STMicroelectronics offers a new software tool, STM32CubeProgrammer, the provides device-programming and firmware upgrades for STM32 microcontrollers in a unified, multi-platform and user-configurable environment. Ready to run on Windows, Linux,or MacOS operating systems, the STM32CubeProgrammer can program the STM32 microcontroller’s on-chip Flash/RAM or external memories using various file formats. Further capabilities include whole-memory or sector erase and programming microcontroller option bytes. Users can also generate encrypted files for secure programming (Secure Firmware Install/Update) to authenticate production and protect intellectual property.
With this tool, users can program STM32 microcontrollers through the device’s SWD (Single-Wire Debug) or JTAG debugging ports, or the bootloader ports (such as UART and USB). Hence the STM32CubeProgrammer brings the individual capabilities of the ST Visual Programmer, DFUse Device Firmware Update tool, Flash Loader, and ST-Link utility together within the STM32Cube ecosystem. ST will extend the STM32CubeProgrammer’s capabilities by adding programming access via microcontroller I2C and CAN ports.
The STM32CubeProgrammer provides many opportunities to customize and configure features, using either the GUI or the command-line interface (CLI). Also, this all-in-one tool can be used in standalone mode or integrated and controlled from a custom application. Programming can be done manually or automated using scripts.
Zuken and XJTAG have entered into a partnership to enhance Zuken’s CR-8000 with a design for test (DFT) capability that will improve test coverage during schematic entry. The capability is based on XJTAG’s DFT Assistant, and will be available later this year as a free plugin for Zuken’s CR-8000 Design Gateway users. CR-8000 is a native 3D product-centric design platform for PCB-based systems. CR-8000 directly supports architecture design, concurrent multi-board PCB design, chip/package/board co-design and full 3D MCAD co-design. CR-8000 Design Gateway is Zuken’s platform for logical circuit design and verification.
Increasingly, PCBs are densely populated making it difficult to gain manufacturing test access to pins under many packages, such as ball grid arrays (BGAs). JTAG was designed to enable test access, so an optimized JTAG design can have a positive impact on ROI. Failure to optimize JTAG test coverage at an early design stage can increase manufacturing costs and possibly require a board re-design. XJTAG DFT Assistant will help to validate correct JTAG chain connectivity while displaying boundary scan access and coverage onto the schematic diagram through full integration with CR-8000 Design Gateway.
RF designers, as well as more and more digital-oriented designers, are used to thinking about impedance matching. But it is very easy to forget it when you are designing a non-RF project. A non-matched circuit will generate power losses as well as nasty reflection phenomena. (Refer to my article, “TDR Experiments,” Circuit Cellar 225, 2009.)
Impedance matching must be managed at the schematic stage, for example, by adding provisional matching pads for all integrated antennas, which will enable you to correct a slightly mis-adapted antenna (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: Impedance matching requirements must be anticipated. In particular, any embedded antenna will surely need manual matching for optimal performance. If you forget to include some area for a matching network like this one on your PCB, you won’t achieve the best performance.
Impedance matching is also a PCB design issue. As rule of thumb, you can’t avoid impedance-matched tracks when you are working with frequencies higher than the speed of light divided by 10 times the board size. A typical 10-cm board would translate to a cutoff frequency of 300 MHz. A digital designer would then say: “Cool, my clock is only 100 MHz. No problem!” But a 100-MHz square-ware clock or digital signal means harmonic frequencies in the gigahertz range, so it would be wise to show some concern.
The problem could also happen with very slow clocks when you’re using fast devices. Do you want an example? Last year, one of my colleagues developed a complex system with plenty of large and fast FPGAs. These chips were programmed through a common JTAG link and we ended up with nasty problems on the JTAG bus. We still had issues even when we slowed down the JTAG speed to 100 kHz. So, it couldn’t have been an impedance matching problem, right? Wrong. It was. Simply because the JTAG is managed by the FPGA with the same ultra-fast logic cells that manage your fast logic so with stratospheric skew rates which translated into very fast transitions on the JTAG lines. This generated ringing due to improper impedance matching, so there were false transitions on the bus. Such a problem was easy to solve once we pinpointed it, but we lost some days in between.—Robert Lacoste, CC25, 2013
Featured Product: The TRACE32-ICD in-circuit debugger supports a range of on-chip debug interfaces. The debugger’s hardware is universal and enables you to connect to different target processors by simply changing the debug cable. The PowerDebug USB 3.0 can be upgraded with the PowerProbe or the PowerIntergrator to a logic analyzer.
Product Features: The TRACE 32-ICD JTAG debugger has a 5,000-KBps download rate. It features easy high-level Assembler debugging and an interface to all industry-standard compilers. The debugger enables fast download of code to target, OS awareness debugging, and flash programming. It displays internal and external peripherals at a logical level and includes support for hardware breakpoints and trigger (if supported by chip), multicore debugging (SMP and AMP), C and C++, and all common NOR and NAND flash devices.