Author Topic: Can I use uTasker?  (Read 8909 times)

Offline dannix

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Can I use uTasker?
« on: November 16, 2009, 03:27:38 PM »
Hi,

I'm a beginner at electronics, no previous PIC experience other than building kits, and loading precompiled hex files. I can manufacture my own boards and have designed some analogue circuits. Anyway I was looking for a TCP/IP accessible computer PDU to remotely reboot connected servers etc. Prebuilt PDU's are way to expensive so I purchased http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170370609679&_trksid=p2759.l1259 to switch the outlets.

I was researching into changing the web GUI so it was branded, not necessary but I like to tinker and eventually landed here. The picture looks like it has a MC9S12NE64 chip but I'm concerned about flashing it as the documentation I have read kind of refers to the Demo board which seems much more comprehensive then what I have (or will have when it arrives) I have 8 outputs and inputs that will not be used at present so I intend to use them for a steep learning curve, maybe some kind of environmental monitoring.

It seems like if I was to flash it and it was no longer functioning I can factory reset, will this be true after I flash with my own cooked up firmware? or is it just to reset default settings?

Will I have enough EEPROM for uTasker, I think the Demo board has much more available resources.

I often jump into the deep end so I'm not phased by the complexity unless one inevitable mistake will render this board a veg.

I noticed a firmware upload on the current web menu, would this suggest uTasker is already in use?

Is it time to simulate/learn or is it a dead end already?

Thanks in advance!

Offline mark

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Re: Can I use uTasker?
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2009, 09:40:54 PM »
Hi

The uTasker NE64 project should run on any NE64 board due to the fact that all peripherals (including Ethernet and PHY) are internal.
When you FLASH to a board there are two methods - either using a BDM or using the Freescale serial loader. If using the loader there is no risk since the loader allows further loading of data (it can only be overwritten with a BDM). If using BDM (meaning that you also have a BDM) there is also no risk since, using the BDM, you can always delete and start again.

However I would advise against starting any work with the NE64. This is now a retired processor which has been replaced by much more powerful and easier to use parts from the Coldfire V2 MCU family. These are also cheaper, as are their development tools, and allow much more to be done than with an NE64.

Take a look at the Kirin3 demo board- http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/site/prod_summary.jsp?code=M52259DEMOKIT&fsrch=1 . It cost $49 and comes with everything you need to start developing very powerful applications.
To start with the NE64 will mean a lot of work invested in learning but resulting in a dead-end road. Best to start with something which has a bright future...

Regards

Mark

Offline dannix

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Re: Can I use uTasker?
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2009, 10:19:07 PM »
Hi,

I totally see your point! And this causes me a problem. See I have now already purchased a NE64 board that will as is solve my problem. Would it be of no benefit at all to learn the basics on this chip and then decide if this is really a route I want to invest more time (and money) into?

Offline mark

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Re: Can I use uTasker?
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2009, 10:49:43 PM »
Hi

There can be a lot learned from the NE64 but it doesn't (any longer) represent the types of chips that are now available for typical Ethernet/Internet work. It is very restrictive in comparison and doesn't support powerful peripherals with DMA support (as the Kirin3 does for example).

You may like to do some experimenting with it but the sooner you step up to something more representative of the state of technology from 2009 (rather than 2004) the more you will benefit and the more fun you will have too...

Regards

Mark

Offline dannix

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Re: Can I use uTasker?
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2009, 09:38:12 PM »
Hi,

That isn't much of an investment to enter the current arena. I enjoy electronics, work in IT so enjoy computing and currently program for the web. This seems to fit nice. I just don't know where to start. Could you point me in the right direction for some further reading?

As a start I would like to make a web accessable enviromental monitoring unit. say some device to monitor temp and then switching of fans with an lcd output as well as the web based. This should be simple enough electronically but something to work toward for an application. Then as I begin to understand what these things can really do I can work on something far more powerful.

