||[Jun. 4th, 2009|02:04 pm]
I bricked my
OLPC XO the other week by flashing bad stuff onto the SPI FLASH.
That's the 1MB flash chip that the XO boots from -- it's supposed to
contain the Embedded
Controller software image and Openfirmware, but when either of those
is messed up then the machine won't function and can't fix itself.
So Mitch sent me a DIY
debricking kit: a replacement SPI FLASH chip with working firmware and
to remove the old chip with. My dad and I heated up a soldering iron and eventually managed to make the transplant. That was fun! But I wouldn't want to do it that way every time :-)
Thankfully my new XO-1.5 boots from something much cooler than an SPI
FLASH chip: an Artec
FlexyICE ROM emulator attached to the LPC bus. The ROM
emulator is seriously cool - it's an FPGA with two interfaces: LPC
towards the XO, impersonating a ROM chip, and USB-serial towards my
Macbook, receiving new firmware images that I'm creating. It's also open-source hardware
and ships with its ~2500 line VHDL sources.
I've wanted to have FPGAs in my life for quite a while now. This feels like a step in the right direction. :-)