Forget those expensive off-line programming stations or device-specific probes. Now you can program Freescale devices on your assembly line through an EzPort serial port. Plus, you can do it with a tool you may already have. And if you don’t have it, it’s not going to cost you an arm-and-a-leg either.
Lots of Freescale devices like the Kinetis, ColdFire+ and ColdFire v2 microprocessors feature the EzPort as a memory interface. It’s very similar to the popular SPI interface (Serial Peripheral Interface). Many manufacturers program EzPort memory in standalone programming stations off the assembly line and before the devices are assembled onto circuit boards. This can be expensive and risky. Expensive because you’ll need to buy standalone programming stations and risky because you never know when the software or firmware is going to change. If it does and a preprogrammed device has already been soldered onto a board, you’re looking at depopulating the board just to program the device. That’s a time-consuming process and risky to the health of the device and board. Other manufactures have deployed device-specific programming pods, but, here again, they had to buy something else instead of re-using hardware they may already have.
A better alternative would be to deploy an advanced boundary-scan tool, like ScanWorks®, which can access EzPort memory through the board’s JTAG port and then read, write and erase memory. Actually, this method works well for development engineers who are bringing up early prototype boards and they may have to re-program the memory several times. Then, the same processes migrate into manufacturing where the boundary-scan hardware and software you use for board test can re-used for programming. Of course, the last thing you want to do is slow down the assembly line. Some really advanced boundary-scan tools, like ScanWorks, support several different programming methodologies which can load memory in a few seconds. It’s up to you to decide which method to deploy.
Some of these programming methods take advantage of an on-board FPGA with a programming engine configured in it. These methods are explained in a new eBook we recently published about SPI memory programming, but the theory applies to EzPort memory programming as well. You can find this eBook here.