PEmicro Blog

PEmicro Adds Support for .BIN Data Files to Programming Tools

by Keith McNeil on Dec 20, 2023

PEmicro has announced support for binary (.BIN) data files for its popular Cyclone stand-alone programmers and PROG & CPROG flash programming software. Previously users would need to convert this type of file to the .S19 format using a free utility. This new support for binary files comes in the form of the "QB" command, which together with the "QO" command highlights a new queue-based approach towards programming data files. 

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Queuing Data Files in PROG - "QO" and "QB" Commands Replace "SS" Command

by Steve McGrath and Keith McNeil on Dec 20, 2023

This article was updated on 20 Dec. 2024 to include information about the QB command.

PEmicro recently announced support for binary (.BIN) data files in its popular PROG and CPROG flash programming software. Previously users would need to convert this type of file to the .S19 format using a free utility. This new support for binary files comes in the form of the "QB" command, which together with the "QO" command highlights a new queue-based approach in PROG/CPROG software towards data files. This article will help the user understand this new approach, and how to use the "QO" and "QB" commands, and their counterpart. "CQ" (Clear Queue).

Historically, PEmicro's PROG software limited the user to specifying one object file at a time to be programmed. But users occasionally encounter situations where they would want to program their bootloader, application, and some additional security settings, all at the same time. Such a configuration was possible using PROG, but quite cumbersome. So PEmicro has implemented a solution that allows programming of multiple object files using a single “PM” and “VM”. This solution is represented by the new “QO” (Queue Object Data) and "QB" (Queue Binary File) commands, which replaces the legacy "SS" command.

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Cyclone Programming: Adding Unique Data to be Programmed Into Each Target Device

by Johnny Ng & Keith McNeil on Nov 03, 2023

Cyclone production programming images are comprehensive archives containing all the essential information required to program a set of data into a target device. This information encompasses application binaries, programming algorithms, configuration settings, serialization specifics, programming instructions, and more. These archives are encrypted and designed to resist corruption. Utilizing these programming images offers an efficient and dependable method for programming a substantial amount of identical data into multiple target devices.

However, there are scenarios where, in addition to the static data within the programming image, there's a need to program unique data specific to each individual target. PEmicro refers to target-specific data in general as "Dynamic Data". There is a type of Dynamic Data, called "Overlay Data", that the user can provide when programming is launched which is uniquely programmed into each target. In such cases, the user initiates the programming process on a Cyclone (or a set of Cyclones) through the Cyclone Control Console or Cyclone Control SDK. As part of this launch command, dynamic data for each target is provided, enabling the programming of targets with a combination of the static image data and the overlay data. In this blog post, we will demonstrate how to effectively use Overlay Data in the programming process for both the Console and SDK.

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PEmicro Adds Debug and Programming Support For OMNIVISION's OMX14X Devices

by Keith McNeil on Sep 28, 2023

PEmicro's development and production tools now support OMX14X microcontrollers from OMNIVISION. OMNIVISION’s core strengths are its proprietary image sensing, state-of-the-art CMOS processing, and packaging technologies. Through outstanding pixel design, semiconductor manufacturing processes and package development, OMNIVISION sensors enable customers to capture images at higher resolutions, lower light levels, with better image quality, and in less space than previously.

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Cyclone ProCryption Security: RSA/AES Encryption Added for Production Programming

by Esteban Gonzalez, Keith McNeil & Peter Truong on Sep 14, 2023

This post was updated on 14 Sept., 2023 to include security information as it relates to the PEcloud cloud-based flash programming platform.

PEmicro's new ProCryption Security feature on Cyclone programmers allows for easy-to-use custom encryption of programming images as well as control over how and when programming images are used. By taking advantage of these security features a user can send their programming images electronically with the confidence that their valuable IP will remain safe and only usable on their own Cyclone programmers. It is also possible to control how many times an image is programmed and when, such that unwarranted programming does not occur.  When used along with our PECloud service, it allows for remote supervision and control of your IP. Once implemented, these security measures are also easy to maintain.  

With ProCryption Security, Cyclone users can:

  1. Create RSA/AES encrypted programming images (eSAP images) that use their own uniquely generated ImageKey(s). These programming images may only be used on Cyclones that are pre-configured with the same ImageKey(s). 
  2. Restrict the use of programming images by programming count and date range. 
  3. Use Cloud-managed Jobs for remote monitoring and control of the manufacturing process.
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PEmicro Supports Debug and Programming of Yuntu YTM32B1LD0 Devices

by Keith McNeil, Johnny Ng on Aug 21, 2023

Update: As of September 28 2023, YTM32B1LE0, YTM32B1ME0, and YTM32B1MD1 are also supported.

PEmicro's development and production tools now support YTM32B1LD0 microcontrollers from Yuntu. Yuntu is a semiconductor and integrated circuit design company specializing in automotive-grade chips without wafer fabrication. It provides comprehensive solutions for automotive-grade chips to customers and ensuring innovation in global intelligent transportation technologies. Their YTM32B1LD0 processors are high-performance devices with a rich selection of peripherals and safety features.

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PEmicro Adds Supports for Infineon 32-bit TRAVEO(tm) T2G ARM® Cortex® Microcontrollers

by Steve McGrath on Jul 28, 2023

Update, July 28, 2023: PEmicro now supports entire Traveo T2G family including 32-bit Traveo T2G Arm Cortex for Cluster.

PEmicro's development and production tools now support Infineon's 32-bit Traveo(tm) T2G ARM® Cortex® devices. This includes both subfamilies Traveo T2G Arm Cortex for Body and Traveo T2G Arm Cortex for Cluster.

