Getting a board from a distributor like Farnell/Element14/Mouser (add your own distributor) means that chances are high that the default firmware on it is written years from now because the inventory has not been updated, or because boards are still produced with that original firmware (because of testing?). So what happens if I use board with a firmware developed pre-Windows 8/10 area?
Freshly Unboxed NXP FRDM-KL25Z Board
It might work, but chances are high that the bootloader and firmware is not ready for the ‘modern age’, and as a result the board might be bricked. If you still have a Windows 7 machine around (I do!), you are lucky. If not, then you need to read this article….
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:
This is Part 1 of a Mini Series. Manya has challenged herself to use the Adafruit NeoPixels (WS2812B RBG LEDs) with the Freescale FRDM-K64F board and the Kinetis SDK (see “Let’s play with Freescale FRDM-K64F“). I did a while back that with the FRDM-KL25Z board (see “NeoShield: WS2812 RGB LED Shield with DMA and nRF24L01+“). I used Processor Expert in my project (without the Kinetis SDK), and with this setup it is very easy. However, Manya wanted to do this with the Kinetis SDK and without Processor Expert. No surprise to me, she has found out that this setup with the Kinetis SDK and without the usage of Processor Expert is much more challenging (see “Not done yet!!“). I promised to Manya to give her a helping hand, so here we go! 🙂
Adafruit 8×8 NeoPixel Shield with Freescale FRDM-K64F Board
Yesterday Friday afternoon, the students at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Horw showcased their last semester project work to the public at the university. There were many, many interesting projects, so here are a few to give an idea what has been accomplished …
For my RNet stack I need a way to identify nodes in the network using a unique address. What I need is Media-Access (MAC) address. Base on such a unique address I can assign short addresses (e.g. with a DHCP or similar protocol to automatically assign shorter network addresses). So how to uniquely identify my network nodes?
The Freescale Kinetis microcontroller have nice feature: they have a Unique Identification Register (UID) which would be a perfect fit for a MAC address :-).
Microsoft has released the Windows 8.1 Preview. So you can try out the next update of Windows 8. In short: Do NOT use Windows 8.1 Preview if you are using a Freescale FRDM board! Otherwise you will not be able to change the OpenSDA firmware (MSD or debug application).
❗ Update: P&E has released a new firmware v114 which combines USB CDC, MSD bootloader and debug application, and this firmware fixes the issue described in this post.
Well, I have not used it personally: I never use ‘test’ or ‘preview’ versions on my ‘production’ machine. It is ok to try things out on separate ‘scratch’ machines, but not on something I need to have stable for my work. Well, some of the students in my INTRO class were not able to resist and downloaded and installed Windows 8.1 Preview on their machines. With the result that the OpenSDA Bootloader does not work with Windows 8.1 Preview:
❗ It seems that the problem exists as well with the Windows 8.1 ‘final’ release.
The Freedom boards FRDM-KL25Z RevE and FRDM-K20D50M make it easier to use it as USB Host device, as they come with a special jumper to provide 5V to the USB device, so my earlier ‘hack’ is not needed any more :-). After I had USB MSD Host working for the FRDM-KL25Z, it was much harder to get the USB stack working for the FRDM-K20D50M board, because somehow the example Freescale provided with their USB stack refused to work properly on my board. After debugging it for several nightly hours, I decided to take my working Processor Expert project for KL25Z and added support for the K20. And the good news is: since tonight this is working :-).
Teaching at a university means to work in a very special environment. What students love is ‘Open Source’: because it allows them to ‘see’ things and learn from the technology. The other thing is: students have a low budgets, so they appreciate if they can use inexpensive or low-cost hardware and software. The FRDM-KL25Z Freedom board for sure meets that low price, and no extra programming device needed.
Now they are building their own boards, and they wish to program and debug it. They can borrow the Segger J-Links and P&E Multilinks we have available at the university. But why not use the Freedom board as ‘hobby’ debug and programming solution? As explored in “Using the Freedom Board as SWD Programmer“, they can use the default factory installed OpenSDA to program another microcontroller of same type. But not to debug it.
While writing the “Using the Freedom Board as SWD Programmer” article, I was looking into USBDM. USBDM has added in January 2013 support for OpenSDA. But at that time, it was somehow not working for me, and I had not enough time to find out what the problem was. Time to get that fixed. Good news: With help and tips from the USBDM community, I have it finally working 🙂
I love the Freescale Freedom boards because they are low-cost, and I do not need a special debug device, as they have the on-board OpenSDA. It is using a small Kinetis-K20 which acts as JTAG SWD debugging probe. Why not using the Freedom board to program another board?