23 June 2010

More on Toshiba Tecra S11-128 and BSOD

Looks like the culprit was not only the BIOS or the sound driver creating BSOD in my Win7 64bit. While the machine was core dumping, I wrote down what I could read and looked useful: e1k62x64.sys . An internet search revealed it belongs to the Intel 82577LM network card driver. I downloaded the version recommended on Toshiba's support pages and now I can safely play my test video from vimeo.

The current, working, version is .

Is it the end?!

18 June 2010

Toshiba Tecra S11-128 and BSOD

So, you own a brand new Toshiba Tecra S11-128 laptop with Win7 64bit, and it crashes happily.

Mine liked to crash when opening a youtube video, or when something happened on the audio output. Earlier on there was a problem on the network card driver, that was apparently solved with a driver update (available through official channels and offered by Toshiba's software onboard).

Driver patches for the soundcard were not available. Instead there was a BIOS update to be applied. Follow carefully instructions and you'll probably solve this BSOD cause. It's all on Toshiba website.

14 June 2010

RSTDISBL fuse and Serial Downloading/Programming

My fun with two samples of ATmega168 microcontrollers was very short. For my target application I wanted to check if PortC's 7 bits would allow me to read a 3x4 keypad: I needed to disable the /RESET function on pin1, so unsettimg RSTDISBL fuse.

I own a parallel port "serial download" programmer, which works perfectly fine both for ATtiny2313 and ATmega168 (mind different chip size and pin assignments, of course). I could unset the RSTDISBL fuse but then I was locked out of chip reprogramming.

Why? Why!! Well, it turns out that it's not stated in the datasheet, but once RESET is disabled, serial downloading is not possible anymore. You need either a High Voltage Programmer or an ISP or a JTAG cable (the latter two might not be supported by the chip itself).

Now I have two mega168, perfectly sane but that I cannot reprogram unless I build a HVP. At the time being I have chosen to order new mega168 and invest my time on the code instead of building the HVP.

Well, actually I have re-built my parallel port programmer with a DIP28 socket and a longer cable. Pics will follow in a future post.

Note, for search engines ;-), this observation applies to Atmel's ATtiny2313, ATmega48, ATmega88, ATmega128, ATmega328 chips and variations. To others probably

08 June 2010

FT817 remote, on the way...

It's written on the keypad manual and webpage that it "was never meant to be a remote display or a detachable front panel, and will never be."

Then I played with an LCD, to make a remote display.

Now I am working on a keypad+LCD to make an "Advanced Frequency Readout". :-)

If it works out, the uP will be an ATmega88 or ATmega168 chip and the keypad will have to be reduced to 3x4. A prototype is already assembled and it waits for a first firmware relase.

04 June 2010

FT817 keypad, now with 25 onboard memories

I have been asked to develop a custom firmware for a DXpedition. Requirements where:
  • quick band/mode change
  • split control

Band/mode combinations are for 9 bands with two modes, summing up to 18 combinations. Since the standard firmware allowed 15 (or 16 if static) onboard memories, I wrote the code to use all the available Flash memory and give the operator 25 dynamic locations.

These 25 memories have to be programmed once by the operator, and they are retained after keypad power-off. They are organized in two banks, accessed from the main menu with key "#" and key "D".

The same firmware also carries A/B, A=B, split on/off, direct dial and mode set. Unused keys are locked too, so that they don't produce invalid frequency input.

More static memories could be built in, but you would loose the ability to reprogram them once out on the field.