2014: A Look into the Magic Crystal Ball

It is the last day of the Year 2013. Instead of reviewing the soon-to-be-old-2013, I want to look into 2014. For this I have my Magic Crystal Ball :-):

Crystal Ball

Microscopic Crystal Ball View, tells what will happen in 2014!

So here is my personal list of 10 things I’m seeing, in no particular order:

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Review: New FRDM-KL26Z Board

I probably would have missed the fact that Freescale has released a new Freedom board, if I would not have visited my local distributor site to order a replacement for one of my first FRDM-KL25Z boards. So surprise, surprise: there is a new Freedom board: the FRDM-KL26Z!

FRDM-KL26Z Board

FRDM-KL26Z Board

So instead ordering again a FRDM-KL25Z, I decided to order that new FRDM-KL26Z instead. And it arrived right before Christmas, and now I had time to check it out. Nope, I did *not* use it as a blinking gadget on a Christmas tree, even if that would have been a nice idea ;-).

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RNet Stack for 8bit MC9S08QE128 Microcontroller and MC13201 Transceiver

I admit: I have used ARM Cortex cores a lot in the recent months. Yes, I think with the ‘ARM domination of the world’ over time the ARM core will blast away probably all other cores, except for niche players? Still, there are reasons to use non-ARM cores, and even if it is just that I have a board at hand :-).

DEMOQE with MC9S08QE128 and MC13201 Transceiver Card

DEMOQE with MC9S08QE128 and MC13201 Transceiver Card

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DIY Free Toolchain for Kinetis: Part 7 – GNU ARM Eclipse Plugins

Tired by the tool chains provided by your silicon vendor? Do you want to use a free and open tool chain? Then you probably followed by “DIY Free Toolchain” series already. In “DIY Free Toolchain for Kinetis: Part 2 – Eclipse IDE” I used the standard GNU Eclipse plugins. As mentioned in above post, there is an even better and more powerful plugin available: the GNU ARM Eclipse plug-ins. There is a dedicated blog site (http://gnuarmeclipse.livius.net/blog/) which provides excellent documentation and direct access to new and frequent releases. And these days there is a true a Christmas gift for every Eclipse lover: the version 1.1.7 with the addition of J-Link debugger plugin :-).

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Eclipse Build Variables

This post is not about variables in my application code (which I debug). It is about using Variables in Eclipse for building projects. Eclipse variables allow me to make my projects ‘position independent’ whenever I cannot use a path relative to my projects or workspace.

Eclipse Variables

Which variables are used where in Eclipse might be sometimes not very clear. Depending in which context variables are used, not everything might be available. This link for example gives a list of variables which can be used to invoke an external tool.

Build Variables

Eclipse comes with many built-in variables, especially for the build system. If I want to see what variables are already defined, I can show them in the project properties, under C/C++ Build > Build Variables with enabled option ‘Show system variables’:

System Build Variables

System Build Variables

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RNet: optional ACK, Dynamic Payload and Extended nRF24L01+ Driver

Time to write an update about the RNet Wireless Stack. The stack has been successfully used for the Sumo Robots as wireless controller. In the last week, there has been a lot smaller and larger extensions for it. And because the nRF24L01+ modules are so inexpensive, I bunkered more than 50, with 20 still left to be deployed:

nRF24L01+ Transceiver Modules

nRF24L01+ Transceiver Modules

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INTRO Mini Sumo Tournament 2013: Lots of Fun!

It was Friday the 13th, and it was Sumo Battle Day :-). After 3 months of tinkering, hacking and creatively improving the Mini Sumo Bots, finally the the course tournament took place.

Get Ready

With using a different room, every team had a chance to warm up and recalibrate the sensors for the new environment.

Warming up for the battles

Getting ready for the battles

The time was used to apply last-minute changes and improvements too, plus to record the last Robo Portraits.

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New P&E OpenSDA Firmware v114

Good news for everyone having Windows 8.1: P&E has released Dec 11th 2013 a new FRDM board firmware which solves the bootloader issue found with Windows 8.1. The new firmware can download from https://www.pemicro.com/opensda/.

New PnE OpenSDA Firmware

New PnE OpenSDA Firmware

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Sumo Robot Portraits

If you are familiar with battle games, then typically there is portrait of the machinery you can use. Or if you have every watched ‘competitive’ sports, then every player can have an opportunity to present himself to the audience. So here we go…

Fredy the Commander

Fredy the Commander

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Zumo Robot Last Tuning Tips

Tomorrow will the STD (Sumo Tournament Day)! Here are a few last tips and tricks to be prepared for that Sumo Tournament using the Pololu Zumo Robot chassis:

Battery Inertia

If two robots crash into each other, there can be quite some force. What I have observed is that it can be strong enough to temporarily disconnects the batteries from their spring contacts. I use pieces of plastic parts to keep the batteries tight and in place.

Battery Enforcement

Battery Enforcement

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Processor Expert CDE: Debug Verbose Mode

I have one rule I try to follow every day: my code shall be warning free. Writing software for multiple compilers gets challenging with this rule, but it avoids the ‘not seeing the forest because of the trees’ problem. This rule extends to writing Processor Expert components with CDE (Component Development Environment). What I have missed (and not used) is a useful option to enable debug output:

Enable Processor Expert Components Debug Verbose Mode

Enable Processor Expert Components Debug Verbose Mode

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Bit-Banging I2C with ResetBus() Functionality

The good thing with the internet is: it allows engineers to collaborate. And here is an example: Marc is a reader of this blog had a problem with the I2C hardware of a Freescale Kinetis ARM microcontroller. In his case, the I2C bus could be stuck, and there seems no way to reset it with the I2C hardware on the microcontroller. So a solution would be to reset it with software instead.

Bit Banging Software I2C Driver

Bit Banging Software I2C Driver

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Sumo Robots, one Week until Tournament

There is one week left until all the Sumo robots of the Infotronic course at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts will enter a tournament. The robots have to pass a simple tests before they can enter the tournament: to push a ‘dummy’ robot outside the ring. This simple test is used at tournaments to avoid ‘passive’ robots just sitting in the middle of the ring ;-).

Sumo Robot against Dummy Bot

Sumo Robot against Dummy Bot

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