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PIXad8 Firmware troubles

Discussion in 'EthConGateway by Joshua 1 Systems' started by dgirard, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. dgirard

    dgirard New Elf

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    Hello:


    I'm trying to start using an old PIXad8 again.


    I was intending to use it to support some ws2811 pixels, but from what I'm reading, I'm not sure it's possible (j1sys web site says it is, but posts here say it is or isn't)...


    My firmware wasn't updated, so there was no selection for ws2811. I've been trying to get the firmware updated for 3 days now and can't seem to get all the way there...


    I've read both that you can't update it with the UBL process, and that you can ONLY update it with the UBL process... well, I've tried and I can't get UBL to even connect to it.


    I've read that TFTP is the only way...that "sort-of" worked...I could get the tftp commands to respond as expected every other command (get info.txt works then doesn't, then works again)...the put command never works, so it never uploads the new firmware.


    so--I have a pickit3 and have been able to install the boot loader (even though get info.txt said I already had the latest)...but when I upload firmware it stops responding all together...the firmware loads successfully and verifies, but the LED's on the board just cycle from one to the next (about 2 seconds on each LED)...1, 2, 3, 4, blank, ...etc it never goes to the heartbeat blink and doesn't respond at all to either web requests or tftp..


    I can bring it back to pseudo life by flashing the boot loader again...but I still can't get it to take firmware...


    So--right now I'm worse off then when I started since I can't get any firmware to start up.


    I've tried the hex file firmware both from the UBL download page as well as the pixad8 download page...


    what am I missing???


    Also, I think this may all be a pointless exercise unless I can find out what chips I need to replace since I have an original pixad8 board that apparently has the wrong buffer chips on it for ws2811...?


    Does anyone know what the proper chips should be?..I could only find a reference here to a chip that I'd have to order from the UK.
     
  2. David_AVD

    David_AVD Bite my shiny metal ass!

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    I've updated the ECG-PIXAD8 wiki page with the part numbers for the new chips (74ACT541).

    Not sure what the issue with updating the firmware is. I've done it using TFTP and PicKit3 methods over the years with no issue.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    dgirard

    dgirard New Elf

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    Thanks for the chip reference. I'll order up a couple.


    In the mean time, just for grins I tried doing the tftp put from my wife's Windows 7 laptop and it worked.


    Oddly, it doesn't work from my Mac--not sure what the difference would be. I wasn't able to try tftp from my Windows Fusion system under my mac, and the UBL software didn't connect from my Windows Fusion (even though network routing/ports/firewalls were all working properly)...something about the mac doing things differently I guess.


    Anyway, thanks...I'm up and running now.


    BTW: Is there any documentation on how to use the PicKit to load the firmware? I can load the boot loader with it, but when I load the firmware I get the lights blinking in sequence (several seconds each light), but it appears to blow away the boot loader and is non-responsive in this state. I'm assuming it's beacause loading the firmware erases the chip and thus removes the boot loader. I couldn't get it to load firmware without erasing first.


    Mostly just curious now as I've got it working...now to see if I can get it to work with some ws2811's.


    Thanks!
    David
     
  4. David_AVD

    David_AVD Bite my shiny metal ass!

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    The PicKit is used to load the base firmware (bootloader).

    You load the application firmware via the bootloader using TFTP or the UBL interface on later versions of the bootloader.

    You can't load the application code directly via the PicKit.
     

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