CYCLONE COMPACT FLASH:
Managing Multiple Programming Images Made Easy
By Juan See
P&E’s Cyclone PRO/MAX Stand Alone
Programmers offer an impressive array of capabilities such as in-circuit
flash programming, stand-alone programming, and as much as 7MB internal
non-volatile memory for storing programming images. And now this memory space
can be expanded via optional software which enables the Cyclones’ CompactFlash
expanded storage feature simplifies management of Stand-Alone Programming
images. This Expert’s Corner explains how to take advantage of the CompactFlash
card feature to facilitate the Stand-Alone
1. Introduction – Stand Alone Programming
One of the key features of the Cyclone
PRO/MAX Stand-Alone Programmers is the ability to store all necessary programming
information - binary data, algorithm information, and programming settings –
in the Cyclone’s internal memory, in a format known as the Stand-Alone
Programming (SAP) Image. This allows
programming operations to be initiated by pushing a single button.
There are currently two methods that
can be used to load a SAP image onto a Cyclone. If only a single image is necessary for
production, that image can be stored directly on the Cyclone using the
“Cyclone Image Creation Utility”.If several images are necessary for production, the “Cyclone
Image Creation Utility” can first be used to create all the SAP images, and then
the “Cyclone Image Manager” can be used to load all the images simultaneously
into the cyclone.
These methods are useful for updating small
SAP images stored internally, or when the unit is easily accessible from a
host PC. However, the procedure becomes a bit more involved if the Cyclone
unit is not easily accessible. If the unit is at a different manufacturing
plant, for example, or overseas, the user would have to obtain the Cyclone,
update the images, and then send it back to its original location. However,
with the addition of CompactFlash support this process becomes a matter of simply
removing a CompactFlash card with one set of images and plugging in another
with the new set, thereby reducing the need for an additional PC and engineering
support. This makes it very easy to reconfigure
images in the field.
In addition, activation of the Cyclone’s CompactFlash
capability provides support for images which are larger than the internal memory
storage space. A firmware image of 16 MB intended for programming into a
hybrid engine controller, for example, can now easily be stored on a
The following sections demonstrate how to
use the CompactFlash feature. We will create a SAP image example and then
store it on a CompactFlash card in a Cyclone MAX, Rev. B.
2. Setup – Image Creation
First we create a SAP image using the
“Cyclone Image Creation Utility” and save the SAP image on the PC.Then we transfer the image onto the Cyclone’s
CompactFlash card. In the screenshot
below, the “Cyclone Image Creation Utility” is configured for Freescale Power
Architecture 5534 with a typical programming sequence:
Additional settings for the SAP image may
need to be configured depending on the architecture. For the Power
Architecture there are three other settings to configure, which are as
Shift Frequency: 5, which corresponds to a communication frequency of 2.2
MHz. This clock cannot typically exceed a 1/6th of the processor
Delay: 0. The reset delay section allows the user to set a delay before
attempting communication. It is generally used if a reset driver exists on
the target board which further asserts reset for a longer delay. In this example we will use a reset delay
Description: Field_Upgrade_Hybrid_3.49. The field for “Image Description” is
used for naming each image that is created.
After verifying that the programming
settings are correct, use the “Store Image to Disk” button to save the image
on the PC. Then load the image into the CompactFlash card by using the
“Cyclone Image Manager Utility”.
this example, the SAP image is saved on the Desktop:
3. Using CompactFlash – Inserting a
Insert the CompactFlash card into the
“Flash Expansion Port” on the Cyclone Max Rev. B. It is not necessary to power off the Cyclone
Max Rev. B before inserting the CompactFlash Card.
Upon insertion of a blank CompactFlash card
the Cyclone prompts the user to format the card for use with the Cyclone
device. The user should use only a
P&E branded CompactFlash card to guarantee proper operation.
Using CompactFlash – Storing an Image into CompactFlash
If the Cyclone’s CompactFlash capabilities
have been activated, the “Cyclone Image Manager” will display a section that
can be used to manage images stored on the CompactFlash. The new Cyclone
Image Manager software is sold separately and must be registered before use.
Below is a screenshot which shows the “Browse & Add Images to CompactFlash”
In this example, the Cyclone MAX, Rev. B is
named “Persepolis” and has an IP address of “188.8.131.52” with two SAP
images already stored in its internal memory.
The section labeled “Browse & Add
Images to Internal Memory” has been updated so that SAP images stored in internal
memory will be displayed with a prefix of “IN#:” The prefixes are
automatically added after a SAP image is stored. The functionality of the buttons, “Remove
All”, “Remove”, and “Add”, remain the same as before. “Remove All” will
remove all the images from the internal memory. “Remove” and “Add” are used to configure a
list of images to be stored in the Cyclone MAX, Rev. B internal memory. A
screenshot of this section appears below:
To store a SAP image on the CompactFlash,
click on the “Add” button under the second section, “Browse & Add Images
In this example, the SAP image
“Field_Upgrade_Hybrid_349.SAP” created in Section 2 is selected. After
selecting the correct SAP image, click open. The SAP image should now be
listed in the “Browse & Add Images to CompactFlash” section. Shown below
is a screenshot of “Browse & Add Images to CompactFlash” before
committing changes. The prefix “EX#” is added before the file name to
designate it as CompactFlash external memory.
After verifying that the correct SAP image
has been added to the list, click on “Commit Changes” to store the image into
the CompactFlash card. Shown below is a screenshot of “Browse & Add
Images to CompactFlash” after committing changes. Note that the image is now
listed on the left.
Several SAP images can also be added at the
same time. In the screenshot below, two extra SAP Images have been added to
the CompactFlash card.
Now that the SAP images have been added to
the Cyclone’s CompactFlash card, we can use LCD screen and interface buttons
on the Cyclone MAX, Rev. B to select which image to use for stand-alone programming.
The next section discusses the steps needed for selecting a SAP image.
CompactFlash – Selecting an Image on the LCD screen
After storing the SAP images into the internal
memory and CompactFlash, the status window displayed on the Cyclone MAX, Rev.
B appears as below:
To change the selected SAP image press the “Menu/Select” button, which brings
up the main menu:
Then press the “Menu/Select” button again when
“Select SAP Image” is highlighted.
This will bring up a list of available SAP
images. As mentioned previously, the prefix “IN#:” indicates that an Image is
stored in internal memory and the prefix “EX#:” identifies that an Image that
is stored in CompactFlash. Scroll until the desired image is highlighted and
then press “Select”.
Once the SAP image is selected, its name will
be displayed in the status window:
The CompactFlash feature is currently
available on the Cyclone MAX, Rev. B and Cyclone PRO, Rev. C. Only P&E Micro branded CompactFlash
cards are guaranteed to work with the these Cyclones.
The largest currently supported CompactFlash
card memory size is 128 megabytes. The largest number of distinct SAP images
that can be stored on one CompactFlash card is 248.
For added data security, information can
only be written to the CompactFlash through the Cyclone MAX, Rev. B and Cyclone
PRO, Rev. C, and datasets cannot be extracted from the CompactFlash once they
have been written.
With the new CompactFlash card feature,
P&E’s Cyclone PRO and Cyclone MAX Stand-Alone Programmers are no longer
constrained by a limit of eight SAP images in the internal memory.
Furthermore, updating a SAP image at an off-site production facility or on
the field is now as easy as sending a CompactFlash with the new SAP Image.
Archiving each new version of an image becomes easier by storing each new
image on a separate CompactFlash Card.
For more information on how P&E products
can help you, please visit the P&E website at www.pemicro.com.
Juan See is a Design Engineer at P&E Microcomputers. He can be reached at email@example.com.