Help Required - Reprogram ATxmega128A1 in France

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Hello all,

  We are in URGENT need for a local contact in France, that is willing to visit the Chantillac area (in Western France) urgently to reprogram an ATxmega128A1 that has been bricked in the field. This is an industrial machine that is typically internet connected. All support will be provided via phone to complete the job. The requirements are:

 

1. Have an xmega programmer available to program via the 6-pin PDI interface, such as the ATATMEL-ICE: https://www.digikey.com/en/produ...

2. Can speak a level of English to be able to receive instructions over the phone

3. Have a laptop or access to one so we can use Microchip Studio (Atmel Studio)

 

We need this support in the next few days, so if you are in the area and have the tool, or know somebody that is, I would very much appreciate your help. Note that this is PAID WORK and should only take a few hours plus travel time. I fully expect to pay a good rate for this work, so even if you do not have much experience, if you have the tool or know a friend that does, please contact me ASAP.

 

Hoping for help,

  Carl

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Last Edited: Thu. May 6, 2021 - 09:05 AM
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carlbenton wrote:
Note that this is PAID WORK  ... if you have the tool or know a friend that does,

Surely the cost of even an ATMEL ICE is irrelevant although the cheaper PICkit4 now seems to have updated software support for AVR.

You should consider shipping a programmer to your customer for a visiting freak to use. (As a perk he/she could keep it)

 

PICkit4 has an SDcard slot for "Programmer-to-Go" functionality. (Standalone programming mode). I cannot vouch for whether it's fully supported yet; because I've only used the equivalent functionality on PICkit3.

 

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Hi Carl,

 

I'm in Ohio, so not too close to France.

But if nobody else pony's up, I have a passport!

 

Anyway, you probably already know this, but I'll mention it anyway.

I suspect you should be working on Plan B, just in case...

 

It is challenging to "brick" an Xmega, especially if it is on a well designed PCB.

Care to share any more info / details / specifics?

 

Do you know, with a high degree of certainty, what crashed the system?

 

Do you have a backup PCB in the works?

 

JC

 

 

 

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N.Winterbottom wrote:
PICkit4 has an SDcard slot for "Programmer-to-Go" functionality. (Standalone programming mode). I cannot vouch for whether it's fully supported yet; ...
Appears to have completed the PIC line as SAM are the most recent addition.

Programmer To Go - MPLAB PICkit 4 - Developer Help

[1/4 page]

2. Devices Supported:

https://packs.download.microchip.com/#collapse-Microchip-PICkit4-TP-pdsc

 

MPLAB X has a remote capability :

Remote USB Debugging Plugin Overview - Developer Help

atbackend.exe has a TCP port though likely easier to use RDP with Microchip Studio.

 

UPP1-X portable ISP programmer | E-LAB Computers (Germany)

 

SEGGER (Germany) has multiple distributors.

8.06.26 Segger Microcontroller | Mouser (PDI adapter)

Supported devices - Flasher - Microchip - SEGGER - The Embedded Experts

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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Thank you for your ideas. Yes the cost of the programmer is not a problem, and I have already ordered one to be shipped to our client. However this matter if of urgency, and even the time to ship it is too long. If someone is in western France (Chantillac) and able to help in the next day or two, that would be greatly appreciated.

 

Just some more details, the micro is only bricked in the sense that because this machine is internet connected, and we update the firmware remotely, since the firmware has been corrupted (yes due to an unforeseen bug) it is now not operating and so we cannot update it remotely again. So we therefore need to reprogram it on-site to recover it. :(

 

We have a backup PCB, but I am in New Zealand and the shipping time is too long.

 

Yes, any tool able to program an ATxmeaga via 6-pin PDI would be suitable.

Last Edited: Sat. May 1, 2021 - 07:57 PM
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Carl It won't help you in this case of course but....... I use one of these programmers for production programming (there are newer ones now) https://www.avrfreaks.net/forum/...

 

Just load up the firmware, lock bit etc. and sent it to the client. It only needs to be plugged in (with power off of course) into the ISP connector, turn the power on and the chip is programmed in a few seconds. ie anyone can do it including the local maintenance guy or electrician.

 

May think about getting a couple in the workshop for future use. I keep a spare one "just in case" but haven't had to use it yet.

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

https://www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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John, yes that is a great idea and I will definitely be getting a few tools like that just in case for the future. I do wish we had done that before...

 

I am just hoping that someone can help me in the next day or two resolving our current crisis. If there is anyone that can travel to Chantillac, France or knows someone, and has access to any tool that can program an ATxmega128 via PDI, I would very much appreciate hearing from you.

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carlbenton wrote:

Thank you for your ideas. Yes the cost of the programmer is not a problem, and I have already ordered one to be shipped to our client. However this matter if of urgency, and even the time to ship it is too long. If someone is in western France (Chantillac) and able to help in the next day or two, that would be greatly appreciated.

 

Just some more details, the micro is only bricked in the sense that because this machine is internet connected, and we update the firmware remotely, since the firmware has been corrupted (yes due to an unforeseen bug) it is now not operating and so we cannot update it remotely again. So we therefore need to reprogram it on-site to recover it. :(

 

We have a backup PCB, but I am in New Zealand and the shipping time is too long.

 

Yes, any tool able to program an ATxmeaga via 6-pin PDI would be suitable.

This won't help you just now, but think about having a bootloader in the future. I have lots of boards with a TFTP bootloader. But the bootloader is minimal, and it and the application are completely independent. No matter as buggy is the application, when you put the board in the boot mode, by a dipswitch or something else, it runs the bootloader and you can upload another binary. My bootloaders are minimal, in order to be as bug free as possible. Never had such problems in the field. Well, it's probably not as convenient as it can be, but depending on the device, it can be made more friendly. For example, on a device that has a display and some buttons I made the bootloader entry sequence just pushing one button during the power-up. So no need to open the box, put jumpers or turn dispswitches, etc.

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rammon, thank you for the suggestions. We will be making improvements such as this in the future so your ideas are welcome. However, for now I am hoping there is someone able to help us in France so we can fix this problem.

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Thanks for mentioning my programmer John!

 

carlbenton - I wish you were in the US - I could overnight an autoprogrammer tomorrow if you were.  With customs and all that it would probably take too long for your needs.

This reply has been marked as the solution. 
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Thanks for those who replied and gave suggestions. We managed to get a programmer by the Tuesday (3 days after) and got the unit reprogrammed and back up and running. We are working on improvements to the system and will source an in-field programmer for the future.

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