Time is passing by so fast, and the year end is approache fast! I’m pleased to announce that a new release of the McuOnEclipse components is available in SourceForge:
Percepio Trace V3.1 for FreeRTOS which includes both Segger RTT continuous streaming and snapshot tracing in a single API
Generation of sources and drivers so they can be used without Processor Expert using McuLibConfig, removal of dependency to NXP Kinetis SDK: components use a generic API approach to have them working with other SDKs.
New contributed ExceptionsHandler component
Callback Setter and Getter in USB CDC stack for simpler option handling
GenericTimeDate with flexible RTC support and added Unix Timestamp functions
LongKey events in Key component
FreeRTOS with optimized task selection on Cortex-M4/M7
In “Overview: From Snippets to Code Generation” I discussed several tools used in my development process. On tool which helps me a lot to get things done is Processor Expert. In this post I’ll give an overview about this tool and reasoning for the pros and cons of using it.
There are cases when I need to do a reset of the device by software. For example I have loaded the application image with the bootloader, and then I need to perform a reset of the microcontroller to do a restart. As a human user I can press the reset button on the board. But how to do this from the software and application running on the board, without user manual intervention? Or if I simply want to reset the system for whatever reason?
Performing a Software System Reset with Kinetis Design Studio
I think the biggest frustration point for any new or even seasoned engineer is the debugging phase: my application finally builds fine, but I’m not able to connect and download it to the target board :-(. In my view the debugging part is the most fragile part of the development process. I’m always very relieved if I can connect to a brand new board, because I know if it does not work, then the problem could be a very bad one, costing my several hours or even days to overcome it.
While new Freescale boards come with the OpenSDA debug firmware, I still students using boards with the OSBDM/OSJTAG. And with new CodeWarrior tools, it might be that there is a new OSBDM/OSJTAG firmware, and when I download to a board with an older firmware, the tool will prompt me to update the firmware. To me, after doing this several times, not a big deal. But for someone who sees this the first time, it might not be that easy. So to avoid any further questions, here we go with a step-by-step tutorial how to update the OSBDM/OSJTAG firmware.
The final FreeRTOS V8.0.0 has been released last week: time to update the Processor Expert component for it, and this time it is really a major release 🙂 : from V7.5.0 to V8.0.0:
FreeRTOS V8.0.0 Processor Expert Component
FreeRTOS V8.0.0 comes with many small changes, especially it now includes many of the extra casts I have contributed to avoid compiler warnings. And additionally it has a brand new feature: Event Groups.
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
On Friday, Freescale has updated CodeWarrior for MCU10 from V10.4 to V10.5, available on http://www.freescale.com/cwmcu10. I have not had much time to use it over the week-end, but here is a list of the things which in my view will make me switch my projects over to 10.5 and use it in my university classes:
Smaller: smaller setup and less disk space
Faster: faster debugging and flashing
Features: Eclipse Juno, detachable editor views, ‘unlimited’ breakpoints, simplified debugger attach/connect/download, and more.
It took me a while to find the time to upgrade to FreeRTOS V7.4.2, but finally it is done :-). What caused me to move from V7.2 to V7.4 is a low power application on the FRDM-KL25Z board. V7.4 comes with two major new features: Queue Sets and Tickles Idle Mode (see this article). The last one if of interest here.
FreeRTOS runs an IDLE task. This one runs when there is no other active task. That task calls an optional Idle task hook which is a perfect place to put the microcontroller into low power mode:
I’m working now on a lecture robot project using my Freedom Board. And for this I need a wireless communication. I already have IEEE802.15.4 (SMAC) working, but I wanted to add Bluetooth as a low-cost option. I have found an inexpensive Bluetooth module which is available for only around $4-8 which we use in another university class project. The module is an AT command module: that means the microcontroller communicates with AT serial commands with the module, and the Bluetooth stack itself runs on the module. In a minimal configuration I only need 3.3V, GND, TX and RX plus a CMD (Command) pin:
I’m working with the I2C bus recently a lot. I’m using it in a project to reverse-engineering skimming (credit card fraud) devices. I needed to improve one of my applications for the lecture classes where a MCF52259 is communicating with a TWR-LCD display over I2C. And I want to add RTC (Real-Time-Clock) capabilities to my Arduino Data Logger Shield which requires I2C.
The same time I want to have things working with ARM Cortex-M4 and M0+ devices. And here the challenge started: using the I2C_LDD (Logical Device Driver) Processor Expert components for the ARM Kinetis devices is definitely not simple and easy. I want to use my software compatible for both the ARM cores and say for S08 and ColdFire cores. So what I ended up is to write a ‘generic’ I2C driver on top of the low level Processor Expert components: named GenericI2C.
It has been a while I presented that universal USB CDC component in this blog. The component has received a larger re-architecture, I wanted to support more than just USB CDC. For this, the CDC part is now present in a separate sub-component:
Many compilers offer a way to allocate a variable at an absolute address. For example for the Freescale S08 compiler, I can place my variable at a given address:
unsigned char buf@0x2000;
This is very useful (and needed) e.g. if the hardware (like USB) needs a buffer at given address. The advantage of the above (non-ANSI and thus not portable) syntax is that I can define a variable at an absolute address, without the need to allocate it in the linker.
I wanted to do something similar with gcc for Kinetis/ARM, and searched many forums on the internet. Obviously, I’m not alone with this question. The solution I have found comes close to what I use e.g. for the S08 compiler.