T2G microcontrollers are based on ARM Cortex-M4 (Single core) / M7 (Single core/Dual core) and deliver high-performance, enhanced human-machine interfaces, high security, and advanced networking protocols tailored for a broad range of automotive applications such as electrification, body control modules, gateway, and infotainment applications.

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Flagchip as Flagship Devices Now Supported by PEmicro Tools

by Keith McNeil on Jul 20, 2023

Update, July 20, 2023: PEmicro will be adding support for Flagchip as Flagship's FC7300F devices to those mentioned below.

PEmicro's development and production tools now support Flagchip as Flagship devices. The FC4150 device features a Cortex-M4 with FPU/DSP, 8K Cache, with 8MPU region. The Feature List available on the device webpage includes many impressive additional features, including support for 3xCAN with FD and 3xCAN without FD.

PEmicro's Cyclone programmers can be used for secure production programming of FC4150 devices, including control and automation. In addition, Multilink debug probes with PROGACMP programmer, and GDB Server Eclipse IDE plug-in are ideally suited for the development process.

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PEMicro Supports Debugging with Renesas' e² studio IDE and RDPM

by Steve McGrath on Jul 12, 2023

This blog post was updated July 12, 2023 to include Cyclone FX support in the Renesas Device Partition Manager (RDPM) GUI within e2 Studio and command-line.

PEmicro has added support for its Multilink and Cyclone tools to Renesas' e² studio IDE. e² studio is an Eclipse-based IDE created by Renesas which supports development and debugging of code on Renesas' Synergy and RA devices. This blog demonstrates the procedures needed to install and then configure PEMicro Multilink and Cyclone debug support in Renesas e2Studio.

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PEmicro Tools Add Support for Blue Whale CVM0116 & CVM0118 Devices

by Keith McNeil on Jul 11, 2023

PEmicro's development and production tools now support Blue Whale devices. The M01xx devices are designed for automotive electronic control applications, with a focus on high reliability, flexibility, and versatility.

PEmicro's Cyclone programmers can be used for secure production programming of M01xx devices, including control and automation. In addition, Multilink debug probes with PROGACMP programmer, and GDB Server Eclipse IDE plug-in are ideally suited for the development process.

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Renesas RA Devices: Device Lifecycle Programming Support

by Steven McGrath on May 18, 2023

This blog post was updated May 18, 2023 to include Renesas DLM Key Injection and User Key support. Other updates include running an application after DLM programming and updated flowchart and images.

PEmicro has added production programming support for the Renesas RA family Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) and TrustZone boundary settings to the Cyclone FX programmer. Device Lifecycle Management and TrustZone boundary settings are used to secure access to the on-chip Flash and RAM both from external debug/bootloader access as well as untrusted code running internal to the device on devices with DLM Technology and TrustZone support (such as Cortex-M33 devices). Configuration and programming of these settings are made simple with PEmicro's stand alone programmers.

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Infineon's MOTIX™ TLE9844 and TLE9879 Devices Now Supported By PEmicro Tools

by Keith McNeil on May 17, 2023

PEmicro's development and production tools now support TLE9844 (Cortex M0) and TLE9879 (Cortex M3) devices from Infineon. These MOTIX™ Embedded Power ICs are highly integrated products that save space and energy, improve the overall system reliability through advanced diagnosis features and reduce the overall cost due to a minimum number of components. They fit with a range of motor control applications where a small package form factor and a minimum number of external components are essential, such as window lift, sunroof, wiper, auxiliary pumps, HVAC fans and engine cooling fan applications.

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PEcloud Launches: A Cloud-Based, Production Programming Management Platform

by Keith McNeil and Kevin Perreault on Apr 20, 2023

PEmicro has announced the launch of PEcloud, a cutting-edge platform that offers unparalleled control and visibility into users' production programming Jobs which run worldwide on Cyclone programmers.

Previously the Cyclone used only SAP (Stand-Alone Programming) Images. Now Cloud-Connected Jobs are a new type of programming image that use a secure connection from the Cyclone to the PEcloud platform to provide additional control, features, and visibility to the user. PEcloud users manage these Jobs in their own Virtual Factories (VFs). Each VF space can be organized as the user sees fit in order to connect specific Cyclones, programming Jobs, and PEcloud users together logistically. Users can upload programming Jobs to PEcloud, which provides an easy-to-use online interface to manage workflow. Or a Job can also be loaded onto a local Cyclone without use of the cloud, but the cloud can still be used to monitor and manage it. 

PEcloud allows for unprecedented visibility of, and control over, programming operations. Jobs being used in manufacturing can be paused, deleted, or updated. Programming logs for Jobs can be viewed, and unique device and dynamic programming data can be inspected. Serial numbers, programming count restrictions, and shared dynamic data are managed across all Cyclones running a Job. This system reduces distribution overhead and minimizes the risk of errors while increasing security.

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An Overview of PEcloud

by Julie Perreault on Apr 20, 2023

PEmicro has launched PEcloud, a cloud-based production programming Platform for the management of remote production.  Along with PEcloud, an updated version of the Image Creation utility has been released that now has the ability to generate PEcloud connected programming images (Jobs).

PEcloud gives the user a secure delivery method to send programming images to remote Cyclones, enhanced control over their IP being programmed, as well as insight into the production programming process.  It is designed with security in mind, so no matter where in the world the production programming is done, from generation of the programming image on the PC to deployment to PEcloud to downloading onto the Cyclone Production Programmer, customer Firmware IP remains safe. 

