I game, I code, I break things
Technical, constructive, fun.

Electronics at Leeds Hackspace with Arduino and Minimus32 November 16, 2012

Update: While this version of the Arduino IDE will work, I have attempted a way of getting the latest version.

Within the past few months I picked up a new hobby, my friend Kai mentioned this place to me once before and I’ve always had an interest in electronics so off I went to the Leeds Hackspace.

To prototype electrical, let’s say, gadgets there is a device called the Arduino which with a little bit of C++ programming, some wires, LEDs, buzzers, chips, etc. You can get up and running into a large or small system to do almost whatever you want.

Typical applications involve constructing an autonomous robot to controlling laser cutters. Lasers are fun.

So along came this device, called the Minimus32 which, I’m told, was originally intended for circumventing the copy protection on the Sony Playstation 3. Turns out, however, that this little device uses the same chipset as an Arduino and can run the same code and behave in the same way, especially when it has been flashed with a new DFU Bootloader. The best part about this, is that the Minimus32 is typically about a fifth the price of the equivalent Arduino (possibly Leonardo model).

To get this to work under Linux is quite straight forward (at least within Debian and Ubuntu). You use the Arduino IDE 1.0.1 and you grab the profile information for the board from Paul Brook‘s github repositories which allow you to upload the code and monitor the serial port. It also interprets some of the default pin-outs and Paul also has a slightly re-worked OneWire library to use the internal pull-up resistor on the board.

When it comes to Windows, however, it gets a little bit tricky.

As it turns out, the latest Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for Arduino comes with an ‘avr-gcc’ compiler, which handles the compilation of the C++ code. However, in the windows bundle from the Arduino site this is grossly out of date. When this is combined with Paul’s hardware profile for the Minimus32 and a flashed Minimus, the compiler doesn’t know what to do with it.

Fortunately, I have scoured about, packaged together the IDE, a ‘sketchbook’ folder (where the hardware profiles/libraries are stored), an updated WinAVR compiler along with a recently compiled avr-gcc compiler (c/o Andy Brown). If you do not change your Arduino IDE preferences to use this sketchbook folder, you will not be able to select the minimus32 as your board (which is required).

I’m happy to say, that using the drivers supplied with the latest Arduino IDE for windows (1.0.2) along with the updated compiler and Paul’s hardware profile I’m quite happily compiling and working with the Minimus32 on windows (version 7, 64bit). Oh, and Paul’s hardware profile also include the DFU Bootloader to turn the Minimus32 into an Arduino.

Download: Arduino IDE 1.0.2 for Windows with Compiler + Paul’s Profile / Library (98mb)