The CEENBoT Bootloader Software Package is an experimental feature which allows users to store up to 8 custom programs that can be uploaded to the CEENBoT with an off-the-shelf USB-to-Serial cable (instead of the traditional AVR-ISP programmer, which has been in use to date), in addition to giving users the ability to immediately call up the 'factory firmware' and TI calculator firmwares without having to go through the arduous 'firmware restoration' procedures, representing an overall improvement of the CEENBoT experience for the '324 v2.2x platform.
This so-called 'pacakge' is distributed as a ZIP file, and it mainly consists of the following two key components:
The Program Loader is a firmware (provided as a HEX file) that runs on the CEENBoT. It's job is to present you with a menu so you can select one of your 8 custom programs, reload the factory firmware (so you can charge your battery), or TI calculator firmware command interpreter. This is illustrated in the below figure.
You populate the 8 custom programs you want to have immediate access to by using a program called The CEENBoT Utility Tool to upload your custom programs onto the CEENBoT, which runs on your PC. With this program you simply select a HEX file (say, from an CEENBoT-API program you created with Atmel Studio), select an upload baud rate (speed), and give it short name, and upload it to your CEENBoT using a common off-the-shelf USB-to-serial cable.
The USB-to-Serial cable looks similar to the one shown below:
The cable connects with the CEENBoT via its UART conenctor on the side. This also requires what is called either a gender changer that is inserted between the cable and the UART connector on the CEENBoT as shown below:
Here's a photo of the gender changer up close:
If you want to take advantage of the bootloader package, you need to meet the following requirements:
Unfortunately, we cannot avoid this chicken-and-egg scenario. We need an AVR-ISP cable to migrate the CEENBoT to use the new paradigm to upload the Program Loader that contains the boot code. Once this is done and the CEENBoT is migrated, you then use the USB-to-Serial cable from that point on. However, to get to this point, we need the AVR-ISP cable first.
While any 'generic' USB-to-Serial cable will do, you are HIGHLY recommended that you buy a cable that is based on the "FTDI chip", as these have been tested to perform very well (across Windows, and especially in OS X), and have high-quality drivers available for them. If you buy generic (e.g., 'cheap') cable, you might not be able to transfer your HEX files at higher speeds.
Aside from the above requirements, you also need:
Below are the links for downloading the 'package' for both Windows and OS X. The documentation for performing the 'migration procedures' (e.g., converting your CEENBoT from ordinary usage to use the Program Loader/CEENBoT Utility Tool paradigm) is contained in the package as an HTML file. Please read the documentation once before attempting to perform the migration procedures. The documentation unfortunately is not finished (it does not include information about how to 'go back' to ordinary usage if something goes wrong), but I hope to complete that soon, but it does contain all the information needed to perform the conversion.
|CEENBoT Bootloader Package (WIN32)||ZIP||v0.11.037b||8.7MB||7/27/2015||Download|
|CEENBoT Bootloader Package (OSX)||DMG||v0.11.037b||10.7MB||7/27/2015||Download|
While an OS X version is available, note that this was primarily created to support CEENBoT Commander (a product of CEENBoT, Inc), which also runs in OS X. You can use this, buy you would also need a way to write CEENBoT-API programs under OS X as well as being able to use your AVR-ISP cable to configure the ATmega324 also under OS X, and Atmel Studio 6 is only available for Windows.