Here's the fundamental problem I have: I'm looking at a dev board for, say, a TI/AD/Microchip microprocessor or DSP. This is long before a full product design; we're talking proof-of-concept work here. I want to send data from a PC to be processed by my firmware, or have my firmware send data to my PC. And I want the rate to be of the order of 1-10MB/s.
15+ years ago, 1-10MB/s would have been quite niche. kB/s would have been more usual, and the dev board would have had a DB9 connector on it. I could have just plugged a serial cable between the dev board and my PC, perhaps with a USB-to-serial converter, and read and write to
However, this scheme has a number of limitations that are now starting to show up:
- I want MB/s, not kB/s.
- The absolute max UART rate a 100MHz device could manage is still only 0.7 MB/s. SPI on the other hand allows up to 3-4 MB/s.
- It's incredibly rare for PCs to come with serial ports now, so specialised adaptors are needed to interface with a PC eg. USB to serial cable.
But I'm stumped for what I could use to replace the old serial scheme. The main context for this question is sending serialised debugging data between vendor dev boards and a PC before design is finalised, so anything requiring secondary devices eg. Bluetooth isn't super useful. The µPs I typically work with are in the realm of TI's MSP430, Microchip's PIC32M*, and low power DSPs like the TI C55x or C674. Their dev boards might typically come with headers connected to SPI/I2C/UART peripherals.
Ethernet would require full implementation of a networking stack, which isn't really practical on the constrained DSPs or µPs I often work with. Furthermore most PCs only have one ethernet port, if at all, so you wouldn't be able to use it for wired networking.
Ground-up USB requires getting a vendor ID from a 3rd party, and reinventing all sorts of wheels at the driver and software level just to get data from one device to another.
Ideally I'd like to just be able to dump bytes in a peripheral register on my µP and drain it using Python on the PC or vice versa, using a cable most IT departments would have lying around, and get 1-10 MB/s. A bonus would be not having to poll every available port of whatever kind to find the device on a PC. Is this possible?