Fun Card FAQ

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urmas
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Fun Card FAQ

PostitusPostitas urmas » 21:18, 14 Jaan 2003

General info about the FunCard

-How can I get a FunCard and a programmer?
There are really two choices here.
First you can decide to build it yourself. All the information you need is available for download on http://www.funcard.net./
Alternatively you can decide to buy ready made cards and programmers. These can be bought at various shops across Europe, for example Keycard, SatArmy, etc.


-What is a FunCard?
A FunCard is a smart card, consisting of an Atmel AT90S8515(A) microcontroller and a 24C64 EEPROM.

-What can I do with a FunCard?
The FunCard can be used for a lot of different purposes. Most applications lay in the range of access control, door locks etc.

-What files are needed to program a FunCard?
You will need FunProm. The latest version is usually the best, because it supports the EEPROM layouts for most of the FunSoft (FunCard software).
You will also need the FunSoft for the system of your choice.

-Where can I get the latest software?
The latest release versions of FunProm, aswell as the latest FunSoft, are available at http://www.funcard.net./

-Where can I find the documentation and layouts of the FunCard and FC Programmer?
All needed documentation, drawings and component lists are available for download at http://www.funcard.net./

-When programming the FunCard, I get errors like 'device not found', 'unknown processor' etc. Why?
Here are some of the possible causes, as well as some suggestions to try:

- If you have been using another programming software it might have set the lock bits of
the FunCard, preventing reading info from the processor. Try an erase. This should take
care of the lock bits.

- The card must be inserted into the programmer upside down.

- The parallel cable you use to connect the programmer should be bi-directional.

- Sometimes SCSI devices may cause problems- try to uninstall/install them.

- Card not inserted all the way into the programmer. Sometimes there is two small edges in the front of the card. Remove them. Sometimes when using the programmer for the first time, the smart card socket on the programmer is a little bit tight, give the card a push to get the card all the way in.

- Programming tool can't find the programmer! This could be also a combination of problems. The programmer software + your computer do not want to cooperate. This could be a programmer software problem. It is not easy to write software for Win95/Win98/NT4/Win2000. Since we try to make the software work on all these systems, we need some time to take away the bugs.

-Can I use the FC Programmer on my laptop?
That depends on the laptop. Some laptops do not provide enough power to the parallel port so that the FC Programmer does not get the power it needs for programming. Also the used cables can make a difference.
But in general it is possible to use the FC Programmer with a laptop.

-Programming my FunCard went OK, but I still have no picture. Why?
The typical problem here is that you have used the FunCard software downloaded directly from http://www.funcard.net/ or from the Authors Site. Software downloaded from here does not contain any keys for any channels!

-What is the 'A' in 8515A?
The 'A' in AT90S8515A tells that the FSTRT bit is set from factory. This means that the processor will start in ~2ms instead of 17ms. This DOES NOT mean that if you don't have the 'A' the processor will not start in 2ms. Most satellite receivers for example want the card to respond in less than 12-15ms. This is why the FSTRT must be set. It is possible to reprogram this bit with a parallel programmer. Another bit that is always set from factory (unless special orders are made) is the SPIEN bit. This means that the processor can be programmed serial.

-What if the processor doesn't have the 'A'?
This DOES NOT mean that the FSTRT bit is NOT set. The manufacturer of the card COULD HAVE SET the bits in production! As there is usually a shortage on 8515A chips, many chip- and card resellers set the FSTRT bit themselves. A 8515 with the FSTRT bit set has the same functionality as a 8515A.

-Why are there 3 HEX files in each FunSoft ZIP archive?
Usually, when unzipping a FunSoft ZIP file, you will see that there are 3 HEX files. Most of the time they are called FLASH.HEX, EE_INT.HEX and EE_EXT.HEX. All these 3 files are required to successfully program your FunCard.

-Where should FLASH.HEX, EE_INT.HEX and EE_EXT.HEX be put on the card?
FLASH.HEX is the file that should be programmed to the flash area of the microcontroller.
EE_INT.HEX is the file that goes into the microcontroller's internal EEPROM area.
EE_EXT.HEX is the file that goes onto the external EEPROM (24LC64).

-Why is the source code of FunSoft not public?
There are lots of reasons why the FunSoft source code is not public, but probably the best one is that the author has chosen not to publish the source of his work, and people should just respect that.

-What is a FunCard wafer?
This is a plastic variant of the FunCard. It has an embedded 90S8515-A and 2464/65 EEPROM. The plastic card has no LEDs.

-Does all the FunCard software (FunSoft) work with the FunCard wafer?
Technically it should, if the manufacturers of the wafers kept themselves to 'the FunCard standard'.

-I heard stories that the FunCard wafer has a 8515 and not a 8515-A microcontroller. Is that true?
The first batch of approx. 10.000 FunCard wafers (available in Germany) did NOT have the 8515-A microcontroller, thus no FSTRT and SPIEN bits. The other cards on the market (i.e. in Denmark, the Netherlands) have the 8515-A microcontroller.

-How can I know if the FunCard wafer I buy has a 8515-A chip?
You can't at first sight. But if the shop where you bought the card is doing a fair deal, they might want to exchange it in case you had a 8515 instead of a 8515-A.

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