[riot-notifications] [RIOT-OS/RIOT] Particle boards: Support DFU mode for flashing (#12320)

chrysn notifications at github.com
Fri Sep 27 23:05:30 CEST 2019

#### Description

The Particle family has, in its default firmware, a `dfu-util` based bootloader that can be entered by keeping the "mode" button pressed at power-up (or after any other reset situation) and releasing it when the LED flashes yellow.

I couldn't find out yet what memory area is available for flashing while this bootloader is in place, and whether it's an "actual" bootloader (can preempt booting of anything flashed) or just a fall-back mode that needs the application's assistance to enter (in which case it'd need something in the board startup script to stay usable for more than one time), but at any rate I think it'd be good to have the programming possibility available.

#### Context

I see this as part of a larger development: While many dev kits have had programmers and UART adapters for quite some time (and they're not too complex, just another M3 wired to the debug ports), that does contribute to board complexity and thus cost – and with bootloaders becoming more available, my assumption is that we'll see more and more boards without programmers. Sure, they're no good options for low-level development, but RIOT is mature enough that developers more on the "user of RIOT" side can come a long way without ever getting into situations where getting a debugger's view of the system becomes necessary.

### Useful links

* Description of Particle Xenon modes: https://docs.particle.io/tutorials/device-os/led/xenon/

#### Next steps

I'll have a deeper look into the memory layout involved and the dfu-util invocations required. A deep look into how memory regions are configured (and thus how the information about an involved bootloader must be passed in) will help as well.

As outcome of ensuing discussion I hope to have a PR that allows something like `make BOARD=particle-xenon USING_BOOTLOADER=particle flash` to program a board as fresh out of the box.

#### Alternatives

Buy a .1"-to-.05" programmer adapter cable. Naaah…

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