Oct 092015


I recently received part of my Kickstarter reward from the famous C.H.I.P. $9 computer project.  This is the “Alpha C.H.I.P.” board that is hardware complete, but has no firmware.  So you need to install the SDK and flash the firmware yourself.  If you’re a kernel hacker (like me, I’ve been poking on Linux internals since ’98 and OpenWrt since ’06), this is pretty great. It gives one a chance to see the build process for an interesting tiny Linux system.

The steps to get C.H.I.P. up and on WiFi and accessible via ssh were very straightforward, very non-frustrating, and spelled out in the following links:

Each of those stages is pretty straight forward.  In short, these are the steps in each stage (where ‘%’ means my Mac, ‘$’ means the vagrant linux VM, and ‘#’ means CHIP command lines):

1. Install CHIP SDK

  • Install Virtual Box & Oracle Extension Pack
  • Install vagrant
  • % vagrant up && vagrant ssh
  • $ ./CHIP-SDK/setup_ubuntu1404.sh

2. Flash CHIP from CHIP SDK

  • Put jumper wire between FEL & GND pins on CHIP
  • Plug CHIP into computer’s USB
  • % cd CHIP-SDK
  • % vagrant up && vagrant ssh
  • $ cd CHIP-tools && ./chip-update-firmware.sh
  • $ cu -l /dev/ttyACM0 -s 115200
  • # hwtest
  • # exit
  • % vagrant halt

3. Get CHIP on WiFi

  • % sudo cu -l /dev/usbmodem14141 -s 115200
  • # connmanctl enable wifi
  • # connmanctl scan wifi
  • # connmanctl connect wifi_….

Here’s a complete log of everything I did, showing output for those interested: http://pastebin.com/w5pDhHAe

And here’s a pic of the FEL to GND connection needed to reflash the firmware:



Note: you should have some familiarity with “vagrant” and Linux command lines if things go wrong.  If you do have a problem, just try deleting VirtualBox, vagrant, and the CHIP-SDK checkout and starting from scratch.  (I had an old VirtualBox and vagrant install that caused some issues initially)


 Posted by at 1:41 pm

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