1Bitsy Kickstarter Small F4 Board

Limited support for STM32F4 Discovery, Nucleo and custom F4 boards
BenjiHansell
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1Bitsy Kickstarter Small F4 Board

Post by BenjiHansell » Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:35 pm

This Kickstarter showed up on Hackaday today
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/es ... g-arm-prog

Image

It's an open source F4-based board that will ship in February for $20.

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RogerClark
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Re: 1Bitsy Kickstarter Small F4 Board

Post by RogerClark » Fri Dec 02, 2016 7:47 pm

Interesting but quite expensive.

And.. Did you see the price of the BMP.. $50 !!!!

esden
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Re: 1Bitsy Kickstarter Small F4 Board

Post by esden » Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:49 am

Hey everyone. Thanks for posting our Kickstarter here.

Roger, I am very surprised that you are so shocked by the price. I would assume that you would understand how much work and effort it is to create something. If you compare this price to any other commercial JTAG debugger it compares quite favorably. Even though the firmware is open source it does not mean we didn't spend time or money creating it. Or maybe you assume that a black box closed source product should be more valuable than an open source one just because you can't look inside? I personally think that the fact that it is open source makes it more valuable, not less. You should also understand that part of the revenue of the Kickstarter will be going back into the project. This means we will be able to spend more time on improving the firmware and associated software (like the atom-gdb-debugger that we have developed), new versions of the hardware and so on. If we just sell it at hardware cost we will fulfill the Kickstarter and go back to our day jobs, doing something else. I am not sure this is something you would want to buy.

I have seen several people react this way by now. I am very surprised by this attitude. Maybe it is because the market is flooded with cheap clone hardware, that was created by taking other peoples effort and creativity and cashing in on it, or maybe because the people who have those opinions have never created anything?

See it this way, by buying a Black Magic Probe you are donating to an open source project and you are also getting something in return. I think that is a great deal! :)

I hope this makes it a little bit clearer...

Cheers,
Piotr

ChuckM
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Re: 1Bitsy Kickstarter Small F4 Board

Post by ChuckM » Sat Dec 03, 2016 5:35 am

RogerClark wrote:Interesting but quite expensive.

And.. Did you see the price of the BMP.. $50 !!!!
I wonder how you get to $50 as being expensive, this is an open source JTAG/SWD programmer with its own internally hosted GDB server and spare serial port. The cheapest Segger product is $600, the Olimex one http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/e ... 8-1014-ND/ is $62. This isn't a "only one manufacturer and if it doesn't support your chip or model your screwed" kind of thing, it supports several things out of the box and you can add support for your own gear in a really straightforward way. Especially if it can talk ARM SWD.

Clearly everyone is different but having a programmer and getting a USB serial port over the same plug for "free" is pretty cost effective as far as I am concerned.

danieleff
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Re: 1Bitsy Kickstarter Small F4 Board

Post by danieleff » Sat Dec 03, 2016 5:59 am

Hello

On the kickstarter you write "... we are planning to work on the following: ... STM32Duino (aka. Arduino) platform support and verification" Have you tried to run the stm32duino F405 code to blink led? That is the closes to the STM32F415RGT6 and might work.

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RogerClark
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Re: 1Bitsy Kickstarter Small F4 Board

Post by RogerClark » Sat Dec 03, 2016 7:14 am

@ChuckM

I'm not sure if you are aware that the BMP has been discussed extensively on this forum http://www.stm32duino.com/viewtopic.php?t=122 (and in many other threads)

I also posted an article on my blog over a year ago on how to use the BMP firmware with a Maple mini and other boards

http://www.rogerclark.net/arduino-on-th ... ontroller/



You may or may not be aware, that this is my forum, I pay the bills. I also maintain and develop the Arduino for STM32 core code (legacy inherited from Leaflabs abandonware)

I also develop and maintain the official STM32 core for Arduino.

I do all of this free of charge.


I wonder what value you would place on what I do totally FOC.

