µTasker FreeMASTER Support

NXP offers their FreeMASTER PC tool as run-time debugging tool to users of their chips. If you are not yet familiar with what it is and can do there are details at the following FreeMASTER link.

Essentially it allows a PC program to view memory as the system is operating by integrating code in the embedded system that communicates with the tool and passes data to it when requested. This information can be displayed by the tool in forms making it easy to understand/interpret - for example it can be displayed as a graph or in real-time, which means that the data is viewed as if it were connected to with an oscilloscope. Further more, the tool concept defines a data recorder operation which allows the embedded system to transfer high resolution data that it has captured itself so that it can be displayed in a useful graphical form. It is also possible to allow the tool to modify memory/data.

This concept is not new and you may have seen it used, or used it yoursef but possibly using different tools, such as ones developed especially for the project. NXP has obviously put some effort into this since it is used by various processors, has a well designed GUI and also the complete concept is defined/managed. NXP also gives code that can be integrated into user's embedded systems to realise the UART based protocol interface.

As is generally the case with such code there is often quite an effort required to get it integrated into different environments and it was decided to start a µTasker FreeMASTER module that can be enabled/disabled by a single project build switch to allow the generic FreeMASTER support to be used on a UART and/or USB (possibly Ethernet once the requirements are known). Since the concept allows users to create tables in code which then allow the specific project's variables to be made known to allow more project-specific viewing, some form or project specific table configuration will also be possible - whereby the tables will have to be edited accordingly.

During initial investigations it has already been identified that such an integrated µTasker FreeMASTER module can allow easily increased capabilities, such as viewing/modifing serial based memory (such as SPI Flash) as well as modifying internal Flash. Making use of existing µTasker resources it is expected that the integration can be made much more efficiently that with the standard NXP code, this offering µTasker users several benefits:

  • Little or no development effort to enable the operation
  • Low memory footprint requirements when used
  • Additional features possible due to the added capabilities of existing modules that can be used for the integration
  • Levarage of a powerful tool that could prove valuabe during development and maintenance of embedded systems
  • This page can be used to follow development of the module and later for reference as to its integration and use. For specific questions and feedback please use the following forum entry: FreeMASTER forum

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    µTasker FreeMASTER support. Copyright (c) 2004..2018 M.J.Butcher Consulting