PEmicro - P&E Microcomputer Systems: Over 30 years as an Industry leader in Embedded Systems Development Tools, debug probes, and production programmers
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by Zahar Raskin

As members of the Embedded Tools Alliance, PEmicro and SOMNIUM share a focus on producing tools of the highest quality that are proven to work together and do exactly what's required, so that the customer can concentrate on their development work. SOMNIUM DRT products are 100% industry compatible, with unique benefits for developers working with ARM® Cortex® devices from Microchip, STMicroelectronics and NXP, with support for others (including Nordic Semiconductor) coming soon. Developers using DRT can reach the market faster, with higher performance, greater energy efficiency and more profitable designs.


by Edison Tam and Peter Truong

PEmicro offers three USB Multilink debug probes, each with different features or device support. In this video, Edison Tam offers a brief overview of our Multilinks to help users decide which Multilink would be best suited to their project.


by Gerardo Ravago

There comes a time when an embedded application becomes complex enough that it requires an operating system. This may be because of a need for rich driver libraries, or a sophisticated task scheduling engine. In either case, a developer needs an equally sophisticated debugger to provide invaluable context information of their application. To that end, PEmicro introduced OS-aware debugging in its GDB Server for ARM devices. Initial support is available now for FreeRTOS, with further OS modules to be developed. PEmicro's GDB Server for ARM devices is available for download at no cost and works with PEmicro Multilink, Cyclone, and OpenSDA hardware interfaces.


by Mikhail Andreev

PEmicro’s GDB server can be installed directly into an Eclipse based IDE from an update site on PEmicro’s website. This adds the ability to debug via PEmicro’s Multilink, Cyclone, and OpenSDA hardware interfaces via the standard GDB debugger. Features include flash programming, breakpoints, watchpoints, trim, memory preservation, real-time variables, semi-hosting, and more. PEmicro periodically updates the plugins on its website with new device support, new features, and bug fixes.


PEmicro is pleased to announce that support has been added to its products for files using version 3 and version 4 of the ELF/DWARF format. This is in addition to existing support for ELF/DWARF version 2 and includes both debug and object information handling. Support for 64-bit objects and structures within the ELF/DWARF files has also been added. Support for these additional file formats is available today in PEmicro's debug, flash programming, and test products.

PEmicro has further expanded its ARM® device support by today announcing support for Cypress' PSoC® 4 and Toshiba's TX00/TX03/TX04 processors. Users of PEmicro's Cyclone for ARM devices production programmer will be able to take advantage of this support to work with these Cypress and Toshiba ARM devices.

Cypress' PSoC® 4 are very low-power 32-bit ARM Cortex®-M0 devices that can integrate analog and digital ICs. Toshiba's TX00, TX03, and TX04 represent a selection of ARM® Cortex®-M devices that, collectively, offer high energy efficiency, high-precision analog functions, high code density, fast interrupt response times, and DSP extensions.

Users may visit to check whether their specifc device is supported.

ARM and Cortex are registered trademarks of ARM Limited or its subsidiaries. PSoC is a registered trademark of Cypress Semiconductor Corporation.

P&E continues to expand on its line of all-in-one interfaces with the launch of the high-speed USB Multilink Universal FX. Like P&E's original all-in-one interface, the USB Multilink Universal, the new USB Multilink Universal FX supports a varirety of Freescale MCUs, including: Kinetis, Qorivva 55xx/56xx, ColdFire V1/ColdFire+ V1, ColdFire V2-4, HC(S)12(X), HCS08, RS08, Power Architecture PX Series, and DSC. However the new FX interface can download at speeds up to 10x faster and can provide power to the target processor, among other enhancements.

The new USB Multilink Universal FX is natively supported by recent versions of CodeWarrior®, current P&E software applications, and toolchains from many Freescale partners including Keil and Cosmic.

More information about the USB Multilink Universal FX is available on the product page at P&E's website.


    P&E presented its new USB Multilink Universal, an ALL-IN-ONE development interface, at the recent Freescale Momentum conference. The revolutionary ALL-IN-ONE interface concept was very well received by conference attendees. USB Multilink Universal is a single interface that supports Freescale’s HCS08, RS08, HC(S)12(X), Coldfire V1/+V1/V2-V4, Qorivva MPC55xx/56xx, and Kinetis ARM microcontrollers. Thus, it eliminates the need to purchase different hardware interfaces to support specific devices that belong to those MCU families.

