I was travelling when the Raspberry Pi Foundation launched the Pico W, so I had to wait to get back before I could get my hands on one. I have one now, and to try it out, I decided to port my network-oriented PicoWeather app, this time creating a MicroPython version — it was released for CircuitPython.
Last time, I covered the basics of doing ARM assembly programming on the Raspberry Pi Pico’s RP2040 microcontroller. Now it’s time to get to grips with the dozens of instructions to which the RP2040’s Cortex-M0+ cores respond.
When I got my first microcomputer, I already knew Basic programming. My machine had a different Basic dialect from the one I’d learned at school, and there was a stack of graphics and sound functionality to get to grips with too, but it wasn’t long before I felt I’d mastered the high-level stuff and that it was time to move on to machine code. That’s how I’ve come to feel about the Raspberry Pi Pico’s RP2040 chip. The time’s right to learn ARM assembly programming on the Pico.
One of the reasons why an embedded application developer might choose to build their code on top of a real-time operating system like FreeRTOS is to emphasise the event-driven nature of the application. For “events” read data coming in on a serial link or from an I²C peripheral, or a signal to a GPIO from a sensor that a certain threshold has been exceeded. These events are typically announced by interrupting whatever job the host microcontroller is engaged upon, so interrupts are what I’ve chosen to examine next in my exploration of FreeRTOS on the Raspberry Pi RP2040 chip.
FreeRTOS scheduling is hard in as much at can be difficult to decide how to configure it. I wanted to try and figure out the options.
The popular real-time operating system provides the
configUSE_PREEMPTION as settings values. You can add them to your
FreeRTOSConfig.h file Tasks themselves can be assigned priority values, and there are API calls to allows tasks to sleep, to yield up the CPU, and be suspended and subsequently resumed.
While documenting Twilio’s in-development Microvisor IoT platform, I’ve been working with FreeRTOS, the Amazon-owned open source real-time operating system for embedded systems. Does FreeRTOS work with the Raspberry Pi Pico’s RP2040 chip? I wondered. It turns out that it can, and this is how you set up a very basic FreeRTOS project which also serves as a demo.
My Raspberry Pi Pico-based Motorola 6809 emulator uses the RP2040’s built-in serial-over-USB functionality to receive machine code sent from a host computer. The 6809 and its support code is written in C, but can you make use of the same process under Python? Yes, you can, and here’s an easy way to do it.Continue reading