Dev. board options?

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commod...@gmail.com

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May 11, 2016, 7:59:05 PM5/11/16
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I've got a coding project in the works targetting m68k/Coldfire and I'd like the option to run on real hardware rather than just in a simulator, but I'm having a devil of a time tracking down anything that would be suitable for my purposes. As far as I can see, it seems like the only such products that are still generally available on electronics supply sites like Digikey and Newark are in the neighborhood of $100-200 for something that includes less than a megabyte of flash memory and 8-32KB of RAM, and more often than not is just a bare board designed for Freescale's "tower" system. (Considering they used to make Coldfire development kits that would run an embedded Linux, that's a pretty appalling state of affairs.) I've seen specs for older boards like the MCF5208 or MCF5485 that look more like what I'd want, but they seem to be pretty much completely unavailable outside of possibly one little merchant in China who you have to contact by carrier pigeon.

What I'm looking for is a development board or other standalone SBC that has one or two serial ports, at least 128KB of RAM, and ideally a megabyte or two of flash storage. (I'm not looking to use a vintage 68k computer system like a Mac or Amiga, since using those involves not just using the processor, but learning my way around all the quirks of the system hardware and circumventing the normal boot process.) I'd be happy with more, but that's what I'd consider necessary for my goals. I'm open to building something myself, if the parts and board are fairly easy to procure. Is there anything like that out there currently, or readily available second-hand?

BobH

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May 12, 2016, 7:58:12 PM5/12/16
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This place has been advertising this SBC for a long time:
http://www.robominds.com/index.htm
The web site still works, but I don't know it the boards are still
available. The board uses a 68332 MCU which is pretty much a 68020 cpu
wrapped with a microcontroller. It runs external memory. I have done a
few projects with the '332 and it is a nice part.

Regards,
BobH

Tom Evans

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May 13, 2016, 7:22:18 AM5/13/16
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On Thursday, May 12, 2016 at 9:59:05 AM UTC+10, commod...@gmail.com wrote:
> I've got a coding project in the works targetting m68k/Coldfire

I was going to suggest you post in the Coldfire Forum on Freescale's site (now NXP), but I see you've done that already. I've answered there too.

Much of the Coldfire family has been EOL'd, and the rest of them are "nearly dead". They promised and delivered 10 and 15 year "longevity" on the chips, and some of them do have some of that time left, but the impression I get from being on the support forums for years is that NXP might prefer you consider using an ARM chip instead. Either Kinetis or i.MX. That gets them our of the CPU Core/compiler/development/support/documentation business and makes it ARM's responsibility.

I way prefer the ColdFire CPU architecture to ARM. The interrupts are way better with "bare metal multi-level interrupt support". The bytes are "the right way around" :-). But there's a lot of writing on the wall, and it is fading.

Tom

commod...@gmail.com

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May 13, 2016, 12:04:40 PM5/13/16
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On Friday, May 13, 2016 at 4:22:18 AM UTC-7, Tom Evans wrote:
> Much of the Coldfire family has been EOL'd, and the rest of them are "nearly dead". They promised and delivered 10 and 15 year "longevity" on the chips, and some of them do have some of that time left, but the impression I get from being on the support forums for years is that NXP might prefer you consider using an ARM chip instead. Either Kinetis or i.MX. That gets them our of the CPU Core/compiler/development/support/documentation business and makes it ARM's responsibility.
I'm not surprised (that's pretty much the impression I got looking at Freescale/NXP's site.) But as you mentioned, I vastly prefer the m68k/CF architecture to the full-RISC architectures, and since it's a personal project and not a commercial one, I'm not really bothered by things being EOLed, except in that it seems to make it damn difficult to get ahold of good base systems.

Anders....@kapsi.spam.stop.fi.invalid

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May 24, 2016, 8:54:37 AM5/24/16
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commod...@gmail.com wrote:
> I've got a coding project in the works targetting m68k/Coldfire and
> I'd like the option to run on real hardware rather than just in a
> simulator, but I'm having a devil of a time tracking down anything
> that would be suitable for my purposes.

If you're still searching, take a look at <www.netburner.com>.

-a

commod...@gmail.com

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May 24, 2016, 6:10:16 PM5/24/16
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Holy cow, that's exactly what the doctor ordered. Many thanks!

coinst...@gmail.com

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Dec 21, 2017, 6:32:50 PM12/21/17
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On Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at 5:59:05 PM UTC-6, commod...@gmail.com wrote:
> I've got a coding project in the works targetting m68k/Coldfire and I'd like the option to run on real hardware rather than just in a simulator, but I'm having a devil of a time tracking down anything that would be suitable for my purposes. As far as I can see, it seems like the only such products that are still generally available on electronics supply sites like Digikey and Newark are in the neighborhood of $100-200 for something that includes less than a megabyte of flash memory and 8-32KB of RAM, and more often than not is just a bare board designed for Freescale's "tower" system. (Considering they used to make Coldfire development kits that would run an embedded Linux, that's a pretty appalling state of affairs.) I've seen specs for older boards like the MCF5208 or MCF5485 that look more like what I'd want, but they seem to be pretty much completely unavailable outside of possibly one little merchant in China who you have to contact by carrier pigeon.
>
> What I'm looking for is a development board or other standalone SBC that has one or two serial ports, at least 128KB of RAM, and ideally a megabyte or two of flash storage. (I'm not looking to use a vintage 68k computer system like a Mac or Amiga, since using those involves not just using the processor, but learning my way around all the quirks of the system hardware and circumventing the normal boot process.) I'd be happy with more, but that's what I'd consider necessary for my goals. I'm open to building something myself, if the parts and board are fairly easy to procure. Is there anything like that out there currently, or readily available second-hand?

Did you find the dev boards you wanted? I'm new to the group. I've developed two fairly low cost (<$30) 68000 dev boards in the last year. One is called Tiny68K (68000, 68681, 16meg RAM, IDE, 10cm*10cm pcb), the other is salvaged SPX MPU board (68302, 68692, 82C55, RTC, 1meg RAM, 2.25meg flash). Both are CP/M 68K ready.

commod...@gmail.com

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Dec 22, 2017, 3:55:51 PM12/22/17
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I did; picked up one of the Netburner Coldfire boards that were mentioned earlier in the thread. Not as cheap as a Tiny68k, but pretty well-suited for what I'm looking to do.

Of course, there's still the matter of making the time to work on the project, but that's on me...
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