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Easy start dev board: recommend a COTS board and configuration to get going?

Posted by unx2dvwhw on May 19, 2016

I've read about FreeRTOS and would like to try a small dev project to learn more. I am not a commercial developer but experienced with electronics, breadboarding, and programming in C. I've built real-time systems with 8085's in the past using the old Intel dev system and ICE but I've been doing other things for the past 25 yrs. I can use Eclipse.

I am happy to bootstrap my learning by duplicating some simple running system. The question is: which one is easiest to get going with?

In your view, what is the easiest, small scale hardware to implement from cold start? The Arduino Due is a Cortex-M3-based board. Would that be a useful place to start?

Could you point me to a recent step-by-step implementation documented on the web?


Easy start dev board: recommend a COTS board and configuration to get going?

Posted by rtel on May 19, 2016

The Arduino Due is a Cortex-M3-based board.

The Aruino Due is definitely one good option - but there are many others good low cost options too that have free tools. For example there are the STM32 discovery boards, MSP432 Launchpad boards, Silicon Labs starter kits, etc.

If you go for the Due hardware then download and install Atmel Studio too and you will probably find it is very easy to use that to program and debug the Due board. I'm not sure if you will also need a separate debug interface, probably not, but best to check.

If you don't mind using a simulator instead of real hardware, then you could start with a FreeRTOS project that runs in the Keil uVision simulator - there are some links on the FreeRTOS.org site somewhere. If you go that route then you will be simulating real Cortex-M hardware - another alternative is to use a simple demo in the FreeRTOS Windows port, but that is a separate port rather than simulating real hardware.

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