter 6 of the documentation (although the documentation list lags behind the targets that are supported). Below are programming/debugging interfaces that mention OS X compatibility. View the OpenOCD Google+ pages here.

Instructions here:

Install instructions are here:

gdb is the debugger that is typically used under OSX for embedded debugging if the semiconductor supplier doesn’t offer a OS X solution for their part. A little background on gdb is here.

If you are new to building your own tools, you might want to look at my Command Line Tips page.

Bus Pirate

The Bus Pirate is accessed from a command line in a OS X terminal. When powered up all I/O lines are high impedance. From there, a bus mode can be selected to use the Bus Pirate with a specific protocol. Bus modes : 1-Wire, UART, I2C, SPI, raw 2-wire, raw 3-wire, HD44780 LCDs, MIDI, PC keyboard, DIO, JTAG.

Bus Pirate can be purchased in the USA from:

Tutorial for use on OSX:

Bus Pirate firmware information:

Other Tutorial sites for OpenOCD on OS X

NoICE Debugger:

Download binary from:

AVR on Egnite’s AVR based Internet Radio:

Blog for the STM32 ARM using OpenOCD on OS X:

Summary of OpenOCD on OS X 10.5:

YAGARTO ARM Tool chain using Eclipse and OpenOCD:

Several articles about using the Freescale Freedom board with Eclipse & OpenOCD on non-Windows machines :

USB to Chip Adapters compatible with OpenOCD

All FTDI Based Adapters

Many evaluation boards use a FTDI chip for USB to JTAG communications. FTDI makes two kinds of drivers, the VCP version for serial port emulation, and the D2XX version which are more general and designed for dynamic libraries. To use the JTAG features you need the D2XX version. There are compatibility issues between the two, see the FTDI read me here.

Download the D2XX version:

Embedded Programming on the Mac >MacEmbeddedLinks.html


Three-in-one USB JTAG debugger - offers JTAG + RS232 (full modem signals supported) port + power supply all in one compact device.

Mac OS 10.7 + Eclipse + OpenOCD + STM32 (ARM Cortex M3)

Excellent tutorial in four parts. Detailed Instructions for putting Eclipse and OpenOCD on OS X for ST’s ARM targets.


ARM GCC + gdb + OpenOCD tool chain build (without MacPorts)

Build a Texas Instruments Stellaris tool chain on OS X without using macports. Macintosh OS X.

MacPorts information

Macports home

USB-AtmelPrg: Wolfgang's Universal Interface Cable

USB-AtmelPrg is a USB-based universal interface providing all features needed when designing with programmable devices like AVR 8-bit RISCs via SPI, XILINX CPLDs and 32-bit ARMs via JTAG port.

Bus Blaster

Bus Blaster v2 is an experimental, high-speed JTAG debugger from Dangerous Prototypes.


Turtelizer is an JTAG debugger from Ethernut. Its connector uses the AVR 10 pin pinout.

Turtelizer, OPENOCD, and the Ethernut 3:


JTAG and serial port to work under Mac OS X using an Olimex ARM-USB-OCD.


Atmel based target adapter.


Bus Blaster v2 is an experimental, high-speed JTAG debugger from Dangerous Prototypes.

Flyswatter & Flyswatter2

Flyswatter support ARM and the Flyswatter2 supports ARM and MIPS.