Evalbot as a JTAG programmer

evalbot-as-jtag-programmer

[Adarsh] needed a JTAG programmer to push code to a CPLD dev board he was working with. He knew he didn’t have a dedicated programmer but figured he could come up with something. Pictured above is his hack to use a Stellaris Evalbot as a programmer.

Long time readers will remember the Evalbot coupon code debacle of 2010. The kits were being offered with a $125 discount as part of a conference. We were tipped off about the code not know its restrictions, and the rest is history. We figure there’s a number of readers who have one collecting dust (except for people like [Adam] that used it as a webserver). Here’s your chance to pull it out again and have some fun.

A bit of soldering to test points on the board is all it takes. The connections are made on the J4 footprint which is an unpopulated ICDI header. On the software side [Adarsh] used OpenOCD with stock configuration and board files (specifics in his writeup) to connect to the white CPLD board using JTAG.

Google ADK on an EvalBot

evalbot_google_adk

After learning that Google’s ADK relied on using an Arduino-compatible board, [Benjamin] was disappointed that other microcontroller platforms weren’t invited to the party. Rather than switch camps, he took it upon himself to get the ADK working with his EvalBot. In fact, his modifications should allow the ADK to work with nearly any Stellaris ARM kit.

The hack is composed of two parts. The first, and most important bit is the USB host driver he developed to work with the ADK. The code borrows some bits from Texas Instruments, and will be published on GitHub once he gets a chance to clean up the source a bit. To get his phone working with the EvalBot, he also had tweak the external USB power supply in order to provide the current required to operate properly with other USB-connected hardware.

It’s always nice to have more options when working with Google’s ADK, and [Benjamin’s] work is likely a welcome addition to any Stellaris developers toolkit.

Continue reading to see a quick video of his EvalBot ADK demo.

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Evalbot OS Set Free

[Theo] tipped us off about something that every TI Evalbot owner may be interested in, the The manual and source code for the uC/OS-III kernel is now available for download. UC/OS-III is what came with the evalbot, and it is a realtime operating system for that and many other chips. The problem with it for most hobby level people is that just the manual was 100$, and unless you already knew something about the system it did not sound very attractive.

But now micrium, the author of US/OS-III, has released the source code free to use in non commercial applications, and manuals for every chip supported it may drum up some more interest in this neat little RTOS. Though it does require a subscriber login.

Excerpt:

Dear Subscriber,

The ideal scenario for developers wishing to evaluate embedded software is to be granted easy access to the software’s full source code.  In the case of Micriµm’s celebrated real-time kernel, µC/OS-III, this ideal has become reality.  Last week, Micriµm announced a new policy for µC/OS-III: the kernel is now “source available.” µC/OS-III’s incomparably clean source code, as well as PDFs of the popular books describing the kernel, can be downloaded from Micriµm’s Web site at no cost, giving developers a refreshingly fast and simple means of beginning an evaluation

TI adds some Linux support for Evalbot – we’ve got hardware coupon codes for you!

In case you missed it, Texas Instruments sells a little robot called the Evalbot as a development platform for ARM Cortex-M3 microcontrollers. Since its release we’ve seen a few hacks on the hardware; the image above is a proof of concept for developing for the device under Linux. We have criticized TI in the past for not natively supporting Linux with their IDEs. We’re not sure how it will play out, but they have added new software package options to go along with the hardware. You’ll notice on their PR page that there is now an option to use CodeSourcery. It is a trial of the full version, but at least it is a step in the GNU direction from their previous offering.

The Hackaday team has been talking off and on with TI about the hardware. We’re happy to say that they’ve been listening to the Internet community about their likes and dislikes; following various online groups that have sprouted up to talk about Evalbot projects. It sounds like they’re thinking about hosting a contest using the hardware. So maybe you want to get your hands on one so that you can familiarize yourself and hit the ground running if/when that contest starts. You’re in luck, we can help save you a few bucks.

The first time that Texas Instruments tried out a $125-off coupon code the deal got away from them. It had been meant for attendees of the ESC Boston conference. They honored the deals that went through before the proverbial run-on-the-bank got shut down. This time around they’re using serialized deal codes to limit the number of give-aways. We’ve got 200 of them just waiting for our loyal readers to use. One code will let you purchase one Evalbot for just $25 (instead of $150).

Please take a moment to decide if you actually want (and will use) one of these robots, and decide if you are willing to shell out the $25 to order it. You see, we don’t want this deal going to waste. If you decide this is for you, send an email requesting a code to:We’re all out! We’ll dish out the deal on a first-emailed-first-served basis. We will update this post when all 200 have been claimed.

We will not tolerate anyone gaming the system and so we reserve the right to disqualify any email submission for any reason in an attempt to maintain some semblance of fairness. Also… if you’re planning to pick this up just to resell it for cash you’re a loser.

[update: Those who emailed us requesting a code should begin receiving replies this evening or tomorrow.]

[Update 2: here is the specific bot you should be trying to buy. ]

TI Evalbot development under Linux

We have some beefs about how Texas Instruments does things, the biggest of which is their lack of support for development under Linux operating systems. But if they build it, someone will try to get Linux involved in one form or another. This time around, [BLuRry] put together a guide to developing for the Evalbot under Linux. He got a shove in the right direction from the code package that went along with that nunchuck-controlled Evalbot. Picking apart that example to the bare essentials he wrote up the process of setting up the cross-compiling toolchain in a virtual machine so as not to clutter your system. From there he details how to set up and use Eclipse when starting a new project. What what did he choose for a Hello World experience? Well a plain “Hello World” was first but right on its heels is the “Hello Hack-A-Day” seen above. So if you’ve got one of these on hand get out there and start coding for it.

Evalbot nunchuck control

[Martin] got his evalbot recently and wanted to try controlling it with his Wii nunchuck. After some trial and error, he finally got it working. He’s shown that controlling the bot with the nunchuck was actually pretty simple, but there are some other tips that could be pretty helpful in the process. One was the fact that the point where he’s taking power for the nunchuck could easily be shorted on the motor. He wrapped his in tape, but we could see this little bug pestering us for a while before we figured out what it was.  You can download his code and see his build process on his site. Be sure to catch the video of it working in both accelerometer and joystick mode after the break.

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Five Free Evalbots

If you’re a member of a hackerspace and you’ve been hoping and wishing for an evalbot to tear apart with your bare hands, you’re in luck! [Dave Bullock] is giving out five evalbots to five lucky hackers chosen at random. We thought that the $125.00 deal we saw the other day was good but this is right outta town!

The draw is on Black Friday, so you’ve got a few days to submit your details. We’ve only had a few posts about the evalbot to-date covering the initial examination of the hardware and a USB power modification. We’re interested in seeing where people take this, and we’d love to follow how each of these free ‘bots turns out. For those already working on an evalbot, keep it up and take lots of pictures!

[Photo credit: Dave Bullock from eecue]

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