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martinayotte
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Re: 1Bitsy Kickstarter Small F4 Board

Post by martinayotte » Sat Dec 03, 2016 3:48 pm

Even cheap ST-Link can be converted into BMP :

http://embdev.net/articles/STM_Discover ... eap_Clones

ChuckM
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Re: 1Bitsy Kickstarter Small F4 Board

Post by ChuckM » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:00 pm

Hope it is ok for the snippet quote ...
RogerClark wrote:@ChuckM

... BMP has been discussed extensively on this forum ...
... article on my blog over a year ago on how to use the BMP firmware with a Maple mini and other boards ...
... my [Roger] forum ...
... I [Roger] also maintain and develop the Arduino for STM32 core code (legacy inherited from Leaflabs abandonware) ...
... I also develop and maintain the official STM32 core for Arduino. ...
... I do all of this free of charge.

And then

I wonder what value you would place on what I do totally FOC.
Reading that, I understand that you felt I was attacking you personally. I apologize for making you feel that way it was not my intention. I can also hear in your words a lot of hurt from events in the past and perhaps a history of having some people on this forum taking your efforts for granted. Please let me reassure you that I think what you do for this community is quite valuable and the community would be worse off if you were not participating the way that you do.

I was responding to the statement you made where you evaluated the *value* of the BMP as expensive. What I heard, when I read that was the apocryphal "freetard" complaint although I realize you didn't necessarily mean it as one. So I probably responded more strongly than I might otherwise. I have only been reading things on your forum boards for a short while and recognize that I don't have as much context as I might in order to respond correctly. Allow me to correct that by perhaps erring on the side of excess explanation in this response.

First, I would like to share with you what I see, how I feel about it, and the constraints I feel on my ability to respond. That will give you a sense of "where I am coming from" as they say.

I came up in my experience during a time when tools and software were very expensive. I wanted to buy a copy of Microsoft BASIC for my first computer and Paul Allen offered to sell me a copy for $600. I had only paid $950 for the kit I had built and so I was pretty offended at that outrageous price. I keyed in a version of Lawerence Livermore Labs "Tiny" BASIC and starting from that added in most of the features I wanted out of Microsoft BASIC. Later in my career, doing microprocessor development meant a manufacturers "developer's system" which could be over $25,000 with "seat licenses" that allowed only a few engineers at a time to be using them simultaneously. Even today if you were to pay for the Keil DS-5 ($6,500) or IAR I-JET dongle ($450) they are a significant investment. That cost is weighed against my understanding that as someone who is an electrical engineer with 25 years of professional software development experience I absolutely know I have the ability to design and implement any of these systems. And on occasion I have. What really angers me is when an tool maker "could" easily accommodate an additional feature but instead demands another $500 in licensing fees in order to "enable" it.

All of that has been slowly changing with the open source movement where code is shared and more recently hardware designs so that everyone can benefit from the work that has been done. And that is a wonderful thing and its giving companies like Segger, Salae, and Keil hearburn, but there is a really rotten core here that hurts everyone. And that uncomfortable secret is that often times, huge endeavors or very widely used open source systems, are often existing by the efforts of only one or a handful of individuals. And all that effort, which they put in free of charge, is used by hundreds if not millions of people in a way that those users value but there is no way to reflect that value back to the people doing the work. And the sad truth is that because of that the people doing the work can silently become destitute and get so depressed they take their own lives. They are providing all of this value to all of these people but they cannot see or feel it, all they see are the few bug reports sometimes with viscous comments like "if this weren't so stupidly designed you could fix X by doing p, q, and r." These open source developers never hear from the 10x or 100x or 1000x of people who are using their stuff and love it. I've personally known three people who were caught in this rat hole, two of whom died by their own hand. Perhaps the most widely covered example of this horrible side of open source was OpenSSL (https://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisstokelwal ... s-named-st) which everyone used and was essentially two guys. Heartbleed hits and these guys are finally getting their financials covered by people, like me, who value their work. But prior to this there was no way for me (or anyone else) to contribute to the support and upkeep of OpenSSL so that it would continue to be around in years to come.

