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Thread: Re-engineered M2-atx firmware with fixes and added functionality

  1. #1
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    Re-engineered M2-atx firmware with fixes and added functionality

    First off, let me say that I have been a lurker around here for quite some time, but I am a newb at contributing to forums so let me apologize in advance for any etiquette infractions that I commit... I assure you they are unintentional and I will learn

    I have an M2-atx psu, and like many others, I was annoyed by the 5 second delay that occurs on power on. I set out to shorten that delay while ensuring that my power supply still worked as advertised. The farther I dug into the code, the more I discovered it was an unbelievable mess, so in the end I decided to reverse-engineer the operation of the psu and re-write the firmware, which I have done. I finished the current version of the firmware early last year and was promptly sidetracked with real life (job, getting married, moving, etc....) so I have not been working on my carPC since then.

    However, it seems that my opinion that the operation of the M2-atx is sub-optimal is pretty widely shared, so I am going to undertake the process of figuring out if my code can help others here on the forum. I have not decided how I am going to release the code into the wild yet, but any constructive suggestion or encouragement would be appreciated!

    I am not particularly interested in trying to make money off of the forum users, as I depend on forums and open source contributions for supporting my hobbies as well (linux, xbmc, this forum). However, I have added functionality to the psu as well as removing bugs, so I feel that it has added value and am not ready to just give it away for someone else to sell.

    My plan is to demonstrate the functional differences, probably in a before/after type video and to enlist the help of a few people to functionally verify that the code works for them too. After the code has been tested a bit, if companies like mini-box or mp3car are interested in selling it, I guess they can contact me...

    Until I have a chance to post more details, please leave feedback if you are interested in the code, you have a bug in operation that you think code might be able to fix, or just want to offer some motivation! More details when I am not at work...

    EDIT:

    see more details about my firmware farther along in the thread:
    http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/powe...ml#post1373099

    also, check out some videos demonstrating the functionality here:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/bluTDI09

  2. #2
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    i'm definitely interested. Would you be able to add more shutoff times as well?
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonicxtacy02 View Post
    i'm definitely interested. Would you be able to add more shutoff times as well?
    I have already modified the shutoff timings to suit my liking as well as added more options for additional jumper combinations. I will post the details of what I chose when I get home and can look at the code, but I can easily set it to whatever people would want.

  4. #4
    Mod - all of it. SapporoGuy's Avatar
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    wow!

    Here's another addition.
    If I'm wrong just ignore me then

    But if the M2 has bad code wouldn't the other psu lines have similar problems?

    As a business adventure, good luck, but I really wonder how many units would have to be sold before you get even a quarter of your effort back

    Still, go for it and I do really hope you can make a profit

  5. #5
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    You might want to look into the legality of what you are doing.

    Reverse engineering of someone code is usually against the terms and conditions.


    Now doing it for yourself and the product you have bought is fine.

    However if you then try and distribute that, you could be break the T&C's.

    As such we could not allow that sort of discussion on this forum.


    I would suggest you contact minibox with your findings and discuss with them if they are happy for you to distribute your code (unlikely as it would bring up warranty issues if peoples M2 start failing) or whether they would be interested in working with you in getting the code 'right'.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SapporoGuy View Post
    wow!

    Here's another addition.
    If I'm wrong just ignore me then

    But if the M2 has bad code wouldn't the other psu lines have similar problems?

    As a business adventure, good luck, but I really wonder how many units would have to be sold before you get even a quarter of your effort back

    Still, go for it and I do really hope you can make a profit
    It is my understanding that the M1 and M2 share code but the M3 and M4 are entirely different, so the M1 may share some of the same problems as the M2... It may have problems that even perfect code won't fix, but I would not be surprised if some of the weird powering on and off problems that people see are code related. We will have to see...

    As far as this being a business venture, the work is mostly done already and if I get any compensation for my effort it is better than not, but that was not my original intent. I just want to make sure that credit is given where credit is due... And I am sure that I will be able to help some fellow carputer-ers along the way!

    Thanks for your reply!

  7. #7
    FLAC
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    if you can make the M2 keep the 5V on until a set threshold voltage like the DSATX, it'll make the M2 sooooo attractive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enforcer View Post
    You might want to look into the legality of what you are doing.

    Reverse engineering of someone code is usually against the terms and conditions.


    Now doing it for yourself and the product you have bought is fine.

    However if you then try and distribute that, you could be break the T&C's.

    As such we could not allow that sort of discussion on this forum.


    I would suggest you contact minibox with your findings and discuss with them if they are happy for you to distribute your code (unlikely as it would bring up warranty issues if peoples M2 start failing) or whether they would be interested in working with you in getting the code 'right'.
    Thanks for the input, that is a good idea. I actually did not reverse engineer the code... I looked at the available source (from 2005 or so) to see if I could just make simple modifications as others have suggested and tried. In the end, I only used a couple of things from that code (such as the ADC technique for monitoring battery voltage) and rewrote the rest from scratch because they did not utilize the PIC's capabilities very well. I will list all the differences when I can get home and look at the code.

    I had considered contacting minibox before to see if they were interested in working with me but for some reason decided not to... but your point about warranties is a good one so maybe I will see what they say. That being said, I also am not interested in doing or discussing anything illegal regarding terms and conditions of use of the PSU, so I will try to look into that further and post any feedback I get.

    I do not think that my code will cause any psu to fail... in fact it should be less likely to because the timing scheme and communication with the motherboard I implemented is precisely compliant with the ATX standard (which I couldn't verify with the minibox code). But additional testing may find bugs that my setup doesn't have so I make no warranty claims at this point!

  9. #9
    FLAC
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    just buy a stock of PIC's, flash them to your code and sell them here on the side. if theyre good chips, people will buy them. id spend $15 on one if i knew it would make my m2 more stable and add features.

  10. #10
    Constant Bitrate mstaedt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluTDI09 View Post
    I have already modified the shutoff timings to suit my liking as well as added more options for additional jumper combinations. I will post the details of what I chose when I get home and can look at the code, but I can easily set it to whatever people would want.
    I like the idea of different shut-off routines as well. Maybe something along the lines of a hard off after 12-24 hours. My thinking for this would be that since I drive my truck every day of the week, I think (although I haven't tested it yet) that I have enough battery to run stand-by from the time I shut the truck off in the evening until I go to work the next morning. But, if the truck sits for more than a day, a hard off would then kick the Windows 7 hybrid sleep mode into hibernate.

    Thanks...
    Mark
    --------------------------------
    Project completed! (almost)

    My Truck as featured in Custom Classic Trucks magazine.

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