Protocol Interfaces

I²CDriver

An easy-to-use tool for controlling I²C devices

$61,143 raised

of $3,600 goal

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$29 - $149

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I²CDriver is an easy-to-use, open source tool for controlling I²C devices. It works with Windows, Mac, and Linux, and has a built-in color screen that shows a live "dashboard" of all the I²C activity. It uses a standard FTDI USB serial chip to talk to the PC, so no special drivers need to be installed. The board includes a separate 3.3 V supply with voltage and current monitoring.

I²C is Everywhere

It’s in every phone, in your embedded electronics, in every microcontroller, Raspberry Pi, and PC motherboard. It’s a mature technology - still going strong after 36 years. Because it’s everywhere, I²C is used by everyone from novices to embedded designers. But the common element of everyone’s I²C experience is struggle. Instead of being easy, I²C very often feels really difficult. Because there are so many ways for I²C to go wrong, things rarely "just work" and instead involve some painful debugging.

I²CDriver Makes I²C Much More Friendly

While other I²C tools might offer a couple of LEDs, I²CDriver has a clear logic-analyzer display of the signal lines plus a graphical decoding of the I²C traffic.

The I²C traffic decoder

In addition, it continuously displays an address map of all attached I²C devices, so as you connect a device, it lights up on the map. You’ll never have to ask "is this thing even switched on?" again.

The heat map shows all 7-bit I²C addresses

The current and voltage monitoring let you catch electrical problems early. The included color-coded wires make hookup a cinch; no pinout diagram is required. It includes a separate 3.3 V supply for your devices, a high-side current meter, and programmable pullup resistors for both I²C lines.

There are three I²C ports, so you can hook up multiple devices without any fuss.

I²CDriver comes with free (as in freedom) software to control it from:

Do More With I²CDriver

I²CDriver driving three 8x8 LED modules

By controlling I²C hardware using the PC tools you’re most comfortable with, you can get devices doing what you want in a fraction of the development time. Calibrating devices like accelerometers, magnetometers, and gyroscopes is much simpler and faster when done directly on the PC through I²CDriver.

I²CDriver ships with Python examples using small groups of I²C devices to make something useful.

Watch the Whole Network

As well a a live decode of the traffic, the built in display shows a heatmap of all active network nodes. So in an I²C network with multiple devices, you can see at a glance which ones are the most active.

See what I²C is Doing Instantly

When an I²CDriver is connected to an existing I²C bus, it "snoops" the traffic and displays it on the screen. This provides an excellent tool for debugging I²C issues, because you can listen in on the conversation as it happens.

Capture I²C Traffic to Your PC

I²CDriver can dump all I²C traffic back to the PC. I²CDriver’s capture mode reliably records every bit to an exhaustive time-stamped log. This is really helpful for debug, analysis, and reverse-engineering. Supported formats include text, CSV, and VCD.

Features

Specifications

Modules and Carriers

Each module is 18 mm x 18 mm with castellated connectors for power and I²C. You can connect headers to them directly, incorporate them in your own designs, or solder onto carrier boards provided in the Expert and Gold pledge levels. These boards hold three modules each so they are all on a single I²C bus. In a few seconds you can combine modules for a quick prototype.

Comparisons

ToolOpen hardware / softwareIndicators or displayAdditional sensorsNo driver installHost softwarePrice (USD)
I²CDriver Yes Graphic protocol analyzer Bus, voltage, current, temperature Yes GUI, command-line, Python, C/C++, and flashrom $29
Totalphase AardvarkNoNoneNoneNoCommand-line, Python, C/C++$300
FTDI MPSSE cableNoNoneNoneNoC/C++$27.30
Bus PirateYesPower LEDsADC inputYesCommand-line. Python, flashrom$27.15

I²CDriver Products

The "Core" package is an I²CDriver with three cable sets.

The "Expert" package is an I²CDriver with hookup wires and 16 I²C modules, all designed and built for this campaign:

plus three carrier PCBs for permanently mounting the modules.

The "Gold" package includes 20 I²C modules:

plus four carrier PCBs for permanently mounting the modules.

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Produced by Excamera Labs in Pescadero, CA.

Sold and shipped by Crowd Supply.

I²CDriver Core

An I²CDriver with 3 sets of hookup jumpers.

$29 $8 US Shipping / $18 Worldwide

I²CDriver Expert

An I²CDriver 3 sets of hookup jumpers, 16 I²C modules, and 3 module carrier boards.

$61 $8 US Shipping / $18 Worldwide

I²CDriver Gold

An I²CDriver, 3 sets of hookup jumpers, 20 I²C modules, and 4 module carrier boards. Plus the I²CDriver's USB Serial ID custom programmed to an 8-character name of your choosing.

$79 $8 US Shipping / $18 Worldwide

I²CDriver Duo

Two Gold packages, for intense I²C users.

$149 $8 US Shipping / $18 Worldwide

About the Team

Excamera Labs

Pescadero, CA  ·  excamera.com

I'm dedicated to building useful hardware and software, particularly where embedded systems meet graphics and imaging. Probably my best known public projects are the Gameduino series of game accessory boards, and the J1 CPU. I have benefited immensely from Open Source hardware and software, so I try to open source as much as I can.

James Bowman

Creator

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