Unable to get USBtinyISP to work with Max OSX Catalina

Hi all

Firstly, I hate being a total newb, but I am. 1,000 apologies if firstly posting in the wrong area and secondly if I’m asking (seemingly) silly questions. I just can’t handle it anymore and need help, 2+ days of trying to sort this out and I just simply can’t - it’s seemingly well above my pay grade.

Background: I’m a remote control car/truck guy and have decided I wanted to modify my Turnigy 9x V2 transmitter. Now, this transmitter is widely used and modified as it’s a cheap and awesome unit that when you modify the software with Open TX it makes it very powerful.

There are a lot of online tutorials on the web to do this, that’s how I learned about Arduino and these forums.

The original Youtube video that took me down this path is here. (He starts soldering the wires to the board inside the Transmitter at this timestamp if interested). (Another one here as well with images and links to his video.)

This fella makes it look VERY simple to do this. Using a USBtinyISP and OpenTX it looks simple. (The radio I have can not use the most recent version of OpenTX software due to a known issue, so I have to use version 2.1.9).

I wired it up as per the first video and checked it about 10 times. The red LED come on on the USBtinyISP and also powers the transmitter, so that’s correct at least.

I downloaded OpenTX as stated above and couldn’t get it to find Avrdude until I searched about 2hrs worth of posts and worked out how to get it in the right directory through terminal etc. Also downloaded the latest Arduino program. It seems that in both programs it just simply can’t see the USBtinyISP at all. Especially in Ardunio, the only ports visible are Bluetooth which seems to be a well-documented issue in Mac OSX.

Have I overlooked something incredibly simple? Should “something” turn up under ports in Arduino software? I’d do anything to get this to work at this stage… :o

Anyhow, my specs below:

  • GY-Arduino ISP V2 - TinyUSB ISP (eBay link to the actual item here).
  • ATMEGA128A chip inside the Turnighy 9x Transmitter (image of chip and wiring below)
  • MacBook Pro 2019, 10.15.4

Have tried about five different USB to Micro USB cables, even bought a USBC to Micro USB to bypass the USBC hub I have to use.

Can see that there is something connected in System Preferences:
FabISP:
Product ID: 0x0c9f
Vendor ID: 0x1781
Version: 1.04
Speed: Up to 1.5 Mb/s
Location ID: 0x14300000 / 6
Current Available (mA): 500
Extra Operating Current (mA): 0

Tried so many things in terminal, have never been able to see any ports that are relevant. Only see the Bluetooth ports.

Screen Shot 2020-04-23 at 5.55.13 pm.png

Ok as another test I also bought a UNO r3 and an ISP Programmer from Jaycar.

Again nothing showed up. Seems like it's a Mac/Driver issue...

Anyone have any thoughts?

Interesting - I don't have any useful contributions on that specific programmer - but have you tried a USBAsp? They are pretty cheap...

Have you tried using a basic USB 2.0 hub between your computer and the USBTinyISP? USBTinyISP (and USBAsp) is based on "VUSB" a (non-compliant) approximation of the USB protocol that works on AVRs that do not support hardware USB - these make for dirt cheap hardware, but, particularly with USB 3.x ports, they don;t always work. The standard solution for this is to connect a USB 2.0 hub (not a USB 3.x one) to the USB 3.x port, and plug the VUSB device into that - this usually fixes compatiblity problem between VUSB devices and certain ports.

The one thing I have never understood is why there are all these VUSB programmers - yet you know what there isn't? One based on the 8u2? Why?!

DrAzzy:
Interesting - I don’t have any useful contributions on that specific programmer - but have you tried a USBAsp? They are pretty cheap…

Have you tried using a basic USB 2.0 hub between your computer and the USBTinyISP? USBTinyISP (and USBAsp) is based on “VUSB” a (non-compliant) approximation of the USB protocol that works on AVRs that do not support hardware USB - these make for dirt cheap hardware, but, particularly with USB 3.x ports, they don;t always work. The standard solution for this is to connect a USB 2.0 hub (not a USB 3.x one) to the USB 3.x port, and plug the VUSB device into that - this usually fixes compatiblity problem between VUSB devices and certain ports.

The one thing I have never understood is why there are all these VUSB programmers - yet you know what there isn’t? One based on the 8u2? Why?!

Thanks for the response. I had a look at my system and the hub that I use and while it seems that the hub is a USB3.0 when I go into my system and look at the USB connections it says USB 3.1 Bus>USB 2.0 Hub>4-port USB 2.0 Hub and we can see all of the devices plugged in (the Arduino UNO r3, the USBtiny44 and the USB ISP programmer.

Do you still think that I need to get a specific USB 2.0 hub to test this out?

The fundamental issue it seems is that I simply can’t identify and read the chip inside the transmitter (the chip is a ATMEGA128A).

This is such a frustrating process! Any thoughts are welcomed at this stage.

Well, for prosperities sake I'll respond to my own thread with the answer!

I downloaded Windows 10 for Mac and everything, and I mean EVERYTHING worked flawlessly.

Very disappointing that this is so hard on a Mac for what seems like no apparent reason.

If anyone stumbles upon this in the future from Googling it as I did, do yourself a favour and just download Windows, it's not worth the trouble.