FLASH EPROM programming environment on 'I86 based cards


FLASH RITER is an efficient software package which enables developers to program the FLASH EPROM available on every grifo® boards based on I86 microprocessor family.

This environment makes really easier the application development, in fact an external EPROM programmer is not needed any more (so as the tedious operations of insertion, erasure, programmation and reinsertion of the EPROM) and it is replaced by a simple development P.C. connected to the control card through a serial port. The updating, verify and maintenance phases of the software under development may comfortably performed even on the field, for example using a portable PC.

FLASH EPROM management through FLASH WRITER is a supported operation that allows the user to modify the content of certain FLASH areas using a specific program, starting from some files stored on any of the development PC's drives. These are high level operations and are provided with help messages that support the user across all the phases.

The FLASH WRITER package normally consists of burned FLASH EPROM for the used card, where it is saved the proper programming firmware. In the first delivery, for example inside one of the development tools that use it (GCTR, ROM DOS, etc.), the package includes also the P.C. software GET188 on floppy disk or CD rom and a complete user documentation; moreover these last two items can be directly downloaded from grifo® web site, free of charges.



Please remark that to guarantee the integrity of data stored in FLASH EPROM and to assure everytime the presence of FLASH WRITER program, this latter is always written in the last sector of the component and it can be written only by grifo®. The user can obtain other FLASH EPROMs for working or to install on a production system by ordering them using the codes described at the end of this description.
Here follows a short description of the areas managed by FLASH WRITER.

  • FLASH WRITER area: it corresponds to the last 16K Bytes of the FLASH and it contains the code of the FLASH management program. The control card always executes this portion of code after a reset or a power on, its first action is to detect whether RUN or DEBUG mode are set and, in consequence, run the program stored in FLASH (RUN mode) or the FLASH WRITER (DEBUG mode). This area cannot be modified by the user in any way in order to avoid wrong situations which would prejudice the control card correct working.
  • NOT USED area: it may be present in FLASH EPROMs whose sector size is greater than the 16KBytes required by the FLASH WRITER area. Size of this area is variable (for example 0K Bytes for 128Kx8 FLASH and 48KBytes for 512Kx8 FLASH), however it corresponds to an area not usable for any operation.
  • USER area: it corresponds the remaining free space on the FLASH except for the two previous areas (for example 112K Bytes for 128Kx8 FLASH, 448K Bytes for 512Kx8 FLASH) and it can contain code and/or data like the application program, configuration data, messages, tables, etc. In RUN mode the control card always starts by executing the code stored at the beginning of this area. In the user area can be stored one or more binary files located on development PC mass memory devices (floppy disk, hard disk, etc.) that have been generated by user through other software packages. These files can be written to FLASH EPROM starting from an user specified address until the last file is writtern or the user area is full. The application program executed in RUN mode must be always stored at the beginning of the user area to ensure its immediate and correct starting.


    To execute correctly the FLASH EPROM management program, the following steps must be performed; when needed the differences between MS-DOS and WINDOWS are specified:

    The FLASH WRITER has been developed with the intention to simplify the programmer's life and for this reason, as already stated in the previous descriptions, it is provided of complete on line help and contextual use instructions.
    The user must execute the operations below summarized:

    1) Copy and install the GET 188 software on the development P.C. and then enable terminal emulation at maximum baud rate (115 KBaud).

    2) Develop the application program and possible equipment files (messages, parameters, configurations, etc.) and save them on development P.C. in binary format. To obtain the application program any development tools for I86 can be used (as GCTR, ROM-DOS, HI TECH C 86, etc.) while the data files can be generated by editor programs (WORD, EDIT, NOTE PAD, etc) or similar program.

    3) Configure the board to manage correctly FLASH WRITER, that is: connect the serial line A of the control card to serial line of the development P.C., install the FLASH EPROM labelled "FWR xxx ...", install at least 128KBytes of SRAM, configure the jumpers according to its hardware configuration and select the DEBUG mode.

    4) Reset or turn off and on the control card to run FLASH WRITER. It starts showing a presentattion window and then an operations selection menu (on line help reading, write FLASH, erase FLASH, exit).

    5) Select the desidered operations and, by following the relative instructions, first erase the user area and then write into the same area the application program (it must be saved at the begginning of the user area) and each required data files with messages, parameters, etc.

    6) Select the RUN mode and after reset or turn off and on the control card to run the application program saved on FLASH EPROM, at point 5.

    During every phase of the program any possible malfunctioning are verified (file system access error, FLASH erasing error, FLASH write error, etc.) and when one of them occours an informative message appears immediately.
    Please remind that FLASH WRITER is nearly completly transparent when RUN mode is selected, in fact it performs very few operations and it leaves unchanged the card status. So the user must develop a proper start up code that takes the CPU from a boot (reset or power on) to application program execution.
    Any programmer that follows the instructions of "HOW TO START" chapter, of the supplied user manual, and uses a specific tutorial program is ready to work autonomously in about ten minutes.



    I86 based control card

    It is the electronic card that belong to grifo® industrial set, based on I86 and compatible microprocessors, as:

    Independently from the application to develop, the target card must be provided of:
    - at least 128K bytes of RAM
    - one asyncronous RS 232 serial line

    Development personal computer

    A personal computer provided of:

    (N.B. with WINDOWS xx we refer to 3.11, 95, 98, ME version)

    Borland C/C++ compiler

    It is one of the Borland C/C++ compiler starting from version 2.0, including all available derivations and variants.

    Suggested materials

    To simplify and to speed the FLASH WRITER use even by untrained customers, it can be profitably used also the cables and possible accessories for serial connection between control card and development P.C. (CCR.PLUG9, CCR.PLUG.25, NCS 01, etc.).


    To satisfy all the different requirements of the customers, the FLASH WRITER is available in the following versions:



    GPC® 188F

     GPC® 188D

     GPC® 883

     GPC® 883.40M

     GPC® 884

     GPC® 884.40M

     FLASH 128K

     FWR 188F

      FWR 188D

      FWR 883

      FWR 883.40M

      FWR 884

      FWR 884.40M

     FLASH 512K

     FWR 188F.512K


      FWR 883.512K

      FWR 883.40M.512K

      FWR 884.512K

      FWR 884.40M.512K

    As described in the previous table the suffix .40M denotes the clock frequency of the used card, while the suffix .512K denotes the FLASH EPROM size. Please remember that the described codes can be directly used for possible orders.

    Page up-dated at January 24, 2009

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