    P&E also previewed two upcoming products: the USB Multilink Universal FX and Tracelink. The USB Multilink Universal FX is an enhanced, very high-speed version of the USB Multilink Universal. The Tracelink interface will support trace capture for 32 bit Freescale device architectures.

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P&E has released its groundbreaking new USB Multilink Universal all-in-one interface. The USB Multilink Universal is an economical, reliable USB-to-target interface that uses multiple headers to support Freescale's HCS08, RS08, HC(S)12(X), ColdFire V1/+V1 & V2-4, Qorivva MPC55xx/56xx, and Kinetis ARM microcontrollers. The USB Multilink Universal includes multiple ribbon cables to allow connections to the various supported devices. The USB Multilink Universal's case simply flips open for easy access to the headers.

It is supported by P&E software, in addition to Freescale's Codewarrior and software from other third party vendors. A configuration utility is available on P&E's website which allows configuration of the USB Multilink Universal for use with older software packages.

P&E is also developing the USB Multilink Universal FX, an enhanced, high-speed version of the USB Multilink Universal interface. 

This video provides a brief comparison of the features of two popular P&E hardware interfaces, the USB BDM Multilink and the Cyclone PRO. This overview is intended to help users determine which interface is best suited for their project. More information about each interface can be found on the USB-ML-12 and Cyclone PRO product pages.


P&E is pleased to announce that 64-bit Windows support has arrived, including support for Windows 7. P&E software has been upgraded to work under Windows 7 (and other Windows 64-bit operating systems) by using the latest version of our drivers - P&E Hardware Interface Drivers 10. There is no need to worry about P&E software compatibility if you're migrating to a Windows 64-bit OS at home or in the office. 

P&E is committed to ensuring a smooth transition to these newer operating sytems for our customers. Customers who have purchased P&E software within the last 12 months can contact us for a free ugprade. Customers who have purchased software between 12 and 24 months ago are eligible to upgrade by purchasing the latest version of the software at a 50% discount from the full price.

Unfortunately, due to OS and hardware driver limitations, P&E legacy products such as USB-ML-12 Rev. A, USB-ML-CF Rev A, the BDM Lightning Card and also parallel port versions of our programmers are not supported under Windows 7 and 64-bit systems. However, we are committed to supporting these products under 32-bit operating systems such as Windows 98/2000/XP/Vista by continuing to offer Version 9 of our P&E Hardware Interface Drivers. These can be downloaded from the Documentation and Downloads section of P&E's website, or directly at the following link:


We're pleased to announce the release of our latest device drivers. This update includes support for Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 Operating Systems for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures, as well as some minor bug fixes.

To get started using the drivers:

  1.     Download P&E Hardware Interface Drivers 10
  2.     Run the file drivers_10_install.exe. If you have an older version of our drivers installed, the setup will automatically perform the update.

NOTE: The latest drivers no longer include support for Windows 98 and ME, but P&E will continue to make our older drivers available. Support for PCI devices (e.g., BDM Lightning) and Parallel port devices has been removed for Windows Vista and later, as well as all 64-bit operating systems.

P&E drivers allow P&E applications to communicate with P&E hardware via the parallel port, PCI bus, Ethernet, Serial, and USB.

Certain test procedures and production environments require the use of a cable longer than the typical 9-inch flat ribbon cable typically included with P&E hardware interfaces. Extending the cable length requires special considerations for signal integrity, crosstalk, and electromagnetic interference. Simply using a longer cable without understanding these topics will usually produce a setup that does not work reliably, if at all. Extending the ribbon cable should be the option only if you determine that you cannot make longer the length of the USB, Ethernet, or Serial cable that connects the P&E hardware interface to your PC. The cables for the communication ports already have some shielding.

If it is necessary to use a longer ribbon cable, P&E recommends using a shielded jacketed cable . This cable configuration is excellent at reducing crosstalk as well as minimizing electromagnetic interference from other devices. Further improvement can be obtained if the wires are also arranged in twisted pairs.

