PEmicro Blog

Using the Cyclone Control GUI To Load Images Onto Cyclones, And More

Oct 18, 2017

Note: This blog post was updated in July 2019 with new information regarding Cyclone image encryption (part of the ProCryption Security feature).

As part of the Cyclone Control Suite, PEmicro includes a graphical application called the Cyclone Control GUI that allows the user to add and remove images, access Cyclone settings, read Programming Image properties and statistics, and remote access a Cyclone's display. It also provides the user with tools to manage ImageKeys (for encrypted images), serial files, and optional Cyclone licenses.

This blog post will cover the following topics related to the Cyclone Control GUI:

Cyclone Control GUI Layout

Connection Dialog

Control Tabs



Remote Display


Serial Files

Encryption Keys

Status Window

Cyclone Control GUI Layout

The utility is composed of three main parts, a connection dialog, the control tabs and a status and error window.

Cyclone Control GUI Layout
Figure 1: Cyclone Control GUI Layout

The Connection Dialog

Allows the user to specify a Cyclone to connect with, as well as specify the connection options. The utility will always automatically upgrade the firmware of a Cyclone if the firmware in the Cyclone is outdated. However, firmware update can also be forced by using the checkbox in File->Force Firmware Update. This option will update the firmware on the Cyclone with the latest firmware in the same folder as the Cyclone Control GUI.

At launch, the Cyclone Control GUI will show all the Cyclones detected on the network and those attached by USB connections in a drop-down list. Cyclones can also be connected to by using the “Specify Cyclone” checkbox and specifying a Cyclone by identifier. This identifier can by the Cyclone name, its IP address or its port number.

Example Configuration settings
Figure 2: Select Cyclone from Drop-Down

Once the Cyclone is selected, clicking on the “Connect” button will bring a series of tabs that will allow full access to the Cyclone.

The Control Tabs

The control tabs allow all access to the Cyclone. Through these tabs you can view, add, and erase Cyclone images, you can view and modify properties, you can modify licenses and see the Cyclone screen remotely.

The Images Tab

The Images tab allows to modify the Cyclone images both in internal Cyclone memory and in external memory cards. To add a new image to the Cyclone, click on the “Add Image Internal” button and selected the image you want to add. For the changes to take effect, the “Apply Changes” button needs to be clicked, this will place the image in the Cyclone memory.

Note that Cyclones with the ProCryption Security Activation License are able to program with encrypted SAP images. in order to add an encrypted SAP image to the Cyclone, the ImageKey that was used to encrypt that SAP image must already reside on the Cyclone. See the section on the Encryption Keys Tab for information about how to add ImageKeys.

Images Tab
Figure 3: Images Tab

To store an image in the external memory of the Cyclone, change the storage area by clicking on the drop-down menu next to the “Add Image” button. The storage area can also be changed by right clicking on the uncommitted image and selecting the “Switch Storage to External” option.

Figure 4: Two Ways To Change Image Storage Area

An image that appears in blue text is not yet committed; the action that will be taken with that image (in the example above, "Ready To Store") is pending. Until the “Apply Changes” button is clicked, disconnecting from the Cyclone will discard any changes not committed.

An image can be erased by clicking on the trashcan icon at the left of the image, or by selecting the image and clicking the DELETE key on the keyboard. Again, the “Apply Changes” button must be clicked for any changes to the Cyclone to take place.

To format the external memory card click on the “Format External Card” button. This will erase all image information stored in the external card.

Image Properties Window

From the Images Tab a user can also access the image properties of images in the Cyclone. Just right click on the image then click on “View Image Properties” and a window with public image properties will pop up.

                            Figure 5: Image Properties Window

Properties like the image name, the voltage settings, image CRC, and all current serial numbers can be viewed from this window. Use this feature to make sure your image settings are correct or check that the serial numbers change accordingly. 

