AXE027 alternate

Captain Haddock

Senior Member
I just bought one of these cables to try as a programming cable for picaxe with the benefit of having +5v on the same cable, had to do a minor bit of configuring but works an absolute treat, the configuring consists of downloading and installing FTprog from the ftdi website and inverting the outputs but it took about a minute.
No connection whatsoever just thought I'd share in case someone finds it useful, they say 75mA power on the ebay page.
 

hippy

Technical Support
Staff member
Having +5V seems like a good idea but it can be problematic, even have disastrous consequences, if the power gets shorted and that adversely affects the PC. That's one of the reasons why we don't recommend USB powering.

The product does say "our circuits include regulation and short circuit protection" but then goes on to say "All I/O are protected from shorts and ESD" so it's not clear that the 5V is protected from shorts. It's also hard to see how that could be regulated from a 5V USB supply, though one could possibly boost the USB supply then regulate it again.

The 3V3 version may offer some protection through using a separate regulator or one inside the FTDI chip.

I would guess that "protected from shorts" means they have used inline resistors as there are in the AXE027 and "protected from ESD" is because the FTDI chip provides for that.
 

BillBWann

Member
...... the configuring consists of downloading and installing FTprog from the ftdi website and inverting the outputs but it took about a minute.
I bought the cheap knockoff version of these cables and have just tried to invert the Tx & Rx lines but without success. I installed FT_PROG and confirmed that I had Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 installed and then ran FT_PROG.

I then did the following:-
. Scanned for devices and it found the cable.
. In the Device Tree window, highlighted Hardware Specific/Invert RS232 Signals.
. In the Property window, ticked the Invert TXD & RXD boxes.
. Selected Program Device, made sure the device was ticked and clicked the Program button.

It responded that it had programmed the device but nothing seems to have changed. I tried removing and re-inserting the cable but again nothing changed.

Is there something I'm missing here?

I also tried checking to see if these cables supported the break command using the Picaxe USB Test Ports option but that test also failed. I'm hoping that inverting TXD & RXD will change that situation but I'm a little concerned.:( Captain Haddock did say that he was using these cables for programming!

One final point. The cable currently comes up as COM port 11 and I'd prefer it to be in the range 1-10. I suspect that that can't be changed but would like to be proved wrong about that if someone has managed to change the port number.

Have I wasted my time & money buying these cables????
 

inglewoodpete

Senior Member
I bought the cheap knockoff version of these cables...

Have I wasted my time & money buying these cables????
Only you can tell. My experience has been that, if the supplier of the genuine item is the only source for the drivers, then they will do what they can to protect their business. You may be able to install an older driver that works but Windows (at least) will periodically "upgrade" the drivers to the latest version.
One final point. The cable currently comes up as COM port 11 and I'd prefer it to be in the range 1-10. I suspect that that can't be changed but would like to be proved wrong about that if someone has managed to change the port number.
You can usually renumber the COM port ID in Windows' Device Manager, under Properties, Port settings, Advanced.
 

mortifyu

New Member
I actually made my own USB/ZIF programmer. It too works a treat ;)

I have programmed very many chips with this device without ever having an issue. Touch wood.

Programming speed is identical to AXE027.

USB-ZIF.jpg


Regards,
Mort.
 

BillBWann

Member
Only you can tell.
Thanks Inglewoodpete for your reply. Well I was hoping that either Captain Haddock or anyone else who had successfully programmed a chip using the cables recommended by Captain Haddock in #1 could confirm that the procedure I detailed back in #4 was correct and that I hadn’t missed out some vital step.

Otherwise I’d recommend against anyone else wasting their time purchasing the cheap cables itemised by Erco in #2.

You can usually renumber the COM port ID in Windows' Device Manager, under Properties, Port settings, Advanced.
Thanks for that info too. I tried what you suggested but it said I must have write privileges in the registry for the device which presumably I didn’t have. I have very limited knowledge in this area and as these cables appear to be pretty useless for their intended purpose, I haven’t investigated further.
 

hippy

Technical Support
Staff member
Thanks Inglewoodpete for your reply. Well I was hoping that either Captain Haddock or anyone else who had successfully programmed a chip using the cables recommended by Captain Haddock in #1 could confirm that the procedure I detailed back in #4 was correct and that I hadn’t missed out some vital step.
I believe it should have worked. It might be worth re-running FT-PROG, taking a screenshot, and posting it here just in case there's something amiss.

I recall it should just be matter of inverting the TX and RX pins but it's been a long time since I have used FT-PROG.

Otherwise I’d recommend against anyone else wasting their time purchasing the cheap cables itemised by Erco in #2.
This is why we recommend genuine AXE027 cables bought from ourselves. They may be more expensive than something from an on-line seller but they are robust, have a good build quality, and are designed specifically for PICAXE use. We use FTDI genuine parts, they are configured to work out of the box, are covered by our returns policy, and we fully support them. There is little profit made by ourselves on AXE027 sales; genuine FTDI parts and decent manufacturing simply costs money.

