For months we’ve used our Bus Pirate universal serial interface tool to demonstrate electronics parts, so it’s only appropriate that the Bus Pirate get it’s own parts post. We recently had a Bus Pirate preorder, and today we received the pre-production Bus Pirate prototype from Seeed Studio. This prototype was mailed just a few days before preorder 1 started to ship, so those packages should start arriving any day.
Follow along as we unbox the prototype Bus Pirate, and connect it to a debugger to determine the PIC24FJ64GA002-I/SO revision that shipped with this board. Use this post to share your own Bus Pirate unboxing experience. Pictures and discussion after the break.
Most Bus Pirates will ship in a padded envelope (JPG), but ours came in a box with some PCBs for future projects and an AVR programmer.
Inside the box, the Bus Pirate is protected by a static dissipative bag. The Bus Pirate pin headers are stuck in foam to protect the packaging.
We ran a battery of functionality tests that covered USB, the user terminal, protocol libraries, power supplies, and pullup resistors. Everything passed our tests.
Next, we used a Microchip ICD2 debugger/programmer to make a backup of the firmware prior to doing a test upgrade/downgrade with the bootloader.
Connecting to MPLAB ICD 2
Setting Vdd source to target
Target Device PIC24FJ64GA002 found, revision = Rev 0x3042
…Reading ICD Product ID
Running ICD Self Test
MPLAB ICD 2 ready for next operation
All of our previous Bus Pirate version were built using Rev 0x3003 (A3) of the PIC 24FJ64GA002. Version A3 has a few issues, known as errata (PDF), one of which is a flaky hardware I2C module. These chips aren’t ‘defective’, they just have a few quirks like any complicated integrated circuit. The Bus Pirate firmware works around these issues using software techniques. Most desktop computer processors go through a similar stepping process.
Our Bus Pirate appears to have a B4 revision PIC (0x3042) that corrects some, but not all, of the errata from A3. This is no guarantee that every Bus Pirate will have a B4 PIC, preorder 1 and 2 are both sourced from multiple international vendors. Additionally, there’s no immediate benefit from having a B4 chip, someone will have to write software that takes advantage of the hardware. The next firmware update will print the PIC revision in the user terminal, check the nightly compiles if you’re anxious.
There is a revision B5 mentioned in the PIC errata. Some of these might find their way into preorder 2 boards.
Now that you’ve got your Bus Pirate, what do you do with it? We’ve got a bunch of part demonstrations to get you started.
Please leave a comment about your unboxing experience, and the devices you plan to interface.