ThreadX Microcontroller Edition RTOS Supports Microchip PIC24, dsPIC

Express Logic, Inc., the worldwide leader in royalty-free real-time operating systems (RTOS), announced the availability of Express Logic’s new ThreadX(R) Microcontroller Edition RTOS, “ThreadX(R)/MCU,” for the 16-bit PIC24 microcontrollers (MCUs) and dsPIC(R) digital signal controllers (DSCs) from Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP), a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors.

ThreadX/MCU for 16-bit MCUs and DSCs
Until now, ThreadX has been available only for 32-bit processors and DSPs. But through a cooperative effort with Microchip, Express Logic has created a brand-new version of ThreadX, called ThreadX MCU Edition (ThreadX/MCU), to support one of the leading 16-bit architectures in the embedded industry—Microchip’s PIC24 MCU and dsPIC DSC families. ThreadX/MCU is a fully upward-compatible, reduced-size, fine-tuned 16-bit edition of Express Logic’s popular 32-bit ThreadX RTOS and is available exclusively for Microchip’s 16-bit PIC24 MCUs and dsPIC30/33 DSCs. ThreadX/MCU provides full preemptive scheduling, interrupt management, message passing, thread synchronization, resource locking, event management and timer control; and supports up to 10 threads, queues, timers, mutexes, event flag groups, block pools and byte pools.

ThreadX/MCU is fully upward-compatible with Express Logic’s full-featured ThreadX RTOS, employed in over 450 million electronic products based on 32-bit processors. Like ThreadX, ThreadX/MCU is royalty-free, making it ideal for high-volume applications in real-time motor control, speech/audio, and wireless networking targeted by Microchip’s PIC24 MCUs and dsPIC DSCs. ThreadX/MCU is designed to reside in an extremely small memory footprint, as small as 1.6K bytes, and to deliver low-overhead operations that execute in only 50 – 150 clock cycles, leaving more CPU cycles for the application.

“Express Logic’s ThreadX is an industry leader among 32-bit architectures, for many of the same applications that we target for our 16-bit PIC24 MCU and dsPIC DSC product lines,” noted Derek Carlson, Microchip’s vice president of Development Tools. “ThreadX/MCU is tuned for Microchip’s 16-bit line, and delivers true RTOS services in a small footprint that nicely fits our customers’ needs. We’re happy to welcome Express Logic and ThreadX/MCU to the network of Microchip partners and our product ecosystem.”

Microchip Controllers and Development Tools
Microchip’s PIC24 MCU and dsPIC DSC family consists of the PIC24F, PIC24H, dsPIC30, and dsPIC33, all 16-bit controllers with a powerful architecture, flexible memory technologies and comprehensive, easy-to-use development tools. Microchip provides complete technical documentation and post design-in support through a global sales and distribution network, providing developers with the confidence that their design-in questions will be met.

ThreadX/MCU is designed to work with Microchip’s powerful and affordable MPLAB(R) development tools. The world-class MPLAB Integrated Development Environment is an intuitive and productive focus for Microchip’s comprehensive suite of compilers, debuggers and device programmers. The MPLAB tools include:

  • In-circuit debuggers, ranging from affordable and functional to fast and feature-rich
  • Comprehensive simulators with an extensive stimulus capability
  • ‘C’ compilers, assemblers and linkers, with free student editions
  • Integrated support for third-party compilers, programmers,version control systems, etc.
  • Demonstration boards covering many applications and devices
  • Graphical peripheral initialization tool (MPLAB VDI)

The MPLAB IDE provides kernel-awareness for the ThreadX/MCU RTOS, giving developers insight into the status and operation of their application using ThreadX/MCU. To speed application development and reduce time-to-market, ThreadX/MCU is pre-configured to work with MPLAB out-of-the-box, enabling applications using ThreadX/MCU to be built, compiled, linked and downloaded with ease.

ThreadX/MCU Networking, File System, USB Stack and Graphics
In addition to introducing ThreadX/MCU for Microchip’s 16-bit controllers, Express Logic also has ported its NetX(TM) TCP/IP stack, FileX(R) embedded file system, USBX(TM) USB host/device stack, and PEGX(TM) graphics development kit for use with ThreadX/MCU on Microchip’s PIC24 MCU and dsPIC DSC family.

“Microchip has developed an impressive portfolio of 16-bit MCUs and DSCs, so when we decided to extend ThreadX support into that area, Microchip was the ideal partner,” commented William E. Lamie, president of Express Logic. “Microchip’s PIC24 MCUs and dsPIC DSC products are used in many applications that can benefit from the multithreading capabilities of ThreadX/MCU. Microchip has been an ideal partner in this porting process. We look forward to working with Microchip to serve our joint customers.”

Shipping and Availability
Under license from Express Logic, Microchip plans to sell ThreadX/MCU to its customers through its direct and online sales channels. Free Demo licenses for ThreadX/MCU, and full production ThreadX/MCU licenses, are available from Microchip or through the microchipDIRECT online storefront.

ThreadX/MCU, NetX/MCU, FileX/MCU and PEGX/MCU are available immediately with full production licenses beginning at $5,990. Demo licenses are available free of charge.

About Microchip Technology
Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP) is a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, providing low-risk product development, lower total system cost and faster time to market for thousands of diverse customer applications worldwide. Headquartered in Chandler, Ariz., Microchip offers outstanding technical support along with dependable delivery and quality.

About Express Logic
Headquartered in San Diego, CA, Express Logic offers the most advanced run-time solution for deeply embedded applications, including the popular ThreadX(R) RTOS, the high-performance NetX(TM) TCP/IP stack, the FileX(R) embedded MS-DOS compatible file system, and the USBX(TM) Host/Device USB protocol stack. All products from Express Logic include full source-code and have no run-time royalties. For more information about Express Logic solutions, please call 1-888-THREADX, or email inquires to

ThreadX and FileX are registered trademarks, and NetX, CANX, USBX, preemption-threshold, picokernel, and UDP fast path technology, are trademarks of Express Logic, Inc. PIC, dsPIC and MPLAB are registered trademarks of Microchip Technology Inc. in the U.S. and other countries.