Open source digital sampling oscilloscope

Please join us in the forum to discuss a digital sampling oscilloscope add-on for the open source logic analyzer (currently referred to as project SUMP PUMP). Our general goal is to design an inexpensive expansion board that samples analog voltages at 50MHz+.

The combination of a logic analyzer and sampling oscilloscope is a powerful debugging tool. The logic analyzer displays changes in signal states, the oscilloscope reveals how clean the transitions are.

We’re in the process of choosing a parallel ADC chip and discussing analog front-end designs. Feel free to make requests, suggestions, or just follow along.

Bus Pirate case from DS/Maxim sample box

Maff^ posted some pictures of a Bus Pirate case made from a Dallas/Maxim sample box in the forum. Lots of people have a few of these little boxes, this is a great way to recycle one.

I decided to create my own housing. I had a small transparent box laying around where the BPv3 fitted in perfectly. It’s a box from Dallas Semiconductors / Maxim that contained some DS1820 samples I ordered a couple of years back. Using a Dremel (clone) I created notches for the USB connector and the pin header. A couple of days later I also added some ‘light pipes’ because those red LEDs are pretty bright, maybe even a little to bright :). I also tried out the STK500 firmware and successfully programmed an AtTiny2313.

Thanks for the tip!

Bus Pirate firmware v3.5 released

Bus Pirate firmware v3.5 is available for download. Update using the normal firmware upgrade procedure. This release does not reach into the upper memory page, so there shouldn’t be any upgrade issues. Changes include:

  • All bitbang libraries updated to include 100kHz and 400kHz speeds (I2C, raw2wire, raw3wire).
  • Updated self-test, includes over voltage check.
  • Transparent UART bridge macro with hardware flow control pass-through (v2go/v3 only).
  • Removed experimental hardware I2C mode.
  • User interface touch up.
  • Bug fixes here and there.

Since release v3.1 the Bus Pirate v2go and v3 share the same firmware. Upgrade v2go with the firmware for v3.

DIY Bus Pirate PCBs

s3c posted this home-etched Bus Pirate v3 PCB in the forum. Nice work!

Do you etch your own PCBs? We send double-sided PCBs to the board house, but still etch simple single-sided designs. Bus Pirate v0, va, and v1 were all etched on the stove in Ian’s kitchen.

If you don’t want to etch your own Bus Pirate PCB, you can buy an assembled Bus Pirate at Seeed Studio for $30, including worldwide shipping. Purchases at Seeed Studio support further development of this open source hardware.

Bus Pirate bootloader v3 testers, help needed

ds30 Loader is the new bootloader we’ve chosen to replace the broken AN1157 bootloader currently in the Bus Pirate. It has a bunch of benefits:

  • Takes less than 10 seconds to update the firmware
  • Fixes the ‘slow’ bootloader problem effecting some PICs
  • Opens 6KB of program space for more features
  • Applications for Windows, Linux, and MAC are available
  • Single bootloader for v2go/v3
  • Released under the GPL
  • Safer than the AN1157 bootloader
  • Can be installed with the existing bootloader

Before the new bootloader can be deployed, we need to fix an error in the loader applications and do a lot of testing. We’re offering our next monthly project as a bounty on the software modifications. If you’re interested in testing the new bootloader, or can help patch the loader apps, we’ve got a lot of details for you below.

Continue reading “Bus Pirate bootloader v3 testers, help needed”

Bus Pirate bootloader bug

There is nothing wrong with the Bus Pirate, this will only effect future firmware upgrades.

There’s an erase issue with the AN1157 bootloader used in all Bus Pirate versions. So far it’s not been a problem because it only effects an unused section of memory, but the next firmware release might require that space. The translated versions already use it. There’s a risky procedure that will clear the entire chip, but it’s 100% guaranteed to brick your Bus Pirate if something goes wrong.

The bottom line is that a bootloader update is needed if the firmware grows much larger, we need to reclaim that space (up to 6KB). Normally a bootloader upgrade requires a ‘real’ PIC programmer, but we can deploy the GPL’d ds30 Loader (also used in the web platform) using the existing bootloader. Bootloader upgrades for everyone! But not yet! There’s still some issues. Additional details to follow.

Having Bus Pirate Tera Term issues?

The most recent shipments of Bus Pirate v3 are starting to arrive worldwide. Some users are having a problem with the Tera Term terminal program.

First, please test your Bus Pirate with a terminal prior to upgrading. It’s harder to troubleshoot if we can’t immediately eliminate factory defect as the cause. Second, make sure you follow the Tera Term configuration guide in the Bus Pirate 101 tutorial. If that doesn’t work, try replacing your teraterm.ini configuration file with this one (be sure to update the COM port to match your system). There’s also additional help in the forum.

Bus Pirate: OpenOCD (JTAG) firmware port v00

A Bus Pirate v2go/v3 port of the OpenOCD JTAG debugger source code from USBPROG is complete. You can download the source and latest compile from the OpenOCD folder in the project SVN.

Firmware is only half of the equation though, OpenOCD doesn’t yet support the USBPROG protocol over a (virtual) serial port like the Bus Pirate uses. There are about 8 instances of USB read and writes in the USBPROG OpenOCD patch than need to be changed to use a serial port, plus some serial port initialization functions. Any help and feedback is always appreciated, feel free to use the Bus Pirate OpenOCD support forum.

Continue reading “Bus Pirate: OpenOCD (JTAG) firmware port v00”

Utilities: Picture Resizer 4.0

Picture Resizer is a batch image processor we couldn’t live without. Drag and drop images onto the executable to resize and adjust quality.

The really cool part is how you configure the image settings: just change the file name.  PhotoResizeW450Q95O.exe resizes images to 450 pixels wide (W450) and saves a JPEG with 95% quality (Q95). A renaming wizzard on the homepage helps create file names for custom settings.

