Electronic – getting started with NXP microcontrollers – Programmers/IDEs/Compilers/Eval Boards


I asked this question ago. (Don't need to read it to answer this one)

out growing 8-bit AVRs, not sure where to move on to

I really liked the answers about the NXP line of microcontrollers. I'm about to invest in some hardware to get started playing with them, and I wanted to run it by this forum to make sure that I'm not paying too much or buying the wrong part.

I'm not interested in the mbed chip. I prefer to have the option to build something from scratch using the full line of micro-controllers. That means I have to buy a programmer.

I'm interested in the ULINK2 from Keil. It is 411 CND on digikey.ca.

It integrates with the Keil Development environment. If it turns out I can't or don't want to use the Keil IDE can I use the ULINK2 with FOSS on Linux? What about on windows without Keil? If I decide now that I don't want to go with Keil, is it worth getting another generic JTAG programmer?

Ultimately the goal is to be able to compile and program

  • LPC2921/2923/2925 (ARM9) (this is the least important category for me)
  • All LPC21/22/23 (ARM7)
  • All Cortex M0 and M3

I wasn't able to find any instructions on setting up a toolchain and flash/debugger program for NXP microcontrollers, and that is the only reason I'm talking about Keil related products. I would rather just use GCC and some other uploader. I'm used to avrdude for AVRs.

What kind of setup do you guys use for ARM or NXP uCs? What JTAG programmers do you recommend? Any other FOSS toolchain instructions or other software I should know about?

Best Answer

For professional type use, your major options are IAR, Keil or Rowley CrossWorks. Keil is owned by ARM, which may or may not give them a slight advantage. I'd say the performance between IAR and Keil is nearly identical. Rowley is bargain of the 3. Rowley also let's you use cheaper debuggers, such as the J-link. You might be able to use the J-link with IAR as well, but I think Keil forces you to use their Ulink products, which can be a bit more expensive. As far as support, I believe Rowley is purely through their website. IAR and Keil offer 1 year or so of phone support. From what I've been told, Keil seems to offer better support in the US, while IAR is more focused on Europe. I've used Keil without any issues and support was good. That being said, any of these 3 will probably perform just as well.