EDIT: just learnt the demo board comes as a HVAC system! lol
« Last Edit: November 18, 2009, 10:23:26 PM by dannix »

Offline mark

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Re: Can I use uTasker?
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2009, 11:44:22 PM »
Hi

If you follow the uTasker tutorial it will show you how to build a web server with control and monitoring function in about 20 minute (first simulating it then running it on a target).
Then follow this thread to add your own web interface controls: http://www.utasker.com/forum/index.php?topic=94.0

Regards

Mark

Offline thamanjd

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Re: Can I use uTasker?
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2009, 09:17:17 AM »
Hey Dannix, i'm also working on a GPO relay controller.
Version 1 i tried on NE64. But code and RAM was uncomfortablly cramped and i had to drop a couple of desirable features.

I'm redoing the project with Freescale Coldfire MCF52235. I find the code quite portable even though i didnt necessarily write it with that in mind.


NE64= not a lot of code space or RAM.
A lot of the 8K gets gobbled by the ethernet buffers.

If the board's already on its way and its a one off project that you dont intend to turn into a product youhave to reproduce then there's no harm trying the NE64. You will however probably have to choose what features to use use because you'll probably find you'll have to keep telnet but drop dhcp and email stuff. or vice versa.
If you're making it a product or can see yourself wanting to add functionality and features later on then i also recommend trying out one of the other supported micros.

What IDE/compiler are you going to use? I dont know if any GCC tools are available but i guess if you can use the simulator and then do the compile and hardware debugging/programming with a full featured 30/60 day evaluation version of codewarrior or IAR or whatever other IDEs/compilers have evaluation versions.

The "free crippled" version of Codewarrior for Coldfire is very usable. I dont know if theres a "max files" limit but i havnt hit it yet. 128kB limit is a lot more that the 48K on ne64. Plus if you just want to use internal file system, NE64 Web pages have to be designed economically. Others micros you can put more features into.

For both coldfire and ne64 i use pemicro or bdm.

In my relay controller project, here's a couple of ideas ive added:

1. A schedule of 20 programmable events on startup to configure states of relays and any stagger timing between those relay toggles in the case of something like turning on 5 significant inductive loads.

2. A ping mechanism to see if the adsl modem can reach the outside world. If no ping response after set period, then power cycle adsl modem off one of the GPO relays. (my adsl modem/connection is a bit sticky sometimes).

Setup and control through web and telnet. I wanted to do email alert on return of power but i haven't got a handle on pushing emails to the outside world yet. Will also add TCP/UDP protocols for use with a PC software app. and for device discovery/advertisment.

JD

 


Offline dannix

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Re: Can I use uTasker?
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2009, 10:19:59 PM »
Hi, my IP relay project is almost completed, it's in a rack enclosure, has 6 resettable fused IEC outlets leaving 2 relays for "something else" just need to bring the relay leds to the front panel. But it is otherwise working and does the job.
The NE64 board I purchased is preprogrammed. I was looking into making my own firmware for it but the limitations you have found and I have been advised of made me reconsider. I'm not experienced in this field and this would have been the first chip I wrote code for. That in mind I'm looking to "upgrade" what I have to the newer version chip once I get my head round it.

I want for more functions then is currently available out of the box on the NE64 so I will invest my time in newer technology. The developer of the board I have has given me a PHP script to talk to the NE64 via SNMP traps which alow relay switching and reading of the unused 8 inputs. This would mean I can add the functionality I desire with programming using skills I already have, but then it is not an embedded device as such since the additional features rely on an external webserver.

I'm more interested in environmental controls at the moment, but the delayed startup idea for inductive loads is a good idea. I too want to bounce my modem/router if it can't ping the outside world. max number of restarts in case the router isn't at fault I don't want it restarting all the time until I can attend it.
I wanted a web programmable interface so the user can set events, if input X > 1.2 switch relay X off etc. I want to add buttons on the front, if held in for a say 3 secs cycle the applicable relay off then on to restart connected load, if a momentary press toggle the relay state.

I don't intend on selling this as a product, It's just something to work on to combine my IT skills with my electrical skills to gain a better understanding of electronics, specifically embedded devices.

Good luck with your implementation!