Main Site Documentation

DIY Usbizi flash


#1

Will it ever be possible to buy a “raw” LPC2388 and flash the Usbizi firmware myself?

Before you shoot it down hear me out…

I understand that GHI’s revenue comes from protecting the firmware and every pirate known to embedded man will jump on the gravy train if it was just a JTAG hex transfer.

What I’m looking for is the ability to flash a locally procured chip (I’m not in the US or Europe) in a way that will protect GHI’s IP and save me a huge hassle of importing Usbizi chips. The Fez Ant and other community boards would be examples of boards that could benefit from this.

Here are some suggestions… please comment on their potential feasibility.

The secret handshake method:
The bootloader hex file is made available. After flashing this to the chip using JTAG, a bootloader provides a (one time) key, and you get a key from GHI to match. The Usbizi firmware is encoded with this key and loaded by GHI’s loader. The exchange happens encrypted on the serial port so things should be pretty secure.

The really secret handshake method:
Same as above, but there is a special app on the PC that talks to the chip and the GHI website and exhanges keys and stuff over SSL so nobody snoops.

The secret programmer method:
A special JTAG descrambler device is supplied by GHI. This device must be placed between the PC and the chip and does hardware encryption in between.

The buddy method:
One Usbizi can program another. Nobody knows how, but it just clones itself (with a purchased key).

Any other ideas?


#2

I like the buddy method idea the best.

Still going to be really hard to convince GHI to do it; not only is it a risk of losing the IP but then there’s also the lose of the few pence that come in from buying the board flashed w/ the IP.


#3

My guess is that if you’re going to be doing LOTS of boards, GHI would work with you on some sort of process. If you’re only doing one-offs, then importing the chips shouldn’t be a big deal…


#4

Yes, or better, manufacture your boards! For couple, it is no worth anyone’s time to go and customize something.


#5

I think that so long as that’s third party has access to the jtag pins during programming; that there will be a security risk. The firmware isn’t decrypted inside the chip it would have to be outside. Therefore any data that goes to the pins unencrypted, can be copied and echoed to other chips (free of charge).


#6

I suspect that your only option would be to look at porting, or using an already ported, MF source. But then you loose all the nice GHI Value Added Features… :slight_smile:

You have to buy the chips somewhere. Cheapest would probably be directly from NPX, which means importing anyway. I have had some bad experiences with distributors…