A Seminar, and Freedom with it

Today I attended the regional ‘Design with Freescale’ seminar. It had a part with a hands-on training using PEG for the Tower K60 + TWR-LCD board. It was the first time I had my hands on PEG which is a good learning experience. I learned that it is possible to fill more than 200 KByte of Flash with a simple LCD Touchscreen application which only has two screens, two buttons, a static text and two small bitmaps ;-).

The seminar provided a lot of useful information with road-maps, features and product capabilities. Of course the Kinetis-L launch was a topic too. CodeWarrior with Processor Expert was mentioned in several ways, and featured with the PEG hands-on lab. Another interesting part was that it was combined with a table show of different vendors and distributors.

And here what *really* caught my attention: The Silica/Avnet table had several small brown boxes on the table, which looked like the ones for the FRDM-KL25Z board? And indeed, it was true!

Looks like others received the board, and for the ones I have ordered I still do not have a delivery date. Talking with the person from Silica/Avnet it turned out that they received the board this morning. So I chatted about how great this board is, what I have already done with the white board, and at the end he handed me over a board I could keep. Wow! Thank you Silica/Avnet!

You can imagine that with the board in my hands during the breaks, I had something very useful to do. Chatting with Freescale folks at the event, they told me that there is a new OpenSDA firmware available, and there has been reports with older firmware. And indeed, checking http://www.pemicro.com/opensda has a new firmware on it (dated Sept. 21st). In order not to risk the board, I downloaded the new firmware and installed it as explained in this post. Everything was going fine, and I was able to use both the bootloader and debugging with CodeWarrior for MCU10.3. 🙂

Back at home, time to show some pictures. The board comes in a small box:

Freedom Board Box

Freedom Board Box

Opening the box shows this:

Freedom Board Box open

Freedom Board Box open

The box comes with *no* cables. Using the board I need at least a spare mini-USB cable. With the box there is a ‘Get to know the FRDM-KL25Z’ card which shows the (old) white board with pinouts. So all what it had was the surrounding box, an inner box, the board and that card. No headers. I read on Element14 that pre-ordered boards will include the headers, but clearly this is not a ‘pre-ordered’ board. It looks more what everyone will get if they order now.

Box with board and Get-to-Know-the-FRDM-KL25Z card

Box with board and Get-to-Know-the-FRDM-KL25Z card

As expected, the board has the JTAG, Arduino and jumper headers not populated. I show it here side by side with the pre-production board I have:

Front Side

Front Side

What is disappointing is the fact that the Serial Atmel Flash present on the white board is notpopulated any more on the black board:

Serial Flash populated on the white board

Serial Flash populated on the white board (Atmel AT45DB161D)

Serial Flash not populated on the black board

Serial Flash not populated on the black board

Too bad, and I was going to write a Processor Expert component to use that external flash :-(. I’m wondering if the pre-orders will include the serial flash chip too? That would meet my expectations.

The backside of the board looks the same, except that the battery holder is not populated. Wondering if that will be included with the pre-orders:

Backside

Backside

I quickly tested the black board with one of my applications and CodeWarrior for MCU10.3, and I have no issues found. Now having that board, I’m waiting for the ones I have ordered.

Happy Designing 🙂

19 thoughts on “A Seminar, and Freedom with it

    • The price point makes it very attractive: So for my university classes, students simply could keep the boards. It has a very small form factor and comes with everything I need in the first place: a very low power microcontroller, headers to measure the current, an (RGB) LED, an accelerometer, an external flash, and comes with the OpenSDA debugging interface. So even no debugger needed to program the board. And if this is not enough, it has Arduino compatible connectors which allow me to benefit from the available Arduino 3V shields. The form factor and price with the Arduino makes it a good choice for any standalone or small projects. The other thing is: I’m growing constantly my library of Processor Expert components so I can re-use my software with that board.

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  1. I guess if you’ve got to buy and fit headers, you might as well pop in the serial flash as well. Looks like a SOIC8, which are no trouble to solder at all, even without magnification. (There’s a good chance the serial flash part will actually be CHEAPER than the headers, too.)

    Can’t quite read the part number of the flash chip – care to share? I’ll probably order a couple in for when my boards turn up.

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    • According to the schematics it should be a AT45DB161D-S or a AT45DB161E-SSHD. The writing on the serial flash is:
      Atmel 127
      45DB161D
      SU-2.5
      I checked at Farnell, and the part number 1455040 for AT45DB161D-SU (SOIC package) shows as ‘not manufactured any more’ :-(.
      But looking at the specs, there is a new ‘E’ device (http://www.farnell.com/datasheets/1641590.pdf) which should be compatible (Farnell part number 2136670)

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      • Thanks! Looks like the main differences are that the new part is 85MHz rather than 66MHz and fifty cents cheaper. E14 has plenty of inventory of both the old and the new, but I think I’ll save fifty cents a part if I can 🙂

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  2. Pingback: KL25Z Freedom Board and Arduino Headers | MCU on Eclipse

  3. The serial flash was experimental and connected only to the K20 of the OpenSDA circuit (not the KL25Z target MCU). The use case for this became obsolete during the design cycle, so we no-popped it. The thought was with so many cheap Arduino shields with SD Card slots, that the possible semi-hosting via SWD back to the K20 wasn’t going to be a valuable enough use case.

    -Michael

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    • Hi Michael, ok, that makes sense now. I was puzzled by the schematics why things are not connected to the KL25Z. But I still see value for it as it is attached to the K20: as user should have full control over it through openSDA, I could imagine that it could be very useful. Still thinking about possible applications, but I’m thinking about using it as a dual core board where the K20 is not for debugging, but used for the application.

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  4. SPI Flash – looking at the schematic, U5’s SCK comes from SDA_SPI0_SCK (as does TP12). It is hard to be sure without being able to search, but that seems to come from the OpenSDA chip and the U4D buffer feeds SWD_CLK_TGTMCU.which goes to J6-4 and then on thru J11 to become KL25_SWD_CLK. Which is a long way of saying that the target KL25Z mcu doesn’t appear to be able to talk to the U5 flash chip directly. Am I missing something?? Searching for the “USB data logger” has failed for me. Anyone know what’s up?

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  5. Pingback: Unboxing the Freescale FRDM-KL43Z Board | MCU on Eclipse

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