concerning the Girltech IM ME,
with a million thanks to Dave.
WARNING: Reflashing the CC1110 while batteries are low will permanently lock the chip. Either be damned sure to use fresh batteries or leave the batteries out and power the IMME from your GoodFET.
This brief tutorial describes the process of reflashing the Girltech IM ME with custom firmware, so that it may be used as a development platform for the Chipcon CC1110 sub-GHz ISM System-on-Chip. I assume the reader to have an assembled GoodFET with recent firmware, but other programmers may of course be substituted.
You should also read Dave's first article on IM ME hacking, as it describes his method for reprogramming the device. All the pinouts below were taken from his articles, as well as the keyboard and LCD information that he was so neighborly as to publish.
First, you'll need to purchase an IM ME, which can be had for $20 USD on a few toy sites while it remains in stock. You'll also need an assembled GoodFET and basic electronics tools.
The testpoints used for programming the IM ME are located behind the batteries in the rear compartment of the device. Ideally, a bed of nails should be used to clip into it, but failing that, just solder on to the Debug Data (DD), Debug Clock (DC), Reset (!RST), and GND pins. Run these to the GoodFET's 14-pin header as shown below.
From left to right on the IM ME, the pins are !RST, DD, DC, +2.5V, and Ground. Because the GoodFET is a low-voltage device, there's no need for the resistor dividers in Dave's article. Use EITHER the GoodFET OR the batteries for VCC, but not both.
Once you have the IM ME wired up, you can check its model number and status by running `goodfet.cc status'. This will tell you that the chip is locked, so making a backup of its firmware is non-trivial. If you continue from here, the IM ME will no longer function as an instant messenger.
Erase the chip by 'goodfet.cc erase' then dump an image of RAM as 'goodfet.cc dumpdata immeram.hex' to see if anything neighborly can be found inside.
You now have a blank IM ME, with the LCD most likely showing the last gasping breaths of its firmware. To flash a new firmware image, just grab its ihex file and run 'goodfet.cc flash foo.hex'.
I've placed a few example binaries in the repository of an operating system that I've started for the IM ME called GoodME. To flash Dave's LCD Test, run the following commands.
svn co https://goodfet.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/goodme
goodfet.cc flash goodme/bins/dave-lcdtest.hex
For a more functional demo, try bins/term-morse824mhz.hex, an ugly hack of an operating system for the IM ME with a Morse code transmitter and random number generator demo. In the Radio demo, holding any of the letter buttons broadcasts on 824MHz. The PRNG demo, shown below, demonstrates the repetition of strings withing the psuedo-random number generator and counts the number of bytes between them. This is sometimes used for key material.
The SDCC compiler is in the package repositories of most civilized operating systems. You might need a more recent version for the cc1110.h header, though building this compiler is a thousand times simpler than GCC. Compiling an example is as simple as sdcc foo.c; packihx <foo.ihx >foo.hex, which will produce a suitable Intel Hex file for flashing. The 8051 memory model makes specifying a chip model unnecessary, a handy deviation from those of us with a thousand MSP430 linking scripts.
Within the GoodME repository, you'll find my bastard child of an operating system at /branches/rough/. It was used to make the term-morse824mhz.hex, and its keyboard, font, and LCD drivers are ripe for organ transplants. /trunk/ ought to someday contain a proper operating system for the device, but for now, I haven't the time to complete it.
Have fun, and build something neighborly,