The Bus Pirate v5 Saga

The Bus Pirate v5 Saga

Sjaak (SMD Prutser) and Ian (Dangerous Prototypes) have been rolling a "next generation" Bus Pirate for nearly five years. It's been a strange trip, but 15 years after the first Bus Pirate we are ready with a fresh, hip, powerful new design.

2017 Bus Pirate moves to ARM - Several revisions of an ARM STM32-based Bus Pirate appear on the infamous "blue pill" development board. The firmware is tight, having been developed by Sjaak.

2018 Bus Pirate gets an FPGA - An ICE40 FPGA is bolted onto the ARM, giving total flexibility over pin assignments, a fast logic analyzer and more. A clunky case with Cherry MX switches and under-lighting rounds off a pretty formidable design.

2019 Failure to launch - It's fall of 2019 and we're ready go! Instead, things get weird and we can't source the STM32s. It also seems like a less than idea time to launch such an expensive and complex design, so we put it back on the shelf.

2021 Bus PIrate - Raspberry Pi announces the RP2040 chip. It's cheap, has great features and the PIO module looks super useful for interfacing just about anything. We roll a board to be "supply chain proof", using only common parts available from multiple manufacturers.

2022 DACs, Buffers, Logic - In the fall of 2022 we're once again ready to launch a new design. Unfortunately the electronics supply chain once again had other ideas. First it was a DAC chip. Six different compatible ICs from two manufacturers are suddenly unobtainable. We rolled a new revision without it, but then the buffer and logic ICs became scarce.

Today - Supply chains are healing, all the parts we need are available and China is open for visitors. It is finally happening, Bus Pirate 5 will be shipping in the next few weeks!