This section covers how to connect the versatile Conexio Stratus device to the Memfault platform. Specifically, this post will demonstrate how to:
- Setup the toolchains and the Memfault API using the RF Connect SDK.
- Connect the Stratus kit to the Memfault cloud.
- Trigger fault cases and send crash data to the Memfault’s backend over the cellular network.
Once your account is created, create a new project in Memfault by navigating to the project selector in the left-hand sidebar. You can find an option to Create Project below your list of existing projects. More information regarding how to use the Memfault platform can be found here.
Click Create Project and give your project a preferred Name, followed by the MCU type. In our case, it will be the Embedded MCU with nRF91 as the Primary chip type. Then click Next to choose the OS options.
Under OS, we will select Zephyr as the main OS for our device. Hit Next and select the connectivity type.
For connectivity, Conexio Stratus is a Cellular/LTE device.
For the Tooling, we will select GCC as the main compiler and CMake as the toolchain used by the ZephyrOS. Finally, complete the project creation by hitting Create.
Once the project is created, head down to the Settings tab and click General. Here, you should see your Memfault Project Key on the right-hand box.
Copy this key as later we will need this to authenticate our Stratus device with the Memfault platform.
At this point, we have all the required details to connect and publish data from our Conexio Stratus device to the Memfault backend. Let’s head over to the device firmware setup and configuration side.
We have extended the memfault sample application provided in the nRF Connect SDK to connect the Stratus kit to the Memafult and stream device diagnostics data. The complete source code for this tutorial can be found in this GitHub repo. This sample application allows capturing:
- LTE metrics, specifically, the time to connect to the LTE network.
- Core dumps by triggering crash via button press or through shell commands.
- Offloading all the captured data to the Memfault backend.
First, we will have to add the Memfault Project Key that we copied above into the application code. To do so, edit the
conexio_stratus_firmware/samples/memfault/prj.confwith your project key and update the following parameters.
To correctly fetch the device hardware version and type together with the IMEI, the following configurations need to be added for the Stratus device:
# Add Conexio Stratus hardware configurations
In addition, we will also enable the periodic upload of the device diagnostics and heartbeat data over HTTP protocol by enabling:
This allows sending the data that has been captured by the device to the memfault cloud periodically with an interval defined by:
You can browse other configurations in the
prj.conffile. Now we are all set to compile and upload our firmware to the device.
To compile the application using west, open a terminal window in the application directory and issue the following command:
west build -b conexio_stratus_ns
In case you do not want to recall the west commands simply command the following in the terminal, and the included python script in the project directory will take care of the rest.
Once the application is compiled successfully, connect the Stratus device to the USB port and put it into the DFU mode.
Then flash the compiled firmware using newtmgr:
newtmgr -c serial image upload build/zephyr/app_update.bin
Open up a serial console with a baud rate of 115200, hit the reset button on the Stratus device, and the following serial UART output will be displayed in the terminal.
uart:~$ *** Booting Zephyr OS build v2.6.99-ncs1 ***
<inf> <mflt>: Reset Reason, RESETREAS=0x1
inf> <mflt>: Reset Causes:
<inf> <mflt>: Pin Reset
<inf> <mflt>: GNU Build ID: 098b8b74929371d5ad655dfe0d8df6cf8e59cd91
Conexio Stratus Memfault sample has started
<inf> memfault_sample: Connecting to LTE network, this may take several minutes...
<inf> memfault_sample: Active LTE mode changed: LTE-M
<inf> memfault_sample: Network registration status: Connected - roaming
<inf> memfault_sample: Connected to LTE network. Time to connect: 2301 ms
Once the device is booted up and connected to the available LTE network, it will then display the time-to-connect metric (
Ncs_LteTimeToConnect) on the terminal. Subsequently, all the captured Memfault data including the reset reason will be sent to the Memfault cloud.
<inf> memfault_sample: Sending already captured data to Memfault
uart:~$ <dbg> <mflt>: Response Complete: Parse Status 0 HTTP Status 202!
