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W1N9Zr0 posted this full-featured Bus Pirate case in the forum:

Here is my take on a Bus Pirate case. It’s made of a PS2 game case and integrates two breadboards, the bus pirate and an A23 12v battery for PIC programming.

Flickr photoset. Be sure to check out the forum thread if you’re interested in PIC programming with the Bus Pirate, W1N9Zr0 has successfully programmed a few PICs with custom software that uses the raw2wire binmode.


In preparation for the v4.2 Bus Pirate firmware release, here’s an instruction guide for upgrading with the ds30 Loader GUI.

Firmware v4+ requires a new bootloader. The new bootloader is an adaptation of the open source ds30 Loader. The new bootloader v4+ uses a new upgrade application, the old P24qp.exe ( will not work with the new bootloader.

This guide describes how to use the ds30 Loader GUI application, it should work with Windows (.NET) and Linux and Mac (Mono). If you’d prefer, there’s also a Pirate-Loader console application for all platforms that doesn’t require .NET or Mono.

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You may have come across this 16×24 LED matrix board on eBay or at Sure Electronics. Each board has three 8×8 LED blocks and a controller to drive them. A simple three-wire serial interface toggles each LED and configures the overall brightness of the board. Up to four boards can be chained through 2×10 pin headers on the back, a connector cable was included with each board.

We used the Bus Pirate to test the board and learn its protocol before using it with the web platform (more on that later). Grab the datasheet and follow along below.

This is the first of a new weekly series that demonstrates devices with the Bus Pirate. Come back next Monday for another all new demo.

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We sent a bunch of PCBs to Seeed Studio’s Fusion service this week. The open source logic analyzer prototype was the most anticipated board, you can get the final hardware for free if you suggest the name.

The final design candidates for the PIC high voltage programming adapter went to the board house too. Looking at the circuit board, can you tell why we chose an MC34063A boost regulator instead of the microcontroller driven switched-mode power supply in our earlier tests?

More PCB preview goodness below.

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BPv3 is the latest hacking multi-tool from the Bus Pirate project. It connects to a USB port and interacts with electronics through a simple terminal interface.

stack-exampleUse it to see how much of your private information is stored on smartcard SIM chipsExplore the Wii Nunchuck over the I2C bus like Johnny Lee. Read and write EEPROM chips in consumer electronics at any voltage. Check out all the existing chip demonstrations.

BPv3 has features an intrepid hardware hacker might need to prototype their next great creation:

  • Talk to 1-wire, I2C, UART (async serial), SPI, JTAG, MIDI, LCDs, PC keyboards, and a ton of generic serial devices from a terminal.
  • Scriptable from Python, Perl, etc.
  • 0-40MHz frequency counter, 0-4MHz pulse-width modulator.
  • 0-6volt measurement probe.
  • 3.3volt and 5volt power supplies with reset.
  • On-board pull-up resistors for multi-voltage interfacing.
  • Address scanners, chip dumpers, and other helpful macros.
  • USB interface, power. USB firmware updates.
  • Translations (currently Spanish and Italian, add your own).

Get an assembled red BPv3 for $30, including worldwide shipping, thanks to Seeed Studio. You can also grab the plans from the Bus Pirate project page and build your own.

This article introduces BPv3, the latest hardware from the Bus Pirate project. We’ll look at the history of the design, share our experience organizing the production of Bus Pirate v2go, and talk about issues that influenced hardware version 3.

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Nearly 1000 Bus Pirate v2gos were sold during Hack a Day’s preorder. It raised a ton of money, with all proceeds going to Mahalo, the company that owns Hack a Day.

Bus Pirate v3 is a complete redesign of the Bus Pirate v2go PCB, with improvements based on our experience running the preorder for Hack a Day. We optimized the PCB layout for production, and used a more widley available version of the PIC24FJ64GA002.

The top image shows the first revision of the v3 PCB. The stuffed, tested PCB is shown here. After working with the PCB we decided there were a few things we really didn’t like, so we made an ‘a’ revision.

The second version (below) has the LED resistors along the top edge of the PCB. This makes room for the 3.3volt power supply in the top corner, and eliminates some obscene routing.

The revised PCBs were submitted to our board house on Sept 9, and were mailed Sept 14. Normally they would arrive in 4-5days, but extra security surrounding a national holiday delayed the package in China until Sept 21. We would probably have the boards by now, but the tracking shows the package going to the wrong country. The address is definitely correct, it was just a random mail problem.

Today Seeed dispatched an additional shipment of BPv3 PCBs by DHL, which should arrive much faster. It’s a bit of a contest, which get here first: the DHL express packet, or the postal package forwarded from the Dutch Antilles?

BPv3 will be ready to go as soon as we test the final PCB, the article is already written and ready to publish. It’s a bit different that our usual design overview. We recount the development process that led to the current design, and dug up some very early ‘in house’ Bus Pirate prototypes. We’ll also talk about our experience running Hack a Day’s Bus Pirate preorder, and discuss how it influenced the v3 design.