There is nothing wrong with third-party FTDI cables and adapters, or those from other manufacturers, per se - providing they don't use fake or poor quality parts - but they can often prove to be more trouble than they are worth, the cost saving a false economy.

Such cheap cables and adapters usually have a low cost because their sellers don't provide support for them, leaving people to figure it out themselves or turning to others to foot the cost of providing that support. While we will help where we can it's a double-whammy hit on ourselves; not having sold a cable and having to provide support for something someone else took the profit on.
 

mortifyu

New Member
The USB/ZIF adapter I made and show an image of in POST #6 employs a genuine FTDI chip and I did need to use FTProg to make changes for it to work. I certainly would not want to take away from AXE027 sales but if Tech support (Hippy) ok’s it, I am happy to upload a couple screen shots of FTProg showing the settings I used that have been successful.


Regards,
More.
 

hippy

Technical Support
Staff member
I certainly would not want to take away from AXE027 sales but if Tech support (Hippy) ok’s it, I am happy to upload a couple screen shots of FTProg showing the settings I used that have been successful.
Please do if you would be kind enough to do so. Having a reference to how it should be would be useful for everyone.

It's not that we begrudge anyone going the non-AXE027 route, and we can understand why they do. It's just that, when things don't go smoothly, others end up having to put in effort to resolve things, while the seller often just 'takes the money and runs'.
 

mortifyu

New Member
Please do if you would be kind enough to do so. Having a reference to how it should be would be useful for everyone.

It's not that we begrudge anyone going the non-AXE027 route, and we can understand why they do. It's just that, when things don't go smoothly, others end up having to put in effort to resolve things, while the seller often just 'takes the money and runs'.
No problem.

Please bare with me, it will be approx. 20hours before I am home to be able to take the screen shots and upload them here.


Regards,
Mort.
 

Captain Haddock

Senior Member
The method in post 4 is pretty much the same as I did and took very little time, I did find debug doesn't work properly (kept sending windows scatty) but anything without a debug worked fine.
I did not try it to save any money (in fact barely cheaper than axe027) I just liked the idea of having a prog cable with 5v thrown in so not having to trail another power supply cable around while testing program tweaks, once up and running most of my bits tend to run from 12v via a 7805 regulator.
 

hippy

Technical Support
Staff member
I did find debug doesn't work properly (kept sending windows scatty) but anything without a debug worked fine
That's a bit odd. It should have worked just like normal serial. Our cables simply have the pins inverted during manufacturing so doing it manually should be no different.
 

BillBWann

Member
Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions. I’ve attached a screen shot of FT_PROG at the point where I’ve supposedly programmed the chip (see “Finished Programming”) but at no point during the procedure have I ever seen the Tx pin actually change polarity.

I don’t really want anyone to spend excessive time & effort on this as I expect that these cables won’t be able to program a chip anyway as they don’t seem to support the break command and I don’t see any option for that in FT_PROG. Also Captain Haddock didn’t mention anything about doing that for the cables he was recommending.

ScreenGrab.jpg
 

Attachments

mortifyu

New Member
Hi All,

Here are the screenshots I offered to POST. What you are seeing is the data read from the FTDI chip that I programmed for my custom made USB/ZIF programmer shown in POST #6.

FTDI-1.pngFTDI-2.pngFTDI-3.pngFTDI-4.pngFTDI-5.png

Hope this helps.


Regards,
Mort.
 

Goeytex

Senior Member
I bought the cheap knockoff version of these cables and have just tried to invert the Tx & Rx lines but without success. I installed FT_PROG and confirmed that I had Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 installed and then ran FT_PROG.


... Is there something I'm missing here?
You have a device with a fake FTDI chip. The fakes have an OTP ROM and cannot be programed with FTPROG. This is not because FTPROG does not support programming these fakes intentionally. It is because the fakes either have a read only (ROM), or they use a completely different method of programming that is not published anywhere.

You can tell a fake FTDI in 2 ways. It cannot be programmed with FT_PROG and .... if you have 2 or even 10 of these, they will likely have the same serial number. You will never have 2 genuine FTDI chips with same serial number.
 
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BillBWann

Member
Thanks Mort. What you have shown lines up with what I observed when I "programmed" my fakes.

Yes Goeytex, that explanation certainly accounts for what I've observed.

Thanks again to everyone who's commented.

Bill
 

mortifyu

New Member
If you do have a 'FAKE' then it would be possible to use a couple transistors to invert the lines. Although, there may still perhaps be something else that holds you back.


Regards,
Mort.
 

BillBWann

Member
... Although, there may still perhaps be something else that holds you back.
Yes, like the lack of a serial break. :(

However, all is not lost. With only a minor alteration to the molex pin arrangement on the end of the cable, it will make a good device for conveniently checking and altering the set-up of my many HC-12 transceivers. :)

Bill
 
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