Wireless Bootloading

Checkout the new tutorial using the AVR ATmega168 with XBee wireless modules to create a very robust serial bootloader! We also posted a new GeoChron Blue GPS product, programmable oscillator, photocell, and a mux breakout.

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We've posted a new tutorial describing how to reliably download code to an AVR ATmega168 using a XBee serial link. We created our own bootloader and modified our old Screamer VB app to make a really robust wireless bootloader. Checkout the video!

Wireless Bootloader Demonstration from Nathan Seidle on Vimeo.

We've also got a new GPS logger with Bluetooth? capabilities. The GeoChron Blue is a great way to record vehicle or personal location. It can be charged using an 12V automotive connection and store many weeks of data on a removable SD card. The data can also be acquired over a Bluetooth? wireless connection. Very handy!

We now stock very simple, low-cost photocells. These great light sensors can be used as a trigger, detector, or simply as a sensor for your next interactive project.

This is a basic breakout board for a very helpful IC. The CD74HC4067 is a 16 channel multiplexer/demultiplexer. This allows up to 16 sensors to be connected to one ADC pin. Great for those large scale proximity challenges.

And finally for today, we have a programmable oscillator. This is a neat IC that can generate any frequency with software control (I2c). This IC can output 8.1kHz to 133MHz without any external components! +/-0.5% so it's better than an internal oscillator on a normal microcontroller, but not as accurate as a quartz crystal.

Comments 14 comments

  • I was thinking of a way to program microcontrollers without any special nor expensive hardware in the pc. This would work by sending the information to either one of the keyboard leds or by flickering the pc monitor. In the receiving side, a ldr or a photocell may take the results and program the device. This IS very slow (60 to 75bps), but may be enough for some applications.

  • The article states that you need Series 1 Xbees. However, it should also work with Series 2 Xbees if they are not set to broadcast mode.

  • This video inspired me to flash all my XBees so they can be instantly on after power cycling. If you want protection from glitchy connectors & a software reset capability for those frequent XBee lockups, you need to flash the configuration.

  • You’ve got a dead pixel on your face. :)

    • Ya, I saw that. I’m still struggling with the whole video thing. Notice how the video isn’t cut or edited down? We’re working on learning video editing…

    • I saw that too.

  • Splendid news for anyone who DIDN’T just spend the last two weeks of their free time hand-soldering CD74HC4067 ICs to your 28-SSOP boards! forehead palm-smack
    Get ‘em back in stock ASAP, because my time and the lead is worth more than the price of the breakouts or the shipping. Nice work, guys ;-)

  • I’d love to see someone take a GPS logger and correlate location + gas mileage + google maps. It would be interesting to see what roads are the worst gas traps. I’d do it if I had hobby budget on that scale…
    Nice video. I also haven’t seen the xbee handled, wish i would have gone with that rather than the serial modems I got…which I’ve never been able to get to work…

  • Perhaps my PC side software and/or tiny bootloader for the AVR can do this. I’ve run it across RS232, WiFi and Ethernet, and I have used XBees quite a bit.
    The PC side bootloader has a lot of work, is GUI based, has built-in terminal, etc. I donated it some time ago and I think hundreds/thousands of people/schools are using it.

  • Nathan,
    Thanks for the video. Nice to put a face with the SparkFun legend!
    Do you guys need any spread spectrum wireless Engineers there in Colorado? I won’t post my website here, so I don’t get accused of advertising on your site, but I am serious.
    Keep up the good stuff! I check your site constantly for updates.

    • Thanks for keeping the thread clean. SS Engs at SparkFun? We’re not really that advanced. We are applications engineers, just using off-the-shelf bits to build fun stuff. But Boulder is a hot bed for tech if you are serious about looking.

  • What about iTouch connectivity?

  • Excellent video demo Nathan:) This is the first time I’ve actually seen someone handle the Xbee, it’s even smaller than I thought.

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