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16  Products / Arduino Due / Re: Arduino DUE with Eclipse on: October 05, 2014, 05:54:29 am
The tutorial I followed was and it worked ok, but ignore the stuff about Reprap and Duet. Worked ok, I think there were a couple of small snags. I did use the 32 bit version not the 64 bit.

In order to provide more advice, we would need to know what error messages you get etc, "won't work" is not enough to go on.
17  Development / Other Software Development / Re: Getting the IDE source to run in Eclipse on: October 04, 2014, 03:59:59 am
I can't advise on the Eclipse issues, but I would strongly suggest using the ide-1.5.x branch. While 1.0.x is still a maintained stable branch, new development is going into 1.5.x.
18  Development / Suggestions for the Arduino Project / Re: byte description in on: October 04, 2014, 03:52:20 am
There is always a conundrum, do you teach people something simple but misleading, or something correct but confusing? There is no way round the fact that C/C++ are complicated things.

I think it is a bad habit to teach people to put leading zeros in numeric literals, especially in C/C++. If they can't read and understand the definition that says "A byte stores an 8-bit unsigned number" then they have bigger problems!

Specifying a binary prefix or padding to 8 bits does not make the value a byte, the type will be int. It would be better to teach people how numbers work, why leading zeros are not significant and perhaps how bits are stored if necessary.
19  Using Arduino / Installation & Troubleshooting / Re: Unable to get FT232R drivers loaded under Windows 7 64bit on: October 04, 2014, 03:36:47 am
I was unsure whether FTDI were doing the right thing, but I think I have changed my mind. Counterfeit chips are a big problem though often not talked about. I know that even reputable companies will go to the grey market to get stock if they need shorter lead times than the official disties, and risk picking up counterfeit parts. An example is Olimex, who were unfortunate to pick up some fakes.

The problem with fakes is not just loss of revenue for IP holder, but the fakes are simply lower quality compared to genuine parts. Prolific chips were widely copied, people had problems with what they thought were Prolific chips and I think their reputation suffered because of it. I am sure FTDI don't want the same thing to happen. I'll bet a lot of comms problems people have are down to fake chips.

So while it is pretty harsh if you have boards that stop working, I think I would prefer to know I have a genuine part rather than a fake that is going to give unreliable performance now or in the future. I've tried most of my boards with FT232 and they all seem to be ok, I might think differently otherwise!
20  Using Arduino / Installation & Troubleshooting / Re: Unable to get FT232R drivers loaded under Windows 7 64bit on: October 03, 2014, 10:46:50 am
The problem of counterfeit FTDI chips and FTDI drivers trying to detect them has been around for a while, so it may just be coincidence that people are finding devices stop working now. If you plug an old device into a USB port that has never been used with that device, Windows downloads the latest driver (unless you disabled that) rather than use the already installed driver.

There is a fascinating page here literally taking the lid off
21  Using Arduino / Installation & Troubleshooting / Re: Unable to get FT232R drivers loaded under Windows 7 64bit on: October 03, 2014, 10:25:51 am
This is interesting , in the INF file for the latest FTDI driver 2.12.00 this text has appeared

