Investigating ARM Cortex® M33 core with TrustZone® – Using the Pins Config Tool

Well let’s face it, modern microcontrollers are complicated. The User Manual for the LPC55S69 has 1148 pages (Rev 1.3) and that does not include any of the electrical characteristics – see the Datasheet (129 pages) nor does it include the details around the core or instruction set (see ARM documentation) . So there is a lot of technical information to read, and don’t get me started on the pin multiplexing… Well actually, do get me started on the pin multiplexing because that is my focus this week.

This week I turned my attention to writing a very simple example project in MCUXpresso IDE to run on the ARM Cortex® M33 core inside the LPC55S69. As in previous weeks I am again using the LPC55S69-EVK from NXP. My plan is to use this board every week but I have learned recently a few details about a new ultra-low-cost board. It’s going to be AMAZING and I’ll share more details with you when I can.

The project will use a CTIMER timer output with PWM to change the brightness of the green LED on the board. An 10 ms interrupt from the MULTI-RATE TIMER will ramp the brightness up and down so that the LED pulses. And lastly, an interrupt from the USER switch on the board will generate a PINT interrupt and this is used to mask the LED output.

With the increasing complexity of the microcontroller and the extensive pin multiplexing, we will introduce the Pin Multiplexing “Config’ tool within MCUXpresso IDE> This gives us a very quick way of selecting the function for each pin of the microcontroller from the list of available functions. In the video I’ll show you how find out where the Green LED is connected on the LPC55S69-EVK and then control it in hardware from the match register in the CTIMER. We’ll find that the CTIM2MAT2 function is the 3rd alternate function for the GPIO pad PIO1_7 and quickly configure it with the Pins Config tool.

The video on my embeddedpro® YouTube channel is not a programming tutorial. So I’ll show you how to use the MCUXpresso tools to generate the project, but you’ll need some software to make it all happen. The video shows you how to cut and paste the code into MCUXpresso IDE and so you should get your LED pulsing without too many challenges. Use this link to download a text file with the source code:

Download link will be activated 17-Sept-2019

And for your interest, I normally use a heart-beat indication like this on every project that I develop just so that there is a visual indication of activity on the board. And by changing the parameters I can make a range of LED patterns that provide more information about what the software is up to. So I use a faster pattern of blinking to warn me about a fault.

To be fair, there are quite a few online tutorials about the MCUXpresso IDE Pins Config tool. And so you can watch my video here

… but I ‘borrowed‘ some tips from NXP and Erich at the following locations:

https://mcuoneclipse.com/2017/11/25/eclipse-mcuxpresso-ide-10-1-with-integrated-mcuxpresso-configuration-tools/

https://mcuoneclipse.com/2016/06/08/tutorial-muxing-with-the-new-nxp-pins-tool/

https://mcuoneclipse.com/2016/07/19/nxp-pins-tool-clock-gates-and-controlling-the-bits/

https://www.nxp.com/pages/mcuxpresso-config-tools-overview:TIP-MCUXPRESSO-CT-OVERVIEW

Please let me know how you get on, and don’t forget to share the information with your friends. And come back next Monday when I’ll cover the Clocks Config tool in MCUXpresso IDE in some more details.

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Tutorial: Blinky with the NXP LPC845-BRK Board

The NXP LPC845-BRK board is a sub-$6 breadboard friendly development board with an ARM Cortex-M0+ on it. This tutorial is about developing a ‘blinky’ on it using MCUXpresso.

Binky on NXP LPC845-BRK Board

Binky on NXP LPC845-BRK Board

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Overview of MCUXpresso IDE v10.2.0

Decisions, decisions! Such long weekends like Pentecost are a real challenge for a family with engineers:

  1. Should we join that record long traffic jam to Italy and be stuck for more than 4 hours and analyze it?
  2. Or: should we stay home, turn the BBQ smoker engine on fire, load it with baby back pork rib racks for a slow-and-low smoke treatment, while doing some on-the-side IDE and technology exploration?

Well, my family vote was kind of clear: they have chosen that second option. Not to mention that hidden technology piece in it, but that was part of the deal ;-).

And I’m sorry: this article is not about BBQ (for this see “Smoking BBQ Baby Back Ribs – Swiss Style“), it is about technology: I’m using the NXP MCUXpresso IDE and tools for many of my projects (see “Eclipse MCUXpresso IDE 10.1 with integrated MCUXpresso Configuration Tools“). Right before the this extended weekend, NXP has released the new v10.2.0 version, so here is where that technology exploration piece comes into play. Checking the release notes, this version number change includes so many cool stuff I decided to have a look and to check it out. Of course always having an electronic eye on the baby back ribs!

