Review of Demonstration Board for Freescale MC9S08LL and MC9S08LH Families of MCUs

Table of contents

RoadTest: Demonstration Board for Freescale MC9S08LL and MC9S08LH Families of MCUs

Author: icserny

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Evaluation Boards

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: Microchip Explorer 16

What were the biggest problems encountered?: No serious problems were observed, but few points of the installation instructions should be clarified.

Detailed Review:

Detailed Review

I would like to thank to Element14 and Freescale for giving the chance  to Road Test and review the TWR-S08LH64-KIT development tool.

The Freescale Tower System is a modular development platform which aids in rapid prototyping and tool-reuse. Main components of a typical Tower System are: controller board, peripheral boards and elevator modules. The controller board of the TWR-S08LH64-KIT being reviewed features the the 8-bit MC9S08LH64 microcontroller which has an integrated 16-bit ADC and segemented LCD driver.

Package content

The TWR-S08LH64-KIT came in three CD-sized black plastic box. It contained the following items:

  • The TWR-S08LH64 demonstration board
  • USB mini B  to  standard A cable - to program, debug and powering the board
  • RS-232 "pigtail" cable - for communication with the PC)
  • Elevator modules
  • An empty prototype card
  • Software and documantation on CD
  • Quick Start guides for the installation and for the attached demo program.

The hardware

The TWR-S08LH64 controller board accepts any member of the MC9S08LL or MC9S08LH family of MCU’s from Freescale (the board has dual footprint for 64 and 80 LQFP packages). The board being reviwed is populated with the 80 pin MC9S08LH64CLK controller (see the black marks below the LCD on the next photo) which has 64K bytes flash and 4K bytes RAM memory.

The board fetures the following peripherals: MMA7361L Analog Accelerometer, RS-232 Serial Interface, Segmented LCD display, 1 Reset button, 4 Pushbuttons, 4 LED Indicators, 5K ohm Potmeter, Light sensor, Piezo Buzzer.

There is also an on-board Open Source Background Debugger Module (OS BDM) for (program downloading and debugging) fully supported by CodeWarrior. The board can be powered form the USB connector of the OS BDM, from the edge connectors or from a battery holder (CR2325) which is located on the back side of the  board. The TWR-S08LH64 controller board also operate as a standalone debug tool that can be purchased separately from the complete kit.

One of the elevator modules is "active": it can provide +5V an +3.3 V obtained from a power-only Mini-B USB socket. This module contains a power switch as well. The other elevator is a passive ("dummy") board, it contains only connectors and bus wires.

The trough-the-hole empty protoboard is a 9 x 8 cm board with card-edge connectors that allows it to be plugged directly into the Tower System. The board provides access to all of the signals of the Tower System as well as a generous 8.3 x 3.8cm prototyping area.

The following photo shows the assembled TWR-S08LH64 Kit. The power is obtained from the power-only Mini-B USB connector of the elevator module. The the built in demo program is running.

Software Installation

The software CD bundled in the kit contains everything you need to run the demo programs. Please note that the USB driver for the OS BDM is installed together with the CodeWarrior Development Studio, so do not let Windows to find the drivers until you install Code Warrior!

The Quick Start Guide for TWR-S08LH64 gives step-by-step installation instructions which are easy to follow but few points need clarification:

  • After installation of the CodeWarrior Development Studio for Microcontrollers v6.3 there is an option to update the software. It was not clear for me what is the relation of the updated version and the patch mentioned in the second step. Now I think that you can either update CodeWarrior and leave out the second point or leave out the update step and installing the service pack for the MC9S08LH controllers.
  • The third point of Step 1 says: "Install P&E toolkit". This step is not included in the installation menu, however, and also the location of the installer is not given. The "hidden" info is here for your information: open the fscomand folder in the Installation CD and double click on the PE_Toolkit_Setup.exe program.

  After Step 1 the USB driver can be installed (you have to attach an USB cable to the OS BDM unit). You can allow Windows to automatically configure the USB drivers which were pre-loaded during the installation of CodeWarrior. 

Running the demo programs

The installation CD contains two demo programs or Lab Tutorials. Boths were compiled and run smoothly following the instruction. Note thet the instuctions are attached in the Kit in two separate sheets. Don't miss the second sheet! Note also that you need an RS-232 cable since the pigtail cable is too short.

It is not quit clear for me, however, what is the role of the tables given in the Lab Tutorial 1 (Figs 11 through 15). These are related to the ADC module, however it cannot be undestood for a newcomer without digging into the data sheets and hardware schematic, so I think it is not appropriate in a "Quick Start" guide.

The Quick Start example demonstrates the usage of all of the peripharals. The Accelerator demo gives the opportunity to compera the effect of averaging and filtering of the analog signals from the 3D accelerometer.

In the following photo I tried to catch that moment when all of the LCD segments are swithced on at the beginning of the Quick Start demo. It gives you information about the capability of the LCD module.


The Freescale TWR-S08LH64-KIT is an excellent development tool. Both hardware and software worked perfectly,the demo projects were compiled and running without any trouble. The TWR-S08LH64 controller board which can be purchased separately is a good demo board for the MC9S08LH family so I gave maximum points almost everywhere except for the followings:

  • The product performed well for my expectation. One point was subtracted due to the lack of USB CDC communication. Interestingly there is such a jumper, but the the OS BDM firmware dos not support it (yet).
  • The demos were easy to follow. The only problem with LabTutorial 1 was: it is hard to understand the role of the ADC channels.
  • It is very difficult (and subjective) to judge the price/performance ratio, especially when one try to compare apples to oranges. I think the total price of the TWR-S08LH64-KIT is quite reasonable. However the reusability is not very effective here since the BDM, the RS-232 interface and all of the peripherals are on the controller board and not on the elevator boards (or in a separate board). If you change the controller board, you cannot reuse them.

Further readings

HCS08RMv1/D - HCS08 Family Reference Manual (324 pages)

HCS08QRUG - HCS08 Peripheral Module Quick Reference - A Compilation of Demonstration Software for HCS08 Modules (116 pages)


- front side photo

- back side photo