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The Difference Between SAP Images and Job Images

by Julie Perreault on Apr 20, 2023

PEmicro has launched PEcloud, a cloud-based production programming Platform, along with an updated version of the Cyclone Image Creation utility.  In addition to Stand-Alone Programming (SAP) images, the Image creation utility now has the ability to generate Cloud-Connected programming images (Jobs).   

SAP images and Job Images have a lot in common in terms of their base functionality, but the cloud-connected programming Jobs offer some really expanded capabilities that set them apart. 

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PEcloud: The Magic of SAPOBJ

by Julie Perreault on Apr 20, 2023

PEmicro Cyclone programmers are sophisticated production programming tools that are designed to operate in StandAlone mode.  PEmicro’s Image Creation Utility generates these StandAlone programming images. They might combine an algorithm, binaries, and a programming script which could include  erase, program and verify of their binaries, as well as more complicated scripts along with other features like serial numbers, dynamic data, or running test commands and saving data for programming.  

Users often save a configuration file (.CFG) so they can later regenerate a new SAP image from the same configuration and reference files.  However, if any of the files have changed or been lost, like the binary file or the serial file, then it is not possible to recreate and image the programs with exactly the same data. The latest version of Image Creation Utility addresses this by adding the ability to build a SAP object file (.SAPOBJ).

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MindMotion Devices Now Supported by Cyclone and Multilink Tools

by Keith McNeil and Johnny Ng on Apr 05, 2023

Note: This blog post was updated on 05 April 2023 to reflect new support for the MindMotion MM32F Series.

PEmicro's development and production tools now support MindMotion's MM32 SPIN and MM32F family of microcontrollers. MindMotion products and solutions are widely used in industrial control systems, smart homes, wearable applications, automotive electronics, instrumentations, and many other fields. MM32SPIN is designed for motor drive and control.  MM32F is designed for the general purpose and high performance market.

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Debug Authentication and Lifecycle Management

by Keith McNeil on Mar 10, 2023

PEmicro will show its latest debug authorization technologies at Embedded World 2023, March 14-16 -- Hall 4, Booth 648.

Silicon Manufacturers like NXP, ST, and Renesas are placing security aspects at the forefront, including a secure debug connection. 

With tools like its Secure Boot Management Utility (for NXP's i.MX and LPC devices), PEmicro has been taking the lead in creating solutions that go above and beyond those provided by the manufacturer in order to make the development process as hassle-free and error-proof as possible. 

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PEmicro Development & Production Tools Are RISC-V Ready

by Keith McNeil on Mar 10, 2023

See PEmicro demonstrate RISC-V readiness at Embedded World 2023, March 14-16 -- Hall 4, Booth 648.

The RISC-V architecture, which offers some similarities to the ARM architecture but with a different set of advantages and disadvantages, is positioned to become a bigger part of the marketplace in the coming years. PEmicro is finalizing support for RISC-V devices, including the GD32VF103 from manufacturer GigaDevices. 

Users with plans to work with RISC-V devices are welcome to send us questions and concerns about specific parts they would be interested in programming. 

Cyclone Control Suite Supported on Linux/macOS

by Keith McNeil on Mar 10, 2023

Watch PEmicro demonstrate a first-look into this new feature at Embedded World 2023, March 14-16 -- Hall 4, Booth 648.

Check for updates soon for when this will be publicly released in the cyclone software installer.

PEmicro's Cyclone programmers will soon support advanced control and automation features in both Linux and macOS. This support extends to all the three components of the Cyclone Control Suite - the Control GUI, Control Console, and Control SDK - which gives the user a great deal of flexibility when planning a solution.  

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PEmicro Tools Now Supported in JetBrains CLion IDE

by Johnny Ng, Keith McNeil on Dec 23, 2022

PEmicro is pleased to announce that our popular Multilink and Cyclone tools are now supported in JetBrains' CLion IDE. CLion is a smart, cross-platform IDE for C and C++ that includes code assistance and generation, on the fly code analysis, safe refactoring, and an integrated debugger with many powerful features. PEmicro's plugin allows the user to debug a broad range of ARM devices from many silicon manufacturers. For the complete list of ARM devices that PEMicro supports, please visit the following page: http://www.pemicro.com/arm/.

Below we have included a setup guide to get users up and running with PEmicro tools in CLion 2022.3.1 Build #CL-223.8214.51 running on Windows 10 Pro x64.

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Diagnostic Mode for External SPI Flash Memory

by Johnny Ng on May 09, 2022

PEmicro supports external flash connected to an MCU via the SPI and Address/Data bus interfaces. When performing this type of programming, the algorithm needs to be set up specifically for our programmers to be able to communicate with the flash via the MCU. What must be configured depends on which external bus interface has been chosen for the connection. When using the Address/Data bus, the user will need to configure the external address, data, and bus control pins of the MCU. In the case of the SPI bus, the user will need to configure GPIO pins connected to the external SPI device properly. The modifications are made in the header of the algorithm file. PEmicro's PROGACMP software, as of version 8.84, has an SPI Diagnostic mode that provides the user with a new method to easily test the GPIO configuration in order to help troubleshoot programming issues.

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Cyclone Programming Overview for STMicroelectronics Devices

by Keith McNeil on Apr 19, 2022

The process of setting up Cyclone programmers to perform production programming at a local or remote facility is simple and straightforward. PEmicro's Cyclones support programming of STMicroelectronics' popular STM32 and Bluetooth Low-Energy (BlueNRG) devices, as well as the SPC5 automotive and STM8 8-bit families.

