[NTLK] MP2x00 Internal Interconnect Breakout

Harbourmaster harbourmaster at gmail.com
Tue Jan 13 17:44:20 EST 2015

I LIKE those crazy dreams!!

On Tue, Jan 13, 2015 at 2:38 PM, Matthias Melcher <mm at matthiasm.com> wrote:

> Based on this EMail thread, I have found a mix of *really* nice chips that
> I want to use to build another (better) USB interconnect for the internal
> port.
> I will not use one of the dumb USB-to-RS232 converters, but instead use an
> LPC1347 CPU, which incidentally costs the same, but comes with an ARM
> Cortex MCU core running at 72 MHz. It has more than enough pins to connect
> to every pin on the connector, and more (much more) than enough power to
> handle USB and Ser1.
> It has *one* feature that made it my favorite: it can be programmed
> through the USB port alone without any special software. So if I should be
> able to build a board for regular users (aiming at 50 Euros), any user can
> easily upgrade the firmware at home. So even if I don't get that thing
> right from the beginning, we can still fine-tune later.
> The key features:
>  - physically add a USB port where the Modem port was planned (no filing
> or drilling required)
>  - use Ser1 in a compatible way, not blocking the external port if no USB
> connection
>  - no extra software needed on the MessagePad. It just works.
>  - full support for debugging
>  - fixing the timing bug that requires slowdown.exe on MSWindows
> Now for the convenience part:
>  - charging the battery via USB should be possible if enough power is
> available
> And finally for the crazy part. We have access to the otherwise unused
> serial port 3, so why not use it and add some functionality?
> So here are some dreams. Feel free to add if you have ideas!
> Serial Port 3 can be accessed using one of the terminal programs on the
> MP. Using the terminal, the MP can communicate with the ARM Cortex card,
> just as if it was an external PC or Modem.
> The ARM Cortex can then very easily provide a command prompt interface,
> just like an FTP server. Heck, it *could* actually *be* an FTP or Web
> Server. The MessagePad would think that there was a modem, again requiring
> no new software.
> Now, there is plenty of space in the box. Why not add a MicroSD card.
> Todays MicroSD cards are so huge in capacity that they can easily hold
> every .pkg ever created for the MessagePad. The SD card could be browsed
> with any Newton web browser, and the packages could be installed right from
> the SD card.
> This would work the other way around as well. The Cortex can pretend to be
> a PC, and the user can store system backups on the SD card and export data
> to it without ever connecting to a PC.
> To the outside world, the Cortex can pretend to be a memory card, giving
> access to the internal SD card from any PC that is connected to the USB
> port.
> Dreaming crazy dreams ;-)
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Aloha, Ken Santucci

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