USB device & driver development in 6 weeks?

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by kainjow, Mar 16, 2008.

  1. kainjow
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    Moderator emeritus


    Jun 15, 2000
    So my senior project is to essentially interface a custom GPS device controlled by a PIC microcontroller with a computer via USB and have the PIC send the GPS's location to the computer. I'm working with another person who will manage most of the hardware and I'll do most of the software. We are planning on using a USB chip like this which already has drivers available for Windows/OSX/Linux, however I probably will develop the Windows app first since I'm guessing it'll be easier.

    I'm just wondering, since we have about 6 weeks to develop this, is this going to be too much to do? Will we be overwhelmed?

    A little background: we already have (from a previous course) a PIC interfacing with an LCD and a bare minimum USB setup, although that'll change since we'll be using a separate USB module. I have a lot of experience programming, but only tinkered with device drivers. The link above looks like there is a DLL for Windows, which would probably make it pretty easy. Even then, unless there is a good .NET compatibility layer, I'll probably resort to Win32 programming.

    I guess I'm just at a blank at what all will have to be written for communicating with the USB on the PIC and desktop. Does anyone have any kind of experience in this to give me an idea of how much work is needed to work with USB in this kind of setup?
  2. ChrisA
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    macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Did the instructor some up with this design just to make the assignment harder or is the design yours. What are the actually requirements? It is is just to get GPS data into a computer that is nearly trivial, NMEA is just 1200 bps serial ASCII.

    Do you get to choose the OS. If so hands down I'd pick linux just because it is so easy to write Linux device drivers and the process is so well documented.
  3. kainjow
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    thread starter Moderator emeritus


    Jun 15, 2000
    My lab partner chose the idea and it seemed feasible to me. There are no requirements except that you choose a project that gets approved. I was mainly just wanting to know if there was something that might come up that would cause problems.

    Tonight I found sample code that's supported on the Mac. I think it's going to be much easier than I thought. If you follow the links above you can download a dylib and header file, so it's as easy as using a few open, close, read and write commands essentially. I already got the sample code compiled too.

    I had no idea what NMEA was until I googled it. Unfortunately I don't know any specifics on the GPS hardware that we'll be using.

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