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July 2009


CYCLONE COMPACT FLASH:
Managing Multiple Programming Images Made Easy

By Juan See

 

Overview

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 interface. The 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 Programming process.

Contents

  1. Introduction – Stand Alone Programming

  2. Setup – Image Creation

  3. Using CompactFlash – Inserting a CompactFlash Card

  4. Using CompactFlash – Storing an Image into CompactFlash

  5. Using CompactFlash – Selecting an Image on the LCD screen

  6. Limitations

  7. Security

  8. Conclusion

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 CompactFlash card.


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.


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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:


ICU_1.bmp


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 follows:

  1. BDM Shift Frequency: 5, which corresponds to a communication frequency of 2.2 MHz. This clock cannot typically exceed a 1/6th of the processor bus frequency.

  2. Reset 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 of zero.

  3. Image Description: Field_Upgrade_Hybrid_3.49. The field for “Image Description” is used for naming each image that is created.

SAP_SETTINGS.JPG

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”.


In this example, the SAP image is saved on the Desktop:

Save_SAP.bmp


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3. Using CompactFlash – Inserting a CompactFlash Card

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.



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4. 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” section activated:


Blank_Manage_Image.JPG

In this example, the Cyclone MAX, Rev. B is named “Persepolis” and has an IP address of “209.61.110.151” 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:

CIM_1.bmp

To store a SAP image on the CompactFlash, click on the “Add” button under the second section, “Browse & Add Images to CompactFlash”.

Add_Image_to_CF.JPG

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.

Browse_add_before.JPG 

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.


Browse_add_after.JPG

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.

Final_manage.JPG


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.


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5. Using 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:


LCD_menu_1.gif

To change the selected SAP image press the “Menu/Select” button, which brings up the main menu:

LCD_menu_2.gif

Then press the “Menu/Select” button again when “Select SAP Image” is highlighted.

LCD_menu_3.gif

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:

LCD_menu_4.gif


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6. Limitations

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.


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7. Security

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.


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8. Conclusion

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 jsee@pemicro.com.


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