Swiss Army Knife of Terminal Program for Serial Bootloaders

A bootloader shall be small and concise. I very much like bootloaders which do not need a ‘special’ program on the host, so I prefer a simple terminal for this. While porting my serial bootloader to the NXP FRDM-K64F board, I have found RealTerm which offers a lot of cool features:

RealTerm

RealTerm

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McuOnEclipse Components: 29-May-2016 Release

Major changes in this new release:

  • FreeRTOS V9.0.0 with static memory allocation.
  • Shell with single character I/O function.
  • FatFS File System with extra shell commands for memory dump and file creation.
  • Segger SystemViewer library updated to V2.36a
Segger SystemViewer V2.36a

Segger SystemViewer V2.36a

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FreeRTOS V9.0.0 with Static Memory Allocation

I’m using FreeRTOS in most of my applications. There were only a few exceptions where an RTOS has to be used in safety critical systems: there usually it is not permitted to use any dynamic memory allocation because this adds the risk that a memory allocation could fail at runtime because of memory fragmentation or memory leak. And FreeRTOS uses a dynamic memory (heap) for the task stacks and the RTOS resources including semaphore, mutex and queues.

This is now a thing of the past. This week a new FreeRTOS Version 9 was released which does not need any dynamic memory allocation anymore: it is possible now to build completely statically allocated systems with FreeRTOS :-).

Dynamic and Static Memory Allocation in FreeRTOS V9.0.0

Dynamic and Static Memory Allocation in FreeRTOS V9.0.0

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Tutorial: FreeRTOS with NXP Kinetis SDK V2.0 and Processor Expert

In “Tutorial: Blinky with NXP Kinetis SDK V2.0 and Processor Expert” I used Processor Expert components with the NXP Kinetis SDK to blink some LEDs. This tutorial extends the earlier project and adds FreeRTOS.

FreeRTOS running on a NXP FRDM-K22F Board

FreeRTOS running on a NXP FRDM-K22F Board

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Tutorial: Blinky with NXP Kinetis SDK V2.0 and Processor Expert

In “Mother of Components: Processor Expert with NXP Kinetis SDK V2.0 Projects” I presented an approach how to use Processor Expert components with the NXP Kinetis SDK. This article is a tutorial how to create a blinking LED project with that approach, using McuOnEclipse Processor Expert components and the Kinetis SDK V2.0. As board the FRDM-K22F is used:

Blinky on a FRDM-K22F with SDK V2.0 and Processor Expert

Blinky on a FRDM-K22F with SDK V2.0 and Processor Expert

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Mother of Components: Processor Expert with NXP Kinetis SDK V2.0 Projects

Unfortunately, now the NXP Kinetis SDK V2.0 does not include Processor Expert support (see “First NXP Kinetis SDK Release: SDK V2.0 with Online On-Demand Package Builder“). But at the Lucerne University we are using more than 150 different custom Processor Expert components we would like to use with that new SDK. So how to make them working with the Kinetis SDK V2.0? Using a Processor Expert as “the mother of all components”:

NXP Kinetis SDK V2.0 and Processor Expert Side-by-Side under Eclipse

NXP Kinetis SDK V2.0 and Processor Expert Side-by-Side under Eclipse

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McuOnEclipse Components: 8-May-2016 Release

Time is passing fast, and many components have been updated to make the compatible with the NXP Kinetis SDK V2.0. As a highlight, besides of FreeRTOS the following components are now usable with the NXP Kinetis SDK:

Components compatible with Kinetis SDK

Components compatible with Kinetis SDK

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McuOnEclipse Components: 3-Apr-2016 Release

It has been already two months after the Feb 2016 release, and so much things are going on, so a new release was overdue. Today I have released a new version of the McuOnEclipse components on SourceForge with the following main changes and features:

  • Kinetis SDK v2 with Processor Expert: Now many components can be used even with the Kinetis SDK v2.0 even with the Kinetis SDK not having Processor Expert included.
  • Updated Segger SystemViewer to v2.32a with post-mortem and static buffer support
  • Updated Segger RTT to v5.10u and fixed an issue with interrupts on Cortex-M4
  • FreeRTOS Thread Awareness with OpenOCD

See readme on SourceForge for the full history.

McuOnEclipse 2016-04-03 Release

McuOnEclipse 2016-04-03 Release

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nRF24L01+ 2.4 GHz Wireless Connectivity with the tinyK20 Board

I’m using the tiny and inexpensive Nordic Semiconductor nRF24L01+ transceiver (see “Tutorial: Nordic Semiconductor nRF24L01+ with the Freescale FRDM-K64F Board“) in many projects: it costs less than $3 and allows me to communicate with a proprietary 2.4GHz protocol in a low power way (see “IoT: FreeRTOS Down to the Micro Amps“). I have that transceiver now running with the tinyK20 board too:

nRF24L01+ Transceiver with tinyK20

nRF24L01+ Transceiver with tinyK20

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Are ARM CMSIS-Pack the Future of Software Components?

