High-speed debugger interface supports ARM Cortex devices

22nd May 2009
ES Admin
Development support for microprocessor devices based on the ARM Cortex architecture is now available on the Abatron BDI3000 high-speed debugger from Computer Solutions. The new cores supported are the ARM Cortex-A8, such as the TI OMAP3430 family, and the ARM Cortex-M3, which includes the STM32 family, the LPC1700 and the whole of the Luminary Micro LM3S range. Both device families are supported by the JTAG interface on the BDI3000, and there is additional support for the single-wire debug port (SW-DP). The BDI3000 then acts as an external server connecting to the popular GDB debugging package via Ethernet.
The development of debuggers such as the Abatron BDI3000 has been stimulated by the trend for silicon manufacturers to offer more on-chip debugging features in their new processors. This capability, implemented in various processors under such names as Background Debug Mode (BDM), SW-DP and ON-Chip Emulation (ONCE), puts basic debugging functions into the chip itself and communicates with this debugger via proprietary protocols or via the chip’s JTAG port.

With BDM, JTAG or SW-DP debug ports, the user can control and monitor the microprocessor through these on-chip debugging features, providing a significant amount of in-circuit emulation functionality at a very low cost.

A further benefit of this approach to debugging is the fact that the debugging mode runs even when the target system crashes, enabling developers to continue investigating the cause of the crash. The user does not waste time and target resources with a software ROM monitor, and the cabling problems, as well as high cost, of In-Circuit Emulators are eliminated.

The BDI3000 provides high-speed links to the target CPU (up to 32 MHz) and to the controlling PC (via 10/100 Ethernet), making it possible to load code for debugging at up to 1.5 Mbyte/s. Target voltages of between 1.2 V and 5 V are supported, as are variable clock speeds.

The unit can be used for debugging a wide range of other processors including ColdFire, PowerPC, Xscale and MIPS processors. The same hardware is used for all supported targets, allowing re-use of the development tool on subsequent projects. The BDI3000 features easy connection to the target system in a robust, EMC-optimised design that carries a 3-year warranty.

The GDB version of the BDI3000 includes a Telnet interface that can be used to control batch programming in a production environment; a DLL is also available for integration of device testing and programming into an ATE system.

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