Voltlog #265 – FT232H USB to JTAG/I2C/SPI Interface With Python & PyFtdi

Welcome to a new voltlog, today we’re going to be talking about this little board which I designed and assembled myself, it’s a breakout module for the FTDI FT232H which is a usb to serial converter but with a nice twist. This particular chip from FTDI has the built-in Multi-Protocol Synchronous Serial Engine (MPSSE short) which allows you to run a variety of synchronous serial protocols like JTAG, I2C, SPI or simple bit-banging of IOs. You can imagine it can be really useful to be able to interface with a sensor over I2C or SPI straight from your computer over USB through this interface. You wouldn’t need an arduino or other controller in the middle if you plan to do some data acquisition for example.

Voltlog #247 – InTheMail

Welcome to a new InTheMail, the series that will touch both your passion for electronics and your bank account at the same time. We’re going to start with this small module, at first when I ordered it I didn’t fully understood what it does but now after doing a bit of research for this mailbag it seems this is an immobiliser emulator for the VAG group. So am immobiliser is a security component of your car that will not let the ECU start the engine unless a certain key or token is present. And there might be valid reasons why you might need this emulator, for example if the immobiliser is broken, you can supposably cancel it and start the engine with this emulator or if you exchange the motor/ecu combo once again it might not be possible to use the old immobiliser and so an emulator will help.

It talks over a K-line interface which is something specific to the automotive domain but it’s basically a form of serial interface. At first I thought this was going to emulate some kind of can bus and I was planning to play with it by scanning the bus but now I realize this is useless for me.