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Softlog Systems Launches Gap Eliminator™ Programming Technology
The Gap Eliminator™ feature is the centerpiece of a new set of Speed Optimization software and firmware specifically designed to enable faster programming of microcontrollers.
 
July 30, 2012 - Softlog Systems today announced the release of its Gap Eliminator™ feature that enables end customers to exclude empty (blank) flash and EEPROM areas in the HEX file from the programming process, resulting in shortened production cycles and reduced manufacturing costs.
 
The Gap Eliminator™ feature is the centerpiece of a new set of Speed Optimization software and firmware specifically designed to enable faster programming of microcontrollers.
 
This powerful feature is available in all of Softlog´s in-circuit production-grade programmers:
How It Works 
 
In addition to the critical data they carry, HEX files may also contain multiple empty areas (gaps). These gaps may come at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of the HEX file. Thus, when programming a microcontroller, the empty bytes of a HEX file are also burned onto the microcontroller. In order to "skip" these gaps, a typical programmer usually allows the operator to define a single programming range, thus enabling two empty areas to be skipped at the beginning and end of the file. However, if the gap(s) are located between valid data areas (see example below), this is not an effective solution.
 
Softlog´s breakthrough Gap Eliminator™ feature solves this problem. Before a production run, it automatically analyzes the HEX file and effectively removes multiple gaps (up to five) from the Program Memory (flash) and Data Memory (EEPROM). This significantly reduces programming time and drives major cost savings for mass production operations.
 
 
Example of HEX file with gaps:
 
Memory size = 4096 bytes (address range 0x0000…0x0FFF)
Gaps are highlighted in yellow; valid data in green

Address 0x0000…0x0007: FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF

Address 0x0078…0x007F: FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF

Address 0x0080…0x0087: 01 53 A4 67 88 A5 CD 6F
Address 0x0088…0x008F: 01 23 45 67 89 AB CD EF

Address 0x01F8…0x01FF: 51 F3 45 F7 89 A6 CC CF
Address 0x0200…0x0207: FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF
Address 0x0208…0x020F: FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF

Address 0x07F8…0x07FF: FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF

Address 0x0800…0x0807: 01 53 A4 67 88 A5 CD 6F
Address 0x0808…0x080F: 01 23 45 67 89 AB CD EF

Address 0x09F8…0x09FF: 51 F3 45 F7 89 A6 CC CF

Address 0x0A00…0x0A07: FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF
Address 0x0A08…0x0A0F: FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF

Address 0x0FF0…0x0FF7: FF FF FF FF FF FF FF FF

Address 0x0FF8…0x0FFF: 01 53 A4 67 88 A5 CD 6F

As noted, a typical programmer allows you to define one range 0x0080…0x0FFF (3968 bytes), skipping the empty area at the beginning of the file. This reduces the size of the HEX file by 128 bytes (3.2%).

Using a Softlog ICP programmer with the Gap Eliminator™ feature, three programming ranges can be defined for this example:

- 0x0080…0x01FF (384 bytes)
- 0x0800…0x09FF (512 bytes)
- 0x0FF8…0x0FFF (8 bytes)

 
This effectively eliminates all the gaps and reduces the size of the HEX file to be programmed by 3,192 bytes (77.9%)
Testing  Fixtures
 


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