eCos Support for the Freescale M5272C3 Board -- Overview


The Freescale M5272C3 board has an MCF5272 ColdFire processor, 4MB of external SDRAM, 2MB of external flash memory, and connectors plus required support chips for all the on-chip peripherals. By default the board comes with its own dBUG ROM monitor, located in the bottom half of the flash.

For typical eCos development a RedBoot image is programmed into the top half of the flash memory, and the board is made to boot this image rather than the existing dBUG monitor. RedBoot provides gdb stub functionality so it is then possible to download and debug eCos applications via the gdb debugger. This can happen over either a serial line or over ethernet.

Supported Hardware

In a typical setup the bottom half of the flash memory is reserved for the dBUG ROM monitor and is not accessible to eCos. That leaves four flash blocks of 256K each. Of these one is used for the RedBoot image and another is used for managing the flash and holding RedBoot fconfig values. The remaining two blocks at 0xFFF40000 and 0xFFF80000 can be used by application code.

By default eCos will only support the four megabytes of external SDRAM present on the initial versions of the board, accessible at location 0x00000000. Later versions come with 16MB. If all 16MB of memory are required then the ACR0 register needs to be changed. The default value is controlled by the configuration option CYGNUM_HAL_M68K_M5272C3_ACR0, but this option is only used during ROM startup so in a typical setup it would be necessary to rebuild and update RedBoot. Alternatively the register can be updated by application code, preferably using a high priority static constructor to ensure that the extra memory is visible before any code tries to use that memory. It will also be necessary to change the memory layout so that the linker knows about the additional memory.

By default the 4K of internal SRAM is mapped to location 0x20000000 using the RAMBAR register. This is not used by eCos or by RedBoot so can be used by application code. The M68K architectural HAL has an iram1.c testcase to illustrate the linker script support for this. The internal 16K of ROM is left disabled by default because its contents are of no use to most applications. The on-chip peripherals are mapped at 0x10000000 via the MBAR register.

There is a serial driver CYGPKG_DEVS_SERIAL_MCFxxxx which supports both on-chip UARTs. One of the UARTs, usually uart0, can be used by RedBoot for communication with the host. If this UART is needed by the application, either directly or via the serial driver, then it cannot also be used for RedBoot communication. Another communication channel such as ethernet should be used instead. The serial driver package is loaded automatically when configuring for the M5272C3 target.

There is an ethernet driver CYGPKG_DEVS_ETH_MCFxxxx for the on-chip ethernet device. This driver is also loaded automatically when configuring for the M5272C3 target. The M5272C3 board does not have a unique MAC address, so a suitable address has to be programmed into flash via RedBoot's fconfig command.

eCos manages the on-chip interrupt controller. Timer 3 is used to implement the eCos system clock, but timers 0, 1 and 2 are unused and left for the application. The GPIO pins are manipulated only as needed to get the UARTs and ethernet working. eCos will reset the remaining on-chip peripherals (DMA, USB, PLCI, QSPI and PWM) during system startup or soft reset but will not otherwise manipulate them.


The M5272C3 port is intended to work with GNU tools configured for an m68k-elf target. The original port was done using m68k-elf-gcc version 3.2.1, m68k-elf-gdb version 5.3, and binutils version 2.13.1.

By default eCos is built using the compiler flag -fomit-frame-pointer. Omitting the frame pointer eliminates some work on every function call and makes another register available, so the code should be smaller and faster. However without a frame pointer m68k-elf-gdb is not always able to identify stack frames, so it may be unable to provide accurate backtrace information. Removing this compiler flag from the configuration option CYGBLD_GLOBAL_CFLAGS avoids such debug problems.

Documentation license for this page: Open Publication License