Setting up a terminal window for the serial port in Eclipse

When programming microcontrollers I regularly use the serial port to send status or debug information to the PC. When using the debugger in Eclipse it switching betwen the terminal program and eclipse becomes tedious. That’s why I was looking for a way to include the terminal into Eclipse. Luckily there are plugins available to do so. This article describes the setup of the plugins.


Setting up TM Terminal

Select ‚Install New Software…‘ in the ‚Help‘ menu. The ‚Install‘ window will open. First you need to select the correct repository. I currently work with the Mars version of Eclipse and selected the according repository. This should work accordingly with other versions of Eclipse. Using the filter field you can reduce the list of packages by typing ‚terminal‘ in. Then select the ‚TM Terminal‘ package and hit ‚Next‘. Go through the dialogs and accept the license agreement. Hitting ‚Finish‘ at the last step installs the plugin. Select ‚No‘ when asked if you want to restart Eclipse.


Setting up RXTX

Just like before select ‚Install New Software…‘ from the ‚Help‘ menu and wait for the ‚Install‘ window to open. To install RXTX you need to add the RXTX repository first. You can do this by clicking the button ‚Add‘ in the upper right corner. Select a name for the repository and typ in the following URL into the according field: . Hit ‚OK‘ to add the repository.


Select the most recent version of RXTX and make sure to select both packages. You can start installing the plugin just like before by clicking through the dialogs with ‚Next‘ and accepting the license agreement. During the installation process a warning may pop up. Select ‚OK‘ to continue the installation.


After the installation of RXTX is done you can quit Eclipse.

Installing additional files for the RXTX plugin

In the last step we need to install a few files to enable the plugin to access your computers serial port hardware.

First we need to download the Windows biniaries from the following link:

If you’re using 32-bit Java download the Windows-x86 packet. For 64-bit Java download the Windows-x64 packet. Extract the downloaded file into a folder of your choice. Finally we need to copy the files into the Java Runtime Environment folder.

Copy RXTXcomm.jar to C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.8.0_65\lib\ext

Copy rxtxParallel.dll and rxtxSerial.dll to C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.8.0_65\bin

For 32-bit Java chang the paths to C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre1.8.0_65\lib\ext and C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre1.8.0_65\bin 

Replace the JRE version (\jre1.8.0_65\) with your installed version of the JRE.

Configuring the Terminal plugin

Once all files are copied the installation is done and you can start to configure the plugin. Start Eclipse and enable the Terminal window. Open the ‚Show View‘ Dialog from the ‚Window‘ menu and select ‚Other…‘ or use the key combination Alt+Shift+Q and hit Q a second time. By typing ‚terminal‘ into the filter field you should see the Terminal-View. Select it and hit ‚OK‘. The Terminal window will be added and you can move it to a position of your choice.


You can open a new terminal by clicking on the computer icon in the Terminal-View or use the key combination Strg + Alt + Shift + T. A config window should open. We want to chose ‚Serial Termianl‘ as our terminal. You can now enter your hardware settings into the dialog. Select the correct COM-Port and baud rate as well as the data settings. Clicking on ‚OK‘ will start the terminal. Use the buttons in the Terminal-View to clear the terminal, open the input field or enable and disable automatic scrolling.


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