Set Up Arduino IDE

Since the Circuit Playground Express uses an ATSAMD21 chip running at 48 MHz, you can pretty easily get it working with the Arduino IDE. Most libraries (including the popular ones like NeoPixels and display) will work with the M0, especially devices & sensors that use i2c or SPI.

The Circuit Playground Express is 'natively' supported in the Arduino IDE so its really easy to set up!

Install SAMD Support

Open the Boards Manager by navigating to the Tools->Board menu

First up, install the Arduino SAMD Boards version 1.6.16 or later

You can type Arduino SAMD in the top search bar, then when you see the entry, click Install

Even though in theory you don't need to - I recommend rebooting the IDE

Quit and reopen the Arduino IDE to ensure that all of the boards are properly installed. You should now be able to select and upload to the new boards listed in the Tools->Board menu.

Select the Circuit Playground Express board:

Install Drivers (Windows 7 Only)

When you plug in the board, you'll need to possibly install a driver

Click below to download our Driver Installer

Download and run the installer, more details are here

Blink

Now you can upload your first blink sketch!

Plug in the Circuit Playground Express and wait for it to be recognized by the OS (just takes a few seconds). It will create a serial/COM port, you can now select it from the dropdown, it'll even be 'indicated' as a Circuit Playground Express board!

Now load up the Blink example

// the setup function runs once when you press reset or power the board
void setup() {
  // initialize digital pin 13 as an output.
  pinMode(13, OUTPUT);
}

// the loop function runs over and over again forever
void loop() {
  digitalWrite(13, HIGH);   // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level)
  delay(1000);              // wait for a second
  digitalWrite(13, LOW);    // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW
  delay(1000);              // wait for a second
}

And click upload! That's it, you will be able to see the LED blink rate change as you adapt the delay() calls.

If you are having issues, make sure you selected the matching Board in the menu that matches the hardware you have in your hand.

Sucessful Upload

If you have a successful upload, you'll get a bunch of red text that tells you that the device was found and it was programmed, verified & reset

Compilation Issues

If you get an alert that looks like

Cannot run program "{runtime.tools.arm-none-eabi-gcc.path}\bin\arm-non-eabi-g++"

Make sure you have installed the Arduino SAMD boards package, try re-installing it or getting the latest version! Also try updating the IDE

Manually bootloading

Once it is in bootloader mode, you can select the newly created COM/Serial port and re-try uploading.

If you ever get in a 'weird' spot with the bootloader, or you have uploaded code that crashes and doesn't auto-reboot into the bootloader, click the RESET button twice (like a double-click) to get back into the bootloader.

The red LED will pulse, and all the NeoPixels will turn green so you know that its in bootloader mode.

In the Arduino IDE, re-select the Serial Port to the new port that has been created for the bootloader.

Then upload Blink - make sure that works!

Once that works, go back and re-select the 'normal' USB serial port next time you want to use the normal upload.

Ubuntu & Linux Issue Fix

Note if you're using Ubuntu 15.04 (or perhaps other more recent Linux distributions) there is an issue with the modem manager service which causes the Bluefruit LE micro to be difficult to program.  If you run into errors like "device or resource busy", "bad file descriptor", or "port is busy" when attempting to program then you are hitting this issue.

The fix for this issue is to make sure Adafruit's custom udev rules are applied to your system.  One of these rules is made to configure modem manager not to touch the Feather board and will fix the programming difficulty issue.  Follow the steps for installing Adafruit's udev rules on this page.

Last updated on 2017-12-01 at 04.56.58 PM Published on 2017-10-12 at 10.43.39 PM