In addition, Cyclone programmers leverage PEmicro's ProCryption Security to use industry-standard RSA/AES cryptography to safeguard programming images containing valuable IP. The IP owner also gains added control over factors like when and how many devices can be programmed, and how many errors are allowed.

This article will provide an overview of Cyclone programming - what the various components are and how they interact - and then explore the security aspect of the production programming process, in order to show that IP security does not need to be unduly complicated or expensive to be effective. 

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Updated "GO" Command Enables Improved Control of MCU Reset Type

by Steve McGrath on Feb 25, 2022

PEmicro has improved user reset capabilities after a flash programming sequence. With the updated implementation of the ‘GO’ command (available with most ARM Cortex processors) in both PEmicro's Cyclone and PROGACMP (v8.76 and up) software-based programming solutions, the user is able to specify the use of a software or hardware reset to reset the MCU. 

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RS08 Adapter Available for Multilink Universal Rev. E

by Keith McNeil on Feb 14, 2022

PEmicro's Multilink Universal (part# USB-ML-UNIVERSAL) recently changed from Rev D. to Rev. E. As part of this update, Multilink Universal Rev. E or later will require an adapter when communicating with NXP's RS08 devices.

The RS08 connection otherwise remains the same, and uses the same 6-pin pinout described in the Multilink Universal technical summary.

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Securing Renesas RA/Synergy Devices via ID Code Protection

by Steve McGrath on Jan 31, 2022

It is crucial to be able to prevent access by third parties to on-chip flash memory. Renesas RA and Synergy devices offer several means of security, one of which is called ID Code protection. After the MCU starts up in boot mode, ID authentication is performed when a host such as a PC is connected, in order to prevent unauthorized access. PEmicro's tools now allow users to take advantage of ID Code protection within the OCD/Serial Programmer ID Setting Register (OSIS) of supported Renesas ARM processors.

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Cyclone Programming Control Port (ATE Compatible) Added

by Laith Shamieh on Jan 19, 2022

PEmicro has added "Cyclone Programming Control Port" functionality to the 10-pin expansion I/O interface on the Cyclone allowing external signal control of programming operations. The Cyclone Programming Control Port may be used to launch programming as well as read the IDLE/BUSY state of the cyclone and the SUCCESS/ERROR result of the last programming operation. The port I/O operates from 1.6v-5.5v. These signals can be interfaced to by ATE (Automated Test Equipment), external buttons / LEDs, microcontrollers, etc. 

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Cyclone Incorporates Automated Run Tests Prior to Final Application Programming

by Julie Perreault on Jan 19, 2022

Note: This article was updated on August 3. 2022 to reflect updates to the Cyclone programmer feature sets.

As part of the production programming process, Cyclone FX programmers have the ability to program and run a series of custom test applications in the target processor before final programming is allowed to occur. These custom test applications are written by the end user and include any functionality desired including test and calibration of the target system. The custom test applications indicate to the Cyclone through the debug interface whether they were successful or not and also optionally return generated data to the Cyclone for use later in the programming process. If all of the custom test applications pass, the final application is programmed into the target. This advanced control/automation feature is exclusive to the Cyclone FX programmer model. 

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PEmicro Announces Development Tool Support for NXP’s New S32K3 Automotive MCU Family

by Zahar Raskin on Nov 16, 2021

PEmicro, an NXP® Semiconductors Gold Partner, has announced a range of development tool support for the S32K3 Automotive MCU family for next generation body, zone, and domain control applications. Tightly integrated with NXP’s evaluation boards and S32 Design Studio IDE, PEmicro tools provide a powerful platform for the evaluation, development, and production programming stages of the product cycle.

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S32K3xx Secure Debug Support

by Mika Ichiki-Welches on Nov 16, 2021

NXP has released a new, scalable S32K3xx device family, featuring an advanced secure debug mechanism, based on secret keys, to protect user applications throughout the development phase. PEmicro debug tools, which are deeply integrated with NXP’s S32 Design Studio and other IDEs, include Python scripts to enable and use the secure debug feature.

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PEmicro Introduces OS-Aware Debug Support for Azure RTOS ThreadX

by Juan See on Oct 13, 2021

With version 5.1.4 of PEmicro's GDB Server for ARM devices, initial support for Azure RTOS ThreadX is now available. The user does not have to do anything to set it up; the GDB server will automatically detect the presence, type, and configuration of an OS by the querying the application's symbol table for identifying characteristics. Using these discovered symbols, the debugger can traverse the kernel's internal data structures to enumerate the available threads and their corresponding execution context. This information is then used to dynamically populate the Eclipse views as the user navigates between the threads. 

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PEmicro Legacy Hardware Support Notice (In Effect As of 1 Oct. 2021)

by Keith McNeil and Takao Yamada on Oct 01, 2021

Beginning October 1, 2021 the latest versions of PEmicro software will only be tested against and designed to work with the following PEmicro hardware interfaces:

MULTILINK DEBUG PROBES (2015+)

  • USB ML Universal, Rev. C or later
  • USB ML Universal FX, Rev. B or later
  • USB ML ACP

CYCLONE PROGRAMMERS (2016+)

  • Cyclone LC Universal
  • Cyclone LC ARM
  • Cyclone FX Universal
  • Cyclone FX ARM
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Update to ICD & PKG Software Licensing

by Keith McNeil on Jul 23, 2021

PEmicro is changing its licensing for ICD and PKG software, in the same manner as we previously updated PROG software. Effective today, July 23, 2021, the license that activates ICD and PKG will reside on a Cyclone or Multilink debug probe rather than in the software itself. The user who activates the software will choose a Cyclone or Multilink on which to permanently install the license. This allows that hardware interface to work with ICD and PKG on any machine where a supported version of the software is installed.

