Freescale has released this week an updated version of CodeWarrior: version 10.4. I’m usually not switching a tools version in the middle of a university semester. Unless I see a real benefit, and the risk is low. Well, I have used it now for a few days, and I have decided to move my projects from 10.3 to 10.4. Why? Read on…
I mentioned in “Debug External Processors with USBDM and Freedom Board” post that I had a problem to debug the FRDM-KL05Z with USBDM. Well, after a long night with some sleep, with more thinking and searching, finally I have it resolved: I can debug my FRDM-KL05Z with USBDM
Teaching at a university means to work in a very special environment. What students love is ‘Open Source’: because it allows them to ‘see’ things and learn from the technology. The other thing is: students have a low budgets, so they appreciate if they can use inexpensive or low-cost hardware and software. The FRDM-KL25Z Freedom board for sure meets that low price, and no extra programming device needed.
Now they are building their own boards, and they wish to program and debug it. They can borrow the Segger J-Links and P&E Multilinks we have available at the university. But why not use the Freedom board as ‘hobby’ debug and programming solution? As explored in “Using the Freedom Board as SWD Programmer“, they can use the default factory installed OpenSDA to program another microcontroller of same type. But not to debug it.
While writing the ”Using the Freedom Board as SWD Programmer” article, I was looking into USBDM. USBDM has added in January 2013 support for OpenSDA. But at that time, it was somehow not working for me, and I had not enough time to find out what the problem was. Time to get that fixed. Good news: With help and tips from the USBDM community, I have it finally working
Freescale/Farnell/Element14 announced last week a new Freedom Board: the FRDM-K20D50M :-). As you can expect, I was not able to resist, and ordered one from my local Farnell store right away. So I did my first steps with it on this sunny and wonderful weekend (yes! we skipped Spring Time and entered Summer Time right away!).
I do not need to compare the board with the previous Freedom boards, as I have found an article here. I a nutshell: I get pretty much the same as with the FRDM-KL25Z, but instead of an ARM Cortex-M0+, it has an ARM Cortex-M4!
Eclipse has a nice feature to ‘shut up’ dialogs: In many dialogs I can select an option so that dialog does not show up again:
But what if I change my mind later on and what to have this dialog to show up again?
It happens to me many times: I’m stepping with the debugger through my code, and ups! I made one step too far!
What now? Restart the whole debugging session?
Actually, there is a way to go ‘backwards’
“As an engineer, you should ask for the best tools available. Spending money for better tools can make the difference between finding a problem quickly, or wasting days or weeks, and ultimately failing a project.” (unknown)
I had to learn it the hard way: some ‘hard-to-find-problems’ sometimes only can be found with some amount of luck, or with using a good trace solution. CodeWarrior already supports trace, such as using the MTB on the Cortex-M0+. But with this I’m limited to the on-chip trace buffer or on-chip RAM, which is better than nothing. But to solve the real hard problems, a bit of more power and memory is needed. And here where the P&E Tracelink comes into play: with 128 MByte trace buffer it would allow me to record a lot more trace data :-).
The FRDM-KL25Z Open Source Logic Analyzer based on SUMP presented here was already very useful with the added trigger support. But it was not capable to do a sampling rate above a few hundred kHz. That’s ok for slower probing, but not for anything with a higher speed. Using DMA (Direct Memory Access) instead of timer based sampling can remove that limitation :-).
The challenge with small microcontroller like the ARM-Cortex-M0+ is that they have very limited debugging resources. As such, the number of hardware break points is very limited (see this post). For example for the KL25Z on the Freedom board, I only have 2 break points available if I want to do stepping:
I think the most important tool for a firmware engineer is a Logic Analyzer. I always have one on my desk. Working in different locations, sometimes I forget to carry it with me. And for sure I would need it. To buy another one to compensate my laziness? Or maybe there is another solution? And here I stumbled over an article about the Logic Sniffer project recently: it is about an open source logic analyzer hardware and firmware project. What a cool idea! Why not using my FRDM-KL25Z Freedom board as a Logic Analyzer? Heck, that would be awesome
Maybe Eclipse is ‘too much’, and you are looking for something different? The cool thing with Processor Expert is that while this is Eclipse based, you can use it easily with other tool chains like IAR Embedded Workbench. So you have the choice, and I have explored things a little with porting FreeRTOS for Cortex-M0+ to IAR :-).
Debugging is usually a ‘stop-inspect-continue’ process. That does not work very well for watching a system which continuously changes its state. For this usually I toggle an LED, or write things to the console to watch with a human eye what is going on. But there is something very powerful in the CodeWarrior debugger too: to display variables and memory content while the target is running.