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Using the KwikStik K40 Board to Debug an External Board

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Using the KwikStik K40 Board to Debug an External Board

A clever way of troubleshooting problems without a dedicated debug box.

· IoT Zone ·
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When I left for the week-end, I missed to take with me my Segger J-Link debug box. I have one P&E Universal Multilink at home, but I needed a Segger J-Link to use the SystemViewer with my robot. I need that for a FreeRTOS trainig I will deliver in Poing/Germany on Monday at Avnet/Silica.

But I had a Freescale KwikStk board at home, and I did remember that I can use that board as a Segger J-Link to debug my custom hardware (see “Freescale Kinetis KwikStik (part 1)“).

Debugging Custom Board with KwikStik

Debugging Custom Board with KwikStik

I have stopped using the KwikStik board because the Kinetis K40 on it had several silicon issues making the board difficult to use, and there were several different version/schematics of that board creating much confusion. So I had shelved these KwikStik boards and use the better Freescale Freedom boards instead. But now I have found a way so they can be still useful: as a Segger J-Link to debug my external boards. :-)

Unlike the Freescale Freedom boards, the Segger J-Link on the KwikStik allows me to debug an external microcontroller:

Debugging External MCU

Debugging External MCU

Here are the steps using the Freescale KwikStik as a normal J-Link programmer/debugger:

  1. Solder a SMD 2×5 SWD header on the footprint (DNP/unpopulated by the factory) SWD Header Soldered SWD Header on J8
  2. Put the On/Off switch to the OFF position KwikStik Slide Switch in OFF position KwikStik Slide Switch in OFF position
  3. Connect a 10pin SWD cable to the target board. Make sure that the cable is matching pin 1. Pin 1 Orientation Pin 1 Orientation
  4. Plug the KwikStik board to the host PC. Use the USB port near the audio connector. If necessary, this will automatically install the Segger J-Link drivers on the host (assuming the Segger J-Link software is already installed on the host).
  5. At the first time connecting to the board, it might update the J-Link firmware. In my case I had to unplug and replug/repower the board at the end of the update process.
  6. From here on, the board can be used as a normal J-Link to debug external boards. There is a rather ugly orange flexible plastic enclosure which came with the KwikStik board which now serves as of board protection: Orange Protectin Enclosure Orange Protecting Enclosure

The ‘normal’ Segger J-Links are more powerful and faster, but as an emergency and quick debugging probe, the KwikStik boards can have a purpose now. :-)

I recommend using a normal J-Link, so I will order another one next week. The above thing is only a temporary solution: it is not as fast (the KwikStik uses a JM128 as debug processor), not very robust with all the cables and not protected electrically as good as the normal J-Link. But at least the above hack saved me two hours of work itineray. ;-)

kinetis ,kwikstik

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