BiOzZ posted an Instructable that shows how to setup the open source Realterm serial terminal to work with the Bus Pirate.


***UPDATE*** If your preorder 2 Bus Pirate doesn’t work, try bootloading the latest firmware. We’ve had one report that a preorder 2 v2go shipped with the latest bootloader but no firmware. The bonus is you get the latest bootloader (v2), but you have to add the latest firmware yourself. More info as we figure out what’s going on.

We’ve gotten reports of Bus Pirate v2gos from Hack a Day’s long-delayed preorder 2 starting to arrive. Feel free to share your unboxing experience here, or in the forum.

Don’t forget to upgrade to the latest firmware, it’s got a ton of bug fixes. If you need help with the Bus Pirate, check out the Bus Pirate manual and the Bus Pirate forum for help. We’ve got a few accessories for the Bus Pirate, like a 3-EEPROM explorer board and LCD library adapter.

Artwork by Aaron, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.


Fan from Seeed Studio just posted this note in the forum:

Hey guys, This is fan from Seeedstudio. I got a good news for you, Bus pirate preorder 2 was ready and started shipping. You should get your preordered product very soon.

Thanks for the update! When you get your Bus Pirate remember to update the firmware, and check the Bus Pirate manual for all the latest demonstrations and updates. Help is always available in our forum.


Fundamental Logic was the first company to offer a Bus Pirate for sale. Their Bus Pirate v1a through-hole kit is currently on sale for $20.  v1a is completely compatible with the latest firmware updates, the main difference between v1a and v2 & v3 is the connection type (serial vs USB) and the pull-up resistors (manual vs software controlled).

If you’re looking for a through-hole Bus Pirate kit, $20 seems like a great deal. Fundamental Logic had good prices on international shipping when we last checked.

Thanks Marc!


Hack a Day’s Bus Pirate preorder 2 will ship next week. That means the Bus Pirate v3 preorder is only a few weeks away. Sign up here to be notified when the preorder begins.

Bus Pirate v3 will cost $30, assembled and shipped worldwide. The preorder will probably last 10-14days, and the Bus Pirate will ship within three weeks of the preorder ending.


Bus Pirate firmware v2.1 is a major upgrade that fixes a lot of bugs. With Hack a Day’s second Bus Pirate preorder about to ship, we couldn’t wait any longer to release it.

This version has major fixes to the I2C library, hardware I2C support, new speed options, and improved terminal interface. Thanks to a dedicated translator, we’re also able to release the first Spanish and Italian localized firmware for the Bus Pirate. Download the updated firmware from the Google Code page, check out the change log below.

Do you have any requests for the next firmware version?  What hardware version do you use? How often do you update your firmware?

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Seeed Studio just tweeted an update on Hack a Day’s second Bus Pirate preorder. Looks like they’ll ship in one week:

After long time waiting,we got ICs from Digikey. Now Bus Pirat Preorder 2 just started manufacture,will be ship out within a week.

Check out our Bus Pirate goodies when it arrives.

Thanks Mike! Artwork by Aaron, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0.


We just uploaded Bus Pirate firmware v2.1 release candidate 2 for all hardware versions, including the first release for Bus Pirate v3.

Since v2.1-RC1, we’ve combined the hardware and software I2C libraries. This applies the RC1 ACK/NACK management system to the hardware library without duplicating a bunch of code. Some have reported success using the updated hardware I2C library on revision 3 hardware. We’ll post a complete overview of the new I2C library in a few days.


Sign up to be notified of v3 preorders here. We plan to sell the Bus Pirate v3 for $30, shipped worldwide. Preorder discussion.

This picture from our workbench shows the new Bus Pirate v3 (left) and the Bus Pirate v2go (right). The Bus Pirate V3 PCB arrived yesterday. We stuffed it last night, and it passed the self-test without incident.

V3 makes several improvements over the v2go design:

  • Uses more common SSOP size PIC 24FJ64GA002 microcontroller.
  • Bigger power supply traces and vias, better ground plane.
  • Optimized component placement.
  • Slightly smaller than v2go.
  • Corrected programming header to work with PICKIT.
  • USB LED aligned with other indicator LEDs.
  • Removed unnecessary resistor R18.
  • Centered USB connector.
  • Rotated IC3 for better clearance around I/O header.
  • Swapped +3.3V and ADC on I/O header for better pinout.
  • Colored PCB makes it easier to see the circuit.

There’s another detailed close-up picture after the break.

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Scorpia shared his experience interfacing a Wii Nunchuck with the Bus Pirate I2C library. He used Seeed Studio’s breakout board that brings all the Nunchuck signals to an easy-to-tap header. Here’s some alternatives to the breakout board.

