Posts Categorized: MeridianCPU

New Meridian Development Kit!

Sytech Designs are shipping their new Micro Dev Board.  This board uses the Meridian CPU and adds some of the main features found on Tahoe-II, but in a smaller form factor.

The small size and feature set make it ideal for low-volume production, or as a low-cost development platform for the .NET Micro Framework.  You can order it online direct from Sytech Designs.

Features include:

  • Meridian CPU (100MHz ARM920, 4MBytes Flash, 8MBytes RAM)
  • Ethernet
  • SD card
  • 2 x Serial Ports (1xlogic level, 1xRS232)
  • USB function for download/debug or application use
  • SPI
  • I2C
  • PWM
  • Frequency counter
  • Power via external 5V or USB
  • Expansion for LCD touchscreen
  • All Meridian signals on 0.1″ header
  • JTAG connector

.NET Micro Framework Board Support Package for Meridian CPU

Today we are very pleased to announce the release of a .NET Micro Framework Board Support Package (BSP) for our Meridian CPU and development boards.  The BSP adds Meridian specific code to v4.0 of the .NET Micro Framework Porting Kit released by Microsoft late last year.   It means you now have control over every aspect of the code on a Meridian device AND all the tools to do so are FREE!  Yes – the BSP is available to download from our web site at no charge.

You need the Board Support Package to develop custom images for use on Meridian based hardware.  We have included everything you need to build the same firmware we build for Tahoe-II, Tahoe and Meridian/P boards.  With the BSP, you can:

  • Support custom Meridian-based hardware.  You can ensure the right set of software features are included in your image, and that they are configured for your new hardware.
  • Develop custom device drivers.  Sometimes you need to support custom devices and can’t do it in C#.  You may also need to modify existing drivers.  Native code is the place to get this done.
  • Speed-up time-critical code.  For that algorithm that has to go as fast as possible, you can use the interop functionality in the .NET Micro Framework and move it into native code.  This will give you a significant performance improvement.
  • Support a new LCD.  You can do this with the tool from Jan Kucera, however you will speed up production time by creating dedicated firmware that supports your display.

The Porting Kit is quite a complex beast – especially when compared with writing applications in C#!  Before you jump in, you should have a reasonable knowledge of C.  We have provided some batch files and a step-by-step guide to get you started with setting up the build environment and doing your first build.  From there you can dive into the porting kit documentation.

Just like the Micro Framework Porting Kit, we are providing the BSP for free!   Of course, we are not able to include any support at this price :-)  We will try to answer simple questions posted on the forums, but you will need to purchase support for complex questions and issues that require investigation.

As always, we value your feedback on all of our products and love hearing about your projects!

5 Ways to get Support for Tahoe-II and Meridian

Here are the best ways to get answers to questions about our products:

  1. FAQ.  Check out our just added Frequently Asked Questions section.
  2. Forums.  Search the forums to find answers or sign up and post a question.  You are also very welcome to answer questions!  We will have more about opportunities to join our support team in a future post.
  3. Check the Help File.  The SDK comes with a help file that integrates into Visual Studio.  The reference section covers all Meridian and Tahoe specific functions.
  4. Check the downloads page for new SDK or firmware releases.  We may have fixed the issue you are struggling with.
  5. Premium Support.  We do our best to answer simple questions on the forum, however issues that need engineering time need to go through our paid support channel.

Supporting a new LCD

Supporting a different LCD on the Tahoe-II (and MeridianCPU) has just become a whole lot easier thanks to Jan Kucera and a new configuration tool he has released.

The .NET Micro Framework includes a dedicated space for configuration data, and we use this to store the LCD configuration (and a few other things).  This new tool allows you to setup the LCD parameters from a PC.  This means you don’t have to use the porting kit if all you need is a different display.

You can also:

  • Specify screen rotation
  • Choose to show or hide the logo (if you have the porting kit and BSP you will be able to change the logo)
  • Remove the green debug text that appears at startup.
  • Setup the debug transport (Serial, USB or Ethernet).  Useful for Meridian/P where there are no buttons programed for this task.
Universal Configuration Tool in Template view

Announcing 192MHz Meridian-MXL

Red Train

We are very pleased to announce an update to the Meridian CPU module.  This new variant uses the Freescale i.MXL processor, increasing the speed to 192MHz and adding a second SPI port.  We have also enabled this module and the original variant to be powered from 5V or 3.3V, and increased the flash to 8MBytes. 

The new module provides a significant performance boost for any applications that have a lot of graphics, or number crunching.

The Meridian-MXL is pin-compatible with the original i.MXS version.  Documentation is available on the web site. 

Samples are available now and Sytech Designs will have a selection of development systems available shortly which include the new module.

Please contact us for samples and any questions.

Customer contribution to the .NET Micro Framework codebase

It has been a pleasure to work with Pulsecor on their Cardiovascular products over the last few years, and nice to see some recognition for the work Richard Scott has put into the .NET Micro Framework recently.  Check out what Colin Miller had to say, and watch a video of the product in action.

Richard built on our open-source Board Support Package (BSP) for the Meridian CPU which we provide free-of-charge.  He added support in native C++ code for their heavy-duty algorithms, and then added more functionality including OneWire support  and enhancements to the math libraries and SD card drivers.  It is fantastic that he was able to contribute some of this work to the 4.2 codebase!