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Comments after a week of using Config Tools compared to Processor Expert

Question asked by Andrea Canepa on Sep 26, 2017
Latest reply on Nov 3, 2017 by Andrea Canepa

I started to work with Motorola's DSP at the MC56F83xxx output time, then I went to the MC56F84xxx (Freescale) and now I'm going to switch to the MKV58Fxxxx (NXP).

I went from Codewarrior 8.x to Codewarrior 10.x. Now I was undecided whether to start with KDS or to jump directly to MCUXpresso. In the end I decided to go with MCUXpresso IDE because it is newer and I'm not going to start all over again in a few years.

To initialize the peripherals and the CPU I used QuickStart (for those who do not know it, is this: DSC Quick Start Initialization and Development Tool|NXP ), very fast and light in the code, but sometimes cumbersome to use!

I then went to Processor Expert to initialize the peripherals, the clock in the cpu and integration with FreeMaster (great product). I rarely used Integrated Processor Expert drivers because they are inefficient: I prefer to rewrite drivers to my pleasure. Instead it is very useful to initialize the peripherals by avoiding configuration errors.


After this brief introduction, we come to my experience of using MCUXpresso Config Tools.....

After a few hours of use, I felt like I was back 10 years and use QuickStart (see links below). Light in code but difficult to use.

Obviously I have created an SDK 2.2 with the dedicated website (Welcome to MCUXpresso | MCUXpresso Config Tools ), and installed in MCUXpresso. Then I downloaded and installed the desktop version of Config Tools 3.0.2 (MCUXpresso Config Tools|NXP ). At this point I started using Config Tools Desktop to create my project, following all the documentation and videos that are on the NXP site.

List of defects Config Tools Vs. Processor Expert:

  1. Config Tools is not integrated with MCUXpresso, any changes made with Config Tools must make copy / paste of the modified files to update the project in MCUXpresso. Instead Processor Expert is integrated.
  2. I found a method to integrate the files created with Config Tools into the MCUXpresso project and make sure they are updated every time, but it's a tricky procedure. I do not know if there is any smarter method.
  3. Lack of peripheral initialization. For now only the CLOCK and PINS (PORT registers) are initialized. I understand that there are plans to add "Peripheral Configuration" feature, but it's been several months since the release of these tools and for now there is nothing.
  4. When you need to recall some function to the driver, you need to remember the name, or run in the sources to find it, or keep open the documentation file of the SDK (MCUXpresso SDK API Reference Manual: Introduction ). Even with QuickStart it was necessary to always have the documentation handy to recall the various integrated functions: frustrating!! With Processor Expert instead, it is enough to drag and drop the function taken from the component window.
  5. There is no way to print the package with the pin arrangement on paper, or print the clock configuration, or the pins configuration.

List of advantages Config Tools Vs. Processor Expert

  1. Lightness in the generated code.
  2. Better control of the code without the risk that the tool will change the cards on the table without my consent. With Processor Expert there is a risk that there may be a change in the generated code without any control at each compilation.


I would also be willing to change the configuration application again and switch to MCUXpresso Config Tools, but I think these two points are essential:

  • Config Tools must be integrated into MCUXpresso IDE as it was Processor Expert. There must be the ability to modify clocks, pins, peripherals, and click on a button to generate code. But then this code must be immediately available in MCUXpresso IDE without any further steps.
  • There must be the tool to configure the peripherals, otherwise it's a half-way job that nobody likes.


I'm waiting for your answer to clarify any of my Config Tools evaluation errors.