(and anyone in a similar predicament),
I can understand your frustration with the setup. It’s been driving me mad. I thought I’d wait for… I’m not sure what exactly… I guess some software update that’s should make the installation easy? Not sure that’s supposed to be released (Is it or will therejust be this writing tool, or both?). Information is very space and scattered all over the place.
Since my Choosatron has just been sitting here gathering dust I thought I’d give it one more/last try before I throw it out. And, lo and behold, I managed to get it running this time. Wasn’t easy thought and took quite some detective work.
Based on the cryptic “Setting Up Firmware: Windows Platform” post, I’ll try to explain in easy words how I managed. This will be a guide for Windows (because thats what I'm using):
- Take your Spark Core (just the core, not installed in the Choosatron) and a USB to micro-USB cable.
Download the following programs, making sure to put them all in one folder (for this guide I had the files in the folder “choosatron” located in my windows "Downloads"-Folder.
So the directory would be "C:\Users\YOUR_NAME\Downloads\choosatron", While the directory letter "C:" and "YOUR_NAME" will depend on your PC.)
Download DFU Drivers (software for flashing (not that kind of “flashing”) the firmware) - You want the “dfu-util.exe” and “libusb-1.0.dll” files
Download Zadig Drivers whichs allows talking to generic USB devices.
Download Choosatron firmware and flash files cdam-v100-firm&flash.zip - unpack and copy the two „.bin“ files in these folders to the “choosatron” folder
Plug a USB cable from your computer, to the micro-USB connection on the Spark Core. Be gentle!
Activate the DFU mode on the Spark Core by holding down both buttons and release the Reset button (on the left w/ USB port facing you). Wait until the yellow flashing. Look at this guide here, easy-peasy.
Run the Zading Driver .exe. In the program window that opens there is a drop down menu at the top, which should say Choosatron (or similar). If that is not the case, check if you are still in DFU mode with your Spark Core (yellow flashing light, if not: back to 4.).
If it does click the “Install Driver” button.
There is an additional drop down menu where you can select several options (libusb-win32 (v220.127.116.11), libusbK (v18.104.22.168), WinUSB (v6.1.7600.16385)). I have to be honest, I have no idea what these mean. I just did all of them, one after the other . I think the “libusb-win32” was the one I had activated last, when the installation worked.
Now comes the tricky part, hold on…
Go back to the Folder you created at the beginning that holds all the downloaded files. These files should be:
Now call up the “run” command on Windows. The what now? The run command. Easiest activated by pressing Win+R (“Windows”-Key and “R” Key). This will open up a small window with a command / text line.
You will need to paste the following command into this line (to “flash the firmware” aka “make magic happen”).
Make sure to correct the drive letter if necessary and changing the “YOUR_NAME” to the name of the directory on your PC.
C:\Users\YOUR_NAME\Downloads\choosatron\dfu-util -d 1d50:607f -a 0 -s 0x08005000:leave -D choosatron-core-v100.bin
Then hit “Enter” or click “OK”
A black window will open and white text will magically appear. All that should take about a minute or less. If it takes you out of DFU mode (LED on Spark Core stops flashing yellow, get back into DFU mode (see step 4, aka push those tiny buttons again).
In DFU mode once again (yellow LED flashing), you now need to run another command line.
(Again making sure to correct the drive letter if necessary and changing the “YOUR_NAME” to the name of the directory on your PC. See, you’re getting the hang of this.)
C:\Users\YOUR_NAME\choosatron\dfu-util -d 1d50:607f -a 1 -s 0x80000 -v -D choosatron-flash-09-kids.bin
Then hit “Enter” or click “OK” (WARNING: This one takes 3-5 minutes, be patient. Maybe go get a beer and tell people you’re a programmer now.)
Mysterious black window opens again and you will see LOTS of repeating messages like this (gods know what it all means):
Download from image offset 0017f400 to memory 001ff400-001ff7ff, size 1024
Poll timeout 30 ms
Poll timeout 0 ms
Wait until it finally finishes in 3 to 5 minutes with this message:
File downloaded successfully
It might also just disappear (if you for instance went to get a beer or something in the meantime) leaving you to wander what the heck just happened. But that’s nothing to worry about.
The Spark Core will keep flashing yellow even when it is done. You may remove power (unplug from USB), or hit the small reset button. (I just unplugged it)
Now is a good time to begin assembling the Choosatron if you haven’t done that already.
Put the Spark Core into the socket on the other technical thingy (PCB) (see instructions here and don't forget adding the paper roll). Put it all together in its case. Then plug the main power in and wait. A short while later you will get a short print out that says "Press any button to start!"
Congratulations, it's set up!
This will give you an initial 9 (?) stories to play about with. How you get more or write your own has to do with the equally mysterious “Write” software. I’m still trying to figure that out...
I hope you can get your Choosatron running with this. If anyone has additional tips or corrections, please let me know.
Why we haven’t been supplied with an easy step-by-step guide for setting this up is beyond me. I understand that writing software is very difficult and akin to black magic, probably involving equal amounts of dark candles, black cockerels and unwilling virgins. But posting a detailed, simple to follow guide while the actual software is being made would have helped a lot. I understand that this project has hit several snags, but maybe it would be a good idea to update all the backers on the current status and giving detailed alternatives of setting up their systems.
I’m sure that would be greatly appreciated.