NEWB allert....already lost...
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Author:  joey120373 [ Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:20 am ]
Post subject:  NEWB allert....already lost...

So last night around 1 am i found a link that was the closest i have seen to a " getting started with Free EMS for dummies " guide .

Now I lost it.

As i understand it, I need to download some software to work with the source code and compile it to an appropriate (.s19 ?) file to load it ( with yet another program ) onto the TA board that will be arriving in the mail soon?

could someone kindly nudge me in the right direction?
I have both a windblows 8 machine and a MAC, (much prefer the MAC).



Author:  ToxicGumbo [ Sat Jan 23, 2016 5:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: NEWB allert....already lost...

Even though you already said your introductions elsewhere, consider a quick "hello" in the official introduction thread:


This page is often the starting place for those who first come here:


There intentionally isn't any straightforward "getting started" walkthrough since the emphasis on FreeEMS is to build a rock solid firmware that values safety over gee-whiz features. Once the code is tested and proven, the features can be added at any point (and some support exists for features even though it's not in the public code). If everything is put out there in print, there would be a lot of newbs coming through asking the same questions over and over before everything's at a point to go public. A few demanding people have come along and really made things difficult for the debs.

As far as what to build, code-wise...

Some of these aren't in use anymore and I need to update this list and the build info, but here's some of the more common software that's been used (avoid Megatunix at this point; I only put it there for legacy reasons). Also understand that there are a few insider tools in the works which aren't immediately available.


But you can download a few binaries if you want to get started quickly:

It might be best to dedicate a Linux machine for testing and development, though you can also throw together a VM for compiling or install MacPorts on your Mac and do some damage that way. I find 32-bit Linux has worked the best in all cases, but jump between operating systems. DeuceEFI has a Linux build manifesto which I can't seem to find at the moment either here or in his GitHub repo list.

The TA board you're getting will be a good way to play with hardware if you're interested in going that route, though DeuceEFI's Jaguar boards are great. I'm using an A3 with some modifications and it's worked flawlessly through two summers and winters (from 112F down to -3F).


Author:  Fred [ Sat Jan 23, 2016 9:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: NEWB allert....already lost...

As Jeff said, there isn't any sort of easy to follow documentation path, nor is there any easy, just buy it, hardware. Though my reasons are a little different. Normal people, let's call them users, have certain expectations of ease and docs and features and so forth, these people would be heavily disappointed if they came here and tried to get running based on instructions, that impression would stick with them. Not good. Instead I have inadvertently given the impression of a poorly documented project with DIY-spec hardware and feature-light firmware and general chaos. Woops. Nevertheless, it's mostly kept away the sorts that should never consider FreeEMS for the time being.

Your best bet remains 32 bit Debian/Ubuntu, however I need to fix that situation ASAP. On 32 bit there are tools that just work, and on 64 bit there are not. I have a fork of EMStudio that is relatively stable and not too buggy that we've all been using. It's not really maintained, and is not very user friendly, however this fork has had a passable version of it tweaked a bit to raise quality and that's about it. This can be used for tuning and logging, though I will cease using this myself ASAP. Other tools you need are log viewing which can be done in 2 or 3 ways right now, and firmware loading, which can be done in several ways, too.

It's a shame that you rushed out and bought a TA board. Here's a thread on that for you: viewtopic.php?f=62&t=1315
And here's a thread on why you shouldn't do a full-DIY setup: viewtopic.php?f=62&t=2327
And here's the section they both came from: viewforum.php?f=62

Hopefully you find much learning in that process and don't get fed up too quickly. Or keep it on the bench and get a Jaguar for your actual project, once you pin down what it is, and describe it in a new thread, and we find out if it's feasible or not, etc.

Worked flawlessly is a gross exageration, Jeff! Though I admire your enthusiasm, as always! :-D

Rob also is rocking an old A3, and although it's given him trouble in various ways, he's learned a LOT and is much more comfortable in using it and knows how it all works, what goes wrong, how to fix stuff, etc. More power to him.

For playing on the bench you should use:

  • A 32-bit Debian/Ubuntu/Mint box
  • Home-built EMStudio from my fork
  • An S19 from the server Jeff linked
  • OLV from the server Jeff linked
  • A loader of some sort, I can assist here
  • Some pots and a signal source of some type

The process will go something like:

  • Modify, connect, power up your TA board
  • Download the S19 (bench test if no input, some preconfigured one if you have a suitable signal for any of them)
  • Switch the load/run switch and power cycle
  • Load the S19 onto the TA board
  • Switch the load/run switch and power cycle
  • Open EMStudio and see what a raw and unfriendly interface it has
  • Close it and open OLV
  • Find your log file with OLV
  • Load some traces using the clunky interface for that
  • Use the fancy interface Ben built to navigate the data
  • Ask questions, etc.

Hope that helps you get playing!


Author:  joey120373 [ Mon Jan 25, 2016 5:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: NEWB allert....already lost...

Thanks for the info Fred, I'll start rounding up some hardware and such.

As for the 32 bit Debian, will a raspberry pi work? I have a couple of those lying around. If not I'll have to buy something, looking at the Debian site it looks like a x86 is the most compatable hardware?
As for the loader, is this another piece of software or are you talking about a USBDM loader?
The USBDM I have now looks like it will work with the mc9s12x.

Author:  Fred [ Tue Jan 26, 2016 9:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: NEWB allert....already lost...

Another bit of software, there are at least 6, maybe more. Mine is the original fast loader, optimised and unit tested. Others have various weaknesses that may/may not affect you, but are FOSS, unlike mine.

x86 32 bit is what I meant. Rpi would be a pain. You can run a VM if you have a box with a bit of ram on it.

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