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OpenVizsla is an open source, high-speed USB sniffer that will help decode, debug and hack proprietary USB hardware devices.
OpenVizsla is an open source, high-speed USB sniffer that will help decode, debug and hack proprietary USB hardware devices.
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584 backers pledged $81,025 to help bring this project to life.

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    1. Missing avatar

      Graeme Gill on

      Too bad this project seems to have gone off the rails, mainly (it appears) due to feature creep. We signed up for a USB analyser, not something that can do anything and everything. Far better to have delivered on what was promised, and then do a follow on project to cover all the other possibilities. As my first experience with Kickstarter, I think I'll stay away until some sort of accountability mechanism is introduced, otherwise it seems far too easy for someone to come up with a cool idea, gather a bunch of money, and then spend it "having fun" at the backers expense.
      Doing your best and failing or falling behind is understandable. The lack of regular progress reports is simply unacceptable.

    2. Missing avatar

      Teflon on

      Are the plans and code for this project going to be published ?

    3. Missing avatar

      jetdillo on

      I'm basically giving up here. 20 months on and there's no device and we're back to quarterly(ish) updates. Maybe some day I'll get my board and parts, maybe not.
      The "Day job" excuse only works so far and at some point, barring being hit-by-a-bus-level life events you need to admit you totally under-spec'ed the amount of time and effort this would take. I'm just glad I'm only in for $100 and not the $500+ level(s).

    4. Missing avatar

      Zeode on

      How are things coming along?

    5. Jonathan James on

      Do you have any projections for estimated time of completion?

    6. Missing avatar

      jeffers on

      you guys gonna sell like a components kit for people that bought pcb only?

    7. Missing avatar

      jetdillo on

      I've only been saying this WRT lack of updates for about 8-12 months now. I really hope you are taking the need for frequent feedback and updates seriously.

    8. bushing Creator on

      Hi John,

      Point taken, thanks again for your ongoing support. We've just posted an update and we'll post another one in a few days when we have some photos to show.

    9. John Royle on

      Backers are starting to talk amongst themselves about their frustration. I think that chatter will result in something more organised soon. My advice to the OpenVizsla project is this - post updates regularly, I'd say once a week. If you don't, people will assume that something fishy is going on and you may find that you have more stuff to distract you than you expected.

    10. Missing avatar

      Teflon on

      Please provide an update.

    11. Ed Marshall on

      Can't second djmdjm's comment enough: posting a regular status update isn't much of a burden on you, and it would give us some insight into the manufacturing or development challenges you've been working on.

      Is it that hard to open up a browser to kickstarter.com once a week, and type up a quick status update, even if it's "sorry, no progress to report"?

    12. Missing avatar

      mrmike on

      I'm going on 4 development cycles on hardware that I really could have used this tool on since I pledged. I've since dropped a bunch of cash on other hardware to do the job instead. Have to say, I'm sad that my first big KickStarter pledge has turned out so poorly.

    13. Missing avatar

      djmdjm on

      Hi,

      I appreciate that your development course has been more complicated than you initially envisaged, but the lack of updates is really frustrating. Could you please start doing them regularly?

      Thanks,
      Damien

    14. Patrick Kane on

      pytey,

      If you guys provided regular updates, I suspect most of your backers would feel a lot less frustrated.

      Send around an update to backers at least once a month with concrete stuff that you guys have completed and a list of what you're currently working on.

    15. bushing Creator on

      Chris,

      I've just checked the backer report and you should have been getting the emailed updates from Kickstarter, the email address that you are using starts with "e". I also invited you to the mailing list last year - as you can see from this image - http://openvizsla.org/image/list.png but you chose not to accept the invitation (or it has been gobbled up by your spam filters).

      Yes, the project has taken longer than anticipated, but it is still all underway, we have spun hundreds of boards during the R&D process and we are almost complete with the latest board (that hopefully will be close to the board that will be shipped to backers).

      Don't lose heart, we are well known and people trust us, we are working on this actively.

      Thanks

      -- pytey.

    16. Christopher Grayson on

      I funded this and never received anything from anyone. Not even so much as an email communication. The OpenVizsla has nothing but a link to this KickStarter project. The Twitter account has never sent a single tweet. You guys raised over $80k, more than four times what you asked for, almost a year and a half ago, and just took the money and ran. Someone should sue you.

    17. Missing avatar

      Eric Smith on

      475 days and counting. This is getting absurd. "Soon" apparently has a different meaning here.

    18. Ryan Braun on

      Thanks bushing! The hard work is much appreciated and I can't wait to put the analyzer to use..

    19. John Royle on

      Appreciate the reply. Look forward to further updates.

    20. bushing Creator on

      John/Charles

      We'll be posting an update soon, but we have made great progress and the core team are working on the firmware while the next prototype board design are being readied for manufacturing.

