ISEE3 Rebooted

This post is an honorable post to a group of  Citizen Scientists and Volunteers for their effort to reboot an cold world era (launched 1978) satellite which floated around the universe.

Source: NASA International Sun-Earth Explorer (ISEE-3) The International Sun-Earth Explorer (ISEE-3) launched in 1978 on a mission to study Earth’s magnetosphere. In 1983, it became ICE, the International Cometary Explorer, and was sent on a new mission to study comets Giacobini-Zinner and Halley.

Mission control team used GNURadio (opensource SDR radio software) to wake up and control the runaway bird.

And they used the huge monster disk Arecibo because this is the only dish on the planet to reach that distance so far.



A nice , simple and clean mission control room. This is different from the war room we have ever seen.

ISEE-3 Reboot Project Mission Control Team

It was 10 July 2014 early morning, I was waiting for World Cup, surfed the net and follow their twitter stream about TCM burn (the mission control team started and burned a series of thrusters). And they also feed the live telemetry data. I followed their tweet and live data stream.





This shows how a crowd funding and citizen scientists can go far. And this is the first collaboration project with public for space science.

Congratulation to all.


GTP-USB-Lite Programmer re-flsahed as USBPICProg

I bought this programmer from local supplier a few years ago. This is a GTP-USB-lite programmer clone and beautifully build as sandwich  style.

USB-PIC_Prog (2)


USB-PIC_Prog (3)

Some drawbacks of this programmer are:

  • I noticed that this programmer don’t work with some PC/Laptop USB port for unknown reason.
  • Don’t support Windows 7
  • Not opensource,


Anyway, GTP-USB programmers are the best and DIY friendly at their age. Mostly, I used PicKit2, PICKit3 as main programmer. So, I leave this programmer in a corner of my desk for a while. Last week, I noticed a post in DP forum about hacking aka flashing this programmer.

The original blog post here.

At the last weekend, I try to flash my GTP-USB-Lite programmer with new firmware and to use new software. The procedure is very simple.

– GTP-USB-Lite and USBPICProg are very identical hardwares, USB interface, PIC18F2550, the same charge pump, same programming header’s pin.

– The difference are;

  • GTB-USB lite used 8MHz crystal and USBPICProg uses 12 MHz crystal
  • LEDs are connected at PIC pins 11,12 and 13 in USBPICProg and pins 27,28 at GTP-USB-Lite.

GTP-USB-Lite hardware circuit

USBPICProg hardware , firmware, PC software (The best thing is  all are opensource :D)

– First, to take off and flash programmer’s PIC18F2550 with boot loader and to change 12MHz crystal in circuit

USB-PIC_Prog (4)



– Download and installed PC software and install it.

– Download last firmware and  attached programmer. The PC will detect bootloader and install bootloader USB interface driver. Launch the PC programmer software and  bootloader is activated and update firmware.

– USBPICProg-0.6.0-software –> Updated Firmware

– Then, remove programmer from USB port. Connect PGC pin (RB6 , Pin No 27 of PIC18F2550) to ground to de-activated the bootloader and activated USBPICProg programmer mode. The PC USB port will detect and installed new device (USBPICProg) driver.

Before final launch, I simply cut the trace between LEDs and  RB7,RB6 (pin 27,28) and connected LED’s resistors to Pin 11,12. LED shows signal now.

USB-PIC_Prog (1)


For now, I can use reborn USBPICProg as a backup programmer. I renamed it USBPICProg because it is no more GTP-USB Lite.




Microchip Advanced Parts Selector and other handy tools (Online/Offline/Mobile vers)

I used PIC as my primary development platform for years. Selecting a right MCU and checking features while developing is a time consuming task sometimes. Last week, I noticed handy tools in Microchip website.

The first tool is Microchip Advanced Parts Selector (MAPS) tool. There is online and also offline version. I tested both quickly. Online and offline version are same interface. Great, can search, filter and compare various PIC easily.

The link :


There is also a mobile version for both Android and IOS platforms named Mobile Product Selector.  It is also handy to use with your tablet at workbench while testing something.

Android App Link:


Wait, there are also some good tools for discrete components, Analog and Interface Products Presentation – (Offline Only). This is a power point file with good linking. You can click and find right info for interface , analog peripherals and  parts like transceiver, op-amps etc..


Last one is “Product Tables”, all PIC with required info and volume pricing can be downloaded as PDF or CVS format.