Note that the ICD and PKG software itself is unchanged, it is only the licensing which has been updated.

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Cyclone Control SDK: Automated Flash Programming with Visual Basic .NET

by Johnny Ng on Dec 02, 2020

PEmicro has released a Visual Basic .NET 2019 example utilizing the Cyclone Control SDK API.

The Cyclone Control SDK API allows developers to integrate the Cyclone LC and Cyclone FX into their applications. Using the API calls, you can control multiple Cyclones in stand alone programming operations and to read/update Cyclone settings.

The example project can be downloaded from our Github repository

Cyclone Control SDK also includes example applications for GCCMicrosoft Visual CMicrosoft Visual C#, Delphi/FPC, Labview, and Python.

Learn more about how you can use the Cyclone Control Suite to automate your production.

Python Support for ARM® Cortex™-M processors UNIT Library Routines Now Available

by Steve McGrath on Oct 01, 2020

PEmicro has expanded its line of UNIT Library Interface Routines by adding a package for Python support for ARM® Cortex™-M processors. PEmicro's UNIT Libraries allow the user to create custom Windows applications that can fully control an ARM® Cortex™-M processor using either PEmicro's Cyclone programmers or Multilink debug probes.

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Multilink/Cyclone Debug with NXP's S32 Design Studio for ARM IDE

by Zahar Raskin on Aug 27, 2020

NXP 's S32 Design Studio for ARM provides a comprehensive enablement platform for ARM development with full integration of PEmicro’s GDB Server for ARM devices. This provides advanced debug capabilities via PEmicro’s Multilink, Cyclone, and embedded OpenSDA debug interfaces.

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Cyclone Control SDK: Automated Flash Programming with Python

by Johnny Ng on Aug 18, 2020

The Cyclone Control SDK is a software development kit with a comprehensive API that allows developers to seamlessly integrate Cyclone LC and Cyclone FX programmers into their applications. They can manipulate SAP images, launch SAP images, retrieve programming results, and update settings. This blog post demonstrates the use of the SDK in a Python application.

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SAP Image Integrity Via Checksum with Cyclone Programmers

by Johnny Ng on Jul 17, 2020

PEmicro’s software can calculate a checksum to help verify the data integrity of a SAP (Stand-Alone Programming) or eSAP (encrypted Stand-Alone Programming) image file. This checksum is a 32-bit hexadecimal number such as 0x0123ABCD. This number is unique to the SAP file, which is created by the user via the Image Creation Utility. If there are any differences (algorithms, object files, paths to these files, scripts, settings, description, name of the SAP files, or path of the SAP files) in how two SAP images are built, their checksums will also be different. The checksum should be recorded for a SAP image once it has been validated and becomes a golden file that is used for production. 

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Device Data Integrity Via Checksum With Cyclone Programmers

by Johnny Ng on Jun 30, 2020

A common method that our clients use to verify the data integrity of a device under test is to calculate a checksum and then compare it against a known good value. To help make this task easier, PEmicro has added the ability to calculate and retrieve the checksum of a device under test. This feature is available on Cyclone LC and Cyclone FX programmers, starting with software release v.10.49. The most recent Cyclone software is always available on the Support & Downloads tab of the Cyclone product pages.

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PEmicro Discusses Cyclone Programmer Security in Embedded Online Conference Presentation

by Keith McNeil on May 19, 2020

The Embedded Online Conference is a virtual conference for Embedded Systems, DSP, Machine Learning and FPGA Engineers, which is taking place on Weds. May 20 & Thurs. May 21, 2020. PEmicro is offering a presentation that describes the security measures that are used on Cyclone programmers to protect valuable IP. PEmicro president Kevin Perreault discusses Cyclone cryptography, restrictions on programming images, the ease with which a user can implement these security features, and more. Watch the presentation on the Show Floor page.

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SD Card Security for Cyclone Programming

by Esteban Gonzalez on May 13, 2020

External memory, in the form of SD Cards, has proven to be very useful for some users as a physical way to distribute programming images to Cyclone programmers. This can be a convenient way to deliver images in scenarios where the Cyclone is not connected to the internet or a PC. 

In order to be used with a Cyclone, SD Cards are first formatted and encrypted at the sector level using industry standard AES encryption. The SD Card AES keys used are a blend of different information, and encryption happens in such a way that each SDCard is uniquely encrypted; only a Cyclone programmer has the knowledge to decrypt it. This means that any Cyclone FX can read the data inside the SD Card, which allows the SD Card to be moved around to different Cyclone FX units while also inhibiting a user from being able to copy the images.

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Update to PROG Software Licensing

by Keith McNeil on Apr 25, 2020

PEmicro is changing its licensing for PROG software. Effective Monday, April 27, 2020 the license that activates PROG will reside on a Multilink debug probe rather than in the software itself. The user who activates the software will choose a Multilink on which to permanently install the license. This allows that Multilink to work with PROG on any machine where a supported version of the software is installed.

Note that the PROG software itself is unchanged, it is only the licensing which has been updated.

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Programming MCU Fuses, OTP, and Option Bytes

by Mika Ichiki-Welches on Jan 07, 2020

Article updated Aug. 2021 to describe automatic fuse generation for NXP i,MX RT devices.

