Bricking and Recovering OpenSDA Boards in Windows 8 and 10

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

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….

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Segger J-Link OpenSDA Firmware with Virtual MSD

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:

Virtual MSD Device

Virtual MSD Device

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Illustrated Step-by-Step Instructions: Updating the Freescale Freedom Board Firmware

I have received a bunch of Freescale FRDM boards to be used in an Embedded Systems programming crash course. There are multiple issues with the boards coming from the factory:

  1. They come with an old bootloader which is not compatible with Windows 8.x
  2. They have an old and outdated firmware on the board only supports a MSD bootloader

This post is a step-by-step instruction how to update Freescale FRDM boards (e.g. FRDM-KL25Z) to the latest firmware.

FRDM Board

FRDM Board

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DIY Free Toolchain for Kinetis: Part 10 – Project Creation with GNU ARM Eclipse 2.1.1

As mentioned in Part 9: There is a new GNU ARM Eclipse plugin 2.1.1, and this one makes project creation for Freescale devices easier than ever 🙂

  • Native Kinetis-L project templates for FRDM-KL25Z and FRDM-KL46Z boards
  • Easier than ever project creation for Processor Expert projects
GNU ARM Eclipse 2.1.1

GNU ARM Eclipse 2.1.1

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New P&E OpenSDA Firmware v114

Good news for everyone having Windows 8.1: P&E has released Dec 11th 2013 a new FRDM board firmware which solves the bootloader issue found with Windows 8.1. The new firmware can download from https://www.pemicro.com/opensda/.

New PnE OpenSDA Firmware

New PnE OpenSDA Firmware

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Kinetis Unique Identification Register

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 :-).

UID Output

UID Output

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FRDM Board Bootloader fails with Windows 8.1 Preview

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.

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The Freescale OpenSDA Trap: “No Device Available”, or something like that….

Self-Motivation: I write this post in the hope to cut the number of ‘please help me’ emails in my inbox ;-):

If you want to debug one of the Freescale boards with OpenSDA (FRDM-KL25Z, FRDM-K20, FRDM-KL05Z, FRDM-KL46Z48M, FRDM-KL02Z, TWR-KL47Z48M, …), and if you get this dialog …

No Device Available

No Device Available

… then read on.

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Using Keil µVision 4 (ARM-MDK) with Processor Expert Driver Suite

❗ This article has been written for the version 4 of µVision. There is an update for version 5 of µVision here: “Using Keil μVision 5 with Processor Expert

The good thing with using ARM microcontroller is: there are plenty of tool choices. Even myself, I’m using multiple different tool chains. And while I’m heavily using Eclipse, there are non-Eclipse tool chains which have their advantages too.

The cool thing with CodeWarrior is that beside of Eclipse based, it comes with Processor Expert integrated. And I’m using Processor Expert a lot in my projects. But using Processor Expert does not mean I’m limited to CodeWarrior or Eclipse. So I can use CodeRed or IAR as tool chain with it. And this post is about using Processor Expert with the µVision tool chain from Keil/ARM.

Keil uVision Splash Screen

Keil uVision Splash Screen

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USBDM 4.10.5 supports now MCU10.4

Wow, that was fast! The SourceForge USBDM project has added support for MCU10.4 (see as well this post) in release 4.10.5 available here, announced in the Freescale Forum.

USBDM 4.10.5 Installer

USBDM 4.10.5 Installer

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Debugging FRDM-KL05Z with USBDM

I mentioned in “Debug External Processors with USBDM and Freedom Board” post that I had a problem to debug the FRDM-KL05Z with USBDM. Well, after a long night with some sleep, with more thinking and searching, finally I have it resolved: I can debug my FRDM-KL05Z with USBDM 🙂

FRDM-KL05Z Debugging with USBDM

FRDM-KL05Z Debugging with USBDM

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Debug External Processors with USBDM and Freedom Board

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 🙂

USBDM Debugging another FRDM-KL25Z

USBDM Debugging another FRDM-KL25Z

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Using the Freedom Board as SWD Programmer

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?

FRDM-KL25Z board programs another board

FRDM-KL25Z board programs another board

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