This is yet another milestone on my journey to combine the Hexiwear with the Raspberry Pi: now I can send take over control of the Hexiwear with openHAB running on the Raspberry Pi:
The Hexiwear (see “Hexiwear: Teardown of the Hackable ‘Do-Anything’ Device“) is a small and portable sensor node with built-in BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) transceiver. In a research project we try to use multiple Hexiwear in a classroom environment and to collect sensor data on a Raspberry Pi. The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B running Linux has an on-board BLE transceiver too, so why not binding them (wirelessly) together?
Well, things seemed easy at the beginning, and as always, there are many things to learn on a journey like this…
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:
It seems to me that not many developers use hardware trace? ARM indicates that maybe only <5% of developers are using trace. Too bad! Why are all the ARM Cortex microcontroller vendors putting a powerful hardware (and complicated!) trace engine into their devices, if only few developers are using it? Seems like a waste of silicon and an unnecessary price adder? Well, hardware trace can be a life saver: Because only with hardware trace the most complicated bugs and problems can be solved. And maybe because only the best are using it ;-).
As a standard procedure, I add some console functionality to my embedded applications. That way I have a command line interface and can inspect and influence the target system. One interesting hardware feature of ARM Cortex-M is Single Wire Output (SWO): it allows to send out data (e.g. strings) over up to 32 different stimulus ports, over a single wire.
This tutorial goes through the steps how to create a blinking LED application, using Kinetis SDK and Processor Expert, using the TWR-KL43Z48M board from Freescale (now NXP):
For next semester I plan to use the tinyK20 as a remote controller for the Zumo Robots. I already had an early prototype presented in “3D Printed Gameboy and Remote Controller with tinyK20 Board“, so here is the next iteration of, in a sneak preview:
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?
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….
My wife tells me that I have too many boards on my desk. That is only *partially* correct: there are many, but not *too* many. But I’m working on too many tasks, but that’s a different aspect :-). I’m using more and more the Kinetis SDK V2.0, and as a result of this I have multiple SDKs installed on my machine. Because with the SDK V2.0 I get a download for each device/board installed (see “First NXP Kinetis SDK Release: SDK V2.0 with Online On-Demand Package Builder“). So my list of SDK folders is growing, as shown with the ‘New SDK 2.x’ wizard in Kinetis Design Studio:
The same time, the amount of free disk space is reducing. What if I could combine all these SDK’s?
One goal of this blog is to inspire engineers, in one way or another. And when I get reports back that things were useful, I like to share it :-).
So here is something what a team of young undergraduates (Przemyslaw Brudny, Marek Ulita, Maciej Olejnik) did for theirs Master Thesis work at the Politechnika Wroclawska, Poland: a very cool flying machine controlled by two Kinetis K66, having many sensors (on own designed boards) with a custom debug/programmer board similar to the tinyK20, developed with the NXP Kinetis Design Studio:
With Processor Expert projects it is very easy to change the heap and stack size: There is a setting for this in the Cpu component settings, under the ‘Build options’ tab:
As there is no Processor Expert in the NXP Kinetis SDK V2.0 (see “First NXP Kinetis SDK Release: SDK V2.0 with Online On-Demand Package Builder“), how to do the same in a SDK V2.0 project?
We are using robots to teach advanced embedded system programming at the Lucerne University (see “Sumo Robot Competition“). Students can buy the kit, and we are running out of available hardware. Time to produce a new series of robots :-). It took us a while to get to the next revision of the Zumo Robot, but finally the first one has been produced and assembled, and I think it is looking good :-).
In “openHAB RGB LED Light Cube with WS2812B and NXP Kinetis” I started experimenting Kinetis boards, a LED cube diffuser and Adafruit WS2812B NeoPixel LEDs. That worked well, but I was not to very happy about the visual effect. So here is my next version: I wanted to have control over each side of the cube. For this I have built a cube inside the cube with a 3D printed structure:
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:
We all know that for an application to develop, for a project to work we need hardware along with the software. So here we are with our FRDM-K64F development boards, but the question is-how to make them work? I wrote in my second blog about the new getting started process by Freescale for the FRDM-K64F: http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/site/prod_summary.jsp?code=FRDM-K64F&tab=In-Depth_Tab
This link gives me the opportunity to download the very helpful Kinetis Software Development Kit (SDK) along with the Integrated Development Environment which includes the toolchain Kinetis Design Studio. Let us talk a bit about the Kinetis SDK in this blog. So what does Kinetis SDK is responsible for? In simple terms, it is just software framework which helps us in developing applications across all Kinetis Microcontrollers. It is a package of pre-written code that developers can re-use in order to minimize the amount of unique code that they need to develop themselves.
Here is my second blog about the Kinetis MCU development boards, introducing you to the new and more informative Getting Started process for Kinetis FRDM-K64F from Freescale. As a part of my internship I got the amazing opportunity to play with the ‘New Getting Started’ process and the most recent box of the FRDM-K64F development board from Freescale.
Freescale have been working all along to make the life of its customers easier. So, at the FTF 2015 we launched the new website:
This website is for the new Getting started process for FRDM K-64F. This website will tell you all that you will need to start the FRDM K-64F development board. Continue reading