; Copyright © 2000-2014 Future Technology Devices International Limited
; USB serial port driver installation file for Windows 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Server 2008,
; Windows 7, Server 2008 R2, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2.
; SOFTWARE: This licence agreement (Licence) is a legal agreement between you (Licensee or
; you) and Future Technology Devices International Limited of 2 Seaward Place, Centurion Business
; Park, Glasgow  G41 1HH, Scotland (UK Company Number SC136640) (Licensor or we) for use of
; driver software provided by the Licensor(Software).
; 1.1   In consideration of you agreeing to abide by the terms of this Licence, the Licensor hereby
;      grants to you a non-exclusive, non-transferable, royalty free licence to use the Software on
;      the terms of this Licence.
; 1.2   In this Licence a "Genuine FTDI Component" means an item of hardware that was
;      manufactured for, and sold by, the Licensor or a member of the Licensor's group of
;      companies. It does not include any counterfeit or fake products.
; 1.3   If you are a manufacturer of a device that includes a Genuine FTDI Component (each a
;      "Device") then you may install the Software onto that device. If you are a seller or distributor
;      of a Device then you may distribute the Software with the Device. If you are a user of a
;      Device then you may install the Software on the Device, or onto a computer system in order
;      to use the Device.
; 1.4   In each of those cases you may:
;      1.4.1   install and use the Software for your purposes only; and
;      1.4.2   only use the Software in conjunction with products based on and/or incorporating a
;             Genuine FTDI Component.
; 1.5   The Software will not function properly on or with a component that is not a Genuine FTDI
;      Component. Use of the Software as a driver for, or installation of the Software onto,  a
;      component that is not a Genuine FTDI Component, including without limitation counterfeit
.  It is the Licensee's
;      responsibility to make sure that all chips it installs the Software on, or uses the Software as a
;      driver for, are Genuine FTDI Components. If in doubt then contact the Licensor.  

.. continues....

(my highlights)

You have all read and agreed to that haven't you? smiley

So it seems that FTDI are now deliberately disabling counterfeit devices.

The license stated in the INF file is not legally binding, since the driver is installed automatically without the user seeing and given the opportunity to decline the agreement [IANAL]. Disabling user's property is probably illegal, but I doubt you'd win any suit in court.

FTDI are perfectly within their rights to only support genuine products, but I am not sure disabling clones is a sensible tactic, particularly when there is a trivially easy way to circumvent it. They are probably looking forward to the day when only Microsoft approved drivers can be installed on Windows, and it is a crime to tamper with your Windows installation!

I didn't see anything in the INF file that disables counterfeits, so either the change happened in an earlier release or more likely the code is in the binary drivers.

The advice to "only buy from FTDI authorised sellers" may as well be "don't buy FTDI", since not even big suppliers like RS and Farnell are authorised sellers. You'll be ok with Mouser and Digikey though smiley
22  Using Arduino / Installation & Troubleshooting / Re: Unable to get FT232R drivers loaded under Windows 7 64bit on: October 02, 2014, 02:33:10 pm
There was a recent FTDI windows driver update, although I can't see anything that might cause devices to stop working.
FTDI - Other hardware - USB Serial Converter

Download size: 825 KB

You may need to restart your computer for this update to take effect.

Update type: Optional

FTDI Other hardware software update released in August, 2014

I believe this is FTDI version 2.12.00, release note here I guess if there was a change to nobble fakes they might not publish that info.

That update is pending in my Windows update...

Possibly due to recent news about USB hacking vulnerability they have been tightening up on USB drivers, or someone just goofed an update.

FDTI have a tool to edit the data in their devices called FT_PROG, it might be a way to recover faulty devices. It's also a way to mess it up completely, but if it doesn't work anyway maybe no loss.
23  Development / Other Hardware Development / Re: Does FTDI232 chip need programming before use? on: October 02, 2014, 02:07:10 pm
I've found that parts of 0805 size and SOIC pitch can be soldered OK with small amount of magnification, using fine tip soldering iron and solder. I tried some other techniques like solder paste and heat gun without consistent success, what really kicked my SMT into high gear was buying a cheapish stereo microscope, with wide field x10 eyepieces. With practice I can do QFP and TSSOP without problem, I am moving to 0603 part also.

That's ok for 1 offs,  I wouldn't want to make multiple boards with that method. I think solder paste and reflow oven (toaster oven) is the way to go there.

I think without an effective SMT technique and cheap PCBs from China I would be doing a lot less hardware projects. I've nothing against DIP and 0.1 stripboard, I spent many a year building those, but now most of the chips I am interested in are not available in 0.1 packages.

Btw, Microchip do a USB-serial chip in SOIC package, MCP2200, which is pretty handy.

24  Using Arduino / Microcontrollers / Re: What's this I found on eBay? on: October 02, 2014, 01:41:16 pm
For $4, you can get the PSoC 4200 which is an ARM M0+ uC.
Only 4K SRAM and 32K Flash and runs at 48MHz.