Bus Pirate Wii Nunchuck breakout
+3.3volts +

Connect the Bus Pirate to the Wii Nunchuck breakout board as shown in the table. The nunchuck is powered from the Bus Pirate’s on-board 3.3volt regulator. The nunchuck has very small value internal pull-up resistors on the I2C bus pins, so the Bus Pirate on-board pull-up resistors aren’t needed.

Open the mode menu (m) in the Bus Pirate terminal and select the software I2C library (4). Enable the Bus Pirate’s power supplies (big ‘W’).

I2C>[0xa4 0x40 0x00]<<<Wii Nunchuck initialize
WRITE: 0xA4 GOT ACK: YES<<<write address
WRITE: 0x40 GOT ACK: YES<<<write location (?)
WRITE: 0x00 GOT ACK: YES<<<write 0 to location 0x40 (?)

Initialize the nunchuck, this only has to be done once. See also this example Arduino code.

I2C>[0xa4 0x00]<<<setup the read pointer
WRITE: 0xA4 GOT ACK: YES<<<write address
WRITE: 0x00 GOT ACK: YES<<<pointer to 0
I2C>[0xa5 r:6]<<<read nunchuck measurements
WRITE: 0xA5 GOT ACK: YES<<<read address
BULK READ 0x06 BYTES:<<read back 6 bytes
0x78 ACK 0x7A ACK 0x2F ACK 0x7D ACK 0x6E ACK 0x17 NACK

Reading data from the nunchuck takes two steps. First, set the read pointer. Next, read six values to get the measurements, decoding guide here.
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Bus Pirate firmware v2.1 release candidate 1 can be downloaded from the Bus Pirate project page. Learn how to update your firmware from Windows or Linux/OSX.


  • Experimental hardware I2C library for PICs that support it.
  • PIC chip revision detection.
  • New public domain I2C library, fixes bugs with read ACK/NACKs. I2C no longer GPL. More on the new I2C features tomorrow.
  • Universal bitbang abstraction saves a ton of space for new features, adds speed option to I2C, raw2/3wire, LCD.
  • Removed JTAG XSVF programmer, we ran out of space. It’s big, ugly, and I don’t think anyone uses it. It will be replaced with a real SVF programmer in an upcoming build.
  • Raw2wire macro cleanup.
  • Spelling, other translation fixes.
  • More


Cheap character LCDs based on the HD44780 chipset come in a variety of sizes: 2×16, 4×20, etc. These displays have two standard interface modes, 4bit and 8bit parallel. 8bit requires a total of 11 data lines, 4bit requires 7 (6 for write-only). Some LCDs support an additional serial data mode, like the VFD Ian covered at Hack a Day.

adapter-mini.225HD44780 LCDs are generally 5volt parts with a separate supply for the back light. The Bus Pirate only has five 5volt tolerant I/O pins, so we made a small adapter board with enough pins to control the LCD. The Bus Pirate controls the adapter board through its LCD interface library.

Continue reading about the Bus Pirate HD44780 character LCD adapter board and interface library after the break. We can have PCBs, kits, or assembled kits produced by Seeed Studio for about $15, including worldwide shipping, more here. Read the rest of this entry »


Early Bus Pirate prototypes used PIC24FJ64GA002 revision A3 chips. A3 has a bug in the I2C hardware, so we’ve always used a software library to provide I2C on the Bus Pirate. Many, but not all, of the Bus Pirates manufactured by Seeed Studio have a newer, revision B4 chip with working I2C hardware. We showed how to check your PIC revision last week.

Project contributors (thanks JoseJX!) with revision B4 silicon were able to get the hardware I2C module working. We’ve included this update in the latest nightly firmware. You can follow our guide to firmware updates on Windows or Linux/OSX.

Read more about hardware I2C on the Bus Pirate after the break.

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Here’s a roundup of our current Bus Pirate related posts.

Install and setup your Bus Pirate with our introductory Bus Pirate 101 guide. We’ve also updated the Bus Pirate menu, protocol, and syntax manual to match the latest hardware and firmware.

The most common issue for beginners is usually the Bus Pirate’s on-board pull-up resistors, there’s also more help in the unofficial Bus Pirate forum.

We have new 1-Wire, I2C, and SPI EEPROM demonstrations that use the latest Bus Pirate firmware and hardware. Try all three EEPROMs with our 3EEPROM explorer board. We include full logs of the terminal output so you don’t miss anything.

Use our firmware update guide to install the latest firmware (currently v2.0), don’t forget that most PICs can load the firmware much faster than the default setting. Linux, OSX, and Windows users can try the new Python firmware update script.

Not sure your Bus Pirate is working? Firmware v2.0+ includes a self-test that verifies most Bus Pirate functions.

Curious about the PIC chip revision on your Bus Pirate? The latest nightly firmware prints the device and version information in the terminal.

If you want to get your hands on a Bus Pirate, we’re nearly done with the Bus Pirate v3. V3 uses the SSOP version of the PIC24FJ64GA002, which will help avoid the shortage problems experienced at Hack a Day. You can also get a free Bus Pirate v2a PCB from us.