Flashlite 186 Port
The Flashlite 186 is a very cost effective single board computer that provides RS232,
RS485 and digital IO ports. It utilises an AMD embedded 186 register and instruction set compatible 33.3 MHz
The single board computer has a royalty free version of DOS pre-installed in read only memory which works straight out of the box.
The DOS system redirects console IO to/from a serial port allowing the familiar DOS command line interface to be available
via a standard terminal program (e.g. HyperTerminal).
A flash file system is also provided which can be extended to 16MBytes by inserting a DiskOnChip into the socket already provided on the single board computer.
The provided demo application can be built with the open source Open Watcom Development Tools,
or the Borland tools that come with the Flashlite 186 starter kit.
IMPORTANT! Notes On Using The 186 RTOS Port:
Please read all the following points before using this port.
See also the FAQ My application does not run, what could be wrong?
- Source Code Organization
- The Demo Application
- Configuration and Usage Details
Source Code Organization
The FreeRTOS download contains the source code for all the FreeRTOS ports.
See the Source Code Organization section for a description of the
downloaded files and information on creating a new project.
The Flashlite 186 project files (Open Watcom and Borland) are contained in the
The Demo Application
The FreeRTOS source code download includes a fully preemptive multitasking demo application for the 80x186 RTOS port.
Demo application hardware setup
The demo application includes tasks that send and receive characters over the serial port. The characters sent by one task
need to be received by another - if any character is missed or received out of sequence an error condition is flagged. A
loopback connector is required on the serial port for this mechanism to operate (simply connect pins 2 and 3 together on
the serial port connector).
The demo application utilises the LED built onto the single board computer. This single LED is enough to check that
the demo is functioning correctly, but for best effect an extra eight LEDs can be fitted to port F.
Building the RTOS demo application
Both Borland V4.52 and Open Watcom development tools are supported.
Project files that can be opened from within the respective IDE's can be found in the Demo/Flshlite directory.
The resultant RTOSDemo.exe file should be downloaded and executed on the SBC as described in the Flashlite manual.
Compressing the executable prior to download can half the download time. See the UPX
project page for a suitable compression utility.
The demo application creates all of the standard demo application real time tasks (see the
demo application section for details of the individual tasks).
The LEDs on port F are under control of the 'flash' tasks. Each will flash at a constant but different frequency as described
in the demo application documentation. Each LED is controlled by a different task.
Not all the tasks update an LED so have no visible indication that they are operating correctly.
Therefore a 'Check' task is created whose job it is to ensure that no errors have been detected in any of the other tasks.
The LED built into the SBC is under control of the 'Check' task. Every five
seconds the 'Check' task examines all the tasks in the system to ensure they are executing without error. It
then toggles the LED. If the LED is toggling every five seconds then no errors have ever been detected.
The toggle rate increasing to 100ms indicates that the 'Check' task has
discovered at least one error. This mechanism can be checked by removing the loopback connector from the serial port
(described above), and in doing so deliberately generating an error.
RTOS port specific configuration
Configuration items specific to this port are contained in Demo/Flshlite/FreeRTOSConfig.h (or
Demo/Flshlite/FRConfig.h if the Borland compiler is being used). The constants defined in
this file can be edited to suit your application. In particular - the definition configTICK_RATE_HZ is used to set the frequency
of the RTOS tick. The supplied value of 1000Hz is useful for testing the RTOS kernel functionality but is faster than most applications
require. Lowering this value will improve efficiency.
Each port #defines 'BaseType_t' to equal the most efficient data type for that processor. This port defines
BaseType_t to be of type short.
Switching between the pre-emptive and co-operative RTOS kernels
Set the definition configUSE_PREEMPTION within Demo/Flshlite/FreeRTOSConfig.h (or
Demo/flshlite/FRConfig.h if the Borland compiler is being used) to 1 to use pre-emption or 0 to use
Development tool options
As with all the ports, it is essential that the correct compiler options are used. The best way to ensure this is to base your
application on the provided RTOS demo application projects.
Removing references to any stdio.h defined function both greatly increases download time and removes any possible
causes of real time performance degradation. The macro definitions USE_STDIO (defined within the IDE project file)
can be used to conditionally compile with or without console IO. I suggest that console IO only be included when
diagnosis is required.
Serial port driver
It should also be noted that the serial drivers are written to test some of the real time kernel features - and they are not
intended to represent an optimised solution. In particular the DMA facility is not used.
I have never tried using COM1, only COM2. COM1 may require a slightly different setup.
Currently there is an issue with executing Open Watcom generated applications that contain floating point variables.
This is not related to the RTOS kernel. For now the Flashlite 186
demo application does not perform any floating point calculations. This is only an issue when using the
Open Watcom compiler and not when using the Borland compiler supplied by JK Microsystems
in the Flashlite 186 development kit. The Borland floating point emulation is not re-entrant - but tricks for making it so
are quite well documented.
Source/Portable/MemMang/heap_2.c is included in the Flashlite demo application projects to provide the memory allocation required
by the real time kernel.
Please refer to the Memory Management section of the API documentation for
Demo application serial driver
The serial driver is written to test some of the real time kernel features - and is not not intended to represent an optimised
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