Freescale KEA Series 32-bit MCU - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Freescale KEA Series 32-bit MCU

Author: ramgarden

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?: Arduino and custom shield / gyro accelerometer sensors.

What were the biggest problems encountered?: Difficult to get started. Too much doumentation instead of simple step by step instructions. Codewarrior IDE too cumbersome for first timer. Compared to Arduino IDE where you can quickly jump right in and change the code and with examples right under the file menu.

Detailed Review:

Typo in the printed quick start guide:

Page 3: "offer flexibility for a width variety of applications" should be "a wide variety".


During the install of the codewarrior IDE I assumed the only checkbox I needed to check was the one for "Kinetis". This should be in the quick start guide when it covers the codewarriror IDE.


It's hard to find out how to start with the codewarrior IDE. Do we create a BareboneBoard type project? If so, which one of the Kinetis boards is this one? It doesn't have TRK-KEA listed anywhere in the list.


Found the Training labs by accident while browsing around the included CD rom. As soon as I tried opening Lab 1 it gave this error:

An error has occurred. See error log for more details.

Unknown target type:


I still can't figure out how to start up a project with codewarrior so that I can write a quick test app or even how I would send it to the board. It is too confusing with too much documentation. I was able to open Lab 1 but can't see how to send it to the board to test it. When I just try to run it I get this error:

Error creating session: Invalid target type selection in connection "TRK-KEA128_Lab1_FLASH_OpenSDA"

I'll have to dig deeper and spend a few hours reading through these 1000+ documents to figure out how to really get going with my project idea.

I might give up and just use an arduino and a sensor shield.  Although I did like the fact that this Kinetis board has the CAN Connector that I could use to plug into the ODBII port on the car.

In fact, the CAN connector is probably the best part about this hardware.  If I can figure out how to buy or build a connector that would plug in to the ODBII port I should be off to a good start.  It's a good thing I'm a member of a makerspace where we could build one if we had to.  I would then still need to figure out what's going on with codewarrior that's keeping me from quickly jumping in to the code and sending it off the Kinetis board...

  • Under help there is an option install new software, select that option. Then were is says work with, in the drop down choose ALL sites. You will find the KEA listed there, add it. That is the first step to get moving. i'm using the 64 and have so far found this board to be the same level of difficulty as any other board I have used. As for the IDE its not to different from CCS or any other real IDE.


    Looking forward to your full review.



  • Codewarrior is a complex platform to use, not based on eclipse but has a more powerful debug systems. The system is programmed and run via the debug menu. It has been a while since I used Codewarrior but if I was going to make a strong application it would be a better IDE to use than any of the other free IDE's around.


    It is though more complex to use though. I used Codewarrior in one of my university courses, took me a while to get used to it but after a while it started to work. This is the experience of a hardware guy so my programming experience is a bit limited.


    Definitely a software package that needs some time to learn.




    Edit: I found it best to open an example project to get the feel of it and some video tutorials.

  • I think you're experiencing normal symptoms of seeing eclipse-based IDEs for the first time. I wouldn't give up, because once you've got over the hurdle, you'll find many other IDEs easy-to-use too, because a lot are based on eclipse.

    I've not used this particular board, but basically once you have a project open, go to somewhere like "Project -> Build Project" on the menu bar, and that will do the compilation and some other steps. Then, you most likely need to create a .s19 (also known as .srec) file. You'll have to use Windows Explorer and see if this has been generated as part of your "Build Project" command, in any folder where the project was stored. If it was not created, then this site explains how to do it.  If that doesn't work then search for where the .elf file got created and then go to a Windows command prompt and go to that folder and then type something similar to this:

    "C:\Freescale\CW MCU v10.4\Cross_Tools\arm-none-eabi-gcc-4_7_3\arm-none-eabi\bin\objcopy.exe" -O srec my-project.elf my-project.srec


    Paths, numbering and filenames may be different of course.

    The end result should be a .srec file, and then to load that into your microcontroller board should be easy; once the board is plugged in, look in Windows Explorer and you'll see that it has appeared like USB memory stick storage. Just drag the .srec file into it.

    After that, the new software should just run (if not, then unplug the board to reset it).


    The above information is not specifically for your board, but might work. If you can find a tutorial for CodeWarrior, that may help longer-term too.

    Also, some information on OpenSDA is here.