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Last site update Oct 5 2014

FreeRTOS Quick Start Guide

This page starts by describing how to get the RTOS running on your target as quickly as possible. Below that the "Next steps - further reading" section provides a set of links to enable you to further your knowledge, answer common questions, and become an expert FreeRTOS user.

Also see the quick start video screen casts (out of date but still relevant), the basic demo projects and application notes, the FreeRTOS books and for the best start possible - the FreeRTOS education kits. There is even a FreeRTOS Windows simulator to allow experimentation with FreeRTOS on a Windows host using free tools. New developers are also encouraged to make use of the configASSERT() macro.


RTOS quick start instructions

FreeRTOS has been ported to many different architectures and compilers. Each RTOS port is accompanied by a pre-configured demo application to get you up and running quickly. Better still, each demo application is accompanied by a documentation page providing full information on locating the RTOS demo project source code, building the demo project, and configuring the target hardware.

The demo application documentation page also provided essential RTOS port specific information, including how to write FreeRTOS compatible interrupt service routines, which is necessarily slightly different on different microcontroller architectures.


To get up an running in minutes - follow these easy instructions:


Port documentation pages are grouped by device manufacturer. Expand the list of supported devices, then click the manufacturer of interest to be taken to a list of demo documentation pages.


Locating documentation for the FreeRTOS API
  1. Locate the relevant documentation page:

    Expand the "Supported Devices & Demos" menu item, then click the "Officially Supported Demos" link (see image on right) to view a list of microcontroller vendors that are supported by FreeRTOS. Clicking a microcontroller vendor name will take you to a list of documentation pages specific to that vendor.

    Refer to the Modifying a demo application to run on different hardware page should a pre-configured port not be available for your development board.

  2. Obtaining the RTOS source code:

    Download the FreeRTOS .zip file. This contains the RTOS kernel source code and demo projects for every official port. Unzip the files into a convenient directory.

  3. Building the project:

    Follow the instruction on the RTOS port documentation page to locate the required project within the FreeRTOS directory structure, then open and build the demo project.

  4. Running the demo application:

    Follow the instructions on the RTOS port documentation page to setup the target hardware, download and execute the demo application. The same documentation page will provide information on the functionality of the demo application so you know if it is executing correctly or not.

That is it!

Next steps - further reading

The simplest way to create your own FreeRTOS application is to base it on the demo application that is provided for your chosen port. Once you have the demo application running, incrementally remove the demo functions and source files and replace them with your own application code.

Following are some shortcuts to valuable information for the serious developer:






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Copyright (C) 2004-2010 Richard Barry. Copyright (C) 2010-2013 Real Time Engineers Ltd.
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