NXP FRDM Board: How to Update Firmware/Debugger

NXP FRDM boards are versatile; they allow developers to choose the best tools for their personal workflow. One of the many options that we have is to change the included firmware, used by the board to program and debug the code running on the main MCU.

All Freedom boards come with an OpenSDA enabled USB port and it can run with several interfaces:

  • ARM Mbed (CMSIS-DAP)
  • Segger J-Link
  • PE Micro

Each one of these options have their pros and cons; which are out of the scope of this article. Also, it is important to know that any Freedom Board can come with any of these three debuggers, usually indicated on the description page of the board, but for most cases you have the option to change to another version by following the steps below.

ARM Mbed

To download the latest release of the MBED firmware (CMSIS-DAP) go to the Mbed site and enter your board version on the search bar to get the corresponding binary file.

https://armmbed.github.io/DAPLink/

Segger J-Link

Go to the Segger site and search for your board on the J-Link OpenSDA – Board-Specific Firmwares section to download the corresponding firmware.

https://www.segger.com/downloads/jlink#JLinkOpenSDABoardSpecificFirmwares

PE Micro

To download the PE Micro OpenSDA firmware for your board, you will need to download the OpenSDA Firmware (MSD & Debug) file available on their site. The ZIP contains the firmware of every supported board; look for the name of the board you will update and copy it to a folder easy to access.

http://www.pemicro.com/opensda/

How to Flash the FRDM Board

Whichever version of debugger you chose to download, they all can be flashed to your board using the same method:

  1. While holding down the reset button on the board, connect it to your computer. Make sure the board’s USB port that you choose to use is OpenSDA enables; you see it by checking the schematic on the NXP website or the silk-print on the board itself. It should mount the device as BOOTLOADER or MAINTENANCE.
  2. Drag-and-drop the firmware file onto the mounted drive.
  3. Wait for the file copy operation to complete.
  4. Power cycle the board. It will now enumerate and mount as DAPLINK, or the name of the board depending on which firmware you used. Note: Some versions of the PE Micro drive wont show any drive, but it should power on normally.

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