Sumo Robots, Sensors and everything else….


The semester is approaching its end, and students are making great progress: with added infrared and ultrasonic sensors, the robots are able to detect the other robot (more or less 😉 ). Additionally the RNet stack adds extra remote control capabilities.

Zumo Sumo Battle

Zumo Sumo Battle

Things are very much in the testing phase, and some robot (or operator?) failures are really funny 🙂 For sure much more advanced moves compared to previous week. Including extra benefits like a robot bringing a bottle of water! The following video hopefully gives an impression:

Happy Roboting 🙂

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Kinetis Unique Identification Register


For my RNet stack I need a way to identify nodes in the network using a unique address. What I need is Media-Access (MAC) address. Base on such a unique address I can assign short addresses (e.g. with a DHCP or similar protocol to automatically assign shorter network addresses). So how to uniquely identify my network nodes?

The Freescale Kinetis microcontroller have nice feature: they have a Unique Identification Register (UID) which would be a perfect fit for a MAC address :-).

UID Output

UID Output

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Sumo Robot with Accelerometer Remote Controller


Usually, there are two flavors of Sumo robot competition:

  1. Autonomous: no communication to the robot permitted after the start.
  2. Remote-controlled: there is a wireless remote controller driving the robot.

Just for fun, I have implemented a wireless remote controller application for my Zumo Robot using the Freescale SRB (MC13123) board. I’m using the Freescale MMA7260Q accelerometer on the SRB board to control the robot.

Accelerometer Remote Controller

Accelerometer Remote Controller

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IEEE802.15.4 for the Zumo Robot


For the INTRO Zumo robot I have three wireless options: Bluetooth, nRF24L01+ and IEEE802.15.4 with the Freescale MC1320x transceiver. For the nRF24L01+ I have developed a simple radio network stack which I can use with the MC1320x transceiver too.

MC1320x and MC13213 SRB Board

MC1320x and MC13213 SRB Board

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Sumo Robot Battle Tips


The INTRO course is progressing fast, with a lot of information passed on how to build a successful mini Sumo robot based on the Freescale FRDM-KL25Z and a modified Pololu Zumo chassis. The PID control loop implementation for speed and position finally starts to work properly with the help of FreeMaster. Things are not perfect yet, but the robots get better from day-to-day.

Zumo Test Battle

Zumo Test Battle

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RNet: A Simple Open Source Radio Network Stack


I was searching the internet for an open source network stack for my nRF24L01+ transceivers. But these stacks were either too heavy or had a restrictive or not really non-open source license behind it. I was very reluctant to start with something I think already should exist. Two weeks ago I decided that I just do it from scratch, and here I am: I have the basics working 🙂

Two FRDM-KL25Z with nRF24L01+ Transceivers

Two FRDM-KL25Z with nRF24L01+ Transceivers

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Processor Expert Component not Showing Up?


In case you are desperately looking a component in the components library view, but somehow it does not show up? For example I know there is component ‘InterruptVector’, but it is not present in the Components library view?

Where is the InterruptVector Component

Where is the InterruptVector Component

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Tutorial: Using a Terminal Input and Output; *without* printf() and scanf()


So this tutorial is about using a terminal connection between my board and my host (e.g. a notebook) to read and write text:

Color Text in PuTTY

Color Text in PuTTY

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FreeRTOS for the Freescale DSC 56F8400 Core


Yes, I have been busy with all the different ARM Cortex Mx cores I’m using in my projects. But beside of the ‘ARM domination of the world’, there are other interesting processors out there. While the ARM cores have added DSP (Digital Signal Processing) capabilities blurring the boundaries between pure MCU and DSP processors, there is still a place (or niche?) for specialized DSP processors. The power of such processors is in the domain of fast signal processing, e.g. for intelligent power switches or for advanced motor control.

TWR-56F8400 Board and Box

TWR-56F8400 Board and Box

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Tutorial: Replacing IAR EW with Eclipse IDE


Are you using IAR tools and you are jealous looking at what others can accomplish with Eclipse? You wish you could use your IAR build tools but taking advantage of Eclipse too?

I do not want to start a religious IDE war here ;-). At least for IAR, there is a way to bring both worlds together: having IAR build and debug tools integrated in Eclipse :mrgreen: :

Using IAR Tools In Eclipse

Using IAR Compiler and Debugger in Eclipse

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Review: ThunderBench with the Freescale FRDM Board and Processor Expert


For the Eclipse and Processor Expert lovers of this world: there is another Eclipse based IDE you can use: ThunderBench made by Emprog:

ThunderBench for ARM Eclipse Startup Screen

ThunderBench for ARM Eclipse Startup Screen

They support a range of ARM based devices, including the Freescale ones I’m using. So I downloaded the v3.24 30 day trial from their download page last week. Finally I have found some time to try it out. Could this be an alternative to use my Freescale FRDM boards with Processor Expert?

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IAR ARM v6.7 comes with improved Processor Expert Support


This week I saw on the IAR website that they have released the new IAR Embedded Workbench v6.7 for ARM. I was still on 6.5 using the free code size limited ‘Kickstart’ version), so I thought it would be a good time to upgrade to the v6.7. And there are good reasons as the connection to Processor Expert makes things much easier now.

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Workaround for Processor Expert ‘Components’ View Synchronization


CodeWarrior for MCU10.5 comes with a new Eclipse and new Processor Expert. Things are working very well so far. But I have spotted an issue which seems to be related to the new Eclipse Juno used: sometimes the Processor Expert ‘Components’ view is not correctly showing the current project used.

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