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'SX-Key interface specification NOT available :-('
1998\03\03@163454 by Eric Smith

Back last fall I spoke to Chip Gracey of Parallax at their booth at the
Embedded Systems Conference.  At that time he said that the protocol for
communication with their SX-Key product would be made available to other
developers.  This seemed like a good idea, because having more choices for
host platforms and software should actually have a positive effect on
SX-Key sales.

My personal interests are to develop a DOS command-line tool that can
be used to program the SX from a batch file or Makefile, and to develop
tools for Linux.

Because similar interests have been expressed by others on this list, I have
attached copies of an email exchange with Parallax below.  I'm disappointed
not just with the negative answer, but also with the terseness of it (although
that can probably be explained by their being very busy working on the SX-Key
debugging features).  I've left a phone message requesting a bit more
clarification of their position.

It appears that the actual protocol used for programming is very simple, and
can probably be quite easily reverse-engineered.  I was just hoping that
reverse-engineering wouldn't be necessary.  Perhaps Parallax is trying to
follow in Microchip's footsteps; Microchip has never been willing to provide
information on the protocols used by any of the PICSTART programmers, and has
never offered a rational explanation of that policy.

Date: 3 Mar 1998 00:22:52 -0000
From: Eric Smith <>
In-reply-to: <> (message from
       John Barrowman on Mon, 23 Feb 1998 10:55:21 -0800)
Subject: Re: SX-Key Demo Board schematic
References:  <>


Thanks much for sending the demo board schematic.  I've been working on
several Scenix-based projects, and have already put some code on my web
page to share with other users:

Can I get the specifications for communicating with the SX-Key, at least
to support erasing, programming, and reading chips?  I'd like to put
together a software development package for Linux, and although I'd
eventually like to support the ICE features, for right now I'd be delighted
just to be able to program chips.

Date: Tue, 03 Mar 1998 09:09:21 -0800
To: Eric Smith <>
From: John Barrowman <>
Subject: Re: SX-Key Demo Board schematic

At 12:22 AM 3/3/98 -0000, you wrote:
>Can I get the specifications for communicating with the SX-Key...


John Barrowman
Parallax Tech Support

1998\03\03@185339 by peter

> At 12:22 AM 3/3/98 -0000, you wrote:
> >Can I get the specifications for communicating with the SX-Key...
> No
> John Barrowman
> Parallax Tech Support
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

It's because of this type of attitude from parallax that I will not
even consider the SX
That is untill parallax are NOT the only option for the
developement tools
Peter Cousens
email:  phone: + 3081 324450, 380534
snailmail:  Folia, Agia Fotini, Karteros, Heraklion  Crete, Greece.

1998\03\06@131330 by Craig Webb

Dear Eric,

Have you had any success finding out SX programming specs? I'm interested in
a DOS program to use the SX Key too.

Craig Webb

At 08:42 PM 3/3/98 -0000, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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