<dbg> <mflt>: Body: Accepted
<dbg> <mflt>: Response Complete: Parse Status 0 HTTP Status 202!
<dbg> <mflt>: Body: Accepted
<dbg> <mflt>: No more data to send
In order to properly decode and parse the uploaded device data such as core dumps, Memfault needs to be able to find the Symbol File (ELF) that corresponds to the software that produced the uploaded data. Without an exact match, Memfault will not be able to decode the uploaded data.
To upload the symbol file generated from your project build to your Memfault account, go to the Memfault console and select the project that you created earlier and navigate to the Software > Symbol Files in the left menu. Then click Upload Symbol File in the top right-hand corner.
Select the Software Type and Version for your device and then click Select File. Browse and navigate to your project directory and select
Finally, click Add to upload the Symbol file.
After uploading the symbol file, we can now see the parsed data on the Memfault console. Let’s explore the console and how we can see various metrics and the overall fleet information.
First, let’s see the connectivity status of our device. To view, click on the Fleet > Devices on the left-hand pane. Under Cohort (i.e., the grouping of devices), select default, and for the Device Serial select the IMEI number of the Stratus device. Next, it should display the device information of the connected devices. Here, we can see the firmware version running on the device (
0.0.1+098b8b), the hardware version (
stratus), and the last time device communicated to the Memfault cloud. If you see your device here, it confirms that it is able to successfully connect and offload the device data to the cloud backend.
Next, in the Dashboard tab, clicking Overview should display the overall fleet status such as the number of active devices, software versions running on those devices, fault traces, issues, and the reboot reasons.
Device reboots can provide one of the vital insights to the IoT administrators as to what might be the root cause of issues on your device if it’s constantly failing or rebooting too often. This is usually a good starting point for troubleshooting. Device reboots can be caused due to mechanical or physical issues on the device such as power supply, faulty components, batteries, or software lockups, i,e., watchdog timers failing to kick, issues with drivers, etc.
Memafult is able to capture these issues and much more in detail.
Let’s head over to the Metrics pane to view some of the metrics that we have captured using our sample application running on the Stratus device, i.e., LTE connectivity time and the stack usage metrics. Connectivity status provides good insights as to how long the devices across the fleet are taking to connect to the available LTE network. Longer connectivity times are a good indication for the poor cellular networks and whether devices in that particular region should utilize external or internal antennas for improving the connection - useful information for hardware design engineers.
Explore around the console to view other detailed analyses of faults reported by the device under the Issues tab.
The sample application enables the Memfault shell by default which provides a serial terminal interface that can be used to issue commands to the device such as
mflt crashto generate a coredump and
mflt post_chunksto upload the coredump.
These coredumps can also be triggered by pressing button 1 (Mode button) on the Stratus device which triggers a stack overflow.
The shell offers multiple commands to test a wide range of functionality offered by the Memfault SDK. Run the command
mflt helpin the terminal for more information on the available commands. The list of available Memfault test commands is shown below.
For instance, running
mflt get_device_infodisplays all the relevant information of the connected device.
This is the same information that we have seen captured by the Memfault cloud previously in their console under the devices tab.
uart:~$ mflt get_device_info
<inf> <mflt>: S/N: 352656103852334
<inf> <mflt>: SW type: nrf91ns-fw
<inf> <mflt>: SW version: 0.0.1+098b8b
<inf> <mflt>: HW version: stratus
Now to trigger a device crash and submit the trace to the Memfault backend, we will submit
mflt crashcommand. The crash causes the usage fault as shown below after which the device will reset and send the crash data to the Memfault cloud for further inspection and analysis.
To view the device crash detail, head over to the Issues tab in the console and you should see the list of issues captured from this device. Here, the manual crash is registered as Assert at memfault_demo_cli_cmd_crash. Click on this issue to inspect it in detail.
The detailed analysis allows us to get an in-depth view of the fault down to the register level. This is pretty interesting and helpful at the same time providing a readable and comprehensive view than what we would see with the gdb server.
And that wraps up this tutorial.