Bus Pirate: Easter egg submissions


There’s an Easter egg in the Bus Pirate firmware. Type ‘+’ in the Bus Pirate terminal to see the current configuration bits for your PIC and some ASCII art. Now that we’ve announced it, we’ll change the key and message in the next firmware update.

Send us your ASCII art, it might be included in Bus Pirate firmware v2.3. An ASCII art generator might be helpful.

Bus Pirate: BPv3 is here


***Read about BPv3 here***

BPv3 circuit boards arrived today. By popular vote, the final PCBs will be RED. Tests look great, we’ll be ready ASAP. It’s National Day in China, so it might be a few days before Seeed is available to start the preorder.

Sorry about the lame posting the last few days, we’re busy stuffing boards and testing firmware. In the mean time, tell us what you thing of spoilers: do you want to know about our upcoming projects, or is it best to ‘drop’ them as a surprise?

Continue readingBus Pirate: BPv3 is here”

Bus Pirate: BPv3 final update



Nearly 1000 Bus Pirate v2gos were sold during Hack a Day’s preorder. It raised a ton of money, with all proceeds going to Mahalo, the company that owns Hack a Day.

Bus Pirate v3 is a complete redesign of the Bus Pirate v2go PCB, with improvements based on our experience running the preorder for Hack a Day. We optimized the PCB layout for production, and used a more widley available version of the PIC24FJ64GA002.

The top image shows the first revision of the v3 PCB. The stuffed, tested PCB is shown here. After working with the PCB we decided there were a few things we really didn’t like, so we made an ‘a’ revision.

The second version (below) has the LED resistors along the top edge of the PCB. This makes room for the 3.3volt power supply in the top corner, and eliminates some obscene routing.

The revised PCBs were submitted to our board house on Sept 9, and were mailed Sept 14. Normally they would arrive in 4-5days, but extra security surrounding a national holiday delayed the package in China until Sept 21. We would probably have the boards by now, but the tracking shows the package going to the wrong country. The address is definitely correct, it was just a random mail problem.

Today Seeed dispatched an additional shipment of BPv3 PCBs by DHL, which should arrive much faster. It’s a bit of a contest, which get here first: the DHL express packet, or the postal package forwarded from the Dutch Antilles?

BPv3 will be ready to go as soon as we test the final PCB, the article is already written and ready to publish. It’s a bit different that our usual design overview. We recount the development process that led to the current design, and dug up some very early ‘in house’ Bus Pirate prototypes. We’ll also talk about our experience running Hack a Day’s Bus Pirate preorder, and discuss how it influenced the v3 design.

Open source logic analyzer clients


Today we played with a few open source logic analyzer clients in preparation for an upcoming prototype. The best we found is SUMP, written in Java. There’s also compatible host software for several FPGA development boards, we found even more ports floating around the web.

SUMP has a SourceForge page, but it doesn’t look very active. Jack Gassett’s ButterFly Platform has a SUMP compile for Windows that doesn’t require you to install the complete Java framework. You’ll also need the rxtx Java library for your platform.

Do you know of any other clients or SUMP resources?

Free PCB Sunday: #twatch v1


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 week we’re giving away two PCBs for the 24FJ64GA002-based v1 #twatch development board, PCBs by Seeed Studio.  We used this board to develop our new ethernet LCD backpack without the limited programming cycles of the 18F67J60-based v2 #twatch.

Ask for one of the PCBs in the comments. Be sure to use a real e-mail in the address field so we can contact you for shipping info.

You might still be able to buy an assembled #twatch at Seeed Studio.

Continue reading “Free PCB Sunday: #twatch v1”

Tracking orders from Seeed Studio


We’ve gotten a few questions about tracking packages from Seeed Studio, like the Bus Pirate and #twatch preorders.

Seeed uses Hongkong Post by default, in our experience these packages usually take 4-7 days to arrive. When your order ships, Seeed sends a status update with a tracking number like EE123456789HK.

Use the Hongkong Post tracking site to see when the package leaves China. HongKong Post only tracks to the Chinese boarder, but they provide links to local mail services that provide further information in some countries.

Artwork by Aaron, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.

#twatch network LCD preorder update


The #twatch ethernet LCD backpack preorder is over, shipments will start around October 10, 2009. Our first project was a big success. Thank you for participating with comments and preorders!

If you missed out on the preorder, Seeed is making a few extra units you can buy for $45, worldwide shipping included. We don’t plan to make more, so these could be the last #twatches ever. We’ll post manufacturing progress updates as we get them.

Bus Pirate: New chip demonstrations


Have you used the Bus Pirate to interface an interesting chip? Send us a copy of the session output, if we use it on the site we’ll send you a free PCB.

Is there a part you’d like to see demonstrated with the Bus Pirate? Please make a request in the comments, if we use your chip suggestion we’ll send you a free PCB.

There’s a complete list of existing chip demonstrations in the Bus Pirate manual.

