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Jack Torres
Jack Torres

Download J-Link and Get the Most Out of Your Debugging Environment


How to Download J-Link: A Guide for Beginners




If you are working with ARM microcontrollers, you may have heard of J-Link, a debug probe that allows you to program and debug your devices with ease. In this article, we will explain what J-Link is, what it can do, how to install it, and how to troubleshoot some common issues. Whether you are a hobbyist or a professional, this guide will help you get started with J-Link in no time.




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What is J-Link and why use it




J-Link is a debug probe that connects to the JTAG or SWD interface of your ARM device, and allows you to communicate with it from your PC via USB. You can use J-Link to download code, set breakpoints, inspect variables, view registers, and more. J-Link supports a wide range of ARM cores and devices, from single 8051 to mass market Cortex-M to high-end Cortex-A.


There are many reasons to use J-Link for your embedded development. Here are some of the main advantages of J-Link:


  • Performance: J-Link offers ultra-fast download speed, up to 4 MB/s RAM download speed, and unlimited breakpoints in flash memory. You can also use Real-Time Transfer (RTT) technology to get extended debug information without affecting the target performance.



  • Compatibility: J-Link works with all popular development environments, such as IAR EWARM, Keil uVision, Eclipse, SEGGER Embedded Studio, and more. You can also use J-Link with any RDI-compliant debugger or GDB-based toolchain.



  • Flexibility: J-Link supports directly interfacing SPI flashes, without the need of a CPU between J-Link and the SPI flash. You can also use J-Link with different target interfaces and adapters, such as ETM trace, SWO trace, SWIM, etc.



  • Reliability: J-Link is a proven solution that has been used by tens of thousands of developers around the world for over a decade. It comes with regular software and firmware updates, as well as professional support from SEGGER.



What are the alternatives to J-Link




J-Link is not the only debug probe available for ARM devices. There are some other options that you may consider, depending on your needs and budget. Here are some of the alternatives to J-Link:


  • ST-Link: This is a debug probe from STMicroelectronics that works with STM32 devices. It is cheaper than J-Link, but it has limited features and compatibility. It can only be used with STM32 devices and some IDEs that support it.



  • Olimex: This is a family of open-source debug probes that support various ARM devices. They are also cheaper than J-Link, but they have lower performance and reliability. They require additional software such as OpenOCD or pyOCD to work with different IDEs.



  • JTAG/SWD adapters: These are simple devices that convert USB signals to JTAG or SWD signals. They are the cheapest option, but they have the lowest performance and functionality. They also require additional software such as OpenOCD or pyOCD to work with different IDEs.



In summary, if you want a debug probe that offers high performance, compatibility, flexibility, and reliability, J-Link is the best choice for you. If you are looking for a cheaper option that works only with specific devices or IDEs, you may consider one of the alternatives.


<h2 How to download the J-Link software and documentation pack




Before you can use J-Link, you need to download the J-Link software and documentation pack from the SEGGER website. This pack contains the J-Link USB driver, the J-Link Commander, the J-Flash, the J-Link GDB Server, and other useful tools and utilities. It also contains the user manual, the application notes, and the schematics of J-Link.


To download the J-Link software and documentation pack, follow these steps:


  • Go to and select your operating system (Windows, Linux, or macOS).



  • Click on the download link and save the file to your computer.



  • Extract the file to a folder of your choice.



You have now downloaded the J-Link software and documentation pack. You can find all the files in the folder you extracted them to.


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How to install the J-Link USB driver and configure the settings




After you have downloaded the J-Link software and documentation pack, you need to install the J-Link USB driver and configure the settings. This will allow your PC to recognize J-Link and communicate with it.


To install the J-Link USB driver and configure the settings, follow these steps:


  • Connect J-Link to your PC via USB. You should see a green LED on J-Link indicating that it is powered.



  • Run the setup.exe file from the folder where you extracted the J-Link software and documentation pack. This will launch the installation wizard.



  • Follow the instructions on the screen and accept the license agreement. The wizard will install the J-Link USB driver and create a shortcut for the J-Link Commander on your desktop.



  • After the installation is complete, run the J-Link Commander from your desktop. This will open a command-line interface where you can enter commands to control J-Link.



  • Type "connect" and press enter. This will initiate a connection between J-Link and your PC. You should see a message like "Connecting to J-Link via USB...O.K."



  • Type "showemulist" and press enter. This will show a list of supported emulators by J-Link. You should see your J-Link serial number in this list.



  • Type "setserial " and press enter. This will set your J-Link serial number as the default emulator for future connections.



  • Type "showsettings" and press enter. This will show the current settings of J-Link, such as speed, interface, target voltage, etc. You can change these settings by using commands like "setspeed", "setif", "settv", etc. For more information on these commands, refer to the user manual or type "help".



You have now installed the J-Link USB driver and configured the settings. You can close the J-Link Commander by typing "exit" or pressing Ctrl+C.


How to verify the connection between J-Link and the target device




After you have installed the J-Link USB driver and configured the settings, you need to verify that J-Link can communicate with your target device. This will ensure that you can program and debug your device with J-Link.


To verify the connection between J-Link and your target device, follow these steps:


  • Connect your target device to J-Link via JTAG or SWD interface. Make sure that your target device is powered and that you have connected all the required pins correctly. Refer to your device datasheet or user manual for more details.



  • Run the J-Link Commander from your desktop again. This will open a command-line interface where you can enter commands to control J-Link.



  • Type "connect" and press enter. This will initiate a connection between J-Link and your PC. You should see a message like "Connecting to J-Link via USB...O.K."



  • Type "device " and press enter. This will select your target device from a list of supported devices by J-Link. You should see a message like "Device selected."



  • Type "si 1" and press enter. This will enable SWD interface mode if you are using SWD interface, or leave it unchanged if you are using JTAG interface.



  • Type "speed auto" and press enter This will set the speed of J-Link to the maximum possible value for your target device. You should see a message like "Speed: 4000 kHz."



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