I’m using Processor Expert components for nearly every Freescale (now NXP) projects: for S08, S12, ColdFire, DSC and especially all the different NXP Kinetis devices. Not only because it makes software development fast and easy and allows re-use of software, but as well because Processor Expert has a good way to pack and distribute software components. Unfortunately Processor Expert is not any more included for the new Kinetis devices (see “First NXP Kinetis SDK Release: SDK V2.0 with Online On-Demand Package Builder“). So I have looked into an alternative and hopefully vendor neutral way to build and distribute software packages using CMSIS-Pack.

CMSIS-PACK in Eclipse

CMSIS-Pack in Eclipse

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McuOnEclipse Components: 7-Feb-2016 Release

New in this release:

  • Segger SystemViewer: Upgraded to V2.30, added stack high-water mark
  • Segger RTT: fixed BASEPRI issue on Cortex M4 for critical sections
  • Utility: Fixed issue with Utility module and Kinetis SDK (usage of ‘byte’)
  • USB CDC: property to specify USB device current usage, new status getter functions.
Segger SystemViewer V2.30

Segger SystemViewer V2.30

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Tutorial: Bare-Metal Shell for Kinetis

I have been asked to provide a command line shell example for a bare-metal (no RTOS) application, so here we go!

Having a way to communicate to the firmware on a board is essential for most of my projects: it is simply, incredibly helpful and easy to do (see “A Shell for the Freedom KL25Z Board“). This tutorial shows how to add a simple command line shell to the NXP Freedom board which then can be extended as necessary.

Console Application

Console Application

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McuOnEclipse Release 10-Jan-2016

With the start of the new year 2016 I have published a new McuOnEclipse component release with the following major updates:

  1. Updated Segger SystemView and Real Time Transfer (RTT): added terminal functions and extra interfaces
  2. Improved USB CDC with serial number handing
  3. FreeRTOS TaskList shell command
  4. USB Stack: added MSD Host support for MCF52259, added support for K24FN120 and for the 100 MHz K20 devices
  5. New NEOMatrix component for Adafruit NeoPixel Matrix displays

    256 NeoPixel Matrix with FRDM-KL25Z

    256 NeoPixel Matrix with FRDM-KL25Z

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How to Add Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Connection to ARM Cortex-M

In many of my embedded projects I’m using successfully the Nordic Semiconductor nRF24L01+ (see “Tutorial: Nordic Semiconductor nRF24L01+ with the Freescale FRDM-K64F Board“) and the HC-06 Bluetooth transceivers (see “Getting Bluetooth Working with JY-MCU BT_BOARD V1.06“) for wireless communication. However, the nRF24L01+ is using a proprietary protocol, and the HC-06 does not work with Apple products (it does very well with Android devices). To close that gap I decided to add Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE, or Bluetooth 4.x). So this post is about how to add Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to NXP (formerly Freescale) Kinetis devices:

BLE Enabled Kinetis

BLE Enabled Kinetis

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USB CDC with the Raspberry Pi

For my home automation project with openHAB I want to attach Freescale (now NXP) FRDM (Freedom) boards so they can take care about the realtime aspects and to act as gateways to my other systems. One way is to use USB CDC (Serial over USB) as communication channel. USB has the advantage that it powers the board, plus I can attach multiple devices: up to four on the Raspberry Pi 2 and even more with using a USB hub. In a standard configuration with a USB WiFi and a USB HID (mouse plus keyboard) dongle I still can attach two Freescale (ahem, NXP) Freedom boards to the Raspberry Pi:

FRDM-K22F and FRDM-K64F attached to Raspberry Pi 2

FRDM-K22F and FRDM-K64F attached to Raspberry Pi 2

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McuOnEclipse Components: 22-Nov-2015 Release

A lot of good things happened in the last three weeks, so here is a new updated McuOnEclipse component release, with the following main improvements:

  1. Updated Segger RTT component
  2. New Segger SystemView component
  3. FreeRTOS ‘tasklist’ shell command
  4. FreeRTOS with support for Segger SystemView

SystemViewer

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Segger SystemView: Realtime Analysis and Visualization for FreeRTOS

One of the most important aspects for developing complex realtime applications is get insights into what is going on the target. Segger just has released a free tool which gives an incredible useful insight view and visualization:

Segger System View for FreeRTOS

Segger System View for FreeRTOS

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McuOnEclipse Components: 08-Nov-2015 Release

Time is flying fast, time for another McuOnEclipse components release on SourceForge with the following main changes and features:

  1. New component for Segger RTT makes adding a console communication interface super easy (and fast!)
  2. RTT support for the command line Shell component
  3. RTT component used for Percepio FreeRTOS Tracing
  4. Updated USB component, support for USB CDC blocking/waiting and endpoint configuration
  5. Updated FreeRTOS to V8.2.3, memory heap selection improved and setting for time slicing
  6. RingBuffer implements a Delete() method
  7. Extended Kinetis SDK support in components, added by default
Segger RTT Console

Segger RTT Console

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Tutorial: lwip with FreeRTOS and the Freescale FRDM-K64F Board

This tutorial is about how to create a lwIP project with FreeRTOS using the Kinetis SDK V1.3.0 with Kinetis Design Studio on the Freescale FRDM-K64F board.

FRDM-K64F Board with lwIP running

FRDM-K64F Board with lwIP running

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Overview: Processor Expert

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.

Processor Expert

Processor Expert

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