      The project has been far more involved and complicated than we imagined and as we have mentioned in previous updates we had some issues with hardware problems, these have been rectified now and we are moving onto the next design.

      There is a reason why tools that are on the market currently cost $LOTS (because of the huge amount of R&D that has to happen) and all of those analysers don't have as many features as the OpenVizsla will, so that has to be taken into account.

      We know that the device you'll eventually receive will be used not only for USB analysis but for a host of other analysis jobs, we know it will be the go to device, not only for an Open Source device, but it will be chosen again and again over commercial devices that you may have in your lab.

      We can't give a concrete date on shipping as yet as we don't have the next boards back and those have not been tested and we don't want to let anyone down with false promises.

      We are working on this night and day (while also fitting in time for our day jobs).

      Thanks

      -- pytey.

    21. John Royle on

      An update and come concrete dates on when you will be shipping would be good. Has anyone had anything out of this project yet?

    22. Charles Alvis on

      I am hungry for an update. The last update (In Jan) had some very promising news and I am just wondering how far it has progressed since then?

    23. Missing avatar

      Eric Smith on

      @jetdillo Well, before the end of *a* year.

    24. Missing avatar

      Teflon on

      "Would be great to get an update on progress though. I don't think that is unreasonable for backers to expect an update once a month!"

      +1

    25. Missing avatar

      jetdillo on

      So, with the first anniversary of this project coming up, I was hoping we could get an update ?
      Can mid-tier backers expect to see their units before the end of the year ?
      Thanks!

    26. Missing avatar

      willjcroz on

      Hi, hope it is all going well with the project. Would be great to get an update on progress though. I don't think that is unreasonable for backers to expect an update once a month! Cheers.

    27. Missing avatar

      LEYNAERT on

      Hi, I did not expect that this proejct would take so long....looking forward to get one board and be able to do something. Thanks.

    28. bushing Creator on

      djmdjm: We posted an update a couple of days ago, maybe you missed it? You can see it in the updates tab above.

      Thanks!

    29. Missing avatar

      djmdjm on

      Could you please make another update? It has been a long time and we backers would love to know how things are going.

    30. Jonathan James on

      Would love an update as well

    31. Missing avatar

      Robert Snook on

      Anything going on with this project? Is there some other place updates are being released? For those of us who aren't receiving prototype boards it's a little quiet.

    32. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      The author of this comment has been deleted.

    33. Missing avatar

      Elio on

      Any news regarding the developement of OpenVizsla?
      It seems to me that you should give us some more info regarding it: last update was made on July, 7!!!!

    34. George Ioakimedes on

      OK, so what's up with this project? Is July 10th really the last contact? Who got some of these initial boards?

    35. Missing avatar

      mpechner on

      time for another update I think.

    36. bushing Creator on

      Eric: As stated in the update "*certain* development headers will be removed".
      We really went overboard and had JTAG or Debug headers on every programmable component on the board so that we could ensure the board wasn't bricked during early development of the debug CPLD. Those parts now appear either directly in the JTAG chain or are muxed by the CPLD (which is available by the on board FTDI JTAG debugger or an external 20-pin connector).

    37. Missing avatar

      Eric Smith on

      My experience is that removing development headers is *always* a bad idea. Every time I've worked on a project where we thought we no longer needed them, we found that we actually did. Management often would tell us, "you can use the old boards for development/debugging", but for one reason or another that never worked out well.

      I'd strongly recommend keeping any development/debug headers, and simply not stuffing them. If you must reduce the board space, you could go to fine-pitch headers.

    38. Missing avatar

      Eric Smith on

      Thanks for the update! Looking good!

    39. bushing Creator on

      @Eric I've just written an update. Thanks for the nudge!

    40. Missing avatar

      Eric Smith on

      It's been over 7 weeks since the last update. Surely there has been some progress to report? I know these things take time, but even a minor update would be help keep us backers confident that things are moving toward fruition.

    41. Missing avatar

      Darryl Okahata on

      For those of us who missed out on backing, will there be any units for sale after completion?

    42. Gui Ambros on

      @bushing: just to let you know this is one of the most professional projects I've backed so far (and I've backed more than 10 on Kickstarter). Your communication flow is steady, and the balance between "user's participation" and "creator's vision" is dead-on. Just take the time you need to do it right and you'll be doing a HUGE service to the community of makers around the world. Thanks for doing this.

