Notes on mbed with Mac OSX

11 Oct 2013

Got mbed working on Mac Book Pro (OSX 10.6.8) and thought I'd share a few notes.

1. Find the proper device name by opening and typing 'ls /dev' compare the output of this unix command with mbed plugged in and out to find the correct one to configure in the serial terminal. In my case it is: /dev/tty.usbmodem412

2. I had trouble connecting mbed to my keyboard USB connector, apparently due to power limitations. Several times my copies of files hung and did not complete. Connecting the mbed directly to the USB connector on the laptop worked.

3. Online recommended trick for using the screen program within the OSX to talk to mbed did not work with USB device. Download CoolTerm (serial terminal), it works: Turn on local echo, and change to line feed, save config.

4. Every time I plugin the mbed OSX tells me it has detected a new network interface, and asks if I want to configure the new interface. I just cancel and ignore it.

5. Use the OSX terminal app to delete images from mbed, NOT the Finder! The finder adds Trash and other files and folders that will always have a later mod date. Your program will not run and you will be confused. In, type the command 'df' to find your mbed. You will see "/Volumes/MBED" Type 'cd /Volumes/MBED' to change directories, and then type 'ls -al' to see all hidden files. I had to issue these commands to clean up: 'rm ._.Trashes ._Bootcamp-*' and 'rm -fr .Trashes/ .fseventsd/'

02 Apr 2014

Thanks. This was very helpful!

06 May 2014

Thank you for posting this up. I found tip 1 and 5 the most useful.

08 Sep 2014

Has anyone figured out the optimal way of copying over the new BIN file? I can't get it to work over Terminal and when I copy it over in Finder it closes the Finder window on reboot. I've taken to copying from the downloads directory over to the drive listed in the sidebar in Finder

For the serial: I can get screen to connect just fine, but it bails out when the device is reset. Which happens every time the device is reprogrammed. Very annoying. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm guessing a better solution would be to use the real UART pins and a usb2serial chip/interface. That way the USB port doesn't disappear every time the device is rebooted.

08 Sep 2014

Hi every one,

I use an Mac OSX with 10.9.4 system. the only way I find tu use mbed products is to install VirtualBox on then install an windows XP on it.

So from I declare the mbed usb devices to be used only with win xp, so from I can 'see' the mbed platform from windows xp and upload the bin files into them.

you can see the different step of doing it int this post (with screen captures).

22 Oct 2014

What platforms are you using??

22 Oct 2014

I use the latest version of OS X, The terminal app with Screen for serial output, and Chrome. Safari has serious issues with the way the scroll bars work in the editor. I wish the online editor was better, but honestly it's just plain awful. On a mac the window scrolls way too fast using a mouse wheel so I have to manually grab the bars to scroll. There doesn't seem to be any way to keep the compiler output window from coming up on a build, so if you're like me and you build after nearly every change then you're constantly closing the window. The toolbars at the top also take up precious editor space.

I'm REALLY looking forward to the CLI tool package. Combine that with the Atom editor and you have a real winning package.

22 Mar 2015

The CoolTerm (serial terminal) is a nice Mac serial tool for debugging the code by serial port.

Thanks for your information.........

21 Apr 2016

Have been using my MacBook Pro for mbed work for over a year. Screen and /dev/tty.usbmodem... have been great.

However, has anyone else found that the serial driver is now broken? I fear that sometime in the last couple of updates the kernel driver has been updated and now does not work correctly. The mBed enumerates correctly as a mass storage device, but not as a serial port. Restarting with the mBed plugged in causes a Kernel Panic and hangs the boot with the fans spinning.

Can anyone corroborate this? Does anyone have a work around?



OSX 10.11.5 Beta(15F18c), MBP Retina 15-inch Mid 2014. 16GB 2.5GHz Core i7.

26 Apr 2016

What board are you using? I'm using mbed on a daily basis (also with serial) and have not encountered any issues on OS X (although I'm on 10.11.2).

05 May 2016

Hi Jan, this is with an mbed NXP LPC1768. OSX is 10.11.5 Beta.

Obviously I'm being a little silly to hope that the Beta version of OSX will behave properly, but I fear that this might be an indication of the direction that the non Beta OS will be going...

02 Mar 2018

Thanks for the suggestion of using CoolTerm (serial terminal) on the Mac for debugging the code by serial port. Took me agies to find out how to read the usb post :-) By the way, you need to close the usb port (unplug device) when changing ports on CoolTerm otherwise it won't connect.

07 Sep 2019

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