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FreescaleTM MC9S12NE64 / M9S12NE64 - Welcome
« on: July 09, 2007, 09:09:09 PM »
Hi All

The M9S12NE64 is an HCS12 derivative which first became available towards the end of 2004.
In fact this is exactly the chip which I was looking for to start a new embedded project with Ethernet support and fortunately it turned up at the time that I started looking.

The uTasker software was developed initially for this chip and with this chip. This was an interesting experiment since I wanted to see whether it would be possible to develop a TCP/IP stack from scratch using a new chip and the GNU compiler with my own debugging tools (which also had to be developed). It is fortunate that the DEMO9S12NE64 which I bought is delivered with a serial monitor program installed and that this program is documented in an application note from Freescale; it allowed a simple PC program to be written which could load code to FLASH, read and write memory and registers as well as set a break point before single stepping. In addition to that, it was necessary to understand the operation of the chip and its instruction set, but this forces learning quite a few important details.

Using a PSA (Pseudo-Assembler) file generated by the GNU compiler together with simple assembler level code stepping it was possible to get first simple programs to run but it was clear that this would be inadequate for more complex debugging jobs so this is where the uTasker simulator came in. In fact the simulator was not something completely new since I did have a forerunner of it which was pieced together for use in various projects, for example for the 8051 and for the LPC2106 to name a couple, but it was time to pull it together as a part of a new development environment. The dream that I had was to be able to get advanced information on new chips (specifically Ethernet controllers) and program up the simulator so that the not-yet-existant part could be programmed for. And indeed, working with data from Ethereal recordings, first steps were made to develop a TCP/IP stack integrated closely with the uTasker operating system.

The simulator worked well enough to enable the development of the first uTasker version for the NE64 with its drivers, file system and TCP/IP stack, using nothing more that the simple downloading, debugging tool (ne64_deb.exe as delivered with the uTasker for the NE64). Later a BDM project was added - this can be found on the web site under documents (projects and application notes). The present NE64 package includes Codewarrior 4.5 and IAR projects too.

It was however not until early 2006 - when the uTasker V1.2 was made available - that the simulator took on its present appearance and supported true Ethernet support via the PC's NIC. This was thanks to Joel W. who helped get the WinPCap bits to work together with it. In fact when I look back, I still find it hard to believe that the stack was developed before this stage - it would probably have been much easier now.

Although the NE64 is a neat chip - I still do projects using it and it is surprising how popular it still is!! - Freescale will probably  not further develop it in the future. Its big-brother, the M5223X is probably the long term solution of preference. Nevertheless the NE64 is still possibly the cheapest solution for small embedded Internet capable projects and it has earned its place in the uTasker project and will receive continued support.

Please use this forum section for all to do with the NE64.
I look forward to reading your topics.



NXPTM M522XX, KINETIS and i.MX RT / Coldfire M5223X - Welcome
« on: July 09, 2007, 07:31:42 PM »
Hi All

The M5223X Coldfire from Freescale appeared around the end of Q1 2006 and Freescale promoted it with a series of low cost seminars where the visitors also received a M52233DEMO board with integrated P&E BDM which works together with the Codewarrior 6.3 128k limited special edition, which was also supplied. This device has since then established itself as a clear favorite for industrial uTasker based projects. I think that the Freescale strategy works well and of course the Coldfire  is a very mature processor with wonderful (68k based) architecture.

The device's peripherals are rich in features and powerful - some with DMA support. The uTasker project now supports most of these, from the UARTs in DMA mode through to CAN and, of course, the internal Ethernet with PHY.

The more you use the Coldfire part the more you appreciate its capabilities and I must admit that I do enjoy working with the M5223X more than some other devices. This may just be sentimental as I learned most of my processor stuff working with the Motorola 68302 (and DSP 56156) but it may also be that the chips are really that good.

But nowadays it is not just about ease of use but also about product development and production costs (although it probably always was...). High volume products can affort higher development costs even if the cheaper chips are more difficult to get working in the first place - [here one tends to think of ARM based ones...(?)]. In any case, the uTasker aims at keeping the effort involved in getting a project off the ground as low as possible, whether using the M5223X or another supported type. Check out the other processor specific forum sections for more details.

This section is dedicated to the Coldfire - presently the Ethernet M5223X types but soon also the M5222X USB ones too. So it is hoped that this will serve as a discussion platform as well as a useful information source for these chips.

I look forward to to reading your topics here soon!



P.S. Note that the uTasker package for the M5223X is now supplied with a GNU make file. This works also in the Eclipse environment and even the P&E BDM is supported, enabling a complete quality development chain based on open source solutions. Some users already use this and I have a simple quide to how to set up the project for use with Eclipse which I am sure will get posted here quite shortly - it will almost certainly be added to the tutorial in the next service pack.

NXPTM M522XX, KINETIS and i.MX RT / Re: Congratulations
« on: July 09, 2007, 03:11:03 PM »
Hi Kremer

Congratulations on posting before I even had a chance to add a welcome post to this section!
Unfortunately (for me) I had a dental appointment just after I managed to switch everything on line so I didn't get the chance to post in each section - but many thanks. I hope that the new forum helps with the exchange of data and with networking between users of the chips too.

Look forward to seeing you around in the future!!



µTasker general / uTasker welcome!!
« on: July 09, 2007, 10:44:32 AM »
Hi All

11:11 9.7.2007 and the first uTasker forum post is being started.

I hope that you find the forum of interest and of great use for your own work, whether as student, hobbyist or embedded software professional.

The uTasker project was born during December 2004 as an experiment with the, at the time, new Freescale M9S12NE64. Starting with a scheduling operating system which had found use in various projects over the previous years it aimed at integrating a TCP/IP stack and important processor peripheral drivers to give a useful base for typical embedded projects of this nature. There were four criteria which were adhered to:
1. It was to use the GNU compiler and the Freescale serial monitor so that no further tool investments were required (in the meantime the support of various commercial compilers and IDEs are also available since they also make sense in some circumstances).
2. It should be possible to actively work on the project, including development and testing, without hardware - so a simulator was needed. It was not to be a simulator which simulated at the instruction level (most IDEs have such a thing and they are good for testing small pieces of processor critical code but not very useful for complete applications) but allow 'real-time' testing of the application, especially web type applications. It should also be possible to introduce modules of new chips and peripherals before they are really available (from preliminary data sheet) so that real work on using the new types can be started in advance...
3. The software should be highly portable, allowing it to run unchanged (above the driver level) on any of the supported processors (as long as the processor really supports the peripherals required...)
4. The solution was not to be a copy of other available solutions and it was not designed to compete with these others. It was to be an 'alternative' and complete solution which was allowed to go its own way without necessarily respecting standard conventions. Bits and pieces not required for the types of embedded tasks intended for could be left out but the final solution should include the essentials to do the job in a professional and comfortable manor. Short cuts and restrictions are allowed where they make sense but the global solution should still be usable by all, even with limited experience of embedded processing and microcontrollers.

Today the solution is used by a community of students, hobbyists and professionals and this is good. This helps to test how well the goals have been achieved and where not, gives important feedback as to in which direction the continued development should take.

Check out the processor specific forums for more details about the processors which the uTasker now supports and the state of new developments.

Please use this forum for what it is intended for - to communicate with other users and me, to ask questions, make suggestions and above all just have more fun with your own projects.

I hope to see you on-line in the near future!!



P.S. My thanks go out to Stefan from E-Future for his valuable help in setting up this forum and integrating it into the web site. Thanks!

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