I love the WS2812B (aka SK6812) addressable LEDs: they are inexpensive and available in different packages. I have used them in different projects, including the MetaClockClock one. I used the NXP Kinetis for these projects, but because they are not available any more, for a new project we had to choose a new microcontroller, with the Raspberry Pi Pico RP2040 as the winner.Continue reading
Using a Watchdog Timer with an RTOS
When something goes wrong in an embedded system, a watchdog timer is the last line of defense against a blocked or malfunctioning system. A watchdog is a special timer which needs to be ‘kicked’ in a special way, otherwise the timer will run out and reset the system.
For example, a watchdog is an important safety feature in the E-Vehicle charging controller with Raspberry Pi Pico-W RP2040:Continue reading
BLE with WiFi and FreeRTOS on Raspberry Pi Pico-W
The Raspberry Pi Pico RP2040 is a very versatile microcontroller. It is not the least expensive or the most powerful microcontroller, but it is one which is available and has an excellent software and tool ecosystem.
This article shows how to use the Raspberry Pi Pico-W with BLE and optional WiFi, running with FreeRTOS.Continue reading
Using Semihosting the direct Way
Most embedded developers have probably used ‘semihosting’. And yes, it is generally seen as a bad thing. Maybe you have used it, without realizing what it really is and what it does. It is simple to add a
printf() to the code (again: you should not use printf), and with the right standard library, it magically it shows up in a console view:
That looks great, but what is behind this, to make it happen? Actually, it is really amazing technology. And it can be used for better things than just printing text.Continue reading
IDE Custom C/C++ Local Build Environment
On my host machine I have many different development environment installed. From different make, cmake and python versions up to different versions of GNU tool chains. Adding them to the PATH environment variable on Windows is really a bad thing: instead I want to keep my PATH as clean as possible. If I need to set up a different environment with different tools, then I prefer to have a ‘local’ environment.Continue reading
Avoiding Stack Overflows: Application Monitoring the Stack Usage
One of the biggest fears of embedded systems developers are stack overflows. FreeRTOS includes a cool feature to monitor and catch task stack overflows. But what about the MSP (Main Stack Pointer) on ARM, or the interrupt stack? What if not using an RTOS and running a bare-metal application?
There is a simple way monitoring stack usage at runtime, and for this I want to share the routines and what is now available inside the McuArm module.Continue reading
You_Shall_Not_Use_Printf: How to make sure no printf() is used
Every embedded system developer should know by now, that using printf() is not a good thing for smaller systems. Printf() and the like are not only problematic from a code and data size perspective, they are infamous for vulnerability attacks too.
In this article I’ll show you multiple ways how to ban printf() or anything similar you want to avoid.Continue reading
Using MQTT with the Raspberry Pi Pico W and HomeAssistant for an Optimized Solar Energy Electrical Vehicle Charger
I’m in the final stage of finishing a electrical vehicle (EV) charger controller, which optimizes battery loading using the available PV system: use as much as possible the solar energy and not the grid.
While the controller talks with an Modbus (RS-485) interface to the vehicle charger itself (see Controlling an EV Charger with Modbus RTU), it uses MQTT over WiFi to get information about the available solar energy from HomeAssistant and the Powerwall.Continue reading
Adding the Picolib C/C++ Standard Library to an existing GNU ARM Embedded Toolchain
It looks like my previous article “Which Embedded GCC Standard Library? newlib, newlib-nano, …” stirred up something: I saw and knew about the Picolib created and maintained by Keith Packard, but never had the time to try it out. With the university grading mostly over, I have put aside a few hours to try it out. And the result is very interesting:Continue reading
Debugging Embedded Targets with pyOCD and Eclipse
If doing embedded development, then the debugging solution is probably the most important single tool in the development chain. Because very debugging probe has its pros and cons, I usually have at least three different debug probes on my desk, simply to get the job done in all aspects.
What is true for the hardware debugging probes, is true for the gdb client and server side. I’m using mostly the P&E, SEGGER and CMSIS-DAP plugins (e.g. NXP LinkServer) and OpenOCD from the Eclipse IDE side. But there are more choices, for example pyOCD.Continue reading