Shielded USB cables are inexpensive and easy to rework. The four wires provided can be used to create a cable for the standard 6-pin BDM header used by many Freescale microprocessors (such as the HCS08, RS08, CFV1, and HCS12). But this option won't work for other devices that require more debug pins.

In general, these guidelines should be followed for all cables between the target microprocessor and the P&E hardware interface:

  1. Use the shortest cable possible


  2. Use shielded cable configurations to reduce parasitic effects


  3. Lower the communication frequency. For the ColdFire or Qorivva architectures, the communication frequency is controlled by the BDM Debug Shift Frequency setting. For other architectures, the communication speed is only dependent on the processor's bus frequency. Reducing the bus frequency (ie. disabling the PLL) should improve results.
The debug signals for some ColdFire devices such as the MCF5272 and MCF5206 have to be synchronized before reaching the microprocessor. This additional requirement must be kept in mind.


DevelopmentP&E's UNIT Library Interface Routines for the 68HC16 now support the USB Multilink Interface for the 68HC16 architecture. The UNIT Library comes in the form of a DLL with example interface code for Microsoft Visual Studio as well as Borland Delphi. All the calls in the DLL are documented so that other development environments can also access the calls.

The UNIT library allows a customer to create a Windows application on the PC which directly controls the target 68HC16 processor via one of P&E's hardware interfaces (the CABLE1632 Parallel Port Interface and now additionally the USB Multilink Interface). Using the library, the Windows application can reset the 68HC16 processor, read/write memory, load code, step, run, and much more! The libary is perfect for creating test, update, and diagnostic applications.

Unit libraries are available for most all Freescale architectures. Details can be seen here.

develP&E offers a set of In-Circuit Debuggers that are packed with powerful scripting features. Whether you are stepping through a couple of lines of assembly code or debugging a C-level source, P&E's toolset can help you get the job done. P&E's In-Circuit Debuggers are designed with repeatable test and debugging procedures in mind. Therefore, the user can completely automate software tests by creating a macro script and saving the outcome in a log file. As a result, the user can avoid hours of repeatedly setting up software and firmware tests.

Here's a small demonstration of how the built in macro commands can be used to create and perform a repeatable firmware test on a 9S08AW60 processor. We'll be working with a simple assembly loop that's designed to toggle Port A every 20 CPU cycles. Please note that while the example below will be based on ICDHCS08 debugger, the same set of macro commands is present in all P&E debuggers. For a complete set of built-in macro features, please refer to the ICD COMMANDS section in the corresponding ICDxx.hlp file.

Source under test:

RAMSTART equ $70


     mov #$ff,$01 ; ptadd
     mov #$ff,$00 ; ptad
     lda #$ff
     mov #$00,$00 ; 4 cycles
     mov #$ff,$00 ; 4 cycles
     jmp loop ; 4 cycles

The macro outlined below will load our loop_example.s19 and .map files. At the same time it will set the program counter, set the breakpoints, and initialize variables. As the code executes, it will also capture the contents of the desired registers as well as the contents of all on-screen windows. All information will in turn be stored in a log file for later comparison and analysis:

LF test_output.log  ; creates log file
HLOAD loop_example.s19  ; load an .s19 with a map file
PC Main  ; set program counter to point to the beginning of the
; code
VAR $00  ; add a variable to a variable window
VAR $01  ; add a variable to a variable window
GOTIL Loop  ; run through initialization part of the code to the loop
DUMP $00 $01  ; dump the contents of registers $00 to $01 into the log
; file
BR Loop  ; set a breakpoint at the beginning of the loop
GO ; run the code until it hits a breakpoint
SNAPSHOT ; captures the current data in all open windows and stores
; them in a log file.
LF ; close log file

To execute the above macro, enter “macro” in the command line (located on the bottom of the ICD status window). Browse to the location where your macro is saved and open the file. Please note that any built-in commands can also be executed individually. This gives the user the opportunity to perform a step-by-step test of the macro prior to starting the automated debugging procedure.

