Embedded Basics – Setting up Tracealyzer to Debug FreeRTOS Applications

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Peering into a microcontroller and seeing how the embedded software is executing has always been important to embedded software developers. In the good old days, developers used to have to instrument their hardware with extra outputs and use all kinds of tricks in order to take a stab at understanding what was happening with their […]

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Tips and Tricks – 7 Cardinal Sins of Embedded Software Development

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Every industry has their best practices and their sinful practices.  The cardinal sins are the practices that many are aware of but that are just too tempting or too easy to fall into. The embedded software industry has a number of these cardinal sins but there are seven in particular that seem to have pervaded […]

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Tools – The RTOS Selection KT Marix

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Selecting the right RTOS for a project can be tricky business. Engineers often come to the table with predisposed opinions that can cloud their judgment and pull them in a direction that isn’t optimal. Let’s face it, many of us have been involved in an engineering decision where the choice was dictated by the loudest […]

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Tips and Tricks – 7 Tips for Meeting Real-time Deadlines

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Embedded systems must meet their real-time deadlines in order to function efficiently and as expected. No one likes to press a button and wait thirty seconds before the system finally responds. More importantly, safety critical systems need to meet their deadlines or else very bad things could happen, such as injury or death. There are […]

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Tools – The Device Firmware Update (DFU) Utility

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Nearly every product requires a software update at some point or another. Whether it’s our cellphones, TV’s or even our refrigerators (yea I went there). Microcontroller based systems typically aren’t running a high-level operating system that allows files to be replaced. Instead, developers need a bootloader. Microcontroller vendors have been including firmware update capabilities inside […]

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Slowing Down to Go Faster

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Speed is imperative in the business world. Getting to market before competitors, leading the way in innovation, the development cycle can be relentless. For embedded systems engineers, deadlines are always yesterday. There is always a push to get things done faster. How quickly can we get this done? So and so needs this as fast […]

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Ternary Operator versus the if/else statement …

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When I’m teaching “C Programming for Embedded Systems”, I’m often asked whether the ternary operator should be used or an if/else statement. Hidden behind the question is really the need to know whether the ternary operator is more efficient than if/else. One might think that compilers today would generate identical code. Let’s take a quick […]

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7 Tips for using an RTOS

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Real-time operating systems (RTOSes) have become a critical component in many embedded systems. Transitioning from bare-metal scheduling to an RTOS can be tricky business. Here are seven tips to help make the transition easier. Tip #1 – Plan out your architecture first If you have never used UML or been big into software architectures, now […]

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Tools – Optimizing Firmware using DRT

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Embedded software development is usually performed under severe resource constraints not only from a business stand-point but from the microcontroller as well. Upgrading to a higher end processor may result in a project that is not financially feasible especially for high volume applications where every penny can make difference. I’ve recently been playing with a […]

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Tools – Percepio Tracealyzer

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The behavior of a real-time embedded system is often a black box. Developers design their software, write their code and then hope that the system is behaving and executing their code the way they envisioned it. The problem is that developers have always had to hope or carefully sprinkle code snippets throughout the application in […]

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