I’m preparing for the next semester at the university starting in September this year. As part of that, I’m currently evaluating the Freescale Kinetis FRDM-KL43Z board:
FRDM-KL25Z, the most popular Freedom Board?
The Freescale FRDM-KL25Z board is used a lot, including in this blog when I first used that board back in September 2012: there are plenty of tutorials available, the board has the best price/performance ratio, and students including myself really love it. Freescale has later on released other FRDM boards with better features, but in my opinion they were simply too expensive and not well supported with examples and tutorials. I have monitored my board distributors on Mouser.com and Farnell/element14, and the number of available boards and the inventory fluktuations let me believe that indeed the FRDM-KL25Z is probably a high runner for them too. The FRDM-KL46Z would have been a good sucessor of the FRDM-KL25Z, but yet again, the price/performance ratio was not matching the KL25Z board: the FRDM-KL46Z was in the >$25 range 😦
Checking recently the price point of the FRDM-KL46Z, I noticed that it was now down to CHF 19, still 50% up to the CHF 12 for a FRDM-KL25Z. But at the same price as the FRDM-KL46Z I saw that there is a FRDM-KL43Z which I had not used yet. So I ordered two boards to explore it.
The board comes as the other FRDM boards in a card box with a Quick Reference card, without USB cables and without headers populated:
Freedom Board Comparison
The picture below shows the three boards from left to right: FRDM-KL25Z, FRDM-KL43Z and FRDM-KL46Z:
|Package||LQFP, 80 pin||LQFP, 64pin||LQFP, 100 pin|
|FLASH||128 Kbyte||256 Kbyte||256 Kbyte|
|SRAM||16 Kbyte||32 Kbyte||32 Kbyte|
|Max Speed||48 MHz||48 MHz||48 MHz|
|LED||RGB||Green, Red||Green, Red|
|Light Sensor||no||Analog, ALS-PT19-315C/L177/TR8||Analog, ALS-PT19-315C/L177/TR8|
|Segment LCD||no||7-Segment, 4 digits||7-Segment, 4 digits|
|OpenSDA||P&E, V1||P&E, V1||P&E, V1|
|USB||yes, needs crystal||yes, crystal-less||yes, needs crystal|
|Processor Expert||full: LDD and SDK||partical: SDK only||full: LDD and SDK|
So the FRDM-KL43Z is very similar to the FRDM-KL46Z, but around 50% more expensive than the FRDM-KL25Z.
💡 Check your local distributor prices, as I have found pricing Freedom boards very inconsistent, depending on distributor or local distributor web store!
Compared to the FRDM-KL25Z the KL43Z has more FLASH, more RAM, Magnetometer, 7-Segment LCD, push buttons and an ambient light sensor, and has a smaller package than the KL25Z (80 pins) and KL46Z (100 pins). Because of the less pins on the package, not all Arduino header pins on the side are connected.
An interesting feature I need to explore is the ROM bootloader present in the KL43Z (see https://community.freescale.com/docs/DOC-104364). On the downside, the KL43Z is not fully supported any more with Processor Expert, making writing and porting applications to the KL43Z much harder or even impossible :-(.
Freescale Kinetis Design Studio Support
The FRDM-KL43Z is listed in Kinetis Design Studio, with Kinetis SDK v1.2 installed:
Processor Expert is only supported in combination with the Kinetis SDK:
So there is no LDD (Logical Device Drivers) support available for the KL43Z. That means that all the existing tutorials using Processor Expert for all the other boards will not work any more, projects cannot be easily ported and I have to start pretty much from scratch.
The FRDM-KL43Z is a new board, very comparable with the FRDM-KL46Z. On the plus side it comes with a ROM bootloader and crystal-less USB operation. On the downside I would have to rewrite all my existing applications for that new board. It is supported with Kinetis Design Studio (Segger and J-Link). So from that perspective the FRDM-KL46Z is better enabled than the KL43Z. If the price of the FRDM-KL43Z would get closer to the FRDM-KL25Z one, then the FRDM-KL43Z could be the next Freescale Freedom High-Runner board. The bit (potential) plus of the KL43Z in my view is the ROM bootloader, so I would like to explore this in one of my future articles.
Happy Evaluating 🙂
- Freescale Freedom boards: http://www.freescale.com/freedom
- FRDM-KL43Z Board: http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/site/prod_summary.jsp?code=FRDM-KL43Z
- Freescale Kinetis Design Studio: http://www.freescale.com/kds
- Freescale Kinetis Bootloader: http://www.freescale.com/kboot