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Low-cost tool offers flexible programming and debugging for PPC and ColdFire

Cyclone Max programming and debugging tool for PPC and ColdFire

The Cyclone Max, available from Computer Solutions, is a flexible, low-cost tool for flash programming, debugging and testing of high-end microprocessors such as the Power PC and ColdFire. It can function either as a PC-based program loader and debugger or as a stand-alone programmer for on-chip or off-chip flash.

The new device incorporates serial, USB and Ethernet ports, allowing it to operate as a fast intelligent interface between the PC and the target microprocessor . Multiple Cyclone Max units may be linked to an Ethernet network or connected to a host PC via a mix of different interfaces for production programming.

The Cyclone Max can be used in one of three operating modes that coexist and are transparent to the user: stand-alone programming mode, remote-control mode and interactive mode.

In stand-alone programming mode, the PC is used to download an image into the Cyclone Max, which can then be used to program the target microprocessor. The image contains the data to be programmed, the programming algorithm, and the steps to be taken during programming and verification. Once the Cyclone Max is configured with this image, it no longer needs to be connected to a PC as programming may be initiated via built-in pushbuttons.

In the remote-control mode, the user stores a non-volatile image in the Cyclone Max, which is then used to program the flash memory of the target microprocessor. Programming may be initiated via built-in pushbuttons or from one of the communications interfaces, while the image can be stored in the internal memory or on a removable Compact Flash card. Stand-alone mode is ideal for programming a significant number of targets with the same information. A programming and status port provides an additional approach to initiating and monitoring stand-alone operation, and can be interfaced to an automated test fixture or a 'bed of nails' tester.

Interactive mode allows PC-based programming and debug of the target processor, and is ideally suited to the development stages of a project. Users can assemble and compile their code, download and debug it via the Cyclone Max, and then return to editing. Support is available from a number of compiler manufacturers for their debug environments, and a program is available to enable high-level debugging via the popular Elf/Dwarf linker format.

The Cyclone Max's 32-bit processor and configurable logic chip are geared towards streaming information directly from its high-speed memory into the target processor via the debug connection as fast as possible. The Cyclone Max carries out in-circuit programming via a simple plug-in header, allowing a processor and its external flash memory to be programmed while mounted in the final circuit.

Processors initially supported with full debugging and flash programming software are members of the ColdFire and PowerPC families. In addition, an API library is available which allows users to design their own PC applications to directly control the BDM interface.

The unit is housed in a rugged 2 mm thick plastic case and has transient voltage suppression built into the debug and communications connectors to protect against electrostatic discharge and other transient effects.


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Computer Solutions Ltd. is the UK's premier supplier of microprocessor development tools. It supplies a wide range of software and hardware tools that support over 100 different microprocessor families. Hardware products include: BDM and JTAG interfaced debuggers, In-circuit emulators , EPROM emulators USB, Ethernet, RS232 & CAN analysers and device programmers. Software tools include: assemblers, debuggers, compilers, real-time executives, TCP/IP stacks and other high-level protocol libraries.

With 25 years' experience, Computer Solutions Ltd. has unrivalled expertise in embedded tools, consultancy and support.

For further colour photographs, graphics, technical or marketing information,

            Contact: Chris Stephens, MD, Computer Solutions Ltd
            Tel: 01932 355630

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For more information on the Cyclone Max:

         Cyclone Max             P&E's Web Site


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