With the rise of IoT and embedded devices, information security has never been more important. We trust these devices to track our habits, manage our data, move our money, and watch us sleep. Check out some of the tools that specialists use for debugging, and incorporate them into your own hardware development arsenal. Some even provide a DIY BOM, so you can leverage your SMD soldering skills while leveling up your signal analyzing knowledge.
The Bus Pirate is a long-beloved universal bus interface that can talk to most chips via terminal. The PIC24FJ64 processor allows easy firmware updates, and the BP’s active community continues to extend usage with a wide array of supported protocols including JTAG, serial, MIDI, PIC, and ARM. The BPv3.6 also includes a binary access mode that can be used with a variety of scripting languages including C, Python, Perl, and more.
Designed around the Parallax Propeller 8 processor, the JTAGulator allows on-chip access with 24 I/O channels that include voltage input protection circuitry to protect all connected devices. The board includes level translation and voltage filtering with adjustable target voltage from 1.2V to 3.3V, and the USB interface provides power plus onboard terminal access. Supported target interfaces include JTAG/IEEE 1149.1 and UART/asynchronous serial.
If you regularly develop in the ARM Cortex space, you need to get your hands on a Black Magic Probe. A single device that does both JTAG and SWD, the BMP really shines in its onboard GNU Debugger which does away with the need for intermediary programs while providing full debugging functionality. The board also includes semihosting host I/O support and can receive TRACESWO diagnostics when in SWD mode.