Keil Logo

GENERAL: MAKING BINARY FILES FROM HEX FILES


Information in this article applies to:

  • MDK-ARM All Versions
  • C51 All Versions
  • C251 All Versions
  • C166 All Versions

QUESTION

I need to create a BINARY file from the HEX file created by the object-HEX converter program. Where can I find a utility that does that?

ANSWER

You may want to consider using the free srec_cat.exe utility which is available as Windows EXE file from https://sourceforge.net/projects/srecord/files/srecord-win32. It is part of the SRecord project hosted on sourceforge.net. With this utility, you can load one or multiple HEX files, cut out specific address areas, move them to a new address and store them to a BINARY file.

You can invoke srec_cat.exe from a Windows command prompt or Make tool:

srec_cat.exe HexFile.hex -Intel -o BinaryFile.bin -Binary

You can also invoke this tool after each project build/rebuild by specifying its invocation in the µVision dialog Options for Target - User - After Build/Rebuild. In this example, the HEX file which is generated by a µVision project build/rebuild is converted to a binary file in the same folder. Please see the description of µVision key sequences for more details. If many parameters are needed, it may be easier to use a command file. When using a command file for srec_cat.exe, be sure to double the '@' character, or µVision might interpret it as a key-sequence.

For a full description of all srec_cat.exe parameters, refer to the SRecord Reference Manual. Here are some options which are useful with Keil tools:

  • -Disable_Sequence_Warnings
    This option suppresses a warning if records of the input Intel HEX file are not sorted in ascending address order. HEX file generated by OH51 or OHX51 are not sorted in ascending address order.
  • -address-length= 2 or 3 or 4
    Specifies the number of address bytes in the Intel HEX output file. By default, srec_cat generates extended address records (type 04) for an address range of up to 4GB. Since a code banked application is bigger than 64K, -address-length=2 must not be used before specifying the output file. This would limit the max. address space to 64K.
  • -Output_Block_Size= ByteCount
    Specifies the length of each HEX record. By default, srec_cat generates lines containing up to 32 bytes of data. If you want to limit the max. line length to 16 bytes (compatible to OH51, OHX51, OH251 or OH166), use -Output_Block_Size=16.
  • -fill FillValue StartAddress EndAddress
    Fills unused areas with the specified constant value. A fill value of 0xFF is often used with this option because it corresponds to erased Flash.
  • -crop StartAddress EndAddress
    Only loads the specified address area from the previous input file. This option can be combined with -offset.
  • -offset Offset
    Adds an address offset to the previous input file. Positive or negative values are allowed. This option can be combined with -crop.
  • -Intel
    Can be used after an input or output filename to specify that an input file should be interpreted as an Intel HEX file or an output file should be generated as an Intel HEX file.
  • -Binary
    Can be used after an input or output filename to specify that an input file should be interpreted as a binary file or an output file should be generated as a binary file.
  • @CommandFile
    A command file can contain some or all invocation parameters for srec_cat.exe. You can even use comments -- starting with '#' extending to the end of the line.


Example:

If you want to convert a HEX file (HexFile.hex) which contains max. 32K of code (address range 0x010000-0x017FFF) to a BINARY file (BinaryFile.bin) of exactly 32K where all gaps are filled with 0xFF, you can use the following srec_cat.exe command file:

# BL51 hex files are not sorted for ascending addresses. Suppress this warning
-disable-sequence-warning
# take HexFile.hex address area 0x010000-0x017FFF and subtract an offset of 0x010000
.\OBJ\HexFile.hex -Intel -crop 0x010000 0x017FFF -offset -0x010000
# Fill gaps from 0x0000-0x7FFF (32K) with value 0xFF
-fill 0xFF 0x0000 0x8000
# generate a Binary file
-o .\OBJ\BinaryFile.bin -Binary

Invocation of srec_cat.exe with command file:

srec_cat.exe @CommandFile


MORE INFORMATION

SEE ALSO

FORUM THREADS

The following Discussion Forum threads may provide information related to this topic.

Last Reviewed: Tuesday, July 17, 2018


Did this article provide the answer you needed?
 
Yes
No
Not Sure
 
  Arm logo
Important information

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. By continuing to use our site, you consent to our cookies.

Change Settings

Privacy Policy Update

Arm’s Privacy Policy has been updated. By continuing to use our site, you consent to Arm’s Privacy Policy. Please review our Privacy Policy to learn more about our collection, use and transfers
of your data.