Continue reading “Bus Pirate: New chip demonstrations”

Bus Pirate: Python library


audiohacked has started a python library for the Bus Pirate. So far, it’s been tested as an EEPROM dumper:

I have started writing a python library for the bus pirate. It’s ugly and messy, but I was able to use it to dump the firmware from an SPI chip… You can contact me if you need more information.

The source code is available here.

Network LCD (#twatch) availablility update


**UPDATE*** Seeed is listing the #twatch again. They located additional PIC chips. The #twatch preorder has an estimated October 10 ship date.

#twatch production is limited by the number of PIC 18F67J60 ethernet microcontrollers Seeed can find for immediate delivery. Here’s some of the options at this point:

  • Seeed locates more PIC18F67J60s, they add more #twatches to the store for October 10 shipment.
  • If additional PICs are on back order, Seeed can start a second preorder with a later delivery date.
  • We’ve tested the #twatch with a smaller version of the 67J60, the 66J65. If Seeed locates these, an alternate #twatch version can be made.

Bus Pirate: Firmware v2.2 released


We didn’t make it in time for International Talk Like a Pirate Day, but Bus Pirate firmware v2.2 for all hardware versions is now available for download from the project Google Code page.

This release includes a few bug fixes for all hardware versions, updated Spanish translation, and a few new features like a transparent UART bridge.

Bus Pirate v3 is nearly ready, sign up for preorder notification here. More about this firmware release after the break.

Continue reading “Bus Pirate: Firmware v2.2 released”

Script to convert HTML (WordPress) to Instructables format


We’ve been cross posting our original creations here and at Instructables. Instructables is an awesome site where anyone can demonstrate how to do anything.

This is a WordPress blog, it uses HTML layout formatting. Instructables uses a kind of wiki-like markup. We whipped up a converter that replaces HTML elements with the Instructables equivalent. There’s a lot of formatting (tables) that doesn’t have an equivalent, that stuff gets stripped out. This is totally browser & JavaScript based, just save the web page and it should run from your computer.

Free PCB Sunday: Bus Pirate v2a


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 week we’re giving away two Bus Pirate v2a PCBs, PCB by Seeed Studio. The Bus Pirate v2a was really handy for developing the Bus Pirate v2 series, but the Bus Pirate v2go is really the final revision of the v2 design. The nicest feature of v2a is the power switch, which allows developers to reset the Bus Pirate without messing with the USB cable.

We’re giving away two PCBs this week, just ask for one in the comments. Be sure to use a real e-mail in the address field so we can contact you for shipping info. Some rules after the break.

Continue reading “Free PCB Sunday: Bus Pirate v2a”

#twatch: backlight control


The #twatch backlight is controlled through a TCP server on port 1337. We use Herculese as our TCP client.

Connect to the #twatch TCP server at the IP address shown on the LCD screen. Send the command 0xFE 0x42 0x00 to turn on the backlight. Send the command 0xFE 0x46 to turn it off. Programs like LCD Smartie and LCDProc send these commands automatically when they start and exit.

#twatch: Preorder update


We’re really excited about the #twatch preorder. Yesterday was a great day for the #twatch, Seeed Studio added a few extra to their store. Thank you for your support!

If things heat up, there’s a potential shortage of the PIC 18F67J60 chip we used. We built another #twatch using the slightly smaller PIC 18F66J65 chip as a backup. Even though the 66J65 is smaller, the #twatch firmware still only uses 50% of the program space. Seeed will update the order page to reflect this change if later orders ship with the new chip.

Prototype: Network LCD backpack


The most recent documentation is now on the wiki.

Character LCD screens that scroll information are a popular case mod. They’re usually controlled through a parallel port, serial port backpack, or USB backpack (more). This article demonstrates our open source ethernet network LCD backpack.

demo.250LCD control programs like LCD Smartie (Windows) and LCDproc (Linux, OSX?) can use the ethernet LCD backpack just like the serial and USB type, but over a network. It’s useful for monitoring any system from anywhere on a network: put LCDs where you can’t put a computer, or monitor a computer that’s difficult to reach.

We use it to scroll system info, RSS feeds, playlists, new email, Folding@Home stats, etc. away from the PC.

In this article we show you how to redirect LCD Smartie output from a serial port to the LCD backpack. This is part 2 of the network LCD backpack project, read part 1 here.

Seeed Studio has a few assembled ethernet LCD packpacks for $45, including worldwide shipping. Get them while they last because we won’t make more soon. If you missed this project, sign up here to be notified of future preorders.

Continue reading “Prototype: Network LCD backpack”

Hack a Day's Bus Pirate preorder 2: revision B5?

Bus Pirate v2go
Firmware v2.2-nightly
DEVID:0x0447 REVID:0x3043 (B5)

Hack a Day’s preorder 2 Bus Pirates are starting to arrive worldwide. Remember to upgrade the firmware when it arrives.

We’ve had one report that the latest preorder was assembled with revision B5 PIC 24FJ64GA002 chips. Press ‘i’ in the Bus Pirate terminal to see your PIC version. What revision did you get?