Bus Pirate v3.6 (THM180C4M)

An electronic swiss army knife, for talking to chips and devices via SPI, I²C, JTAG, and many more.

Add-on the Probe Cable for easy connections!

From $27.27

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Product Info

  • An electronic swiss army knife.
  • Speaks all the common embedded protocols.
  • Scriptable.
  • Frequency measurement, logic analyzer, and PWM generator.
  • Open Hardware.

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Hackaday Review

Bus Pirate v3 is a universal bus interface that talks to electronics from a PC serial terminal. Get to know a chip without writing code. Poke and prod the inner workings of a sensor without wiring it up to a microcontroller. Eliminates a ton of early prototyping effort with new or unknown chips.
Using the BusPirate is astonishingly simple; everything can be done over a serial port or through Python for the cool kids and Perl for the old timers. Just grab an appropriate USB cable, plug one end into the BP, the other end into your computer, and fire up your favorite terminal emulator. Connect at 115200.
Here's the 'help' command, and a listing of everything you can do with the BusPirate:

From here, you can change the mode to SPI, I²C, UART, or much stranger custom protocols. Since we're doing little tutorials for each item in the Hackaday shop, I reached for the nearest chip - conveniently, an ATtiny45. The BusPirate does have an Atmel STK500 emulation mode, but on the BusPirate 3.6 this requires a firmware update. Full STK500 emulation isn't necessary in 99% of cases where you're programming an Atmel chip, and for the 'tiny45 I can get away with the plain, normal, vanilla AVRDUDE support. Setting this up was a piece of cake: connect all the MOSIs, MISOs, and SCKs together between the BP and the 'tiny45. Here's the terminal output for my short little experiment:

After this, you can do all the usual firmware uploading and fuse burning. How about some bench pics?

The Probe Cable

You can file that under, "I can't believe I got that right on the first try" and "let me just fix those borked pins now". The Probe Cable for the Bus Pirate is an add-on which you can select just before adding the Bus Pirate to your cart. This is the most convenient way to connect the Bus Pirate's 2x5 pin header to your target hardware. Note the expert use of Sharpie to help keep track of the signals.

This is just a short example of what the BusPirate can do. If you need to root a phone, control a strip of WS2812B LEDs, figure out how to control a flip-dot display from a train station, or refill the toner in a laser printer cartridge, this is the tool for you.

The BusPirate was designed by [Ian Lesnet], former writer for Hackaday and current big cheeze of Dangerous Prototypes.



    • 1-Wire.
    • I²C.
    • SPI.
    • JTAG.
    • Asynchronous serial (UART).
    • MIDI.
    • PC keyboard (PS/2).
    • HD44780 LCDs.
    • Generic 2- and 3-wire libraries for custom protocols.


    • USB interface, USB powered (Mini B connector).
    • 5 Volt tolerant pins.
    • 0-6 Volt measurement probe.
    • On-board multi-voltage pull-up resistors.
    • On-board 3.3 V and 5 V power supplies with software reset.
    • Transparent USB to serial bridge mode.
    • 1Hz to 40MHz frequency measurement.
    • 1kHz to 4MHz PWM and frequency generator.
    • 10Hz to 1MHz low-speed logic analyzer.
    • Custom support in AVRDUDEFlashrom, and OpenOCD.
    • AVR STK500 v2 programmer clone (alternate firmware required).
    • Scriptable from Perl, Python, etc.
    • Bootloader for easy USB firmware updates.
    • Uses DP6037 standard PCB layout.
    • Open source (CC 0/Public Domain).


    • BusPirate v3.6.
    • The 2x5 probe kit meant for the Bus Pirate is available as an 'addon item' near the 'buy' button.

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