However, the learning curve of the Cypress tools is pretty steep (but all free); although once the hill is climbed, the view is fantastic!  The 4200 PSoC has 4 Configurable Digital Blocks which can morph into lots of really neat hardware: from OpAmps to USARTs.

I like the sound of $4 dev board smiley I just need to find somewhere I can order without paying $15 delivery charge smiley-sad

Would it help the learning curve if there was support within Arduino IDE for Psoc 4?
25  Development / Other Software Development / Re: ARM announces Device Platform and Free OS for Cortex-M based MCUs (mbed 3.0 IoT) on: October 02, 2014, 12:10:37 am
Hmm, "mbed Device Server: a licensable software product that", so not that free then.

I kinda of expect nowadays marketing material to say the opposite of reality.
26  Using Arduino / Microcontrollers / Re: What's this I found on eBay? on: October 01, 2014, 11:53:05 pm
I ordered some Maple Minis but not received yet, but I did get an IteadMaple which I think has the same chip.

It seems that Leaflabs are pursuing other interests nowadays and their IDE is not actively supported. I am looking at creating a Maple package for the 1.5.x IDE, it should be straightforward.
27  Community / Bar Sport / Re: ARM Cortex-M7 on: September 30, 2014, 06:04:24 pm
I've always been puzzled why there is so little RAM on micro-controllers, I suppose there is a technical reason rather than just marketing.

It's fairly easy to add support to the Arduino IDE for ARM dev boards, especially since 1.5.x, provided that the target chip has a built-in bootloader. Most of the NXP and STM32 chips do, which is good because they are widely available.
Of course, you don't get real-time debug, and the Arduino API is only just enough to get you going, but you can still write code to directly access all the extra features in these chips.

I see a lot of cheap and powerful boards in an Arduino form factor, and wish they were supported by the Arduino IDE. So prompted by ChrisMicro, I have put his LPC810 code into an Arduino package, and am working on support for LPC11xx chips. Ultimately I would like to get support for some of the Cortex M4F chips. If anyone is interested, the repo is at

It seems that most of the manufacturers are heading towards mBed, not sure whether it is seen as more professional or if Arduino is seen as Atmel territory, perhaps a bit of both.
28  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: Is Teensy the answer for video processing ? on: September 30, 2014, 01:38:29 pm
The key question is, how many tons of RAM do you need? Microcontrollers might have up to 512KB on board, above that you need external RAM. SRAM gets you into low MB range, for GB you need DDR of some type. Many micros have external memory bus so adding SRAM is relatively easy. DDR tends to be more on application class chips.

Generally the dev boards with a lot of RAM are Linux based, some may be used in bare metal mode. There are few MCU boards with external RAM, e.g. STM32F429 Discovery has 2MB. There are none I know of that are supported by the Arduino IDE, I'd be happy to hear otherwise.

I would look at the CMUcam and OpenMV projects, they are doing something similar with small micros.
29  Using Arduino / Project Guidance / Re: How to build it own Arduino Due? on: September 28, 2014, 11:47:19 am
I have also think to change the ATMEGA16U2-MU by an FTDI 232. But with this solution, we can't have RESET_CMD and ERASE_CMD.
Is that really important ?

Do you have some solution for me?

The "standard" FTDI programming cable has DTR which can be used to toggle reset, you could have a "boot" button on the board which the user is required to press before programming.

I am looking into creating a programming cable which can control both reset and boot/erase lines, but that requires an FTDI breakout with more lines, or using a Pro Micro. In either case it requires new versions of software to toggle both lines.
30  Using Arduino / Installation & Troubleshooting / Re: Arduino Pro mini 3.3V/5V adjustable? on: September 28, 2014, 10:55:56 am
Firstly, S4 is a diode, not a switch!

There are many variations of the Pro Mini, I think the one you have is not adjustable. In the original Sparkfun design, although the chip will run with VCC = 3.3V or 5V, the onboard regulator is 3.3V if you run from the RAW input.

I've found the third-party sellers can be quite vague about the version they are selling, and never found schematics for them.
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