Visitor Hits Raise

It was a day of last month, waked up early morning, checked my blog. Usually, I don’t check my blog daily and sometimes once per week because there are not much visitors in my tiny blog. Also I cannot update my blog for a moment. But, my eyebrows raised. There was a site’s notification show that visitors status was more than usual. I checked status report. “More than 10000 visitors in a day”. What the hell is going on. Is wordpress domain under attacked?


I checked the traffic’s source quickly. Its come from “HackADay” and also from “Lifehacker”. I noticed the source of traffics. I am a fan of these two sites. Last year, I posted about my old laptop to All in one desktop conversion. This post was appeared in these sites and also in some several sites around.


Thanks “HackADay”, “Lifehacker” and all visitors for interesting this. Yes, recycling and reusing is good for all.

There is also another reason why I still use such old PIII laptop.

First reason, I don’t need much power for both hardware and software. Mostly, I used this for microcontroller and other circuits design development. So, I used MPLABX, Pickit2, Eagle etc. These software run well in old hardware with windows XP. And some of MCU and electronics tools work well in XP, not in windows 7.

Second reason is that this laptop is versatile. It has various IO ports, serial, lpt and usb. For serial COM port, using a hardware serial port is much convenience with some hardware like JDM programmer. And the LPT port, this is great for using CNC motor driver and handy for any hardware hacking liked JTAG and raw IO access from C++ program. Yes, it is the age of USB and LPT is not included in standard PC any more. For me, LPT is still handy interface for many case. It is fast, easy to access.

Third reason is cost effective for hardware testing. As you know, PC hardware interfacing with DUT is not a safe job. Your new model PC or laptop may blow up and consuming your pockets a lot at any time. Throwing old PC is not like this. I used this oldie for several years. It’s more than it’s price.

Bus Blaster v2 and gift arrived

last a few weeks ago, I ordered Bus Blaster v2 from Seeed, my favorite open hardware facilitator and supplier. Bus Blaster v2 is an experimental, high-speed JTAG debugger from Dangerous Prototypes. I explorer the world of embedded and this tool will help me a lot.

Luckily, it was a 4th annual birthday of Seed and I also got a Seed T shirt and solar charger shield as special mysterious gift. Thanks to Seeed. Sure, I will make a renewable energy project with this shield.


I am back

I am back to my workbench and smell of soldering iron.

I live in Myanmar. Yes, a strange country many lack of things and full of opportunities opened it’s door. For day job, I work as a professional in ICT sectors. My company deployed mass amount of mobile and internet infrastructure since last year. I traveled and worked around the country with a tight project schedules.  I noticed that my tiny blog has some visitors even without update.

Many tasks are pending at my desk. Many projects and circuits are not finished yest since last year. I will try to update ASAP. Dear visitors, you are welcome.

Trip to ShenZhen


I am a fan of sparkfun web site. After browsing their tour to Shenzhen, I eager to go there really. Luckily, I had a chance to visit there last a few months ago. First, I heard formerly about Akihabara, a land of electronic in japan. Then I heard about Sehnzhen from some electronics hobbyists and consumer electronics suppliers. The haven of electronics for developpers, suppliers and crazy shoppers.

There are the two places you must visit if you are one of these. The first is Hua Qiang Bei, the electronics shopping mall area.This is the place for anything of electronics. There are many malls both side of the street, many consumer electronics products, some are copy, some are original. The choice is up to you. I believed that most of electronics products

The next place SEG, really this place is at the corner of Huaqiangbei. If you are a hobbyist, developer or a have business in electronic, I believed that you will be surprised in this place.This  is a big Electronic plaza especially for components and parts. I cannot take much photo when I was there. For interest, visit the following sites and view their tour experiences.

After walking arround the above SEG tower (where the plaza is existed), I end up buying the following components. No need to introduce, famous Arduino and shields. I looked around the corner of third floor, I noticed that a girl is testing these boards in a shop (really, this shop is where they assemble these boards). I don’t remember the price detailed but I remembered that much cheaper than others which sold on the net.

The next is soldering flux, probe, 3-rd hands, desoldering wick, steppers and some microcontrollers, usb chips, ethernet chips (not in photo).

Last, if I have a chance, I would like to visit there again. For the  first time, I don’t know what are where and I cannot find many thing what I want. Be warn, it is a big place. if you want to visit for the first time, you should learn from above and others experience and take your time (at least one day for rough and three days for detailed, I think) .