There are several probes already out there for developers writing code for MIPS-based processors but today I’d like to focus on a recently announced debug adapter based on the Bus Blaster design from Dangerous Prototypes.

For those who are not familiar with Bus Blaster, it is a JTAG probe used for embedded processors, FPGAs, CPLDs, flash, and more; it features a reprogrammable buffer, a simple USB interface and can be controlled from fully open source software.

BusBlasterV3cforMIPS1Bus Blaster V3c for MIPS CPUs

The big draw for this particular version of the probe is the accessible price point: for $43.95 (plus shipping), you get a high-performance probe designed to support the JTAG interface on various MIPS CPUs. The Bus Blaster supports the standard MIPS 14-pin target connector and interface cable with buffering logic designed for many MIPS CPUs.

Here is a short overview of the main features for this new Bus Blaster probe:

  • Designed for MIPS (EJTAG) targets with 14 pin debug connector
  • Includes 100 cm USB host cable
  • Includes 20 cm target cable with 14 pin IDC connectors on each end
  • Includes Bus Blaster acrylic case panels and nylon screws (assembly required)
  • Based on a FT2232H chip with high-speed USB 2.0
  • Buffered interface works with a variety of 3.3 volt to 1.8 volt targets
  • Reprogrammable buffer is compatible with multiple debuggers
  • Compatible with JTAGkey, KT-link programmer settings in OpenOCD, urJTAG, and more
  • Ships with JTAGkey compatible buffer image pre-programmed
  • Mini-CPLD development board: self-programmable, extra CPLD pins to header
  • Open source (CC BY-SA)

In terms of software compatibility, OpenOCD – a free software package available from SourceForge – offers support for the Bus Blaster probe.

In addition, developers can access the recently released Codescape MIPS SDK Essentials for free from our website. Codescape Essentials includes the tools and resources needed to get started with software development, compiling, building programs, and source debugging using GDB on MIPS-based processors.

Bus Blaster can be used with other various debugging, programming and boundary scan test software, so there are a rich variety of resources available for your MIPS development project.

For more resources, including software and technical support, visit the dedicated SEEED website here.

Make sure you also follow us on Twitter (@ImaginationTech, @MIPSdev, @PowerVRInsider) for the latest news and announcements from Imagination.

About the author: Alex Voica

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Before deciding to pursue his dream of working in technology marketing, Alexandru held various engineering roles at leading semiconductor companies in Europe. His background also includes research in computer graphics and VR at the School of Advanced Studies Sant'Anna in Pisa. You can follow him on Twitter @alexvoica.

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