General embedded development kits using gcc/gdb.

norwood sisson
Fri Jul 7 11:19:00 GMT 2000

check out

woody wrote:
> Dear GCC Cross Compiler List,
> My name is Andrew Tuckey and I'm currently an Australian postdoctoral research
> scientist at the Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, the
> Netherlands.  My stay here stops in 7 weeks when I migrate the the USA to take
> up a position at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.  My primary research
> topic is dynamic control of electric machines and the testing of such
> controlled machines.
> For my current project I'm using a TMS320C40 DSPs to dynamically control the
> torque of an induction type machine using a technique called Field Oriented
> Control (FOC).  As an outer loop speed control I'm using another 'C40 with
> speed and torque set-points output by LabVIEW via a LabMaster A/D card.  In
> pursuing this project I have become aware of a couple of limitations of our
> system, and the development of microprocessor control systems in general.
> Therefore I would like to look for a different type of solution for future
> projects.
> I would like to make some single board embedded development kits with some
> simple tools.  Firstly I would like to use a board that has a more general
> (i.e. non DSP) type processor, something like a MIPS, ARM, PowerPC, or
> Pentium, or anything else that is deemed suitable.  The programme for a board
> will be programmed using gcc on any type of host computer with target output
> for the embedded system processor, and I would like to have the facility to
> use gdb as the debugger.  Such a system has many advantages.
> Firstly such a system would only cost hardware since the software tools are
> free, and thus it would be reachable by students and enthusiasts, not just
> full-fee paying companies.
> Secondly gcc and gdb are familiar to computer science students so they
> wouldn't have to learn another compiler/debugger (like Code Composer for
> the 'C40s for instance).
> Thirdly, one wouldn't be restricted to a particular hardware for development or
> for the target processor (again like Code Composer and the 'C40s) - one could
> use whatever one desired that had enough processing power.
> I realise that I will need to do some ROM programming for the
> downloading/debugger interface, but I'm willing to put in a little time if the
> hardware will support it, and channel the lessons learned in the experience
> back into the open source community.
> As an extension I would further like to look at using RTLinux on the systems
> in more general contexts.  Ultimately I would like to use some high-speed
> communication for the downloading/debugging since using a serial port can get
> very painful.  If I used Ethernet and TCP/IP the embedded system could be
> remote from the development environment.
> Further, I would like to have some digital and analogue I/O on the board.
> Having these on-board avoids the delays incurred in getting the data from the
> A/D converters etc. - something I have had some experience with using 'C40 for
> electric machine control.  I would like to experiment with mapping the outputs
> of the analogue and digital I/O onto particular memory locations so that I
> can avoid ISA and PCI bus interface complexity and delays.
> For these boards customers could just buy the chips they want and leave out
> the bits they don't so the price for a development kit would be kept quite
> low.
> Now the question that I would ask this list is `is what I'm proposing
> feasible?'  I'm sure it's fine for the larger processors, like a Pentium or
> MIPS, but what about the gdb interface for a memory limited ARM board?
> Do any of you see any obvious problems with the concept?  Any recommendations?
> Although I have used gcc and gdb in my computer science degree subjects and
> for some software development, I'm not quite sure where to start with the gdb
> interfacing.  I would like to know what type of communication is used between
> the processor, the running programme and gdb.  Could someone point me in the
> right direction to get such information.
> And finally, when I build up these boards, how many would be interested in
> buying one?
> --
> Andrew Tuckey, Visiting Lecturer
> Electrical and Computer Engineering Department
> University of Wisconsin - Madison
> 1415 Engineering Drive
> Madison, WI  53706-1691
> Email:
> ------
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