So when I look at open source, and the tools I use, today. I see people like yourself who are investing time and effort into keeping it going. I look for ways to keep it going and to reflect back to the people doing the work that their efforts are appreciated. For example I buy things from the AdaFruit people rather than going right to the vendor on aliexpress.com not because I'm stupid and like "over paying" for things, but because I value what the AdaFruit folks are doing for the community and in this way I can trade money I make writing code for others into supporting folks who write code and build hardware that I can use later. And I'm sure you could probably find a chinese manufacturer who would be willing to put the BMP binary in a board with a knockoff clone of the STM32 and sell them to you for $5 each, and that might create an additional 100,000 users of BMP, but at that point it just boosts the load on the guys maintaining it (Gareth and Piotr) and doesn't help them at all with the resources they need to do so. It really struck me in 2005 when a friend of mine said, "Yeah my project blew up and this company put it into their product, so now I've got a bunch more users who are all asking the standard set of n00b questions and getting the answers wrong taking up all my free time." Since he was doing this "free of charge" in his spare time, the more successful he became without a commensurate increase in free time meant guaranteed failure of a project he loved, he didn't have time to do code reviews and merge PRs so advancement slowed pissing off other part time contributors, and all the n00b questions were being asked by people to paid money to somebody else for a gizmo and now wanted his time for support. And as a freelancer if he spent more hours on his open source project it just meant less money each month to live on. How horrible is it to know that if you're successful it will ruin you?

Because of my experience I look for ways to directly reward the people that are contributing to the open source that I use. I do that because I want them to continue what they are doing and I recognize that they can't if they are choosing between starving or working on it. That said, while I would be more comfortable paying $450 for the IAR JTAG/SWD dongle if I had all the docs and software so that I could update it to support a different chip that they weren't (something I just did with the BMP btw) going to support, I would still feel that was an awful lot of margin for a piece of hardware that was costing them maybe $25 to produce. When I saw this kickstarter I signed up right away because it met my goal of being able to support the people doing the work, and it seemed to me to be an exceptional value given what other things that did the same thing cost. And in that mindset I saw your comment and was compelled to finally register here and respond as I did.

I am sorry that my comment came across as attacking you, I recognize that you felt hurt by it and that make me sad. I hope that this will clear up my perspective a bit and communicate that for me the BMP at $50 is a really good value. I was trying to understand how you saw it to understand the reasoning you used to come to the conclusion that $50 was expensive.

--Chuck

ChuckM
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Re: 1Bitsy Kickstarter Small F4 Board

Post by ChuckM » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:06 pm

martinayotte wrote:Even cheap ST-Link can be converted into BMP :

http://embdev.net/articles/STM_Discover ... eap_Clones
I have recommended this to people who were short on funds but had the technical chops to build the BMP code. Basically buy a Nucleo board for $10, compile the BMP code to run on it, stripping out unused targets to make it fit if necessary, and then cut off the ST Link part of the Nucleo board and solder the cable of your choice on to the appropriate pins, if you are just using SWD you can use the ST-Link's connector already. Only takes a few hours for someone who is used to building embedded systems and probably a weekend if you're new to embedded systems but have a solid programming background.

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Rick Kimball
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Re: 1Bitsy Kickstarter Small F4 Board

Post by Rick Kimball » Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:26 pm

I think supporting open source hardware and software leads to a greater personal understanding of how things work. One of the first projects I did with my Blue Pill board was to port the black magic software to it. I wanted to show that you can roll your own professional level tools using low cost hardware and software knowledge shared generously by others in their open source software.

Early today I had a chat conversation with esden about the Black Magic Probe software and asked if there was some way to support the Black Magic Probe project without purchasing the hardware. He talked with Gareth and they added a paypal donation button to the readme file. If you want to support their project and the spirit of open source but don't want to buy the hardware you can go there to contribute. I urge all of you who want to encourage/thank the BMP team to click on paypal donation button and give a little back. It will make you feel better I promise ; ) Without projects like blackmagic probe we are doomed to be locked into vendor solutions that are often closed sourced and lack any soul.

Go to the readme file in the source, look for the new paypal button and make a contribution:

https://github.com/blacksphere/blackmag ... /README.md

[edit]
$15 NZD == a little more than $10 USD .. in case you were wondering
Pizza at Sal's Pizza in Auckland is about $30 NZD .. in case you were wondering
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[edit 2]
Paypal Exchange Rate today: 1 U.S. Dollar = 1.36363 New Zealand Dollars
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-rick
-rick

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