I had an earlier post where I gave up on the funnel. Given the pretty bad failure of Insteon I’m considering reverting to an earlier plan based on Xbees and custom software/hardware. This will almost certainly require more oomph than just an Xbee though so I thought I’d revisit the Funnel I/O card from SparkFun again.
Arduino (the ‘os’ it ships with) is just awful and overkill in my opinion. It might be ok if you’re playing with a little robot controller and maybe it’s just the funnel implementation, but yuck. So I considered reprogramming the booloader.
First it occurred to me I could just hook up my USB explorer board to this and do serial back/forth (without handshaking) pretty simply. I wired that all up and then realized you program through a synchronous set up in the 3×2 connector in the front-center of the board.
I’m still using the connection as a serial spy (see below), just not a bootload programmer.
Anyway, I walked again through Sparkfun’s wireless bootloader tutorial and realized it was pretty much what I wanted – an easy way to programmatically download a hex program. Woohoo. It does require that you reprogram the bootloader on the board which requires a programmer.
AVR Bites me Again
I bought the AVRISP Mark II to use with this. That was about $35 at Mouser.
Well, I did get this working but AVR’s software is so dreadful. I created a new C++ project which ran and built fine then decided to change the output directory. Lost the ‘compiler directive’ to build the hex file. In fact any sequence where you open the project options and click OK causes it to stop building. How cool is that?
It’s too bad I’m forced to use their hardware with this board because I sure hate their software. This is my second run-in with AVR’s lack of concept. The first was the raven where you could brick your own board from the lcd front-panel and the doc was so bad you couldn’t figure out how to avoid it.
:: After playing with this for a while, the software isn’t so awful. It loses it’s mind when you set a directory with spaces in the name (I think) and crashes every now and then but fundamentally it’s pretty usable.
The Funnel Mods
I started out and decided to solder the 6-pin berg connector for the programmer on the bottom of the Funnel board. It seemed neater. After doing this I realized the polarity of the connection was now backwards! I had to use a second cable to swap the pairs for that board (duh).
The second funnel (yes I have 2) I just placed the 6-pin berg connector into the AVRISP connector and hand-fit it to the board and it worked fine with no solder. Duh again.
Either way, I was able to successfully program the bootloader although once again it required power from my USB – the AVRISP couldn’t power the circuit. Not sure if that’s the board or the programmer but with two usb cables I was fine…
Next up I have to modify the bootloader for API mode and delimiters and see how it goes.
Well, I seem to have successfully modded the bootloader for API packet receipt. This is pretty cool. I used that serial connection so I can spy on the Xbee->AVR serial line (or the other way if I prefer) and immediately noted I had the wrong baud rate on the xbee! With the right baud rate I can see the packets coming in just fine. I’ve got the blinker telling me what’s going on with the AVR micro.
Here’s my funnel setup for testing. It takes 3 usb ports. One to spy on the internal serial, one to power the funnel, and one to run the AVR programmer.
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