MCUXpresso IDE v10.2.0

MCUXpresso IDE v10.2.0

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Eclipse MCUXpresso IDE 10.1 with integrated MCUXpresso Configuration Tools

Back in March 2017, NXP had rolled the MCUXpresso IDE starting with Version 10.0.0. With the intent to unify the SDK, LPCXpresso, CodeWarrior, Kinetis Design Studio and Processor Expert into one unified and integrated set of tools. V10.0.0 was a good start. The MCUXpresso IDE V10.0.2 in July was more of a smaller update, and the Pin and Clock configuration tools were not integrated, no added tool for peripheral configuration.

A week ago the MCUXpresso V10.1.0 has been released which shows where the journey is going: an free-of-charge and code size unlimited Eclipse based integrated set of tools to configure, build and debug Cortex-M (Kinetis, LPC and i.MX RT) microcontroller/processor based applications.

Clock Tool inside MCUXpresso IDE

Clock Tool inside MCUXpresso IDE

I have used it for a week, and although many things are still new, I thought I’m able to give an overview about what is new.

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Exploring a Microcontroller and Software and Tools for the next Project

I’m using many microcontroller in my projects. And a lot more are available out there in the ecosystem. Like many others, I tend to select what I am familiar with. But is this the correct approach to select the hardware and tools for a next project?

Microcontroller Boards

Microcontroller Boards

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Is Developing for ARM more difficult than for other Architectures?

I believe in ‘life-long-learning’. With this I continue to learn and discover new things every day. I’m writing tutorials to give something back to the community from which I have learned so much.

On top of this, I receive emails on a nearly daily basis, asking for help. Many articles have the origin in such requests or questions. I prefer questions or comments in a public forum, because that way I feel all others can benefit from it. Last week Alessandro contacted me with this:

“Hi Erich,

I hope this find you well! I’m starting to using ARM processors, but I find them quite complicated on the configuration side. I started in the past with PIC micro (PIC16) with asm, and I found them quite straightforward to be configured (clock, IO, peripherals, …). Then I moved myself on C language, and on PIC18 without any big issues.

Now I would really like join the ARM community, I see that these processors are what I’ve always looking for, on energy, calc power, peripherals, and FINALLY on IDE (editor, toolchain and utilities)… AMAZING!!!”

The topic is about how to start learning developing for ARM. Alessandro agreed to make this public, so I thought this might be a good topic for an article?

Firmware

Firmware

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Embedded World Nürnberg 2017 Impressions: MCUXpresso, Hexiwear, NTAG, LPC800-DIP and Alan Hawse

This year I managed to attend the Embedded World in Nürnberg/Germany after missing the 2016 show. And 2017 has been a blast! With more than 1000 exhibitors and >30’000 visitors it was huge! There were too many exciting things, so I just pick a few: NXP demonstrated the new MCUXpresso Software and Tools with a new Eclipse Neon based IDE, lots of IoT and Hexiwear, the tiny LPC800-DIP board, and I have met Alan Hawse in person!

Impresson from the Show (embeddedworld 2017)

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NXP MCUXpresso Software and Tools with Clocks Tool

About a year ago, on December 7th 2015, Freescale and NXP have announced the completion of their merger.  Now it is Qualcomm which wants to acquire NXP? It looks like these mergers are happening faster and faster. The reality is that merging products take more time than anticipated, and nearly one year later I can see the outcome of what comes out of the marriage between Freescale and NXP or between Kinetis and LPC: NXP has announced the MCUXpresso software and tools for Kinetis and LPC microcontroller:

Introducing MCUXpresso

Introducing MCUXpresso (Source: NXP video)

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NXP Pins Tool: Understanding Data for Offline Usage

I’m using the NXP Pins tool (see “Tutorial: Muxing with the New NXP Pins Tool“) now in several projects, and I think it is time to share a few tips and tricks.

Pins Tool

Pins Tool

So join me on a journey through the internals of the NXP Pins tool :-).

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NXP Pins Tool: Clock Gates and Controlling the Bits

With the NXP Pins Tool (see “Tutorial: Muxing with the New NXP Pins Tool“) I can configure and mux (multiplex) the microcontroller pins. What is really powerful and what might not be so obvious at the first sight is that it gives me deep control over every register bit and setting. For example I have below the PTB1 (Port B, pin 1) muxed as GPIO (General Purpose I/O):

PTB1 Muxed with Pins Tool

PTB1 Muxed with Pins Tool

But it only generates this:

void BOARD_InitPins(void) {
  CLOCK_EnableClock(kCLOCK_PortB);                           /* Port B Clock Gate Control: Clock enabled */

  PORT_SetPinMux(PORTB, PIN1_IDX, kPORT_MuxAsGpio);          /* PORTB1 (pin 54) is configured as PTB1 */
}

So what about all the other bits and pieces? Continue reading

Tutorial: Muxing with the New NXP Pins Tool

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 :-).

Desktop Version of Pins Tool

Desktop Version of Pins Tool

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