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  • Cigdem Sengul

Making MicaZ motes work with Contiki – an open source operating system for Internet of Things


This blog post describes how to program MicaZ motes under the Contiki Open Source Operating System for the Internet of Things (IoT) (http://www.contiki-os.org/).

I recently started putting together devices for an Internet of Robotic Things Lab. The main idea is to use different sensor, communications and robotics platforms to create a flexible testing environment for various IoT style applications.

I do have Raspberry Pi and Arduino based devices, but I also own the older TelosB and MicaZ motes.  And, I am looking into buying other newer platforms.

The TelosB motes support Contiki well and I have tested them in a bunch of different scenarios (Contiki recognizes them as the sky platform).

However, with the MicaZ motes (http://www.memsic.com/wireless-sensor-networks/), I did not have immediate success. They are programmed the old fashioned way (through a programming board and through a USB interface).

Below  I list a number of issues I have run into and the solutions I put together based on various answers I found scattered over the Internet.   In the rest, I assume that you are familiar with Contiki make and upload commands  (otherwise see here: http://www.contiki-os.org/start.html and also here: https://github.com/contiki-os/contiki/wiki/Contiki-Build-System).

(1) I noticed this first when I was trying to run the hello-world application.  Compilation  (i.e., make TARGET=micaz hello-world) failed with:  In file included from ../../cpu/avr/dev/flash.c:4:0: /usr/lib/avr/include/avr/boot.h:112:16: error: attempt to use poisoned “SPMCR” #elif defined (SPMCR)

Solution: This is a bug of avr-gcc, and is well reported. So it was easy to fix. You need to patch /usr/lib/avr/include/avr/boot.h as follows:

#if defined (SPMCSR) #  define __SPM_REG SPMCSR #else #if defined (SPMCR) #  define __SPM_REG SPMCR #else #  error AVR processor does not provide bootloader support! #endif #endif

(2) Then when compiling blink, another make error: sudo make TARGET=micaz blink CC     ../../platform/micaz/./init­net.c ../../platform/micaz/./init­net.c:64:28: fatal error: net/uip­fw­drv.h: No such file or directory #include “net/uip­fw­drv.h”

Solution: This is again a simple bug to resolve. The path missed “ipv4” in the original file, and hence could not locate the file. Modify init­net.c so that the #include line points out to the right directory:

#include “net/ipv4/uip­fw­drv.h”

(3)  Then the upload fails (i.e., make TARGET=micaz blink.upload fails) with a uisp error uisp ­dprog=mib510 ­dserial=/dev/ttyS0 ­dpart=ATmega128 ­­wr_fuse_h=0xd1 ­­wr_fuse_e=ff ­ erase ­­upload if=blink.srec ­­verify Direct Parallel Access not defined.

Solution: After trying a few things, I thought the best way is to switch to avrdude instead. I chose to translate the original uisp command to a one that can be understood by avrdude.  In the end, I did the following after compilation to upload (replaces the make command with upload):

> avr­-objcopy -­O srec blink.micaz blink.srec > sudo avrdude ­-cmib510 -­P/dev/ttyUSB0 ­-pm128 ­-U hfuse:w:0xd1:m ­-U efuse:w:0xff:m ­-e ­-v ­-U flash:w:blink.srec:a

After running this,avrdude verifies and writes to the flash. When it is all done, you should see: avrdude done.  Thank you.

Then you should see your Micaz mote blinking.

For more information on avrdude: http://www.nongnu.org/avrdude/user-manual/avrdude.html

Note 1: To run the command, you have to check first which USB port your programmer is connected first. Mine was with /dev/ttyUSB0.

Note2: If you see avrdude: Yikes!  Invalid device signature. This is just a poor programmer board and mote connection. Make sure the mote is firmly connected.

Finally, I also tried with the radio-test and two Micaz motes are able to send and hear from each other with this method. Below is a picture of these motes blinking their LEDs as they send, and receive from each other and confirm a bi-directional link.


Now, if you have a TelosB, you will notice that running radio-test, it won’t hear the MicaZ mote, and vice versa. Taking a quick look at the configuration files, there are differences but both types of devices use IEEE 802.15.4 and are configured with the same PAN id and channel. Hence, this cross-platform communication part requires more investigation. But, so far so good.

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