Tutorial: User Interrupts with Processor Expert


I have been asked this question several times:

“How can I define my own interrupt vector with Processor Expert?”

So I think it deserves a short tutorial, if more than one person is asking this ;-).

My user interrupt in the vector table

My user interrupt in the vector table

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Processor Expert (Driver Suite/Plugins/KDS) V10.4 with new Component Inspector


There has been a lot of new Freescale releases recently around FTF, and I’m trying to catch up. For me as a Processor Expert Lover, it is good news that there is now the new version 10.4 available. And it comes in different ways:

Microcontrollers Driver Suite v10.4

Microcontrollers Driver Suite v10.4

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GNU Additional Tools: Create Flash Image, Print Size and Extended Listing Options


One question I have been asked several times here at FTF:

“How can I create an S19/Motorola S-Record with Eclipse?”

The answer depends on which Eclipse you are using. Actually it depends on which (ARM) build  tools plugin you are using, as with Eclipse you have the freedom of choice.

And this is not only about S19/Binary (Flash Image), but covers ‘Extended Listing’ and ‘Print Size’:

Additional Tool Options

Additional Tool Options

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FTF: FRDM-K64F, Kinetis Design Studio and Kinetis SDK


I’m attending the Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) in Dallas this year: As they say here: “everything is bigger in Texas”, that’s the motto of this conference ;-). The conference is packed, and I have a hard time to keep up with all the things going on. My focus is obviously everything around Eclipse and ARM microcontroller. The conference started yesterday afternoon with hands-on labs, and I was in the one were Freescale presented the new ‘Kinetis Design Studio’: a free of charge/unlimited Eclipse tool chain based on Eclipse Kepler, GCC and GDB. Freescale presented their new software library ‘Kinetis SDK’. And: There is a new Freedom board which gets handed out to the attendees: the FRDM-K64F :-).

Texas Style Glass Coverage

Texas Style Glass Coverage

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Getting Bluetooth Working with JY-MCU BT_BOARD V1.06


For my embedded course at the University of Lucerne of Applied Sciences and Arts I needed more Bluetooth modules for the Zumo/Sumo robots. I run out of stock as the modules are getting popular and are used in many student projects. So I ordered a handful more from DX/DealExtreme of the same HC-06 type/part number I already ordered a while back. I expected that they will work as the modules I had ordered from DX half a year ago. Was that naïve? Probably. Because they did *not* work, and caused me to reverse engineer the modules and to apply a hardware fix to get them working….

Set of JY-MCU Bluetooth Modules

Set of JY-MCU Bluetooth Modules

 

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Serial Terminal View with Eclipse Kepler


Nearly all of my projects have built-in command line support: using a serial connection, I can send commands or inspect the system status. For this I have my command line Shell which works over serial-to-Bluetooth, serial-to-USB, USB CDC or with a physical serial (COM) port. But what I need on the host system is a Terminal program: I can use either an external program. There are many ones available (Tera TermPuTTY, …) where Termite is my favorite one. But it is possible to extend Eclipse so it has its own Terminal view too :-).

Eclipse Terminal View

Eclipse Terminal View

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RNet Stack as Component, nRF24L01+ with Software SPI


The great thing with Processor Expert is: it writes the code for me :-). I’m using now the RNet wireless stack in more than 10 different projects, and keeping the projects up-to-date with the RNet stack sources in a traditional way gets harder and harder: I  need to make sure the paths are pointing to the right place, and if I pass the project to somebody else, I have to make sure all the sources are packaged with that project. Processor Expert makes things simpler: it can generate the source files into my project, and I can easily configure it.

So instead to copy and support files by hand, I decided to package the RNet stack files into a Processor Expert component: all still normal C files, but easier to configure and distribute.

RNet Component

RNet Component

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Variable Debugging with Eclipse Kepler


The current Eclipse Kepler version comes with changes for debugging variables. I have students coming from the earlier Eclipse versions, so here are a few tips for dealing with variables in Eclipse Kepler.

