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Field Firmware Upgradeability in Projects Using an 8051 Microcontroller

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000022673D
Publication Date: 2004-Mar-25
Document File: 2 page(s) / 43K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method that supports the field firmware upgradeability of an 8051 microcontroller based system. Benefits include upgradeability without additional hardware or cost.

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Field Firmware Upgradeability in Projects Using an 8051 Microcontroller

Disclosed is a method that supports the field firmware upgradeability of an 8051 microcontroller based system. Benefits include upgradeability without additional hardware or cost.

Background

The 8051 microcontroller is the most widely used microcontroller/microprocessor in the world. It may be used in various testing tools to verify sufficient power and Vcc filtering.

General Description

The disclosed method is composed of the following: the original firmware loaded in the embedded system, the micro programmer application firmware, and the new firmware. Figure 1 shows the flow of how the disclosed method works. All three components contain the Process_Download function. With the exception of the interrupt vector table, the old and new firmware, do not occupy the beginning of code space, space sufficient to load the micro programmer application firmware. This space is reserved for the Process_Download function in the micro programmer application firmware. The micro programmer occupies from the start of code space (since the use of interrupts is very limited) to the area where the old and new firmware begin.

The key to the disclosed method is the Process_DownLoad function. Once the microcontroller begins executing this code, all the interrupts are disabled and stay within that section of code until the program completes and the microcontroller is reset or exits due to an error. In the micro programmer application, the Process_DownLoad Function is placed in a reserve area which is not erased when loading the new firmware.

Additional safeties are included so the new firmware cannot be downloaded if the old firmware is still active and the micro programmer application cannot be loaded if it is active.

Advantages

The disclosed method supports the upgradeability of 8051 microcontroller based systems. It does not require any additional hardware. Since it is a firmware only methodology, there is no additional cost to the embedded system. The upgrade is done via the interfacing hardware that already exists for communication...