Flashing the Firebee Using a PC

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Flashing the Firebee Using a PC

Postby Gamer » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:36 pm

Hello again all,

As you all know, I was flashing my Firebee (the FPGA s19 file) using the flashing tool and the flashing tool crashed. This left me with a dead FB that did nothing when I turned it on. I was told that I had to flash the FB externally using a PC and using a program called CF Flashed, which was mentioned in some FB information files as the only other way to flash the FB other than the flashing tool that runs on the FB. I also needed some kind of hardware, a BDM cable, that would connect the FB to the PC using either the USB or the parallel port of the PC. Most people, I heard, were using a TBLCF device. This was fairly cheap, about $20-$40 I think. However, no one could tell me where to get one.

I eventually found pictures and a schematic of the TBLCF, but I am not skilled in making this so I went a more expensive route. P&E Micro makes a piece of hardware called a Multilink Universal for about $200 and that is what I went with. It looks like this:

Image

As you see it has many ports including the 26 pin port that is needed to connect it to the BDM port of the FB. In case you do not know, as I did when I started all this, the BDM interface is located just under the MC5474 chip and just above the PCI interface. With the MLU you also get the all the ribbon cables needed to connect it to the board you are trying to debug. You also get the USB cable to connect it to the PC. There is another version, the Multilink ACP for only $140, but it does not have nearly as more ports. Then there is the Multilink FX which has alot more features and is super fast for $400.

The next thing to do where to get CF Flasher. I downloaded the latest version which is 3.1. I was also told that CFF will only work on a PC with Windows XP. I confirmed this by looking in the help section of CFF, so I picked up a XP laptop for only $60. The start up screen for CFF look lik this:

Image

Before you do anything, you have to configure your target. When I tried to do that, there were not any choices that I would think that would work. So L asked for some help from Didier M. from Aniplay fame. He sent me a zipped file that contained CF Flasher, only this one had a Firebee target configuration as you can see here:

Image

You can also see in the above screenshot that I also chose, under BDM Configuration, the PE_USB_ML. There is also a choice of the PE_LPT if you go the parallel route and a choice H_TBLCF (there is a file upgrade for this that I found).

Okay, I hooked up everything, ran CF Flasher and then ran into problems. I kept getting an error from CF Flasher saying that it could not put the MC5474 chip into some state. I posted a question on the P&E Forums and they directed me to patch for CFF that was suppose to fix any problems between the MLU and CFF. This patch also made CFF compatible with Win7 (tested this and CFF worked). Even with the patch installed I still kept getting the some error from CFF. I went to the P&E Forums again and they directed me to a file that updated the MLU firmware and that is what did it. Everything worked great and I was able to flash the FB. If you are connected and if everything is working like it should, when you click on "View Flash Info", you will get something that looks this:

Image

All there is do to next is to pick a file to flash and click "Program"

Image

Image

As you see I also loaded in a hex file. The CFF instruction say only s19 and bin files can be loaded, but hex files can also be used. When you search for a file use the "*.*" and the hex file will show up. After it loads in, it will have the incorrect starting position. You MUST click on the "S-Record" even though it looks like it is already chosen. After you click this, you will see the "Starts at" position change. Then you can click "Program" and it should start flashing. I flashed in this order: FPGA, BAS, Firetos, EmuTOS.

When everything is hooked up and working both lights on the MLU should be on. The blue light is on when you have a connection with the PC and the yellow/orange is on when the MLU is getting power from the board you it connected to.

After everything is flashed. Turn off and disconnect everything. Then turn on the FB and it should boot back up.
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Last edited by Gamer on Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:22 am, edited 17 times in total.

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Re: Flashing the Firebee Using a PC

Postby Gamer » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:45 pm

Here are the last two pictures I have. One shows the Multilink Universal working with both lights on and how it is connected to my Firebee. The other is my working Firebee after the a successful flash. Again notice my lighted keyboard is on, on the left the orange light is on and on the far left the light on the USB stick is on.
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Re: Flashing the Firebee Using a PC

Postby Gamer » Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:12 pm

It dawned on that I did not provide access to the files that updated CF Flasher to work, so they are attached to this message. I cannot provide access to the drivers and firmware to the Multilink Universal. You will can only have access to those files if you buy the MLU. And would not need the patch files either as those are for the P&E products, but they do provide use of Cf Flasher on a Win7 machines and would benefit a person who has a TBLCF device so I included them.

There are more files to the patch, but I could attach them as I was told the resulting file was too large. The missing files are for the Cyclone witch is like the MLU except it has a little video screen. Those would not be needed if you have the MLU or the ACP models. Besides, the Cyclone costs around $1000.
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Thorvald
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Re: Flashing the Firebee Using a PC

Postby Thorvald » Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:57 pm

Thank you for this, and for all that helped you, I got mine working again :) the PC I used worked with Win 10.