The Cyclone Properties Tab

Figure 7: Cyclone Properties Tab

The Properties Tab shows all the network, Cyclone and image properties. It also shows properties for the supported features of the Cyclone. From this tab the Cyclone firmware and logic versions, the Cyclone type, and the number of images are available.

Modifying a Cyclone property - Some properties in the Cyclone are modifiable. Only the properties that can be modified will show three dots to the right of the property when the property is selected.

Figure 8: Modifying Cyclone Properties

Clicking on the three dots or double-clicking on the property value will bring up an edit window. Write the new property value and click “OK”, the property window will refresh and the value showed will be the updated value of the property.

The Remote Display Tab

This tab will show the current display of the Cyclone. The utility checks every second for changes in the display and updates the image to the current display. This image is also clickable, so clicks on the virtual screen are also registered by the Cyclone.

Figure 9: Remote Display & Control of Cyclone Screen

The Licenses Tab

The Cyclone FX comes with advanced features automatically built in (licenses added before units are shipped) as such does not need to add licenses. Some of these same advanced features available on the FX may optionally be added to non FX versions of the Cyclone using the Licenses Tab. Clicking on “Add New License” will display the P&E License Activation Form. This form allows a user to take a license installation code from a PEmicro order and add it to the Cyclone. 

This tab shows the current licenses active in the Cyclone, including the Cyclone Control Advanced Automation License, the Cyclone SDHC Port Activation License, and the ProCryption Security License. (All of these licenses come by default with FX versions of the Cyclone)

          Figure 10: Licenses Tab

Serial Files Tab

The Serial Files Tab displays any shared Serial Files that are on the Cyclone. Shared serial files are persistent in the Cyclone meaning that they are kept in the Cyclone even if the images that use them are deleted. Multiple images can use the same serial file. When an image is added to the Cyclone, any serial files in the image which are not already in the Cyclone's shared region will be created as a shared serial file with the default serial number value defined by the serial number definition. From then on, the serial file will count as defined each time any image is programmed into a target which uses the serial file.

Serial Files can be “deleted” with the “Delete Serial File” button. This simple deletes them from the shared region. As soon as an image is run or a new image is loaded with the same serial file used, the serial file with we re-created in the shared space but with the original default serial number (i.e. deleting it essentially resets the serial file count to the first default serial number). To remove the serial number fully, remove all images which use the serial number and then delete the serial number. 

        Figure 11: Serial Files Tab

Each image that uses a shared serial number contains a definition of the serial number as part of an image. Images know to share a serial number based on its unique ID.

Older images may reference older Serial Files formats (version 1) that do not have a unique ID and are image-specific and hence are not shared among images. These will not appear in the Serial Files tab. The Cyclone menu can be used to make changes to the serialization of these images.

Encryption Keys Tab

Cyclone programmers with the ProCryption Security Activation License (comes with Cyclone FX) are able to encrypt programming images with a user-generated ImageKey. In order to load an encrypted image onto a Cyclone, or to program with an encrypted image once it is on the Cyclone, the ImageKey used to encrypt that image must be present on the Cyclone. 

The Encryption Keys tab displays any ImageKeys that reside on the Cyclone.

        Figure 12: Encryption Keys Tab

The user can use this tab to manage the Cyclone's ImageKeys.

The Add Encryption Key button allows the user to browse to an ImageKey that they wish to add to the Cyclone

The Delete Encryption Key button will delete the selected ImageKey from the Cyclone. If the ImageKey is missing for an eSAP image, that image will be locked and cannot be programmed.

For more information on Cyclone Image Encryption, please read the Cyclone Adds RSA/AES Encryption for Production Programming blog post.

The Status Window

Figure 13: Status Window

This section of the Cyclone Control GUI displays the status of the utility as well as any errors during the connection or any of the actions performed by the utility. It’ll show detailed errors on images that failed to be properly added or actions that require additional licensing.

This new status and error window increases the visibility of the user into the tasks the utility is performing as well as the issues that may arise.

Tags related to this Blog Post

Cyclone     Cyclone FX     ARM     NXP     Production Programming     Automated Control