Some ARM devices have areas of flash memory dedicated to programming user configuration data. Writes to such areas can be sensitive or permanent for some devices, so it is important that the developer is able to write these options in an intuitive way in order to minimizes human error. PEmicro's PROGACMP v7.78 and Cyclone software installer v10.41 introduce a set of new "user options" commands:

  • Create/Modify User Options File (CU)
  • Specify User Options File (SU)
  • Program User Options (PU)

These commands allow the developer to individually program user options through the use of an IDE.

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Comparison of the Classic Automated Control Package and the Cyclone Control SDK

by Johnny Ng on Nov 19, 2019

PEmicro's Classic Automated Control Package is an older product that enables users to to control and automate the production process with PEmicro's legacy Cyclones (Cyclone PRO, Cyclone MAX, Cyclone for Renesas, Cyclone for ARM devices, Cyclone for STMicro). PEmicro most recent control package is the Cyclone Control Suite, which is included with all next generation touchscreen Cyclones (Cyclone LC and Cyclone FX). Like the Classic Automated Control Package, the newer Cyclone Control Suite also includes an SDK (called the Cyclone Control SDK).

Those who use the Classic Automated Control Package but are upgrading to a Cyclone LC or Cyclone FX programmer might have questions about the new Cyclone Control SDK, such as: 

  • What are the differences between the two SDKs?
  • Can the classic SDK be used with the new Cyclones?
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Cyclone Programming Images Overview Video

by Julie Perreault and Keith McNeil on Aug 29, 2019

Note: The Cyclone Image Creation Utility has changed in significant ways since the creation of this video, although the settings concepts that are discussed remain helpful. We hope to create an updated video soon.

PEmicro's Cyclone stand-alone programmers use Stand-Alone Programming (SAP) images that are created by the user to in-system program a target. This video provides an overview of what constitutes a programming image and demonstrates how to set up a basic SAP image using the Cyclone Image Creation Utility.

Topics covered during setup include:

  • Target Power & Voltage Settings
  • Communication Settings
  • SAP image protection, including RSA/AES encryption that will only allow your SAP image to be decrypted on specific Cyclones 
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Cyclone ProCryption Security: A Step by Step Example

by Keith McNeil on Jul 09, 2019

This blog post gives a step-by-step example of a company that wants to use the ProCryption Security features of custom encryption and image limitations to: 

  • Secure their programming images/IP from their own source computers all the way to their own Cyclone programmers at an external manufacturer
  • Limit production programming to occur only in a specific date range
  • Generate their own custom Encryption Keys and provision Cyclones with them
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Cyclone Control SDK: Automated Flash Programming with C#

by Johnny Ng on Jun 27, 2019

The Cyclone Control SDK is a software development kit with a comprehensive API that allows custom applications to control multiple Cyclones in stand alone programming operations and to read/update Cyclone settings. This blog post demonstrates the use of the SDK in the Microsoft Visual C# language. 

NOTE: The examples in this blog are shown in Microsoft Visual C#. The Cyclone Control SDK includes interface code and demo applications for GCC, Microsoft Visual C, Microsoft Visual C#, Delphi/FPC, Labview, Python, and Microsoft Visual Basic.

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How to Configure and Write Microchip/Atmel Emulated EEPROM

by Mika Ichiki-Welches on May 24, 2019

Some Microchip/Atmel's SAM-Series devices allow rows of non-volatile flash memory (NVM) to be configured as EEPROM, so that users can treat NVM pages as EEPROM with Atmel's software, and let Atmel's back-end take care of keeping peripheral data safe.

PEmicro's Cyclone in-system programmers and PROGACMP flash programming software each allow users to set up NVM main flash space as emulated EEPROM by programming the EEPROM FUSE bits in the device's User Row. Our latest Microchip/Atmel algorithms support single-byte writes to the User Row, to preserve adjacent User Row settings.

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Exception Catching Support in NXP's MCUXpresso IDE

by Mika Ichiki-Welches on May 22, 2019

ARMv7-M devices have the ability to halt when specified exceptions occur. If exception catching is enabled, the processor will halt when a user's code hits the corresponding fault handler. Exception catching serves as an aid to development by alerting users in real-time about exceptions that occur in their code.

When installed in NXP's MCUXpresso IDE, PEmicro's GDB Server plug-ins from v3.96 onward include options for exception catching, and return information about the exceptions that have occurred.

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Flash Secure/Unsecure Support for Silicon Labs Gecko Devices with Time-Sensitive AAPs

by Mika Ichiki-Welches on Mar 25, 2019

PEmicro considers the privacy of its customers' intellectual property to be of utmost importance. Silicon Labs' 32-bit devices feature an Authentication Access Port (AAP) as part of their security features, and for some of these devices, a debugger may have a limited time to access this port when communicating with an unsecured device. With that in mind, recent PROG software (v6.94) and Cyclone firmware (v10.04) releases now provide support to secure, unsecure, and mass-erase Silicon Labs devices with these debug time-sensitivities, which can help users keep their valuable data safe.

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How to Secure/Unsecure Microchip SAM-Series MCU

by Gilbert Yap on Mar 22, 2019

The safety of users’ intellectual property is a top priority for PEmicro. Utilizing the “Chip Protect” function of processors prevents data from being read or written from an external source, which helps keep your data secure. PEmicro is constantly expanding its compatibility with different manufacturers’ device security methods. Each manufacturer may employ multiple methods for securing or unsecuring a processor, so the goal is to make this process as simple and easy as possible for the user.

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Enabling and Disabling ECC on Cypress PSoC5 Devices

by Gilbert Yap on Mar 21, 2019

Cypress’ PSoC5 line of microcontrollers are a great option for high performance at a low cost. The PSoC 5 provides an Error Correcting Code (ECC) feature to help detect errors in operations that manipulate the flash memory. The ECC peripheral can be enabled or disabled by writing to the Nonvolatile Latch (NVL). The advantage of disabling ECC is that each row of flash gains 32 bytes for data storage, extending the row from 256 to 288 bytes.

