ARM architecture is currently the most popular family of high-performance cores used in microcontrollers, microprocessors as well as in powerful, multicore application processors in various fields of today’s technology. ARM Cortex-M3, M0, M0+, as well as M4 and M7 cores can be found in broad range of consumer devices, industrial controllers as well as automotive, wireless sensor networks or even medical and aviation appliances. Most of semiconductor tycoons have designed their own implementations of these great cores, appending their custom peripherals, co-processors, graphic and memory controllers and much more. Every embedded designer can currently choose from broad portfolio of processors and select a device that ideally fit the design needs and personal preferences or experience. One of most interesting families of ARM-based microcontrollers is NXP Kinetis (former Freescale Kinetis) product line, including some sub-families dedicated to use in low-, mid- and high-performance devices.
Board with LowPower Kinetis L microcontroller from Freescale - core ARM Cortex M0+. There are additional accessories, i.a.: accelerometer, touch strip and a light sensor. Compatible with popular environments, including ARM Keil and IAR. For programming used is the OpenSDA system with connector miniUSB.
Kinetis family of microcontrollers can be divided to four sub-groups differing in computational power, current consumption and availability of specific peripherals: Kinetis K, Kinetis E, Kinetis L and Kinetis V. The first is based on ARM Cortex-M4 core and offers a great balance between performance and power consumption. Kinetis E series is designed to work in harsh, noisy environments and can be supplied by 5V (in contrast to 3,3 V like most of other regular ARM devices). Kinetis V series can be used in advanced applications like real-time motor control, power conversion and other sophisticated industrial applications. The last of Kinetis groups – marked with letter “L” - is intended to use in ultra-low power applications in various mobile devices (especially wearable), wireless sensor networks, remote metering and other consumer, industrial and medical electronics. If you are interested in starting your journey with NXP Kinetis L family of microcontrollers, you can use low cost, feature-rich evaluation board designed to show all of the essential advantages of Kinetis series – Freedom FRDM-KL26Z.
Freedom FRDM-KL26Z is a small printed circuit board populated with various peripheral circuits and components allowing you to easily start learning and developing your own designs without tooling overhead and expensive hardware programmers. The board size is only 82 x 53 mm, but it’s equipped with two USB ports (one for programming and power supply and the other for user applications with embedded USB Full Speed controller), RGB LED indicator, light sensor, PCB-based capacitive touch slider, 6-axis MEMS inertial sensor (3-axis accelerometer combined with 3-axis magnetometer), as well as two user buttons. The heart of the evaluation board is MKL26Z128VLH4 processor based on ARM-Cortex M0+ low power core. The chip also contains 128 kB of Flash memory and 16 kB RAM and can run at up to 48 MHz clock frequency. The board has footprints for four multi-contact headers with Arduino-compatible pinout, thus you can use the FRDM-KL26Z with a plenty of Arduino shields.
The MKL26Z128VLH4 microcontroller can be programmed using a bunch of high-quality free software design tools. The Processor Expert Driver Suite is intended to support C code generation, configuration and migration between different Kinetis processors and works as Eclipse IDE plugin. The user can also install ready to use Eclipse-based environment called MCUXpresso IDE. It supports official SDK Libraries and contains whole C/C++ toolchain, intuitive code generation and config tools, advanced debug features as well as FreeRTOS support and hardware debugging tools support. Starting your learning is also seriously simplified due to availability of many firmware examples ready to import to your IDE. If you decide to start your adventure with Kinetis family of microcontrollers, you probably benefit from prototyping accessories available in our store and including connecting cables and flat ribbon cables with male or female headers.