Variables View in Eclipse

Variables View in Eclipse

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Sharing Debug Configuration with Eclipse


Maybe you had this problem too: you shared a project with somebody, only to realize that your carefully crafted debug configuration was not shared?

Eclipse has the concept to store settings in the ‘framework’. The ‘framework’ is the Eclipse internal data, basically what is inside the .metadata folder of the workspace.

metadata folder in workspace

metadata folder in workspace

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Tutorial: Thermal Printer, Part 1: Hardware Setup with FRDM Board


One of my embedded projects is to measure the running time in a sports event (see “Sports Timing System in a Lunch Box“). The recorded time is stored in an EEPROM plus sent over USB or wireless connection to the host. It would be great if I could print out the time and ranking directly, so if there is no PC, the system can be small and tiny. So here is my next project and tutorial: Printing with the Freedom board!

Hello World on the Printer with FRDM-KL25Z

Hello World on the Printer with FRDM-KL25Z

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Generating Static FreeRTOS Source Code


Using Processor Expert is an awesome tool: it generates source code for me, and I can can ‘dynamically’ tune my projects to my needs. Still, sometimes it is better or desirable to have a ‘normal’ or ‘static’ project. This is very well possible with Processor Expert (see “Sneaking from Processor Expert” or “Disable my Code Generation“): I can generate the code one time, and then use it without Processor Expert.

To make this even easier, I have added an option to the FreeRTOS Processor Expert component to generate ‘static’ code I can copy-paste to projects and tool chains which are either not supported by Processor Expert, or just for ‘static’ projects.

FreeRTOS Custom Port Settings

FreeRTOS Custom Port Settings

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First Steps with the Freescale TWR-K64F120M


Naturally, I have several project ideas lingering around. No time to make them all (for now). One of it is interfacing the Raspberry Pi camera with a microcontroller. To store the images, I need plenty of RAM on the device, and so far the Kinetis microcontroller did not have that. Finally, Freescale announced the K64F120 a few months back, and my ordered TWR-K64F120M board arrived on my desk, waiting to be used: Finally I get an ARM Cortex-M4F with 1 MByte of FLASH and 256 KByte of RAM :-).

TWR-K64F120M Box

TWR-K64F120M Box

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DIY Free Toolchain for Kinetis: Part 10 – Project Creation with GNU ARM Eclipse 2.1.1


As mentioned in Part 9: There is a new GNU ARM Eclipse plugin 2.1.1, and this one makes project creation for Freescale devices easier than ever :-)

  • Native Kinetis-L project templates for FRDM-KL25Z and FRDM-KL46Z boards
  • Easier than ever project creation for Processor Expert projects
GNU ARM Eclipse 2.1.1

GNU ARM Eclipse 2.1.1

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DIY Free Toolchain for Kinetis: Part 9 – Express Setup in 8 Steps


On Monday the new semester starts, and yet again: we will do a Sumo thing :-). They can choose which tool chain they would like to use to develop their application for the ARM Cortex-M0+ used from Freescale. One option is to create a ‘Do-It-Yourself’ toolchain. Since the start of the series, things have evolved: there is a new GNU ARM tool chain available, Segger has updated their drivers, and most important the GNU ARM Eclipse plugin has been greatly extended to support Freescale parts and Processor Expert. So instead to read through all the previous tutorials, this one is about putting together a free tool chain less than 10 minutes (not counting the time to download around 500 MByte).

DIY Eclipse Toolchain

DIY Eclipse Toolchain

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IoT: FreeRTOS Down to the Micro Amps


University research projects can be a lot fun, and are very challenging the same time. The good thing is that there is always someting new to learn :-).

This week-end I was working on my Internet of Things (IoT) project, based on a Freescale KL15Z and a nRF24L01+ transceiver. In essence it is a wireless data logger. For this, I only can afford a few micro amps consumed by the whole board over an extended period of time. I mean 21 micro amps for running a whole board with sensor, EEPROM, wireless transceiver, operating system and an ARM Cortex-M0+ ready to crunch numbers at 20 MHz :-)

21 micro amps for wireless sensor node

21 micro amps for wireless sensor node (when not sending)

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