Pride Goeth…

My ToyBrain boards are programmable over ICSP, but when I connect them to an FTDI USB-to-serial cable, I can’t load a program into them from the Arduino development environment. The error I get back is that the programmer is not responding, which could be caused by several things, listed here by increasing order of how tedious they are to check:

  1. I might have some misconfiguration on the USB ports or Arduino IDE. I can eliminate this possibility by using the same FTDI cable to program a known-working Arduino BBB. If that works, I know that my problem is off the end of the FTDI cable, in my own hardware.
      • I tried this, and got a working blinking light program on my BBB. This means my cable and computer are fine.
      1. I might have messed up the bootloader configuration for my board. I think this is somewhat likely, as I’m using the Arduino bootloader on a board that is running at 8MHz. If the Arduino bootloader or IDE requires the Arduino 16MHz crystal for proper timing, it is now running at half the normal clock speed, resulting in the serial timings being double what they should be. I can test this by telling the IDE to attempt to talk to the board at half of whatever the normal speed is, using the platform support in recent Arduino IDE releases. If it’s a timing issue, that should fix it.
        • This was the problem. I reflashed with the 8Mhz bootloader from here, and now I can load programs and have them run.
      2. I might have screwed something up in the reset or power circuitry of the Arduino (I already know I got TX and RX backwards). I can check out the connections with a voltmeter pretty easily. I can also burn an LED blink program to the board with ICSP and see if it runs.
        • The power and reset circuitry is fine. I burned a LED blinking test program to the board using the command avrdude -c usbtiny -p m8 -U flash:w:test.hex and got a square wave on port B, so the chip is running code and the fuses make at least enough sense that the onboard oscillator starts.
      3. I may have used bad fuse settings, and put it in some mode that doesn’t result in the bootloader starting. I can test this by burning my own LED blink program to the bootloader section and seeing if it blinks an LED. This won’t make it load code, but it will at least confirm that the bootloader is getting started.
        • This is covered by the previous section. The chip isn’t bricked, and it runs code.