Saturday, 3 August 2013

Texas Instruments CC Debugger

Texas Instruments offers great tools to get you started on their zigbee like wireless transceiver line.
CC Debugger and Smart RF studio.
You can buy a CC debugger for about 48$ at the Ti webshop, but where is the fun in that?
Luckily Ti provides the schema files , boot loader and firmware for the CCDebugger, so you easily can build one yourself.
I even found the gerber files for the product on the internet and ordered a batch of 10 pcbs from Itead.
I don't need them all, but this is their minimum order size.

What can you do with this tool?
The debugger helps you to evaluate signal strength , configuring the wireless modules and explore different configurations.
The modern Zigbee devices are incredibly powerful cheap but also very complicated.
A tool which helps you getting started is most welcome. 

The build of the toll was not really challenging but the programming gave me headaches for a while.
After I soldered the components to the pcb, I plugged the board into an usb slot.
Both leds lid up which means according to the manual empty controller.
So I had to load the boot loader into the CC2511 controller chip.
To do so you either need a  (programmed) CC Debugger or some fancy expensive dev board from Ti .
Luckily I own a Goodfet tool.

I fired up the console and connected the CC Debugger to the Goodfet.
The first step is to check if the programmer recognises the module 

> test

SmartRF not found for chip 0x9104.
Tracing execution at startup.
Verifying that debugging a NOP doesn't affect the PC.
Checking pokes to XRAM.

Great, success.
Next step programming the bootloader

> flash ../../../../usb_bootloader_srf05dbg.hex

SmartRF not found for chip 0x9104.
Flashing ../../../../usb_bootloader_srf05dbg.hex
Buffering 0000 toward 000000
Buffering 0100 toward 000000
Buffering 0200 toward 000000
Buffering 0300 toward 000000
Flashing buffer to 0x000000
Flashed page at 000000
Buffering 0400 toward 000400
Buffering 0500 toward 000400
Buffering 0600 toward 000400
Buffering 0700 toward 000400
Flashing buffer to 0x000400
Flashed page at 000400
Flashed page at 001000
Buffering 1400 toward 001400
Buffering 1500 toward 001400
Flashing buffer to 0x001400
Flashed final page at 001400

Done, the rest is easy.
Start Smart RF Studio from Ti , plug in the CC Debugger and Smert RF Studio will program the device for you. Great!!!

Figuring out how to program the device took me a while, I even killed one CC2511 but once you figured it out all becomes so easy,...
Debugging the chips using the Goodfet is also possible, but Smart Rf Studio is way simpler and has a Gui.
I admit I am lazy,...

CCDebugger board top side
CCDebugger board bottom side

CC Debugger
Smart RF Studio

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