Bus Pirate

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Bus Pirate version 3a

The Bus Pirate is a flexible electronic device that interfaces with low-level communication buses and has the ability to program various microcontrollers. It was developed as an open-source hardware and software project.[1][2]


A primary usage case for this device as intended by the designers is to "eliminate a ton of early prototyping effort with new or unknown chips."[1] Using a Bus Pirate, developers can use a serial terminal to interface with devices over a variety of hardware protocols, such as SPI and 1-Wire.

The Bus Pirate is capable of programming low-end microcontrollers, such as Atmel AVRs and Microchip PICs. Programming using more advanced protocols such as JTAG and SWD is possible, but is discouraged due to hardware speed limitations.

The Bus Pirate v3.6 is based on an PIC24 MCU (SSOP), and communicates with a host computer with either a USB interface with a FT232RL (SSOP) or an on-chip USB module.

The Bus Pirate was designed by Ian Lesnet of Dangerous Prototypes.[3]

Feature list[edit]

Support for many serial protocols with line levels of 0 – 5.5 volts:

Other capabilities:

Hardware differences[edit]

Bus Pirate v4.0[4] Bus Pirate v3.6
MCU Microchip PIC24FJ256GB106 Microchip PIC24FJ64GA002
Flash 256K 64K
USB (to host) USB peripheral inside PIC24 FTDI FT232RL
I/O pins 7 (6x2 pin header) 5 (5x2 pin header)
Development Status Active Active
Lifecycle Experimental Mature

The PCB size was changed to 60 mm x 37 mm in the Bus Pirate v4 so it would match the mounting holes for "Sick of Beige" DP6037 case.[5][6]

The v3.x hardware uses a 5x2 header. The v4.0 hardware uses a 6x2 header, which is an uncommon ribbon cable size, where as 7x2 and 8x2 are common ribbon cable headers.


External links[edit]