Badge hacking: update

A project log for Thotcon 0x8 Badge

Details on the badge for Thotcon 0x8 (2017)

KenKen 05/12/2017 at 03:000 Comments

After a note from [Scott Fish] posting a comment to the hackaday article, I went back and flashed a verified working version of the original badge firmware (properly dumped from a friend's badge) back to my badge.

It seems Scott was having trouble getting the badge to reboot to a bootloader so that it could be overwritten with custom firmware from the Arduino IDE. He was just getting the error:

Connecting to programmer: .avrdude: butterfly_recv(): programmer is not responding

I too ran into the same error via both the Arduino IDE and avrdude command line. This tells me the badge either does not have a bootloader, or something is preventing it from entering the bootloader properly when reset.

This means the only way to write custom firmware to the badge is to first burn the Arduino bootloader to the onboard Atmega32u4. That process requires an external AVR programmer of some sort. I personally used the buspirate. Here are the steps I had to take to get the badge to behave like a regular Arduino Leonardo, programmable via USB.

If everything went well, you should have an Arduino Leonardo show up in your IDE serial port list. Now you should be able to upload my example RGB sketch, or write your own.

Good luck, and I hope this helps clear up any confusion around re-purposing the badge for custom firmware.