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General Tips

  • When attempting to do a project microcontroller-related, look up “Arduino ——” for better-explained versions that aren't too technical, and look for “AVR ——” or “ARM ——” for fully-featured solutions with more technical explanations.
  • Usually a certain chip can do a lot, it's just a matter of implementing it! XBee does ADC!
screen /dev/tty.usbserial-A400gw05 115200 >> output.txt
//Ctrl-A then Ctrl-K then y and <Enter> exits

Arduino dumb stuff

Turn on warnings for arduino! It'll catch dumb compiler stuff like this:

unsigned long a = 500 * 1000; // ~30000
unsigned long a = (unsigned long) 500 * 1000; // 500000

Also default value for int is 2^16

Arduino setup

Name Board Programmer Notes
Pro Trinket Pro Trinket 5V 16MHz USBtinyISP Need to install Adafruit driver for Windows
Arduino Clone (CH340) Arduino Duemolinovae AVRISP mkII Need to install CH340 drivers for Windows


Cheap arduino clones at Banggood. Probably don't want an attiny as there's not a lot of flash/ram space. .50 more and a little more real estate to use something more, 328p for example.

Don't need it right now as I have other similar boards available that I can use up. But for future projects…

Bought FTDI header. Cheap.

Buck converter


It might be helpful to have a simulator running your chip. For example, if you want to give funky inputs but don't have an extra scope lying around. Ehhh…most people want to test on the hardware itself.

Spark Core Stuff

  • To build for CORE, slightly different at end for photon. See mdma post
> git clone
> git checkout latest //(not develop)
> cd firmware/user/applications/
firmware/user/applications> ln -s ~/Dropbox/eng/projects/homerot/spark/homerot/src/ homerot
firmware/user/applications> cd ../../main
firmware/main> sudo make clean all PLATFORM=core APP=homerot program-dfu
  • Really spotty Serial? Disable Spark cloud syncing by using SYSTEM_MODE to turn it off. But, you'll need to flash locally (which you'll prefer anyways)
  • Can't get WiFi to connect out of the box? Install the Spark Command Line Interface then apply the CC3000 patch
  • Can't get WiFi to turn off then on? Don't hammer the WiFi chip with connect() calls. Let it tell you when it's ready.
bool WiFiEnabled = 0;
void loop() {
    if (ConnectToWifiNow == 1 && WiFiEnabled == 0) {
        WiFiEnabled = 1;
    //Wait until WiFi is ready
    if (WiFi.ready() == 1) {
        //Do sync stuff
        WiFiEnabled = 0;
  • Want to sync your RTC? You can't simply run Spark.syncTime(), you have to do Spark.connect() and Spark.process() as below.
bool SparkConnect = 1;
if (WiFi.ready() == 1 && SparkConnect == 0) {
    SparkConnect = 1;
if (WiFi.ready() == 1 && Spark.connected() && < 1000000) {
    Serial.println("Syncing time");
if (WiFi.ready() == 1 && Spark.connected() && > 100000) {
    WiFiConnect = 0;
    SparkConnect = 0;
  • Weird bugs in compiling like `__dso_handle' isn't defined and “undefined reference to operator(void)”? Make sure your backup file names end with something other than .cpp >.<


JTAG Hardware

I am using a Bus Pirate for debugging because I have it lying around. Bus Pirate pinout,Spark core Pinout (make sure TDO (D4 on Core)is pulled up with 10K resistor!)

Additionally, if your wifi isn't working (optionally, you hear a high-pitched whining from the board), plug in your USB serial cable as you don't have enough power!. It provides the >200mA of current needed for the WiFi chip plus your normal serial connection.


Build your code using make (as normal), but add JTAG and debug flag support:

make clean //Erase your normal (non-debug) build
USE_SWD_JTAG=y DEBUG_BUILD=y make  //Rebuild with debug flags

Set some stuff for OpenOCD:

source [find interface/buspirate.cfg]
#Set serial port
buspirate_port /dev/ttyUSB0
# Not really used
buspirate_vreg 0        #turn on voltage regulator
buspirate_mode normal   #or open-drain
buspirate_pullup 1
# This is a SPARK-CORE board with a single STM32F103MD chip.
source [find target/stm32f1x.cfg]
# use hardware reset, connect under reset
reset_config srst_only srst_nogate

Start up OpenOCD server

> sudo openocd -f mybuspirate.cfg -f sparkcore.cfg

Open up a Telnet connection to OpenOCD to reset the chip if needed. (soft_reset_halt seems to work better than reset halt)

> telnet localhost 4444
telnet> soft_reset_halt


To run, do arm-none-eabi-gdb -x jtag.gdb -tui, then <Ctrl>+x 2 which enables assembly and code view mode. <Ctrl>+x o switches the views. More info here

target remote localhost:3333
file core-firmware.elf
set remotetimeout 2000

Use eclipse?

Other OpenOCD commands

Local Builds

<project-dir> > sudo ../sparky make

To distinguish between the normal spark commands and Spark-Util commands, I've made a local executable of spark-util and called it sparky

Follow Spark-Util instructions for doing multiple projects at once. However, I think you need to reset in between changing projects, which wipes out your file, so be sure to have a backup.

Added -std=gnu++11 to CFLAGS += in spark/core-firmware/build/Makefile, now static asserts work!

Splitting Up Files

Can't put header and implementation in the same file for some reason. It's saying there's multiple definitions :/

Arduino Stuff

Boring but useful tools


Power Optimization

  • Great videos of using AVR's picoPower (and source docs):
  • Examples from JeeLabs on practical implementations with current measurements. (gets into resetting based on Watchdog Timer to save more power! Linked at bottom of page)

General Tips

Using μC as USB Slave Input (Human Interface Device)

In Hardware

In Software

Not sure how much easier hardware method using LUFA is compared to software V-USB. Will be finding out soon.

ARM Development


  • STM32 Development (C compilation). Step-By-Step Introduction by Geoffrey
  • LeafLabs Delivers Maple microprocessors, similar to Arduino in coding. Might be a performance hit, but likely not. Should look at for future projects!!!
  • (1/7/11)opensourcearm.pdf Long tutorial on using Eclipse and other Open Source tools for C & ARM development. Might be useful someday?

Long-Term Questions

  • How do you burn a bootloader to allow easy USB programming? What difference is there between avrdude, LUFA, and Arduino bootloaders?
electronics/ucnotes.txt · Last modified: 2019/05/20 21:11 by admin