hardware


It was fun to take part in NXP Technology Days 2016. Last year fusion of Freescale into NXP looks good, lots of useful solutions and possibilities gathered in one place. Very interesting On-Chip Security Mechanisms for Embedded Systems and Open-Source implementations for i.MX6 CPU family. Let’s hope that (probably upcoming) fusion of NXP into Qualcomm will not affect Open-Source Community in a bad way..

20161004-nxptechdays-tcedro-small

As an exercise, I have just designed (using FreeCAD) and 3D-Printed (using semi-translucent PLA material) a casing for M24LR-DISCOVERY (CR95HF NFC Reader). Let me know if you need one 🙂


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It is very kind of Sony that they created an easy way to unlock Bootloader of Xperia Android Smartphones. You can now customize your phone firmware and OS 🙂

http://developer.sonymobile.com/unlockbootloader/unlock-yourboot-loader/

I have just bought next inexpensive Xperia M5 phone with pretty nice hardware. However I already found those things to be missing or deliberately removed:

  • USB OTG does not work (solved).
  • CardBoard VR does not work.

Update regarding USB OTG – “it’s not a bug its a feature” – after you connect a USB device using OTG cable you need to run “Detect USB device” application that will make OTG work. Considering security this may be a good choice to allow external devices by hand.

dualshock4-bluetooth-pair-cederom

There is one simple way I have discovered to pair with Dualshock4 Playstation4 controller using standard Bluetooth Pairing Procedure. Make sure controller is turned off, then press and hold SHARE button, then press and hold PLAYSTATION button until LED starts to blink (two short white blinks every few seconds). You can now discover and enjoy your Dualshock4 controller with any Bluetooth (HID) enabled device. No cables and no additional applications necessary! 🙂

Dualshock4 is a really nice high quality and precise controller that can be used in many more interesting applications than only playing games. It is compatible with Bluetooth HID and USB HID standard. It contains 2 analog joysticks, 2 analog sliders, 13 buttons, touch-pad, accelerometer, vibrator, audio speaker with headset port, RGB LED, micro-USB port, and external expansion port..

Unfortunately, lack of self-compatibility seems to be a strong disadvantage of Playstation platform. Not only because PS4 does not run old software. Dualshock4 seems to have different way of handling button events as compared to Dualshock3 (default Playstation3 controller). It has some sort of auto-repeat feature (like PC BIOS keyboard) instead of button change events (like MIDI). This renders Dualshock4 unreliable on Playstation3 platform because of massive control glitches. Also DS4 PS button does not produce system menu on PS3, so you cannot use it as the main controller replacement. Sadly, it is impossible to use DS3 controller on PS4 as well. Hopefully, switching CPU to AMD64 and OS to FreeBSD could bring more self-compatibility to Playstation in future..

My port of HackRF has been committed. Enjoy your HackRF One SDR on FreeBSD OS! =)

If you want to build your own disk array, let’s say RAID, on your computer to increase disk space and efficiency, you should know about few important things in general:

  • You can consider MBR and x86 obsolete. New way is GPT, UEFI, AMD64.
  • Large RAID arrays (over 2TB) will not work with older hardware and OS (except FreeBSD) due to architecture limitations.
  • To use large RAID volumes you must use GPT partition scheme. MBR will not do the job.
  • Some systems can use GPT only with UEFI BIOS (i.e. Windows works with GPT only via UEFI). You may be forced to buy new motherboard.
  • UEFI and GPT is totally different way of bootstrap so you can forget what you know about BIOS and MBR here.
  • Hard Drives have hidden corruption-fix mechanisms in firmware that will make your RAID array fail to operate. For RAID choose dedicated drives such as WD RED (not Green, not Black, not Blue).

In order to use GPT and UEFI I have replaced my nice ASUS M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3 motherboard with M5A97 R2.0 only because M4 series did not support UEFI. New BIOS is totally different, but I am not really sure if replacing the hardware was mandatory..

Summing up, if you want to use large RAID volumes make sure first that you can use GPT and UEFI BIOS is present on your AMD64 hardware. If not, still you can use the FreeBSD as it knows how to bypass some limitations. Also remember to use dedicated HDD for RAID operations.

In case you wonder why your device does not connect as Modem via Bluetooth to the Mac OSX, or you cannot see COM port on Windows, your mobile device may not simply support or provide DUN (Dial Up Network) and/or SPP (Serial Port Profile) profile.

On Mac OSX I got following error, until I tried another device and/or starting by hand DUN service on a mobile/client machine:

cannot open /dev/cu.Bluetooth-Modem: Resource busy

Notes:

  • Read Bluetooth specification for Serial Port Profile.
  • Read Bluetooth specification for Dial-Up Network Profile.
  • Modern mobile phones / USB 3G dongles, unfortunately, do not provide direct AT/Hayes access to the Radio Modem anymore.
  • You can install DUN application for your smartphone, but it will be only a simple dummy wrapper imitating modem for simple applications, but they do not provide full modem functionality, beware, its a fake.
  • Its only necessary for devices to be paired first in order to get SPP/DUN working. If device does not provide serial port over bluetooth when devices are paired and online, probably its just not there implemented.

I am happy to announce a new release of LibSWD-0.6! Most important feature of this release is the standalone Application with an example of Command Line Interface (CLI), FTDI driver and ARM Cortex-M3 Core Debug and Flash support demonstration. Please report issues via Ticket System. Have fun! 🙂

I have created a simple patch for FreeBSD Operating System to detect and support FT2232H based KT-LINK interface. FTDI chips are already supported using uftdi driver and they can provide various serial and parallel protocols over USB such as RS232, JTAG, SWD, SPI, I2C, 1Wire, etc. My patch allows to use RS232 port on the KT-LINK which in conjunction with Minicom terminal software allows to talk to the Serial Console Port on various embedded systems. KT-LINK is really nice inexpensive (50EUR) and versatile tool for embedded system developers, now it became all-in-one tool on my FreeBSD box 🙂

http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/query-pr.cgi?pr=175893

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