MicroPython Hex File¶
When MicroPython is built, the compiler produces an Intel Hex file containing the MicroPython firmware. Additional data can then be added to this file to contain information about the MicroPython version, or the Python code to execute on start-up.
The general memory layout used is:
0x00000000: Start of MicroPython firmware - up to 248 KBs
0x0003e000: Start of appended script (optional) - up to 8 Kbs
0x100010c0: UICR customer register, start of MicroPython information - 28 bytes
If you append any data or modify the Intel Hex file, please ensure the addresses of the data stored progress in incremental order. If there is an address jump backwards DAPLink will fail to flash the file.
The User Information Configuration Registers (UICR) is a region of Non-Volatile Memory available to store user-specific settings. The first 128 Bytes are reserved, but we can use the other 128 Bytes to store any arbitrary data.
MicroPython stores the following information, in little endian, starting from the UICR customer register:
0x100010c0: 4-byte integer with magic value
0x100010c4: 4-byte integer with value
0x100010c8: 4-byte integer with value
0x0000000a(log base 2 of the flash page size, being 1024 bytes)
0x100010ca: 2-byte integer with value
0x0000(start page of the firmware)
0x100010cc: 2-byte integer storing number of pages used by the firmware
0x100010d0: 4-byte integer with value
0x100010d4: 4-byte integer with the address in the firmware of the version string
0x100010d8: 4-byte integer with value
Steps to create the firmware.hex file¶
The yotta tool is used to build MicroPython, but before that takes place additional files have to be generated by the Makefile in preparation for the build, and additional data is added to the hex file after.
make all command executes the following steps:
tools/makeversionhdr.pyscript creates the
microbitversion.hfile with macros containing build information
- Yotta builds the source and creates a bare hex file with just the firmware
tools/adduicr.pyscript adds the UICR to the bare hex
- The final hex file is placed in
- The user can optionally append a script using
tools/makecombinedhex.py(or other tools)
Including a user script¶
User scripts are stored in the MicroPython filesystem and if a
script exists it is run when MicroPython starts. Additional Python scripts can
also be included and executed from the
main.py file, or the REPL.
The Python Editor uses microbit-fs to create the filesystem and include it in the HEX file. The Python Editor must add the filesystem to HEX files for MicroPython V1 & V2, and then combine both into a Universal HEX file to ensure compatibility with both hardware variants.
Appended script format (Deprecated)¶
This method of appending the script to the end of MicroPython
is no longer used. Python files are now stored in the
main.py is the program entry point.
MicroPython checks the first 2 bytes at address
0x0003e000 for a magic
string to indicate if there is an appended script. If the magic string is
found, it will automatically execute the Python code stored there, unless there
is a main.py file stored in the MicroPython filesystem.
0x0003e000: 2 bytes “MP”
0x0003e002: 2 bytes, little endian integer for the length (in bytes) of the appended script (not counting this 4 byte header)
0x0003e004: Script stored as bytes, for MicroPython to decode using utf-8.