Aug 252012
LittleWire programming Xinchejian SwarmRobot AtTiny via Arduino GUI

LittleWire programming Xinchejian SwarmRobot AtTiny via Arduino GUI

The LittleWire was mainly purchased to support Ihsan as he has been very open, providing a lot of really interesting information about his build process and design and it has also been interesting seeing the DangerousPrototypes community helping that process and even building many variations.

But now it looks like it will become my main and highly used programmer and in high demand for the Swarm Robot project, so I might have trouble finding time to play with all the other modes it has!

Thanks Ihsan!

May 122012

To help progress some projects and also to explore CPLD and FPGAs some CPLD breakout boards, a Bus Blaster and Open Logic Sniffer have been purchased from DangerousProtoypes (via SeeedStudio). To get started on the project ‘list’ some ATtiny85s, ATtiny2313As (pico power), ATMEGA328s and a Boarduino kit with have been purchased via the good folks at Xinchejian.

Unfortunately the Part Tester board, an ATXMEGA32A4U and some AtTiny’s  sent via two generous contributors in the DangerousProtoypes forums have taken the long way and not arrived after many months.

As often happens it is taking ‘a while’ to get all the new toys bedded in! Here are just some of the things that consumed lots of time:

  • Reinstalling a 2003 vintage Windows XP computer that did not like all the new USB devices and fatally blue screened.
  • On the main Linux development laptop, it has taken weeks learn how to get past the coms port not being installed for the Logic Analyser (a simple modeprobe did the trick!).
  • Some very puzzling issues trying to load firmware into the new Atmega 328s, where the new chips can be programmed via ISP in an Arduino but not on a bread board ISP circuit, yet older 328 chips already on hand do work in the same breadboard circuit!
  • Along the way, a misread resistor value on the reset line and incorrect jumper cabling on the coms port slowed things down as well!

Lots of times recently I pulled out my BusPirate to do things and I keep thinking just how good it is! Not only is it an excellent protocol analyser, but it has so many EXTRA uses, including ISP programmer, general purpose break out, logic analyser, serial pass through/FTDI, LCD driver, and even as a PC controlled power supply (on/off and select 3.3 or 5V – but hey when you are working away from your own desk – that is fantastic to have!)

The Open Logic Sniffer is now already proving it’s value by helping with debugging the Boarduino kit build and code on my current “pet” project.