Some of you might be familiar with the Black Magic Probe, but some might not. As you know most UAV autopilots these days use one of the many STM32 microcontrollers. They are based on the ARM Cortex-M core family. Most of the boards also have either a JTAG or at least an SWD interface exposed. What you might not know or be familiar with is how useful these interfaces are.

If you connect a Black Magic Probe to your autopilot you can connect the GDB (GNU Debugger) directly to it and you can read, write memory, inspect the status of registers, manipulate peripherals, load a new firmware into flash and much much more. This will make debugging your autopilot firmware much easier, than adding print statements or blinking an LED. For those more familiar with JTAG/SWD debugging Black Magic Probe does not require a man in the middle software like texane/stlink or OpenOCD. This decreases the amount of setup complexity. Also we have put a lot of effort into making the target interface circuitry robust, using dual supply transceivers, adding a target supply switch and a built in USB to serial adapter.

If you are still not convinced that you need this tool, you should read the Hackaday article, and take a look at the Pixhawk website you will also see that the Black Magic Probe is their tool of choice too. (if you are interested in Drone Code development, 1BitSquared sells ARM Cortex 10pin connector to Drone Code connector adapter)

In this Kickstarter we are introducing the new version of Black Magic Probe V2.1. It has a more robust target front end, making sure the JTAG/SWD signals are solid and you will be able to debug your target device even if you are using long wires. (especially useful when your autopilot is buried deeply in the fuselage of your aircraft. Additionally you can also get a matching STM32F415 based development board, that you can learn and test the use of Black Magic Probe and GDB on. This is the same CPU that can be found on the Elle0 autopilot that we have featured here in the past.

I hope you will consider taking a look at our Kickstarter and decide to support us. The revenue from this project will go directly back into the open-source projects that made it all possible. We will be able to spend more time developing more software and hardware making open-source ARM development easier.


Piotr Esden-Tempski

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • @earthpatrol & @eduardo Thank you very much I am glad you guys like my work. This means a lot. :)

    @robert Looking forward to get it to you too. I hope it will go smoothly too. *knock_on_wood*

    @Maxime There are a few advantages of the Black Magic Probe. BMP is open-source, meaning that you can look inside it if you need or want to. We are getting support for new ARM Cortex-M based chips on a regular basis, so you are not limited to just the STM32. We have preliminary support for Cortex-A this will result in the ability to use the probe with Raspberry PI and Beagle Bone Black and many others. The Black Magic Probe also supports JTAG not only SWD, because not all microcontrollers use SWD. The GDB server is implemented on the probe itself, this means we do not use some proprietary protocol to talk to your debugger software. All you need to do is fire up GDB and connect to the virtual serial port of the Black Magic Probe, no special setup necessary. It is physically small, you can plug it into your hardware even if it is buried deeply inside your killer robot. We have equipped the Black Magic Probe V2.1 (this is the version the Kickstarter backers will receive) with dual supply level shifters that make it possible to connect to targets that run on voltages as low as 1.7V and as high as 5V. The transceivers are more robust than the STM32 GPIO meaning that if the BMP is connected wrongly to the target it is less likely you will hurt either the Black Magic Probe or your target.

    Let me know if you have any more questions.



  • I have heard in many places great things about this BMP. But where is the advantage compared to the free STLinks you get at STM workshops?

  • just waiting for the delivery.

    hopefully no major delay.

  • i love the products from 1bitsquare ...

  • Very happy with all of my 1bitsquared products and proud to provide my customers with your top notch hardware. Thanks Piotr for all the hard work and commitment to open-source efforts. Cheers.

This reply was deleted.