The only thing we’d add is a simple renaming guide available when you double-click the executable.

Free PCB Sunday: Infrared receiver/transmitter

We go through a lot of prototype PCBs, and end up with lots of extras that we’ll never use. Every Sunday we give away a few professionally-made PCBs from one of our past or future projects, or a related prototype.

This is a prototype PCB for an upcoming USB infrared receiver/transmitter project, it isn’t the final board. This version was used in our remote control Halloween pumpkin. It took several tries to get this board right, this is the very first. The PCB is too thin for a reliable connection with the on-board A-connector, but it also has a footprint for a standard USB B-connector.

We’re giving away two PCBs this week, just ask for one in the comments.

Continue reading “Free PCB Sunday: Infrared receiver/transmitter”

USB remote control receiver #5 of 2009!

One of Ian’s projects featured at Hack a Day, a USB remote control receiver, was the 5th most popular project of 2009. We’re surprised the Bus Pirate didn’t make that list, but we’re proud of this project too. Our primary music and video player is a PC, we made this device because we needed it, and we use it daily to control Winamp and VLC.

This announcement is well-timed, as we’re currently putting the final touches on a new infrared receiver/transmitter toy. Look for this project in the next few weeks, but we’ll give away some prototype preview PCBs later today.

Thanks Hack a Day!

Web platform: kit vs assembled

The web platform, December’s project of the month, is our second to be offered as a kit or as assembled hardware. We guessed that the kit would be the most popular option, but we were totally wrong. Seeed Studio’s latest report shows the assembled version is preferred almost 3 to 1. Is it the SSOP FTDI chip?

Seeed now lists assembled hardware by default, tick the box to get a kit instead and save $5. If you accidentally bought a kit, but wanted assembled hardware, there’s still time to contact Seeed to make a switch before the orders ship.

Thanks to everyone who supported this project. We’re busy working on an introduction to PIC programming for the web platform, look for that article next week.

The web platform is available as a kit for $35, including worldwide shipping. Seeed Studio will assemble yours for $5 more.

Bus Pirate OpenOCD (JTAG) support update

OpenOCD is a popular open source JTAG utility. Zach Welch, a regular contributor to the project, has offered to help add Bus Pirate support.You can follow the progress in his git repository.

The current plan is to port the excellent work done by the USBPROG project to the Bus Pirate. Here are some tentative goals:

  • Port the AVR/USB-based microcontroller code from USBPROG to the Bus Pirate. Modify the code to work through the PIC serial port.
  • Add a Bus Pirate device to OpenOCD based on the existing USBPROG source code. Modify the code to write and read through a serial port.
  • Add message header, checksum to the existing USBPROG protocol.

JTAG debugging support via OpenOCD is an exciting new feature. We hope to have a firmware for developers and testers in the next few days. Any help and feedback is always appreciated, feel free to use the Bus Pirate OpenOCD support forum.

Bus Pirate feature requests?

Firmware version 3.3 for the Bus Pirate will be released in a few weeks. Are there any bug fixes or features you’d like to see in the next firmware release?

We’ve made these updates since the last release:

  • Self-test now checks for voltage regulator over range, as well as under.
  • UART macro 3: transparent bridge with RTS/CTS hardware flow control signals.

Image of the fantastic laser etched case by Ril3y.

Xymon server and network stats on the #twatch

Xymon, previously “Hobbit”,  monitors server and network up-time, provides real-time monitoring, availability reports, downtime alerts, etc.

noxin submitted a Perl script that displays Xymon data and alerts on the #twatch networked LCD screen. You can browse all the #twatch scripts in the project SVN.

The #twatch is currently in stock at Seeed Studio: $30 for the bare board, and $45 with an LCD attached, prices include worldwide shipping.

Rough draft: 48 channel networked LED controller

Here’s a new project we’d like to develop openly, like the recent logic analyzer board . This rough sketch shows a 48 channel LED controller with an ethernet interface. Our primary goals are:

  • 48 channels of 10bit PWM LED control
  • Ethernet interface
  • Up to 120mA of LEDs per channel

The networked LED controller would use the 24FJ64GA002-SO as the main microcontroller, and an ENC28J60 for the network connection. A 25AA02E48 EEPROM would hold settings and a unique MAC address so multiple boards can share the same network.

The LEDs would be driven by three TI TLC5940s, each with 16 channels of 10bit PWM. The current of the LEDs is set with a single resistor, ideally this would be done with a digital pot for easy network configuration. This chip is cascadable, so an expansion header would make it possible to stack extra TLC5940s on top of the base.

The overview continues below. We’re eager to hear your suggestions here, or in the forum.
Continue reading “Rough draft: 48 channel networked LED controller”

Free PCB Sunday: USB RGB color changer

We go through a lot of prototype PCBs, and end up with lots of extras that we’ll never use. Every Sunday we give away a few professionally-made PCBs from one of our past or future projects, or a related prototype.

This is a USB controlled RGB color changing light. Ian did this project at DIY Life, a Weblogs, Inc. site that shut down about a year ago. Someone made some minor modifications to the design and had a bunch of boards produced, we ended up with a pile of the extras. This PCB is as-of-yet untested, you can discuss it in the forum.

We’re giving away two PCBs this week, just ask for one in the comments.

Continue reading “Free PCB Sunday: USB RGB color changer”

Geeky holiday gifts

Did you get any hardware or geek toys this holiday?

We received two replacement soldering irons for the Aoyue 968 rework station in the lab. The plastic handle on the old iron broke, but it still worked so we epoxied it back together. Not a fan of high heat, the epoxy often came loose in the middle of long soldering sessions. We kept gluing it back together, but it was high time for a new iron. Like most tools, this is a gift we’ll appreciate all year long.