Can someone recommend a reliable USB JTAG programmer/debugger for ARM processors, mostly Cortex-M3/M4, from a variety of manufactures like ST, TI, Atmel, and NXP, that will work with Keil, IAR, etc. (And Visual Studio's .Net Micro Framework, although I don't know anything at all about that.) Perhaps even Eclipse and on a Linux OS, although this isn't very important.

I would like to get something that will not break as it gets passed around the office, and can handle a semi-professional work load over the next year or two. $200 at the most, however less than $100 would be nice. I have a bunch of old, crummy kit type units, but it's time I pickup something a bit more professional.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't know that there is anything really good for less than $100. Lauterbach and similar cost a lot but they're excellent. Each manufacturer has their own embedded programmer in their dev boards, which you can usually use to program devices from that company. This saves a lot of money and works OK (unless you need very specialized functions). \$\endgroup\$ Jan 23, 2013 at 15:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GustavoLitovsky, I have a bunch of dev boards, but this method gets messy/cumbersome over time. I know there is a nice unit (I don't recall what it is at the moment,) that is ~$500, but that's a bit expensive for something that won't be used too much. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 23, 2013 at 15:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ You should keep in mind that some Cortex-M processors do not have JTAG. Instead they use ARM's Single Wire Debug (SWD). My Segger JLink handles both nicely but it will cost more than $200. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joe Hass
    Jan 23, 2013 at 16:13

1 Answer 1


Ouch - difficult question, and one I know a lot of folk would like a good solution to. I use ARM and FPGAs a lot, so I'd love to have something reliable to use that works with more than one vendors chips.

I looked into this a fair bit a while back, and found OpenODC, and stuff like the Wiggler and the Amontec JTAG Keys, but you will have to do quite a bit of work to get it all set up, and of course it being reliable, easy to use and bug free is unlikely.

Like any free or open source path, sometimes it's the way to go (e.g. if a project is mature - I use Kicad now for PCB development and find it just as good as the commercial options I used to use in the past) but sometimes it's just not worth it, you have to figure if your time spent setting up and battling bugs, etc is worth the savings in the end (which is hard to know before you begin)
From what I have seen, I made the choice to go commercial pretty quickly, as I don't think the open source JTAG solutions are mature enough yet to bother with if you are developing professionally. I may be wrong though, and in any case it's certainly worth a couple of hours Googling to figure it out for yourself.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.