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Cyclone Programming with Shared Serial Numbers

by Julie Perreault on Jan 22, 2019

PEmicro has expanded the capabilities of Cyclone programmers to allow them to internally store and track serial numbers though the use of a unique serial number ID.  This increased sophistication allows Stand-Alone Programming (SAP) images stored on a Cyclone to share serial numbers that reference the same unique serial number ID. There are several cases where this is very useful. The first is when a user may want to update their firmware for a product to a new version but the serial number to have persistence.  The user may also have different products that need to be programmed with different firmware, but still want have those products draw from the same serialization sequence.  

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JTAG Daisy Chaining MCUs With PEmicro Multilink & Cyclone

by Kevin Meyer and Steven McGrath on Dec 14, 2018

Dec. 2018 - We've updated this blog post with more info about Multilink and Cyclone implementation...

The JTAG specification introduced daisy chaining of MCUs in order to reduce the number of headers required to debug and program multiple MCUs. JTAG daisy chaining allows multiple MCU’s (and other JTAG compatible hardware, such as FPGAs) to share a single debug header. PEmicro currently supports daisy chaining of ARM-Cortex MCUs via our Cyclone programmers and Multilink debug probes. The same is true for most PEmicro software, including our Eclipse plugin GDB Server, and our Cyclone automation and control packages.

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PEmicro Multilinks/Cyclones Debug With Powerful New SWO Tools

by Keith McNeil on Oct 17, 2018

PEmicro has added powerful SWO debug support to its plug-in for Eclipse-based ARM IDEs. Users previously had to step through code or use breakpoints and halt the device in an attempt to find bugs in their code. This would only provide insight into activity at one point in time. With SWO debug, the user can now take advantage of real-time insight into what’s going on in their device using SWO power, variables, and printf features. Once the device is stopped, they are able to get a broad insight into various events that occurred during execution, via ITM Trace. PEmicro’s SWO plug-in is available for Windows, Linux (Ubuntu), and Mac OS.

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Cyclone Programmers Overview Video

by Peter Truong & Keith McNeil on Oct 11, 2018

Note: Some of the material in this video is outdated, however it still successfully explains how the Cyclone functions in a general sense. PEmicro hopes to produce an updated version soon. 

PEmicro has designed our Cyclone LC programmers, and more advanced Cyclone FX programmers, to be helpful tools for for a broad range of production programming situations. In this video Edison Tam, one of PEmicro's senior design engineers, provides a quick and useful overview of these Cyclone programmers that will help those interested in production programming understand the Cyclone features, as well as how these features can provide specific benefits to a project or production line that save the user time and money. He demonstrates a typical configuration and use case for manual programming, as well as an overview of the control and automation features available with the Cyclone Control Suite.

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Cyclone Control SDK: Automated Flash Programming with LabVIEW®

by Johnny Ng on Oct 08, 2018

April 2021 - We've updated this blog post with more information about gang operation.

PEmicro is excited to announce the release of a library of LabVIEW VI components as well as a sample project as part of the Cyclone Control Suite. This new feature facilitates easy integration of Cyclone stand-alone programmers into production applications developed in LabVIEW®. 

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Multilink Trade-in Program

by Peter Truong on Aug 01, 2018

PEmicro has been offering debug probes for over 20 years. Our latest models, the Multilink and the Multilink FX, have become two of our most popular products, with tens of thousands of units sold worldwide. With so many Multilinks in use, PEmicro felt that it made sense to create a program that enables customers to turn in old/broken units for a discount when purchasing new hardware, or when upgrading from a basic to a high-speed model. Therefore PEmicro is pleased to introduce the Multilink Trade-in Program.

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How to use PEMicro's Multilink and Cyclone Interfaces with IAR Embedded Workbench for ARM

by Zahar Raskin on Jun 27, 2018

PEmicro's run control and FLASH programming support is fully integrated into IAR’s Embedded Workbench for ARM microcontrollers. This provides debug capabilities via PEmicro's Multilink, Cyclone and embedded OpenSDA debug interfaces, which support a broad range of ARM devices from NXP, STMicroelectronics, Atmel, Cypress, Infineon, Silicon Labs and many others. For complete list of ARM devices that PEMicro supports, please visit the following page: http://www.pemicro.com/arm/.

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Good Corporate Citizenship

by Nick DeLeon & Keith McNeil on Jun 06, 2018

PEmicro takes its responsibility as a corporate citizen seriously, both as it relates to our products and our footprint as a company. RoHS, CE, Conflict Minerals and other certifications and programs help us to make sure our products live up to our own and industry standards. We believe environmental compliance is an essential part of doing business and strive to meet regulations and certifications that make the world a safer and healthier place for all.

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How to use PEMicro's Multilink and Cyclone Interfaces with Keil's MDK-ARM IDE

by Zahar Raskin on Apr 13, 2018

PEmicro's run control and FLASH programming support is fully integrated into ARM's MDK-ARM Keil uVision Integrated Development Environment v5.25 for ARM microcontrollers. This provides debug capabilities via PEmicro's Multilink, Cyclone and embedded OpenSDA debug interfaces for a broad range of ARM devices from NXP, STMicroelectronics, Atmel, Cypress, Infineon, Silicon Labs and many others. For complete list of ARM devices that PEMicro supports, please visit the following page: http://www.pemicro.com/arm/.

