Freescale Freedom FRDM-K64F Development Platform - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Freescale Freedom FRDM-K64F Development Platform

Author: clem57

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Independent Products

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?: Raspberry Pi 2, Pcdruino V3, or BeagleBoneBlack with LCD

What were the biggest problems encountered?: See note at bottom about a possible shield issue.

Detailed Review:

Introduction and Early Experience

      The http://www.element14.com/community/view-product.jspa?fsku=2406741&nsku=43X7167&COM=noscriptFRDM-K64F hardware is form-factor compatible with the Arduino™ R3 pin layout, providing a broad range of expansion board options. I received mine with the Mbed Application Shield with a pre loaded application from IBM IoT Foundation using MQTT cloud server. Out of the box, it was simple as 1 2 3 :

  1. Plug in the shield into the K64F board. Take care not  to bend the pins by easing in on side and wiggling it until all the pins are in flush.
  2. Plug in micro connector to bottom marked OpenSDA. Again do not force since this is an open board. Plug in the USB into your favourite computer or laptop.
  3. Plug in the Ethernet cable to router and to RJ45 jack on K64F until you hear a click. First time users may not click all the way and will not get good signals.

    You will see messages on the LCD saying first IBM connecting with a yellow RGB. When step 3 is finished, the LCD will be IBM connected and the RGB will be green. On the computer (Windows 7 in my case), I noticed a new USB drive on E:. In the storage, click on IBM.htm which will launch your browser into the cloud for you device. Great time to play with your shield using the dials and the joystick. The dials are potentiometers sending the values to the cloud in real time. The joystick will show differing messages on the LCD when pressed down or up. Moving the board around affects the accelerometer and will show on the cloud. Lastly breathing on the chip near the speaker will raise the recorded temperature. Oh, you can register for the IBM cloud for 30 day free access. I choose not to at this time. As a side note, IBM has invested over 2 billion dollars on the IoT, so expect more marketing and emphasis in the future. To briefly sum things here, very easy with little trouble for demo.

    For the out of the box pictures and other details, I will refer you to the excellent road test by Mudz http://www.element14.com/community/roadTestReviews/1995

 

 

 

Mbed Compiler

 

     Instead of going installing Kinetis SDK with Processor Expert, I choose to try the Mbed route since the kit was issued under their logo. I have a small blog outlining the reason to go this way. If you plan on developing code that could be IP, you may want to consider not, since you are post code on server in the cloud. Please read What can be better than this? After a very simple signon process, I was exploring MBED workspace and published code. All the code you develop with not be published unless you decide to do so. For all projects, you can start off new or empty. Next you want to import the MBED library but not the MBED.src code. When the compiler runs all necessary object code will be included. For a very go explanation of using Mbed, see http://developer.mbed.org/media/uploads/robt/mbed_course_notes_-_analog_input_and_output.pdf. Although not for K64F, the dialogue is good for any beginner.

     As for documentation, open mbed first, open Classes next, and lastly select AnalogIn. Lookin at picture below you see the description of the calls with the headers below.. This works through a tool called DOXYGEN which uses comments in the headers to produce call interfaces. For more on this refer to https://developer.mbed.org/handbook/API-Documentation.

 

                                     

 

     To make use of the shield, look for IBMIoTClientEthernetExample to include with your code. I have a picture of the interfaces you will find.

 

                                       

 

     For the pure electrical among us, I include a schematic of the shield itself.

 

 

And another showing the shield as human see it:

 

                                                                                     .png

 

 

    Updates:

 

4/15/2015      I did find a place that the shield was made in Japan, but they listed the shield as not for sale due to a problem. I have written to inquire the details and will list as soon as I get a reply.

4/15/2015      As to cost, I believe that a cost of $50 is fair for the shield and about $35 for the processor K64F.  

4/16/2015

Clem-san,

Hi, I'm Yoshi. I'm doing mbed things in Switch Science.

I guess that package is "Ethernet IoT Starter Kit" from Element 14. So we are not sure the application shield in your hand is exact same one as we know.

The problem of the app shield on our stock was, UART signals were crossed. So XBee modules could not use with app shields. That's why we stopped shipping. I've already noticed this hardware bug to ARM and they worked to solve this. I think fixed version would be available soon.

On the other hand, we are working on releasing yet another application shield to reduce retail price and solve the bug.

Thanks,

Yoshihiro TSUBOI

 

More to come

 

Thank you Element 14 and Freescale/IBM team for developing the hardware/software, Please leave comments as you the reader see fit.

Clem

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