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Thread: From embedded MK20DX256, where to next?

  1. #1
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    From embedded MK20DX256, where to next?

    Hi friends,

    I've got a product that has evolved from the Atmega328P to the MK20DX256, and I want to take it into production in the near future.. but a consideration is the bootloader chip. If we stick with the MK20DX256 then we'll need to buy a lot of the pre-programmed bootloader chips from PJRC. Very happy to support PJRC, but these chips don't come in pick and place feeder friendly packaging.. and our compiled code is using so little of the MK20DX256 memory that it'd be great if there were a bootloader for the MK20DX256 alone.

    Our options are:
    1. Stick with the MKL02Z32 pre-programmed and manually feed them into a pick and place machine
    2. Find a bootloader for the MK20DX256 and do away with the bootloader chip (is there a bootloader out there for this?!)
    3. Buy the MKL02Z32 blank and flash it ourselves (is this code published?)
    4. Leave the Teensy universe for a PIC or similar.. sadface.


    Any suggestions, friends?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member+ Theremingenieur's Avatar
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    There are no other boot loaders in the wild. The pre-programmed MKL02 is Paul's insurance for his business model since he gives everything else (schematics, source code, libraries) away for free.

    What you might consider is doing your PCBs without the MKL02 but with a corresponding pin header and hand-solder your own programmer PCB with a single MKL02 and a USB plug. The latter will be plugged on your MK20 boards one after the other once to "shoot" the firmware on it during production, then unplugged and used for the next one. Only downsides of this approach are that your clients won't be able to do firmware updates by themselves and that Paul's income will be reduced since he would sell only one MKL02 which you use for many MK20.

  3. #3
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    Yeah that's fair enough.

    I'll probably have to find something else, for this particular product at least.

    Thanks for the info.

  4. #4
    Senior Member brtaylor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiver View Post
    Yeah that's fair enough.

    I'll probably have to find something else, for this particular product at least.

    Thanks for the info.
    You might want to consider the STM32L4 range of products from:
    https://www.tindie.com/products/Tler...ac_prod_search

    I've used the Ladybug and they're quite nice; surprisingly small, but still has a single precision hardware FPU. The design is open source and they don't use a boot loader chip. There are some Arduino cores that work with them; with luck, you might have a simple code port.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiver View Post
    Hi friends,

    I've got a product that has evolved from the Atmega328P to the MK20DX256, and I want to take it into production in the near future.. but a consideration is the bootloader chip. If we stick with the MK20DX256 then we'll need to buy a lot of the pre-programmed bootloader chips from PJRC. Very happy to support PJRC, but these chips don't come in pick and place feeder friendly packaging.. and our compiled code is using so little of the MK20DX256 memory that it'd be great if there were a bootloader for the MK20DX256 alone.

    Our options are:
    1. Stick with the MKL02Z32 pre-programmed and manually feed them into a pick and place machine
    2. Find a bootloader for the MK20DX256 and do away with the bootloader chip (is there a bootloader out there for this?!)
    3. Buy the MKL02Z32 blank and flash it ourselves (is this code published?)
    4. Leave the Teensy universe for a PIC or similar.. sadface.


    Any suggestions, friends?
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0427.jpg 
Views:	42 
Size:	132.6 KB 
ID:	14290
    I haven't asked Paul about this, but from this thread, can I assume that you guys have already determined that the 04 bootloader chips are NOT available in an auto-insertion friendly "tube" ? That would be a disappointment.

  6. #6
    Administrator Robin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dslocum View Post
    I haven't asked Paul about this, but from this thread, can I assume that you guys have already determined that the 04 bootloader chips are NOT available in an auto-insertion friendly "tube" ? That would be a disappointment.
    Both the MKL02 and MKL04 chips come packaged in standard waffle trays that are used by pick and place machines. I don't think they've ever come in tubes - only tray or tape and reel for the MKL02 chip.

    When PJRC ships small orders we ship the chips in anti-static fold up envelops. For larger orders we can ship in the waffle trays used in manufacturing.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robin View Post
    Both the MKL02 and MKL04 chips come packaged in standard waffle trays that are used by pick and place machines. I don't think they've ever come in tubes - only tray or tape and reel for the MKL02 chip.

    When PJRC ships small orders we ship the chips in anti-static fold up envelops. For larger orders we can ship in the waffle trays used in manufacturing.
    Thanks for the prompt reply Robin!

    So if I ordered 25 or 30 MKL04, would they be pick & place ready?

  8. #8
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    The magic number is 100. "Small orders" means under 100, and "larger orders" means 100 or more.

    Are you seriously going to do automated pick & place for just 25 to 30 boards?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulStoffregen View Post
    The magic number is 100. "Small orders" means under 100, and "larger orders" means 100 or more.

    Are you seriously going to do automated pick & place for just 25 to 30 boards?
    OK. Glad to know the magic number now.

    I use a small assembly house rather than doing things myself, plus there a lot more components on the board, so it makes sense for me to go outside for assembly. So I guess I'll just have to hand place the MKL04's after they come back.

  10. #10
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    You could try sending Robin an email to ask if she'll arrange for 30 on a tray. She responds better to special requests when asked nicely.

    On our end, this is much easier if you use the MKL02 chip. We have plenty of the trays for those, since that's the one almost everybody buys for production. The MKL04s are pretty much used for prototyping, so we don't have a large stock of the chip and we don't buy extra trays. For the MKL02 we actually do separately buy & stock trays.

    Here's the most critical part: Whatever is said on this forum or in emails, you really must mention special packaging in the "additional instructions" box on step #3 during checkout on the website. Everything we do is optimized to ship small orders as fast as possible. We usually have several dozen already programmed and pre-packaged in single, 5 and 10 packs. The idea is when someone places an order for a small quantity late in the afternoon, we can quickly process the order and package it up before the carrier arrives. Any small order without something in comment section gets shipped ASAP. For a small order and especially the MKL04 we assume you're hand soldering a prototype and need the chips right away! We also tend of make an extra effort to ship same-day if you choose the most expensive shipping! Overnight delivery says it really, really is urgent.

    Packaging in the trays can add a couple business days. We actually do program the chips for your order, rather than ship ones already pre-programmed & packaged on the shelf. Sometimes we manage to turn those around same-day if the order arrives in the morning, but best to plan on a couple business days lead time.

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