Texas Instruments describes bootloaders and what they are all about. A bootloader is a piece of code that allows new firmware to be loaded into a microcontroller without a dedicated programmer. All of our projects use a bootloader so you can upgrade over a USB or serial connection. For PIC micros we usually use two open source (GPL) bootloaders: ds30 Loader or the Diolan USB HID bootloader.
The bootloader itself is a tiny piece of code that runs first when the micro starts. Usually it does nothing and passes control to the main application. If certain conditions are met, such as a button press or shorting two pins with a jumper, the bootloader takes over and receives new firmware to program into the chip.
Ever wondered what a bootloader is or how they work? In this video we’ll answer those questions as well as discuss some of the advanced functionality found in more professional bootloaders. While the video is C2000 specific, much of the technical content will apply to other architectures as well.