Introducing Maven

Maverick Embedded Technology is pleased to announce a new addition to our product line-up.

“Maven” is a WiFi-enabled ARM Cortex-M hardware (SWD) debugger and programmer which, through its built-in GDB Server, interfaces directly with the Gnu debugger “GDB” over the local network. This means any host capable of running GDB can be used with Maven. There’s an onboard OLED display showing Maven and Target status plus rs232 output from the target. The latter is also available over the network via telnet.

Maven uses the same underlying hardware as our wAVR product, but with very different firmware and an additional “paddle” board which interfaces Maven’s 10-pin target connector with most of the standard ARM JTAG/SWD connectors. At the present time Maven natively supports nearly all devices in Microchip’s “SAM” range of ARM Cortex-M micro controllers, with support for devices from other manufacturers in the pipeline. No configuration files or third-party interface software are required; Maven auto-detects SoC parameters such as CPU core type, on-chip memory map and debug features (h/w break points anyone?). Maven also incorporates support for programming Flash memory on all supported SoCs, again without the need for configuration files on the host.

Paddle-board and cables:

Here’s a list of the standout features

  • Built-in GDB server, accessible over WiFi, means you have full debug access to the target using the Gnu debugger GDB.
  • Supports hardware breakpoints and watchpoints for debugging Flash-based firmware.
  • Provides software breakpoints for firmware running from RAM.
  • Can program Flash memory using GDB’s “load” command.
  • Supports nearly all ARM Cortex-M “SAM” micro controllers from Microchip (Atmel).
  • Support for Cortex-M micro controllers from other manufacturers is in the pipeline.
  • Supports target voltages between 1.65 volts and 5.5 volts.
  • Communicates with your target using RS232 on a UART or bit-banged I/O pin, making “printf” style debug very simple. Maven will make the UART data available over WiFi using the telnet command on your host. Both RxD and TxD are supported at all the common baud rates.
  • Maven’s OLED display keeps you informed of both its status and various target parameters. It can also be configured to show the RS232 data received from the target.
  • The USB interface provides two CDC-compatible RS232 interfaces. One of those provides access to the same target UART interface mentioned above. This might be useful if, for whatever reason, WiFi is unavailable. The other provides access to the ARM Cortex-M “SWO” serial debug output.
  • All I/O signals between wAVR and your target are protected against electrostatic discharge, over-voltage and reverse voltage.
  • In most cases, Maven can be powered by your target. Only when your target voltage is below around 3.1 volts will Maven need a separate power connection. Maven will show a message on the OLED display if its power-supply voltage is too low for reliable operation.
  • Full galvanic isolation from your host PC and/or test/measurement tools when powered by the target.
  • Firmware updates for Maven itself can be applied over WiFi. Note that Maven doesn’t phone home to implement this. It has a WiFi-capable bootloader which talks to a simple downloader program on the host.
  • Included with the board are two ribbon cables (0.1″ and 0.05″) with IDC headers, and a transition “paddle” board for connecting Maven to the target ARM board. Note that a USB-A to USB-Mini-B cable is not supplied. The USB cable is normally only required to provide power to Maven if your target’s power supply doesn’t meet wAVR’s requirements.

The design files for a 3D-printable enclosure are freely available here.
The user guide for Maven is available here.

Maven is available to buy on our Tindie Store.