I finally got around to playing with the free LPCXpresso boards I was sent by NXP. A nifty little ARM Cortex M0 board with an USB programming and console link, gcc based compiler and Eclipse based IDE. The CPU is a LPC1114 and features:

  • 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 core
  • 32kB FLASH
  • 8kB SRAM
  • 1x UART
  • 1x I2C interface
  • 2x SPI interface
  • 8x ADC channels
  • SWD debugging interface
  • Multiple counters

The full specifications and the board are available from Embedded Artists.

The only downside to the development environment is that it does not support OS X – only Windows and Linux. Typical. However I’ve played around today and after a bit of messing around I got it working under VirtualBox 4.0.6 and Ubuntu under OS X 10.6.7.

It’s pretty straight forward, however there’s a small trick you need to do to VirtualBox to make the debugging run properly. The USB debugger interface to the LPCXpresso board is initialised/programmed by the IDE the first time it run. So when you plug it into your Mac, VirtualBox reports it as “Unknown device” under the “Devices -> USB Devices” menu. After the device is configured for debugging VirtualBox reports it as “Code Red Technologies LPC-Link Probe v1.1”.

VirtualBox needs to be configured to automatically connect both devices, especially after it has change from one to the other otherwise the debugger software in the IDE will time out since it won’t be able to find the “Code Red” device once it changes because it won’t be connected through to Ubuntu client. Luckily it is fairly simple to configure VirtualBox to fix the problem, the steps I took follow.

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Mac OS X Serial Terminal Programs

On April 28, 2010, in Tech, by tom

I do some embedded software development at home on my Mac, and as others in this situation know, it’s a Windows world out there. It’s fair to say that while there are some tools for embedded developers, there’s not a lot going around by way of free or open source embedded development tools.

Thus my choice of of Atmel AVR micro-controllers which are supported by the free and open avr-gcc based CrossPack development environment from Objective Development and eclipse C/C++ IDE with the AVR-eclipse plugin for an IDE. I use an Atmel AVRISP-Mk2 serial programmer with a USB-RS232 dongle and this works fine with Avrdude for programming devices. I also sometimes use Arduino and its development environment, and recommend it for anyone starting out programming micro-controllers.

However I have long been on the look out for a reliable, fairly simple serial terminal program for OS X for debugging purposes. It’s always useful to have serial terminal to display program flow information and register settings or to interact with the micro-controller, but I have had trouble finding one which suits my needs. I have tried the various “screen” command line tricks but found this lacking in flexibility, and I have tried ZTerm and found it unreliable, always messing up characters and I wasn’t about to go through the pain of setting up and using minicom. So the search continued.

Until today, when I found 2 new programs I’d not seen before: CoolTerm and goSerial. CoolTerm looks a little more full featured and polished at this stage and I’m happy with it’s performance. It’s more reliable than ZTerm from my short experience with it today.

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