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PICList Thread
'[PIC]: Code Protect VS BootLoader'
2001\01\15@230624 by David Dunn

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I've just discovered that you can't code protect chips you are using a boot loader on.

I'm about to market a product that will be used in a racing application.

There's nothing particularly innovative in the code, but I guess you don't really want anybody sucking the brains out
of your hard work project.


Question is, do i go for the convienence of easy updates that a bootloader gets you (customer could even do the
update) OR stay with the security of a code protected, but standard programmed PIC.


Thanks for your ideas on the issue,



David Dunn

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2001\01\16@010321 by Tony Nixon

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David Dunn wrote:
>
> I've just discovered that you can't code protect chips you are using a boot loader on.
>
> I'm about to market a product that will be used in a racing application.
>
> There's nothing particularly innovative in the code, but I guess you don't really want anybody sucking the brains out
> of your hard work project.
>
> Question is, do i go for the convienence of easy updates that a bootloader gets you (customer could even do the
> update) OR stay with the security of a code protected, but standard programmed PIC.
>
> Thanks for your ideas on the issue,
>
> David Dunn
>
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You could go for ICSP and reprogram the entire chip on site.

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Best regards

Tony

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2001\01\16@024500 by David Dunn

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Thanks Tony, I do have that option .. and may set that up.  Would just have been nice to use something like your
(fantastic) ROMZap and not have to worry about having a programmer handy to do updates.

David Dunn

On Tue, 16 Jan 2001 15:22:20 +1100, Tony Nixon wrote:

>David Dunn wrote:
>>
>> I've just discovered that you can't code protect chips you are using a boot loader on.
>>
>> I'm about to market a product that will be used in a racing application.
>>
>> There's nothing particularly innovative in the code, but I guess you don't really want anybody sucking the
brains out
{Quote hidden}

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2001\01\16@052137 by Simon Nield

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david:
>Question is, do i go for the convienence of easy updates that a bootloader gets you (customer could
even do the
>update) OR stay with the security of a code protected, but standard programmed PIC.

assuming that anyone trying to steal your code is lazy & too stupid to design a similar system
themselves, then you may find this is sufficient:

on the 16f877 (and maybe other pics - I don't have experience of any other) there are several code
protect bits. this is handy as it allows you to protect the bootloader from being accidentally
erased by a corrupt update file. it also means that you can read-protect the bootloader whilst
leaving the rest of your code exposed.

if you use a fairly compact bootloader, say less than 255 words long (the one I use is only 248
bytes, without making any attempt to keep the code particularly tight) then you can use what is left
of the protected code space for a simple protection system - a jump table for example, or a constant
table which you use to retrieve essential system constants.

this wont be particularly secure, but if you make a pirate's job hard enough then most of them may
just give up.

Regards,
Simon

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