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$881 pledged of $15,000 goal
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By Ryan Minnig
$881 pledged of $15,000 goal
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What is a prototype?

A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:

Proof of Concept

Explorations that test ideas and functionality.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.

Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

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Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.

About this project

Why did we make the Ultimate Serial Port Tool?

Our mission is to make the software/hardware interface development easier for us all.

In the art of learning the software/hardware interface, instrumentation can mean the difference between a project meeting a deadline or pulling your hair out.  Knowing what is happening on the wires between your processor and the peripheral, whether it is a Raspberry Pi talking to a uBlox GPS, or a Microchip PIC talking to a cellular modem or an MSP430 talking to an SD card, is critical to making a robust software interface.

The days of using 2 USB-UART cables and opening 2 PuTTY windows to see UART data and trying to correlate the 2 data streams in time are over.

Especially for the embedded designer, but also for the hobbyist, being able to see the data on the wires allows one to verfiy that the software is doing what it is supposed to do.  It is not always practical, or even possible sometimes, to use an emulator or debugger to step thru communicae between a processor and a peripheral.  An operating system or scheduler, or even buggy interrupt code may cause timing issues with UART, SPI or I2C data that are not apparent.  The use of a Logic Analyzer or Oscilloscope can be a great help to track down timing issues, but they do not always have the abilty to view a lot of data on a scalable timeline, export to spreadsheet software or save to log files overnight.

What is the Ultimate Serial Port Tool?

USPT is a combination of hardware and software which connects up to 4 serial port analyzers thru a single USB cable to a PC.  One version is geared towards UART development which is still a very prevalent interace in cellular modems, GPS modules, WiFi modules, Bluetooth modules and others.  Particularly with UARTs, there is no single tool which can correlate both the Tx and Rx signals in time with respect to each other.  Another version is geared towards SPI and I2C development which would be more useful for interfacing to serial memories or interprocessor connections.  

The power behind UPST lies in the software interface which has the ablity to view data in many different scenarios such as timeline, packet sequence, byte timing ASCII, HEX, binary, and mixed modes.  Log files can be captured over a period of time and opened up at a later time with full timing information as if the capture had just occurred.  Data can be filtered by value, sequences or timing and can even be used to set up triggers which act like bookmarks so you can easily find specific data which may have been captured over a long 3 day weekend.  With the correct hardware design, data can be injected into either Tx or Rx wires right from the PC and the results can be monitored in real time.

We designed UPST as a tool that you can use to troubleshoot your projects in real time whether it is a data collection gateway, a sensor fusion chip, an SD card or a BTLE module.  You can monitor data over long periods and get a better picture of what is happening in your design.



Risks and challenges

We consider the Ultimate Serial Port Tool to be low-risk. We've developed dozens of embedded projects already and used some make-shift combination of tools to accomplish nearly what the USPT does, minus the software. The software for the first version is strictly a windows based application. There is a risk to development time to make the software portion platform independent at a later time. There are also risks to change the production schedule if there is any feedback received that will require a hardware change.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Buy the engineers doughnuts

    Support the hard work that's going into the hardware and software development and buy the team a coffee!

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    USPT 3D Printed Case (ONLY)

    Get a 3D printed USPT case designed by our Mechanical Engineer.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Production Run USPT! - Second Batch

    Get the production version of USPT for $25.00 off our launch price! This will be our second batch of UPST hardware! It will include full packaging and flying leads. Secure your UPST and join the community supporting the future of affordable instrumentation.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    USPT - First Production Run

    Get retail UPST hardware with leads and detailed connection examples.

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    Pledge $1,750 or more About $1,750

    UPST Teaching pack

    Get 10 production USPT boards at a discounted rate! Includes 10 USPT boards and 40 flying leads

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    Pledge $7,500 or more About $7,500

    UPST Training Workshop

    We will travel to your location and conduct a full day of training for up to 10 attendees. Our USPT expert is available for training after August 1 (US ONLY). Each Attendee will receive USPT hardware and software to keep!

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Funding period

- (30 days)