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FlashcatUSB Pro (4.0) - Can you feel the power?

Pantheon

Member
Developer
#1
FlashcatUSB Pro 3.x has been officially discontinued. No more units are going to be made. In addition, software support maybe removed in the future.

This is because the platform has been migrated to a much better hardware solution: PCB 4.0 is now in production and will be shipping at the end of this week.

The major changes are the processor has been upgraded to the ATMEL SAM3U. This features an embedded high-speed USB interface (480Mbp/s). In addition, the level shifter has been replaced with an Altera CPLD with programmable 160 logical elements and independent oscillator running at 40Mhz (80Mhz in DDR mode). This new hardware configuration will allow the device to program itself in-circuit and change how to interface with external devices. Thus, it will make a really good SPI programmer, but also be able to change into a really fast and efficient JTAG interface tool. In addition, this should have no problem interfacing with external devices in-circuit.

Because of this, the price has been increased. But the new functionality and features should more than make up for that.

And better news, if you already have a PCB 3.x, EC will be doing a 1-month exchange program. Use the 'Contact Us' on www.embeddedcomputers.net and request a RMA. The price will be $20 for USA and $25 for international which includes return shipping. PCB 4.0 is only possible because of the strong support for PCB 3.x which is how we got the to development level needed to build 4.x.

Any questions?

FCUSB_PCB40.png
 

AK6DN

New Member
#2
So does PCB 4.0 come with a case like PCB 3.0 does?
Does the single socket on 4.0 do what both the lo speed and high speed sockets do on 3.0?
Does 4.0 support 5.0V? The description only says 1.8V and 3.3V.
So what can't 4.0 do that can be done in 3.0? Anything? Or can 4.0 do everything that 3.0 can?
 

Pantheon

Member
Developer
#3
PCB 4.0 is only 3.3v and 1.8v compatible. The CPLD is 5v tollerant but can not drive 5v logic. For this, I recommend using the XPORT, since most devices that need this are more apply designed for that programmer. PCB 4.0 is designed for high-speed protocols, such as SPI and JTAG. While it can do everything 3.0 can do, it will be able to do far better and support more devices. In a future update, the device will support a new JTAG library that is designed to add tons of new chips.
 

Pantheon

Member
Developer
#6
This device is designed for high-speed serial protocols. For high-speed parallel protocols, we developed the Mach1 board, which is based on this same hardware design: SAM3U+Altera MAX V CPLD.

Also here is the final production version:

pcb_4.0_rev1_sm.png
 
#7
Are saying this will or will not work with the parallel adapter, and if so how much faster than the classic and/or xport?

Thanks
 

Pantheon

Member
Developer
#8
It works with the extension port adapter, but is the same as PCB 3.x when it comes to performance, as the extension port adapter is a serial to parallel adapter that uses the Microchip MCP23S17 and that part uses a maximum SPI data rate of 10Mhz. The Extension port is actually just a low-cost stop-gap to add functionality. If Microchip made a faster SPI IO expander, than I would defiantly consider re-designing the extension port to take advantage of it. However, as of now its obsolete, as I would recommend the XPORT over a FCUSB+EXT adapter. And if you intend to read parallel NAND memory, then I recommend the Mach1 which will be able to move gigabits of data quickly.

To summarize, the FlashcatUSB family consists of:
Classic: low-cost solution for SPI (8Mhz), I2C (400kHz), JTAG (limited device support, slow performance)
xPort: low-cost solution for parallel NOR and low-density SLC NAND
Pro: solution for SPI (48Mhz), I2C (1Mhz), universal JTAG (high-performance)
Mach1: high-performance solution for high-density SLC, MLC, TLC NAND memory
 
#9
I have a classic and a xport, but you make good argument to get a pro (for universal jtag and speed) and mach1 (for speed ad new memory types)
 

Pantheon

Member
Developer
#10
Also keep in mind, that if a product can work, its often compatible. You can use SPI memory with xPort via an adapter. And Classic can program SPI NAND devices (although very slow compared to Pro; 200KB/s vs. 1000KB/s). Each of these 4 devices are trying to target a specific market or memory group, this is why there is no such thing as the perfect programmer, you have to have some trade offs. But the best part of the design is that all products use the same software/interface.

Mach1 is being developed for high-density NAND as it needs hardware that can run the NAND protocol and also move data over a USB bridge quickly. But in the future, a NOR adapter will be added and support added for devices. The production version of Mach1 was just completed and a +5V rail was added to the new 56-pin output header so that it could be used to allow legacy adapters to charge-pump 5V/12V devices.

Also, JTAG support for Pro will be the big selling point. As it is going to be able to support and implement every kind of JTAG device we can! As the hardware has been optimized with this in mind. Although its not out yet, but its second on the dev. priority list (Mach1 is currently #1). The CPLD can be programmed in circuit and can be changed/clocked 4 sources: global clock, serial clock (48Mhz), MEMS oscillator (40Mhz), and PCK (programmable MCU clock up to 96Mhz). So a JTAG CPLD code will be able to implement the JTAG state machine and be able to quickly (and I mean FAST) write/read to the IR and DR of the target device (or chained device).
 

Lex-

New Member
#12
Also keep in mind, that if a product can work, its often compatible. You can use SPI memory with xPort via an adapter...
Please let me know which adapter ? I have a FlashCatUSB xPort and want to program 24Cxx and 950x0 devices.

Thank you.
 
#13
Also, JTAG support for Pro will be the big selling point. As it is going to be able to support and implement every kind of JTAG device we can!
Would it also be possible to implement SWD (Serial Wire Debug) JTAG alternative in the Pro?
 
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