EZ430-CHRONOS a watch that comes with a screwdriver

Texas Instrument was so kind to send the eZ430-Chronos Development Tool.

Its a watch that comes with an USB programmer and an USB access point and a screwdriver! YES no kidding! Although you can connect with it wireless you are actually encouraged to open the watch and use the usb programmer! Its on the market sinds 2010 and evolved a bit in time. I was lucky to get the latest version.

The Specs: Its has these sensors in it:

  • temperature sensor
  • battery voltage measurement
  • integrated pressure sensor
  • 3-axis accelerometer for motion sensitive control

To make it more fun it can also act as a hub for a speedometer (pedometer) and heart rate sensor.

There are loads of options you can do with it. Just see for yourself if you’re interested.

Photo from karuppuswamy.com

Photo from karuppuswamy.com

It comes with its own “Control Center” software and you can build your own software/firmware with Code Composer.

What I really like is that you can control you pc with this watch very easy. And amazing.. its can show you the time too! YES! Its like you can use your mobile to make phone calls!



FRAM MCUs for dummies

Texas Instruments and Mouser gave away this little book: “FRAM MCU’s for dummies”.

From the book cover it should teach:
Understand the technology behind Ferroelectric Random Access Memory (FRAM)
Incorporate FRAM in your embedded applications
Accelerate development time and enable truly differentiated solutions.

Its only 60 pages but I do need my spectacles to read it 😉


FTDI counterfeit FT232 chip?

So I was able to run the Bus Pirate with an older driver under various Windows flavours but there is still the fact that it also should work with the latest drivers.

Kamcm on the Dangerous Prototype forum digged up some links to the Arduino forum where folks were discussing the problems of a counterfeited FTDI chip. He might be right with that.

I asked Kevin from Seeed Studio if I could help them further (without having to send the “working” Bus Pirate) to China. Some Bus Pirate devices that can’t run the latest driver already arrived at the store so we checked the part numbers. One look at the the silk-screen on the FT232 chip tells us that my little BP could be a counterfeit. Seeed is investigating this chip with FTDI and has send some of the chips to a “counterfeit authenticate lab center”.

FTDI counterfeit chip on a Bus Pirate?

FTDI counterfeit chip on a Bus Pirate?

Its good to know that Seeed and Dangerous Prototype (and the people on the forum) are digging into it. Its easy to buy these parts thinking they are the real deal.

Sjaak on the DP forum explained it this way:
My guess there went something wrong in the supply chain and they bought a batch of bad (rejects) or counterfeit products. I been a couple of times into shenzhen and it is terrible hard to distinguish between genuine and fake parts (and all the variations in between). The price of the part doesnt always tell the difference. Seeed (and I think most manufacturers) have a selected trusted sources for their parts, but sometimes it slips through. 

We will wait and see. Seeed wil contact us when they know more about the chips. Time will tell. In the meanwhile I am able to use the Bus Pirate with the older driver and one piece of hardware I don’t want to work without anymore.

XMOS startKIT running on Crunchbang

Wanted to look at xTimecomposer and the  XMOS startKit so I dived into crunchbang again.

You need to do the following first:

Create a file “/etc/udev/rules.d/99-xmos.rules” with the following contents:

Note: The ATTRS, MODE and SYMLINK stanzas must be all on one line, as each rule can only be on one line.

Now tell udev to reload to ensure the new rules file is added:

It is also necessary to unplug and re-plug the USB cable to allow udev to recognise the device with the new rules. Alternatively trigger a re-plug in udev with either the “udevadm trigger” or “udevtrigger” command, depending on the version of udev in your Linux distribution.

Copied from: http://www.xcore.com/questions/1973/how-enable-usb-drivers-linux-development-tools


Te code examples are nice for now. It just shows you enough to want more.

XMOS xTime composer

XMOS xTime composer

I should use a chip puller

Don’t just pull the chip!

should use a chip puller

should use a chip puller