Freescale Freedom FRDM-K64F Development Platform - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Freescale Freedom FRDM-K64F Development Platform

Author: yuritikhonov

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 Yun

What were the biggest problems encountered?: No problem!

Detailed Review:



Introduction

 

Good day comrades! Before starting a review of development board FRDM-K64F, I want to tell my readers how I got into this RoadTest. It all started one rainy October evening, when I received from guys of EEWEB an offer to participate in the Freedom Design Contest. The essence of the contest was a creative application of the development board FRDM-K64F. Not thinking much I got involved in the game. If you've read my previous articles, you probably know that I love robotics! For the competition I developed a portable robot named miniRobot. I posted the robot’s description in my blog on element14 [link].

 

Almost immediately after this article was written, there were two important events:

  1. My project took second place in the Freedom Design Contest [link]!
  2. Since I wrote my article on element14, Christian DeFeo contacted me and said that my favorite element14 was holding RoadTest of this evaluation board.

Now we are interested in the second point: Christian approved my participation in RoadTest and eventually sent me a develompent board FRDM-K64F!

 

So here it is, the heroine of today's story:

 

For those who have not read the article about miniRobot, I inform that the robot was not built on the FRDM-K64F, but on the Arduino Yun (which was gathering dust on my desk a whole year). Guess what I mean? That's right! This review focuses on the transition from Arduino Yun to FRDM-K64F. This is particularly interesting, because FRDM-K64F is Arduino-compatible platform and the idea there must be easy transition.

 

Hardware

 

Externally, the two boards are indeed very similar:

 

Both have Ethernet, 2 USB and much more, no matter at all, our task is a bit different:

  1. remove Arduino Yun from the robot;
  2. put FRDM-K64F on the robot;
  3. download firmware, energize and start to have fun!

 

We'll come back later to the latter point, and now let’s start with the first two. On closer examination it turns out that FRDM has some differences from the Arduino – other dimensions, other location of the mounting screws. However, all went well, and just in 10 minutes robot has become exactly what it was originally conceived:

What? What is this strange thing, looking like an antenna? I explain: Arduino Yun is equipped with built-in WiFi, and FRDM obviously is not, but Freescale guys thought about the wireless channel: you can optionally install on the board the Bluetooth module! Thus our «antenna» performs the function of the Bluetooth module:

As for the hardware it seems to be clear, let’s go to the program.

 

Firmware

 

I won't make a detailed examination of controller's firmware, because I already did [link]. Let's just look at what she knows:

  • receive commands via Bluetooth;
  • send via Bluetooth a confirmation reply;
  • there are only 5 commands: go forward, go back, turn to the left, turn to the right;
  • in addition, you can set the speed-from small to high..!

 

As for features of the FRDM:

  • the transition from the Arduino to FRDM-K64F passed with virtually no problems;
  • when working with FRDM I used the cloud service mbed.org. This is something incredible! Just a terrific service, I recommend to try!
  • loading of FRDM-K64F is made in a very interesting way – the board is recognized by computer as an external USB drive and to install the firmware you just copy the bin file on this flash drive! Very convenient! Arduino cannot do like this. If you're interested, you can download the source codes of the miniRobot on this [link].

 

Software

 

For the miniRobot I decided to do a little something special: do you remember about the Bluetooth? To control my robot, it was decided to use smartphone. I have a Nokia Lumia 925 – this smartphone is equipped with Windows Phone 8.1 operating system. I decided to write a program in C#. It is based on the following sample [link]. The interface looks as follows:

The program is quite simple, it has a total of 6 functions:

  • connection to the robot;
  • stop;
  • move forward and backward;
  • turn right and left.

 

I offer you a video that shows how my robot works:

 

Conclusions

 

As for the robot, I got exactly what I wanted! Freescale board showed it’s best side! However, the main conclusion is different: I spent a lot of time testing the various capabilities of the board in combination with the service mbed.org. You see the point is, mbed reminded me Arduino, the same C++, the same level of abstraction... But many more features! If Arduino is mainly suitable only for a hobby, the FRDM-K64F combined with mbed in my opinion is ideal for industrial applications. Perhaps FRDM-K64F is just the tool I will be widely using in the future? Who knows, time will tell!

 

Thank you for your attention!

Anonymous