    43. bushing Creator on

      @smokeymcpot We are managing this project in our particular way and in the way we stated when we asked for backing. There is a lot of work to do and unfortunately we can't manage huge amounts of feature requests from everyone (which usually happens when there is a large forum for a project like this). If you look through the comments we have added features based on the requests of users, but even this was feature creep that added complexity to our existing design that we had sketched out. We have to keep the board design and review process fluid and lean and we certainly have enough peer review within our team (of highly experienced embedded and EE experts).
      The upper tier was priced high enough to cover 2 or 3 of the prototypes per person (they are incredibly expensive in the small numbers that we are producing and to be honest 1000 USD doesn't really cover this), the backers knew what they were getting into when they opted to back this tier and they are all happy, every single person who has backed us (from $1 to $1500) are all people who are passionate about the project and believe in us.
      By the way we also put out a request for students and other people who couldn't afford to back anything, we asked them to describe what they do and why they'd like to help and we've also sponsored those spots for them. We think we are doing this in the right way and it is working for us, but of course feel free to start another USB protocol analyzer project on Kickstarter (or elsewhere) that completely fits all of your Open Source criteria.

    44. Missing avatar

      smokeymcpot on

      I understand this is not your average Arduino project. Being an electrical engineer who works with programmable logic design on complex multi-layer boards with small pitch SMT components, I both respect and appreciate the amount of work that you are doing to get it together. The vast majority of people interested in this project probably don't care about the design at the board level let alone have the experience or equipment necessary to build and test a prototype. They just want something that works. The other small minority could have valuable input. It never hurts to have an extra pair of eyes on the design process, which is one of the best things about open source.
      You are right about the reason there are no cheap analyzers out there now, but if you are going to develop with a small team and keep the design process closed, why release the hardware files at all? Just sell boards. Having to pay to have access to design conversations is not very "open source".

    45. bushing Creator on

      @smokeymcpot as we originally stated in the project summary "With your investment in our project, we will finalise the design, order the components in bulk (so that automated assembly is viable) and we will have initial prototypes built."
      There is a reason there are not any cheap high-speed USB Protocol Analyzers out there (let alone open-source) and this reason is because the hardware development is specialised, expensive and putting it all together is very time consuming. This isn't a run-of-the-mill Arduino project or but a high-speed, SMT four-layer PCB design with various specialist components that need to be designed and produced correctly. This is the task that is underway right now, this is a board that has to be designed carefully and with the input of a few talented engineers (including ones in the highest tier). When the hardware is proven and the board is "brought up" then we'll work on the firmware and software and accept valid software contributions from anywhere. We've got a community (a mailing list and group) that is currently open to backers, this will be extended to the public once we've proven the hardware. I notice that you are not actually a backer, so you'll need to wait a little while longer to see these conversations.

    46. Missing avatar

      smokeymcpot on

      First of all I would like to say I fully support the goals of this project. The technology to cheaply make very useful equipment like this really is now within the grasp of normal people for a lot of applications. I do have a question/comment about the "open source" nature of this project though. The power of open source isn't just having the finished schematics/layouts/code available, but also the collaboration of the community working on the design. It appears that you are developing the system yourselves without having the design available. There are many talented people with experience in relevant fields that would contribute to making the best design if they had access to the design in progress. I may be way off base and just missed the link to the git/svn/cvs repository, but if that is not available, this project is really stretching the idea of open source. Take the lead from Linux kernel. Linus makes the final decisions about what gets included, but anyone can contribute.

    47. Missing avatar

      jeffers on

      any updates?

    48. Missing avatar

      Guy Taylor on

      @bushing Have you had a look at http://www.elinux.org/BeagleBoard/GSoC/2010_Projects/USBSniffer ?
      It is not a FPGA, so will not work at the speed you are designing, but it does work today.
      Just to let you know

    49. bushing Creator on

      @Seth Thanks for the comment, it is an interesting point, hopefully I can explain how the current solution is engineered and also the reason why your suggestion isn't that easy for OpenVizsla.
      The target USB ports need to be as close as possible to the analysis PHY and because of the high speed signals involved, the PHY has to be strategically placed so that the sniffed signals degrade as little as possible. This is achieved this by placing the USB PHY chip as close to the target ports as we can (and also ensuring that USB traces are not crossed in any way).
      The PHY is mounted on the underside of the PCB so that the PHY traces are as short as possible.
      All of this means you can't introduce additional electrical connections (such as a USB socket daughterboard) without relocating the PHY onto that same daughterboard (which would be expensive). The PonyPort could accommodate such a board (and is actually designed to do so for test purposes) but it would drastically increase costs if we adopted that configuration for end-users.

    50. Missing avatar

      Seth Goldberg on

      This may fall into the realm of overengineering, but coming from using other commercial USB analyzers, one of the biggest issues I've had is with USB connector cycle life. That is, the USB connectors on the analyzer failed only after about a year of use due to the large number of cycles and heavy use it was taking. I always thought it would be a better design to have easily-replaceable USB connectors so if a connector fails due to heavy use, it can be easily replaced (i.e. via a snap-in daughterboard or at he very least, making it easy to desolder (though that could certainly damage the board or other nearby components)). What do you think?

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