F40 Evaluation Kit Developers' Guide

Last modified May 17, 2016

F40 Evaluation Kit EVAL board.


The F40 Evaluation Kit is based on the F40-EVAL hosting board. Once an off the shelf F40 OEM board is attached to the EVAL board, the assembly is a fully functional F40 system. It is controllable by a Windows PC (or any other device supporting a USB to serial connection).

The F40 Evaluation Kit comes bundled with the F40-OEM and the F40-SDR board; however, it supports all F40 Boards such as  F40-USB, or F40-SD.

The Kit contains the "F40 Explorer" program (it will still show up as ALFAT Explorer). A Windows based program with a graphical user interface. The Explorer interacts with the F40 EVAL assembly through simple point click operations. Instructions are provided to assemble the kit, connect to the PC, and run some examples in less than ten minutes. The full source code for the program comes pre-loaded on the Kit's USB Flash Drive.

Breadboard prototypes of a device can quickly be connected to F40-EVAL using a USB to Serial cable; eliminating the need for custom harnesses between the prototype and F40​.

F40 Developers' Guide provide in-depth information on F40.

Hardware Features

No other components are required*;  the F40 Evaluation Kit includes everything you need to get started:

Two F40off-the-shelf OEM boards: 

An F40-EVAL board for hosting F40 off-the-shelf OEM boards and communicating with a PC, with the following features:

*The Evaluation kit does not include the Windows based PC that will host the example source code and application(s).

Serial Communications Parameters

Serial Communications with the F40 EVAL board use the following settings:

Quick Start

There are two descriptions for a first time use of the Kit, the one below and another packed with the Kit. We recommend using the instructions in the kit as they will be the most up-to-date and take advantage of the sample program designed for quick interaction with the Evaluation kit without knowing any of the F40 API.  However, the following can be used:

  1. Connect the F40 Board (F40-SDR or F40-OEM) to F40-EVAL hosting card (line the header pings up carefully, partially connected headers could potentially damage the boards).
  2. Plug the USB cable into the F40-Eval board and the development system.
  3. Determing the virtual serial port on your development system:
    • Windows: Devices and Printers control window, get Properties of the serial device (for example, COM8)
    • Macintosh and Linux: the driver for your adapter should create a device name that is prefixed by /dev/tty
  4. Using a terminal program (examples: Windows - TeraTerm; Mac OS X and Linux - cu, screen, Etc.), establish a connection between your development system and F40-EVAL. Settings: baud 115200, 8 bit, parity none, 1 stop bit.

At this point the F40 Board can be controlled via commands typed in the terminal program. To get started just press the ENTER key a few times. After each press you should see a result string of "!00"; which indicates the command was successful.


For terminal programs that have echo turned-off, there are two choices:

  1. changes the settings on the terminal program to echo, or
  2. enter "# 1" which commands the F40 board to send back (echo) any characters it receives

Example 1: Simple Date & Time

Below is an example dialog between a terminal and the F40 Board. Each step can be performed by sending the commands to F40 using the terminal program. In the example below, greater than (>)  is a command typed into the terminal program and less than (<) is the response from F40:

>T S
>S 34212002
>G D

(Note: for brevity the Return code from F40 "!00" is not shown above).

The dialog above sets the clock and then reads back the date and time. Using this method, the complete set of F40 commands can be entered.

Emulating Pin Controlled Functions

When testing the software side of a project, the F40-Eval board has 3 useful buttons to send hardware signals:

  1. LDR - pressing this when the board is powered up puts the F40 Board in Boot Mode. Firmware can be uploaded using the commands detailed in the F40 manual.
  2. RESET - Reset the F40 Board.
  3. F/W - When F40 is in Standby or Stop modes, this button is the WAKEUP pin. When the Z command is used to enable the Emergency Flush and Close mode, this pin will trigger the EFC signal.

Connection status

The Blue LED of F40-Eval board only goes on when all of the following are true:



1)   If the connection LED does not turn on, it could be that the "I" command was entered wrong. The optional argument "H" is used when an external PHY is connected and is not used when there is no external PHY.

2)  The F40-SDR Board has an external PHY for its physical USB port. Consequently the use of the "H" variants of the "I" command must be used.

Other Resources

From the main page of the GHI Web Site, navigate to "Support>File System". Links are provided for Firmware, examples, documentation.

The Community Forum's File System blog ("Community>Forum>File System") is an excellent place to search for answers to commonly asked questions and/or ask for help from other customers or staff.

Although some version of Windows may come with the necessary USB-serial driver pre-installed; if they are missing, they can be downloaded from FTDI's website.

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