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How To Automate Cyclone Stand-Alone Programming Image Generation

by Johnny Ng on Mar 19, 2018

April 2021 - We've updated this blog post with steps to perform an automated silent install of the Cyclone software package. See Section 7 below.

PEMicro has released the Cyclone Control Suite which offers a powerful yet flexible set of utilities to automate control of the Cyclones on your production line. Many of our users have to work with a very large number of stand-alone programming (SAP) image files and have to continually regenerate these images with new binaries. This blog post shows how they can also fully automate the process of generating stand-alone programming (SAP) image files to remove the chance of errors that could occur when the process is done manually.

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Gang Programming with Cyclone Programmmers

by Esteban Gonzalez on Jan 26, 2018

A volume production solution often relies on simultaneous gang programming of different target boards to meet speed and throughput requirements. This programming scenario may integrate Cyclone programmers into a fixture which interfaces to a panel of boards to be programmed. Programming is commonly controlled and monitored from a local computer, especially when customized dynamic data is being added to the main binary image that is being programmed into each target.

PEmicro’s gang programming solution is to control many Cyclone programmers simultaneously via the Cyclone Control Suite. A mix of programming images, targets, and data can be simultaneously programmed into many devices while maintaining a high level of performance because each Cyclone is itself an independently operating programmer.  

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Cyclone Control Suite: Cyclone Control Console

by Keith McNeil & Kevin Perreault on Dec 05, 2017

Note: This blog post was updated io August 2, 2022 following a reorganization of Cyclone features..

The Cyclone Control Console is a powerful command-line application that allows simultaneous control of one or more Cyclones. Programming images can be added/removed, settings read/set, programming operations launched, and dynamic data programmed. The command-line application displays comprehensive status messages and also returns an error code indicating success or failure. The application can be launched from a script, a console, or another application. It is one of the three main components of the Cyclone Control Suite including : the Cyclone Control Console, the Cyclone Control GUI, and the Cyclone Control SDK.

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Cyclone Control Suite: Overview

by Kevin Perreault on Oct 18, 2017

Note: This article was updated August 2, 2022 to reflect a re-organization of Cyclone features.

PEmicro has released a powerful new set of automated control software, the Cyclone Control Suite, to support PC based control of our popular Cyclone LC and Cyclone FX stand-alone programmers.

The suite provides comprehensive control of one or more Cyclones from the PC via the following components: the Cyclone Control GUI application, the Cyclone Control Console application, and via custom PC applications built using the Cyclone Control SDK. Ways to control the Cyclone include programming launch, recovering results, managing images resident on a Cyclone, adding unique programming data for each target, as well as recovering descriptive errors.

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Cyclone Control SDK: Automated Flash Programming with C

by Johnny Ng on Oct 18, 2017

PEmicro’s product line of Cyclone stand-alone programmers provides a fast, robust, and automated solution for production-scale programming of microprocessors. However, production facilities may desire an even higher level of automation than the single-button touch capability that is offered by the Cyclone. PEmicro offers several means of automating control, including a console application, Ethernet/Serial protocol communications, or the SDK included in PEmicro's new Cyclone Control Suite. In this article, we discuss using the SDK to automate programmer control and the levels of flexibility and scalability that it offers our customers.

NOTE: This example is shown in C. The Cyclone Control SDK interface code and demo applications are included for GCC, LabView, Microsoft Visual C, Microsoft Visual C#, Delphi/FPC, Python, and Microsoft Visual Basic.

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Cyclone Control Suite: Cyclone Control GUI

by Esteban Gonzalez on 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.

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PEmicro Introduces Cyclone Trade-In Program

by Peter Truong on Oct 18, 2017

PEmicro is pleased to introduce our Cyclone Trade-in Program which is a simple upgrade path to trade-in an old or non-functional Cyclone unit for a discount on a new Cyclone LC or Cyclone FX programmer.

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Migrate to the Next Generation Cyclones From Cyclone PRO & Cyclone MAX

by Johnny Ng on Oct 18, 2017

August 2, 2022 - We've updated this blog post to reflect the re-organization of touchscreen Cyclone features.

Migrating from the legacy Cyclone PRO and Cyclone MAX to the Cyclone LC Universal or Cyclone FX Universal is extremely easy. The Universal programmers are close to drop-in replacements for the PRO and MAX, albeit more powerful. Learn what to look out for when making the transition.

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FreeRTOS: PEmicro Introduces OS-Aware Debugging in GDB Server for ARM devices

by Gerardo Ravago on Mar 08, 2017

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.

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View Variables While Code is Running in PEmicro's GDB Eclipse Plug-In

by Juan See on Mar 02, 2017

The ability to view variables and memory while a target ARM device is running has been added to PEmicro’s GDB Server Plug-in for ARM devices. This Eclipse plugin can be installed in any Eclipse-based IDE and supports the debug of ARM microcontrollers via PEmicro’s Multilink, Cyclone, and OpenSDA debug hardware. The “Real Time Expressions” view, which is part of the plugin, is similar to the normal expressions view, except that it works while the part is running.

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How to Install and Update PEmicro’s GDB Server in Eclipse-Based IDEs

by Mikhail Andreev, Updated by Steven McGrath on Feb 23, 2017

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.

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PEmicro Announces Serial SPI Memory Device Programming Algorithms

Jun 03, 2015

 PEmicro is now providing serial SPI memory device programming algorithms for devices attached to ARM® Cortex-M microcontrollers. There are many reasons to use PEmicro’s algorithms for your programming requirements. Some of the more significant reasons are:

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