Boston, MA - P&E Microcomputer Systems announces that it has extended the support of its PowerPC Nexus tools to include Freescale’s new MPC56XX devices. This set of in-circuit debuggers, FLASH programmers, and hardware debug interfaces now supports both MPC55xx and MPC56xx devices, offering a comprehensive solution for Freescale’s advanced automotive microprocessors.

Boston, MA - P&E Microcomputer Systems announces the release of the DEMOJM development board, available through Freescale. The DEMOJM is a low-cost development system that supports Freescale MC9S08JM60 and MCF51JM128 64LQFP microcontrollers. It consists of a DEMOJM Base Board, a DC9S08JM60 Daughter Card and a DC51JM128 Daughter Card. P&E’s Embedded Multilink circuitry on the DEMOJM board allows the processor connected to the DEMOJM to be powered, debugged, and programmed via USB from a PC.

Boston, MA - P&E Microcomputer Systems announces the release of the DEMOQE128 development board, a low-cost development system designed for demonstrating, evaluating, and debugging the Freescale MC9S08QE128 and MCF51QE128 microcontrollers. P&E’s Multilink circuitry is embedded onto the DEMOQE128 board so that it can be powered, programmed, and debugged via USB from the PC. An optional BDM port is provided to allow use of an external BDM interface such as P&E’s Cyclone PRO automated programmer or USB Multilink.

Boston, Massachusetts - P&E has released a suite of development tools for Freescale's 68RS08 family of microcontrollers. With this launch, P&E now offers products to take an RS08 project from development to production, including the DEVRS08KA2 low-cost development board and P&E's popular Cyclone PRO.

In addition to the DEVRS08KA2 development board, P&E has also launched the ICDRS08 In-Circuit Debugger, PROG08 Flash/EEPROM Programmer, WinIDERS08 Development Envirionment, and a package which combines the USB-ML-12E USB Multilink BDM Interface with the RS08 debugger, programmer, and IDE. The package also includes an RS08 simulator and register files.

The RS08 family of microcontrollers are reduced-core versions of the S08 architecture, designed with a focus on very small and highly portable embedded devices.

Boston, Massachusetts - P&E Microcomputer Systems announces the release of the powerful but cost-effective $99 ColdFire MCF5213 Development Kit. This kit includes the DEV5213CF evaluation board, which features an embedded P&E USB to BDM interface. The embedded interface provides for easy debug and FLASH programming of the resident ColdFire MCF5213 processor. The resident MCF5213 device is a 32-bit ColdFire processor which incorporates 256KB of flash, 32KBytes of ram, ADC, QSPI, PWMs, timers, a PLL, I2c, QSPI, and more. The processor runs at a system clock speed of up to 80MHZ, with 76MIPS of performance.

The 64K Starter Edition of the P&E’s PKGCFZPRO software development package is also incorporated into the MCF5213 kit. This software suite provides user with the capability to compile, debug, and flash program up to 64KB of user C code. This software suite includes the P&E In-Circuit Debugger, Flash Programmer, and WinIDE integrated environment, with a built-in GCC Compiler. The 64K Starter Edition also includes a sample template project to give you a jump start on an interrupt driven firmware design.

Product testing is a critical yet often complex and expensive process. Taking advantage of embedded processors with on-chip debug capability has made it easier to complete a simple internal test of a product. The following explains how you can take advantage of these capabilities to create your own product test. We’ll examine these four areas to improve your testing process:

  1. Use of Debug Mode (BDM) to control processor operation
  2. Application of PEmicro’s DLLs on a PC to make test applications which control the processor and run tests via debug mode
  3. Using the Processor to test as much of the board hardware as possible
  4. Creating a test fixture to add more complex test capabilities

Continue reading this Expert's Corner...

Boston, Massachusetts— P&E Microcomputer Systems announced the availability of two new USB Multilink interface cables. The first is the USB-ML-PPCNEXUS, a JTAG/BDM interface for Freescale MPC55xx devices. The second is the USB-ML-16/32, a BDM interface for Freescale 68HC16/683xx devices. Both new interfaces connect from the USB port of a Windows-based PC to the target. P&E offers these new USB Multilink interfaces individually, or packaged with software (debugger, programmer, IDE) as part of a development kit.