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Re: Flashing the Firebee Using a PC

Postby Gamer » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:21 pm

Thorvald wrote:Thank you for this, and for all that helped you, I got mine working again :) the PC I used worked with Win 10.

You are welcome. Glad you got yours working.

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Re: Flashing the Firebee Using a PC

Postby wongck » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:43 pm

Wow nice write up.
Could you add links to the stuff you mentioned ?
like TBLCF, Multilink Universal etc.

Why did the flashing tool crash ?
Do you know if it is frequently crashing?
Forking out $200 to fix it isn't cheap if the flashing tool does not work well.
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Mathias
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Re: Flashing the Firebee Using a PC

Postby Mathias » Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:12 am

Very well done! And is´t a pity that there are no TBLCFs around any more! Getting an PC laptop to be able to flash the FireBee, ... In future we will care about TBLCFs on our own. Prototypes are already done!
Is somebody willing to check all the software and all the licences of the software that Gamer used? I would love to put this article at firebee.org into the support section, so that it could be found easily in years as well. If someone could check all the software, and put links where the executables cannot be used directly, we could translate it and put it up.
MegaST 4 with Sounddesigner II MegaBus hardware and 56001, Hades 040, MagiC Mac at Mac OS 9 and a FireBee.

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Re: Flashing the Firebee Using a PC

Postby Gamer » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:01 am

I found another piece of hardware that is cheaper and will try and get it to work. If I do I will post it here....
Last edited by Gamer on Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Flashing the Firebee Using a PC

Postby Gamer » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:03 am

Mathias,

Forgot to say thanks to compliment. I wanted to make it clear as how the flashing procedure is done and to help others just in case they experience the same situation that I did.
Last edited by Gamer on Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:30 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Flashing the Firebee Using a PC

Postby Gamer » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:35 am

Yeah I an not sure about the rules and all that will the software. I know that the CFF flash patch files are on the P&E website and can only be accessed if you have an account with them. Registering is free. The H-TBLCF file I got from the interenet and can be accessed b y anyone. And Didier gave me the CFF with the Firebee cfg. I am sure that it is okay. But if anyone wants to check it out and be sure, that is fine with me.

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Re: Flashing the Firebee Using a PC

Postby Gamer » Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:59 pm

Gamer wrote:I found another piece of hardware that is cheaper and will try and get it to work. If I do I will post it here....


Went and downloaded the CD ROM software for this device from the manufacture's website. It has the USB drivers and Code Warrior version 6.3. From the file names of the driver this is a TBLCF device. Once I get it working, I will post the results with picture or two.

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Re: Flashing the Firebee Using a PC

Postby Gamer » Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:27 pm

Well I hooked up this new piece of hard I received and it worked fine with the Firebee. It looks like it is a TBLCF. It is only costs $39 plus shipping and included the 26pin BDM cable. I got mine from Amazon, but you can also get it from this site:

http://www.cncgeeker.com/coldfire-usbbd ... r-p-9.html

I also received a manual talking about the product and how to get it working. There was also some URL addresses to download the compatible software and the USB drivers. This URL addresses did not work, so I went to the above site (cncgeeker.com) and told them I had bought their product and needed the software and drivers and they kindly email me the correct URL address and I was able to download what I needed. The software you get is Code Warrior 6.3 which is includes the update, but I still used CF Flasher. I remember reading the people who had problems with CF Flasher not working with the P&E hardware, were told it would work fine if Code Warrior 6.3 was running.

Anyway, I hooked up the Coldfire USB-BDM device to my WinXP labtop then, using the BDM cable, I hooked it up to the Firebee. I will tell you that will need a USB A-B cable which is not included. I turned on the laptop and installed the USB drivers I had downloaded. When you do this, two red lights on the device will come on. I powered up the Firebee. I loaded in CF Flasher. Everything I did was the same as I did with the P&E hardware except for one thing. At the "Target Configuration" screen, the "BDM Communication" is now set to H_TBLCF. This is not insluded in the CF Flasher package as I said before. You must download it and put it in the correct CF Flasher folder. I included this file as a download in my first message.

I then loaded in s19 file and clicked the "Program" button to see if it would work and it did. On the BDM device, one of the red lights blinks as programming takes place. The only difference is that on the P&E Multilink, it took about 5-10 seconds for each file. On the Coldfire USB-BDM it took about 5-10 minutes for each file. Still, not too bad. For me, as long as it works, the time matters not to me.

I did not test it on the Win7 machine, but I would think with the B&E patch for CF Flasher, it should work fine. Below is a screenshot of CF Flasher and a picture of the hardware. No picture of the hookup to the Firebee as I have misplaced my phone (which I hope to find soon).
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