uClinux Running on Freescale Kinetis K70 MCU (Cortex-M4) Module

Last year, I posted about Linux for Cortex M3 & M4 Micro-controllers and noted it was difficult to find cost effective Cortex-M based boards able to run uClinux or Linux (RAM being the main issue).

Freescale TWR-K70F120M  is a module based on Kinetis K70 MCU (Cortex M-4) with plenty of RAM (128MB) to run Linux or uClinux. It is available for 109 USD or 179 USD with Freescale Tower system (TWR-K70F120M-KIT).

Cortex-M4 module with 128 MB RAM
Freescale Kinetis K70 Module (Click to Enlarge)

Here are the key features of the module:

  • Freescale MK70FN1M0VMJ12 Cortex-M4 MCU @ 120 MHz (Product Brief)
  • Touch Tower Plug-in Socket
  • General purpose Tower Plug-in (TWRPI) socket
  • On-board JTAG debug circuit (OSJTAG) with virtual serial port
  • 128 MB DDR2 SDRAM memory
  • 256 MB SLC NAND flash memory
  • Three axis accelerometer (MMA8451Q)
  • Potentiometer
  • Micro-SD Card slot

I could not find an open source uClinux implementation for Kinetis K70, but emCraft has a Linux Board Support Package (BSP) for the Freescale TWR-K70F120M-KIT hardware platform available for 99 USD.

They have just uploaded a video of Kinetis K70 Tower Kit running uClinux 2.6.33 (with busybox) + u-boot with an ultra fast boot time (about 2 seconds) and showcasing a few capabilities of the system including:

  • IP stack support
  • ssh server (dropbear)
  • http server
  • nfs support
  • jffs2 support

Vladimir Khusainov, Founder of Emcraft Systems, also mentioned they benchmarked this setup with drystone:

Linux (uClinux) runs just beautifully on this device. Using ‘dhrystone’, we get about 50% performance we get on a 250Mhz Freescale PowerPC box. Fast boot-up, lots of RAM (the TWR-K70 module provides 128MB of RAM and 256MB of NAND Flash), networking, JFFS2, framebuffer, SSH, HTTPD, Qt/E – all this runs just fine on K70. Overall user experience is your regular “embedded Linux” on an MMU-full microprocessor.

You can get more information on Freescale Kinetis K70 MCU Module page and Emcraft Freescale TWR-K70F120M-KIT BSP page.

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