Boston, Massachusetts - P&E Microcomputer Systems has expanded its offering of 68HC908 development kits, with the addition of five new kits. Each new kit features a development board with one of Freescale's 68HC908EY16, -GR8, -GZ60, -SR12, or -QY4 processors, and a standard MON08 header. The kits also include a USB-to-target MON08 interface (USB-ML-MON08) and P&E's PKG08SZ software package.

P&E also announced plans to offer development boards and kits featuring the -AP64, -GT16, -KX8, -MR8, -QC16 in the near future.

Boston, Massachusetts— P&E Microcomputer Systems announces the launch of a PRO development suite for ColdFire 5xxx devices. With the PRO suite, P&E looks to expand on the success of its PKGCFZ, a popular, cost-effective Windows-based development suite for the Motorola/Freescale MCF5xxx microcontrollers. The PRO version now represents a comprehensive solution for developing with either the C language or assembly language. The GCC component of the PKGCFZ_PRO simplifies development:

  • Configure the compiler options within WinIDE
  • Run GCC directly from WinIDE and Windows - no complex UNIX shell is required
  • WinIDE builds your C application using a modifiable Windows batch file - no makefile is used.
  • Auto-create GCC initialization code and linker scripts for the ColdFire 527x/528x
  • Debug your C code using the ELF/DWARF(v. 2.0) file format
  • WinIDE highlights syntax errors in your C source code

PRO ColdFire packages are available in both parallel port and USB versions.

PEmicro. proudly annouces the release of a wide range of development boards and kits for the M68HC908. PEmicro is now offering affordably priced development boards for the M68HC908AB32, -GP32, -GZ16, -JL8, -MR32, and -QY4. These boards are available individually or as a set of all six. In addition, PEmicro is bundling the boards with the MON08 Multilink, USB-ML-MON08, or Cyclone PRO interfaces, providing the user with powerful yet inexpensive development solutions right out of the box.

The development boards feature:

  • Resident MC68HC908 Processor (AB32, GP32, GZ16, JL8, MR32, and QY4)
  • MON08 Debug header to allow debug and programming from the Cyclone Pro, MON08 Multilink, or USB MON08 Multilink
  • Full access to all processor pins, including port pins needed for Monitor Mode entry shortly after reset (wire wrap headers included)
  • PEmicro's asm/debug/programming software available at no-cost for download
  • Clock source may be from a PEmicro interface cable, on-board crystal (except QY4), or available to be driven by the user
  • Power may be provided by a PEmicro interface cable or by the user
  • Small size perfect for embedding into prototyping areas
  • Schematic enclosed
  • Board dimensions: 2.3" x 2.125"

PEmicro also offers the boards as part of development kits, which include one of the following MON08 interfaces:

  • MON08 Multilink - parallel-port-to-target MON08 interface
  • USB-ML-MON08 - USB-port-to-target MON08 interface
  • Cyclone PRO - includes USB, ethernet, & serial MON08/BDM communications, also functions as standalone programmer. PEmicro recommends the Cyclone PRO interface for development or production programming.

Boston, Massachusetts— P&E Microcomputer Systems continues to expand its offering of USB Multilink BDM Interfaces by proudly announcing the release of two new interfaces for the ColdFire and PowerPC families. The USB-ML-CF is a USB-port-to-target BDM interface for the ColdFire MCF52xx/53xx/54xx families of processors. P&E has also released the USB-ML-PPCBDM, which is a USB-port-to-target BDM interface for the 5xx/8xx families of PowerPC devices. Both new USB Multilink BDM interfaces feature:

  • USB interface from PC to Multilink for fast programming and debugging, with the ease and compatibility of the USB interface. Higher download rate is over 3x faster than P&E's parallel port cable. Wide target operating voltage of 1.80v-5.25v.

  • No separate power supply required - power is drawn from the USB interface (draws less than 1mA from the target)

As always, P&E is offering these powerful new tools at an affordable price. Please see the USB-ML-CF and USB-ML-PPCBDM product pages on P&E's website for more detail.P&E Microcomputer Systems, Inc., established in 1980 and located in Boston, MA, is an industry trendsetter in hardware and software development tools for Motorola / Freescale microcontrollers.

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