More and more of my students are using Microsoft Windows 10 machines, and my computer has been upgraded to Windows 10 a couple of week ago too. From my work and experience, a new operating system causes always some challenges, and Windows 10 is no difference. And no, this is not about Microsoft vs. Apple vs. Linux, this post is about addressing a potential and painful problem which I have observed with Windows 10 machines, and to my understanding it could happen with any other operating system too. The problem is that somehow on several student machines the bootloader and OpenSDA application on their FRDM boards did not work any more.
A new release is available on SourceForge, with the following main changes:
- Support for FreeRTOS and Cortex-M7
- Segger SystemView updated to V2.38
- Components for NXP Kinetis SDK V1.3
- Fixed bug in Wait component (register handling for GCC and ARM)
- FatFS supports FreeRTOS V9.0.0 with static memory allocation
- FreeRTOS shell and task list with static memory allocation
- Floating point conversion routines in Utility
- FreeRTOS component shows NVIC mask bits
One of the major benefits of Processor Expert is that I can easily switch the device or processor used in a project. For example I can do my concept with a larger device with more FLASH and RAM, and then at the end easily switch to a smaller or even completely different device very quickly. For example I have a project working with the 64KByte FLASH version of the KE02Z (KE02Z68VLH2):
Sometimes it is very convenient to load a new firmware to a board without the need for a hardware debugger. This is usually done with a bootloader. The NXP Freedom and Tower evaluation boards have on-board debug device/microcontroller (OpenSDA) which can load different firmware implementations like CMSIS-DAP/mbed, P&E Multilink or a Segger J-Link OpenSDA applications. Both mbed and P&E implemenations support to program the board with drag&drop: simply send a file to a virtual MSD (Mass Storage Device) to get it programmed. The latest Segger OpenSDA firmware has this ability added now too: Programming the board with a virtual MSD device:
So this is my current week-end BBQ project: Pulled Pork out of the BBQ smoker :-). As a teaser, this is how the result looks like: tender, juicy slow-cooking smoked pork meat out of the smoker:
3.5″ Diskette Drives are not widely used any more: CDs, DVDs, memory/thumb drives and downloads from the web are the usual distribution method these days for software. Back a few years ago, software was distributed on one or many 3.5″ diskettes, and even before that time on 5 1/4″ floppy disk drives. So what to do with all these not-used-anymore hardware? Play music with it 🙂
My wife tells me that I have too many boards on my desk. That is only *partially* correct: there are many, but not *too* many. But I’m working on too many tasks, but that’s a different aspect :-). I’m using more and more the Kinetis SDK V2.0, and as a result of this I have multiple SDKs installed on my machine. Because with the SDK V2.0 I get a download for each device/board installed (see “First NXP Kinetis SDK Release: SDK V2.0 with Online On-Demand Package Builder“). So my list of SDK folders is growing, as shown with the ‘New SDK 2.x’ wizard in Kinetis Design Studio:
The same time, the amount of free disk space is reducing. What if I could combine all these SDK’s?
Sometimes it is all about knowing the simple tricks in Eclipse which make life easier. Like this one: how to have a split editor view so I can edit multiple different sections of a source file:
While developing a data logger for an advanced UAV inertial sensor I had to think about the quote below several times:
“There are two ways of constructing a software design: One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies, and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies. The first method is far more difficult. It demands the same skill, devotion, insight, and even inspiration as the discovery of the simple physical laws which underlie the complex phenomena of nature.”
C. A. R. Hoare
Still my design is not simple, and still I have to discover the not so simple physical laws of that sensor :-(.
That quote from Sir Charles Antony Richard Hoare is so true. In case you did not know: he is the one who developed the quicksort algorithm. With this and all his other work he shaped the software and computer industry. And reminds me about the challenges and difficulties of constructing software……
Happy Constructing 🙂
I don’t know if it is the same for you. But for me, configuring the pins on these new ARM microcontroller is a challenge: Most pins can do multiple functions, such as be used as I²C, UART or GPIO pins.
Configuring the pins ‘by hand’ is difficult, error-prone and usually the first thing I need to do for a new project/device. NXP developed a new tool for this task and previewed it at FTF 2016. It is available now both as web (online) and desktop (locally installed) tool. At FTF it was possible to play with an engineering release: time to get my hands on the public release :-). And as more and more student projects will start using that tool for their boards, I better have a tutorial for it :-).
One goal of this blog is to inspire engineers, in one way or another. And when I get reports back that things were useful, I like to share it :-).
So here is something what a team of young undergraduates (Przemyslaw Brudny, Marek Ulita, Maciej Olejnik) did for theirs Master Thesis work at the Politechnika Wroclawska, Poland: a very cool flying machine controlled by two Kinetis K66, having many sensors (on own designed boards) with a custom debug/programmer board similar to the tinyK20, developed with the NXP Kinetis Design Studio:
“Learning-by-doing” is one of the core principles of my embedded systems and robotics course at the Lucerne University. For this the students apply what they learned using a robotics platform. In earlier semesters we did a Sumo battle at the end. This time the challenge was to build a remote controller plus to add the ability to explore and solve a line maze: