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[SOLVED] buying ARM Development board - need help!

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ahmed.elgamal

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Hi everyone,

I need to buy a Good ARM Development kit, i reviewed many boards but i can't choose a good trusted one,
Here are the main specs:
- Serial
- USB Host/Device.
- CAN
- Ethernet
- SPI if available
- SD/MMC memory card
- LCD touch screen
- some I/O pins
- Ability to run Embedded linux/WinCE & RTOS - i'm a beginner in both.
- Ability to be connected to WIFI, GSM/GPRS, 3G or Bluetooth modules.
- Most important: To be from a genuine company like: Kiel, ATmel, texas instruments,...etc

Please guys share your comments, any help is appreciated,
any suggestions?
 

deniah

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Mikroelektronika has announced the release of ARM compiler for december. I assume that the development boards come out at the same time.
 

ahmed.elgamal

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alexxx

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ahmed.elgamal said:
i'm a beginner which s better?
All of them look really cool! Keil's board uses a Cortex-M4 processor, the latest ARM designed for digital signal control and processing. Plus you will have easier support from Keil. But the final choice is yours of course!

ahmed.elgamal said:
do i really need to buy the JTag debugger?? i mean what will happen if i don't?
Yes you do. If you don't buy a debugger you will download programs via programmer. That means you will not have real time observation of the code. If a bug appears, then you should guess what the problem is or use other methods that won't be easy for you since you are a beginner. I don't know if you can afford it because you will double your expences compared to the board purchase only, but trust me it worths it.
 
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bigdogguru

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As per your questions:

- do all ARM boards support embedded OS like embedded linux & winCE without processing/memory restrictions?

No!

MMU-less ARMs can run variants of µCLinux which require a minimum of 300kB RAM, however it is a bare minimum system just enough to boot the kernel.

A more typical ARM/Linux system requires a minimum of 2MB of RAM , 16MB to 32MB of RAM for an viable development platfrom and an equal or greater amount of FLASH.

Windows CE requires a minimum 32MB of RAM and 32MB of FLASH.

The problem is many ARMs do not have an external memory bus for additional RAM, so you are stuck with what you have.

- i'm a begginer in arm, so does it matter which family to start with? (i.e. starting with ARM 9 better than ARM 7 as it is more advanced, & same for Cortex A8 when compared with cortex M4)
Note: i want to get to advanced level in ARM development.

If you wish to run full blown OSs like Linux or Windows CE, first narrow the field by selecting ARM variants with the appropriate amounts of RAM and FLASH. Or if the particular device has an external memory bus to supplement both its internal RAM and FLASH.

The narrow down the field even more by defining your required peripherals and features

- what is your opinion concerning buying ARM boards from genuine companies only not chinees?could you just give me some trusted companies with good support other than ATMEL & Kiel?

I own several of the Atmel and KEIL boards and they do produce an excellent ARM development boards, the downside is they are quite expensive.

If you like Atmel ARMs, the SAM9 ARM926, checkout Olimex's SAM9-L9260 DEVELOPMENT BOARD or SAM9-L9261 DEVELOPMENT BOARD.

Olimex, an EU company, also sells several other boards based on various variants, NXP's LPC series, **broken link removed**.

One of my preferred companys to purchase ARM Linux/Windows CE development boards, which I've used in several commercial projects, is Technologic Systems.

I've purchased most of their ARM boards, they are of excellent quality and their technical support is top notch. They use both ARM9 and Cortex-A8 variants in their products.

Checkout the following:

TS-TPC-8900

TS-7800

ARM Single Board Computers for Embedded Systems

One other company I've done business with in the past which offers high quality development boards:

Embedded Artist

LPC2478 Developer's Kit

LPC3152 Developer's Kit

LPC3250 Developer's Kit

Another vendor to keep an eye on is TI, who has their TI Deals, which has offered deep discounts on ARM dev boards.

I've bought quite a few development tools and boards from TI, but have only recently dabbled with their ARM variants, so my advice in this area is limited. I will say everything I have purchased from TI, MSP430 and DSP boards and JTAG equipment has been top notch.

Are you a student? If so I can refer you to an excellent deal for a ARM JTAG programmer/debugger.

BigDog
 

bigdogguru

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If you are in need of a good JTAG programmer/debugger check out this excellent deal:

Segger J-Link EDU

Inexpensive J-Link for educational purpose

SEGGER now offers a new package for educational pupose, which includes J-Link with a license for Flash Breakpoints.


J-Link EDU is available at a discounted price of 49.98 € * for everybody who does not use the software to develop a product for sale.


The offer includes free use of Flash Breakpoints. The only limitation is that it may not be used to develop a product.


The J-Link EDU is natively supported by IAR EWARM, KEIL µVision, Rowley Crossworks, and CodeSourcery G++. Via GDB-Server, the supported tool-chains also include Atollic TrueStudio, Yagarto, and other GDB based or compatible development environments.


The Flash Breakpoints option allows the user to set an unlimited number of breakpoints within a device’s internal flash memory. Debugging limitations inherited by the number of hardware breakpoints (2 on ARM7/9, 4 on Cortex-M0 and typically 6 on Cortex-M3) are completely removed.


J-Link EDU is sold to private persons, colleges, schools, universities and NPOs (Non Profit Organizations) for educational purposes only. It is not sold to companies.


Sale to private persons is limited to one unit per person. SEGGER reserves the right to deny this offer to anybody in case of doubt that this unit is used for educational use.

An associate of mine recently purchased a JLINK EDU for $60 USD, it is identical to my two professional JLINKs in every way.

I have both Segger JLINKs and KEIL ULINK2, them are both very nice JTAG programmer/debuggers, however I personally prefer the JLINK.

BigDog
 

ahmed.elgamal

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i was just writing my reply, sry for being late but i was limiting my choices,
concerning the deal it is perfect :))))))))
@ alexxx it will limit my expences lol,
actually i've just graduated, & want to prepare for getting a job in embedded industry market, so yeah it is for educational purpose.

Since i need to run Embedded OS, then definitely i need MMU processor with sufficient (RAM/Flash) & reasonable price , good interfaces which leaves me with LPC3250 Developer's Kit | Embedded Artists AB, with processor ARM926EJ-S, & the educational SEGGER JTAG programmer/debugger,
while Keil Keil MCBSTM32F400 Evaluation Board Overview is MMU less Processor
just to make sure they are completely compatible (LPC3250 - SEGGER JTAG), right?

& one more question do they provide with the board all needed S\W tools?
 

bigdogguru

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Since i need to run Embedded OS, then definitely i need MMU processor with sufficient (RAM/Flash) & reasonable price , good interfaces which leaves me with LPC3250 Developer's Kit | Embedded Artists AB, with processor ARM926EJ-S, & the educational SEGGER JTAG programmer/debugger,
while Keil Keil MCBSTM32F400 Evaluation Board Overview is MMU less Processor
just to make sure they are completely compatible (LPC3250 - SEGGER JTAG), right?

Correct. The Segger J-Link and the LPC3250 are compatible.

As you pointed out the LPC3250 is in fact an ARM9 variant.

Supported CPUs: Any ARM7/9/11, Cortex-A5/A8/A9, Cortex-M0/M1/M3/M4, Cortex-R4

Segger J-Link

KEIL's NXP (founded by Philips) LPC3250 Page - Note Compatible JTAG Debuggers





& one more question do they provide with the board all needed S\W tools?

Unfortunately, No. At least not unless you purchase a bundle with a compiler. You maybe able to use the KEIL or IAR compilers in evaluation mode, however these "eval" compilers usually have code size limitations. Also you should be able to use an Open Source ARM-GCC Cross Compiler with the Eclipse IDE:

GNU ARM toolchain for Cygwin, Linux and MacOS

YAGARTO - Yet another GNU ARM toolchain



**broken link removed**

I've used the Yagarto and Eclipse combo for a few projects using SAM7 and SAM9 devices, once configured I did not have any major issues with this IDE/Compiler installation.

BigDog
 
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