Installation Guide

Building wasp-os from source

Install prerequisites

Building wasp-os and launching the wasp-os simulator requires Python 3.6 (or later) and the following python modules: click, numpy, pexpect, PIL (or Pillow), pydbus, pygobject, pyserial, pysdl2.

On Debian Buster the required python modules can be obtained using the following commands:

sudo apt install \
  wget git build-essential libsdl2-2.0-0 python3-click python3-gi \
  python3-numpy python3-pexpect python3-pil python3-pip python3-pydbus \
  python3-serial unzip
pip3 install --user cbor pysdl2

Additionally if you wish to regenerate the documentation you will require a complete sphinx toolchain:

sudo apt install sphinx graphviz python3-recommonmark

Alternatively, if your operating system does not package some or any of the above mentioned Python modules then you can install all of them with pip instead:

pip3 install --user -r wasp/requirements.txt

You will also need a toolchain for the Arm Cortex-M4. wasp-os is developed and tested using the GNU-RM toolchain (9-2019-q4) from Arm.

Note

There are known problems with toolchains older than gcc-7.3 when link time optimization is enabled during the MicroPython build (LTO is enabled by default).

Install prerequisites via docker

Note

If you want to use the Docker-based setup, it is assumed that you’re using and x86 machine on Linux, running Xorg. Other setups may require some patching for now.

To build wasp-os with docker, ensure it is installed and running, then open a terminal and run the following commands in your home directory:

git clone https://github.com/daniel-thompson/wasp-os
cd wasp-os
~/wasp-os/tools/docker/shell

This will create a new user with restricted privilages, and drop you into a bash shell.

Some important things to note:

All make commands should be usable from this shell, including make sim and make check. Some commands that interact with bluetooth such as wasptool may not work, for now.

We can compile the modules required with the following commands:

make submodules
make softdevice

We can the compile source code that you will be flashing to your device with the following commands for each device:

For the pinetime we use:

make -j `nproc` BOARD=pinetime all

For the k9 we use:

make -j `nproc` BOARD=k9 all

For the p8 we use:

make -j `nproc` BOARD=p8 all

The output of these will be stored in build-${BOARD}/.

To rebuild the documentation:

make docs

The docs will be browsable in docs/build/html as per Sphinx standards.

Binary downloads

The wasp-os project provides two different forms of binary downloads:

  1. Official releases
  2. Continuous Integration (CI) builds

Official releases are the recommended binary releases for wasp-os. They contain this documentation together a set of binaries for each of the supported devices in appropriately names directories (build-<board>/). The official release can be downloaded from: https://github.com/daniel-thompson/wasp-os/releases .

The CI builds are built automatically whenever the wasp-os source code is changed. That means the builds are less well tested than the official releases but they contain all the recently added features and fixes so if you want to run the latest and greatest wasp-os on your watch then the CI builds are fo you. To download the latest CI build you need to be logged into a github account and you can navigate to the latest CI build using the link below (follow the link to the most recent “workflow run results” and then scroll down to find the artifacts): https://github.com/daniel-thompson/wasp-os/actions?query=is%3Asuccess+branch%3Amaster+workflow%3Abinary .

Warning

If you have a sealed device (e.g. no means to debrick your watch using an SWD debug probe) then be aware that, because CI builds are cutting edge, there is a smal risk of bricking. In particular it is strongly recommended not to install the booloader from the CI builds on sealed devices. Instead use the bootloader from the previous official release. If in doubt… wait!

If you fork the wasp-os repo on github then CI builds will automatically be enabled for your fork too! This can be very useful as any changes you commit to the repo will be automatically tested and github will share the results with you. You can also download your CI builds for testing using a similar approach to the one above.

Device Support

Wasp-os can run on multiple devices and, in time, will hopefully be ported to many more.

In terms of deciding which device to buy we can suggest two criteria to help.

The first is simply based on aesthetic appeal. A watch is something that you take everywhere and sits somewhere between clothing and jewellery. That means it is important to choose a device that feels good on the wrist and looks right when you glance at it. Aesthetics matter!

The second criteria is more subtle. In most cases, there is not really many important technical differences between the devices. They all use a Nordic chipset and have the same display controller running a 240x240 panel. So the second criteria is not technical, it is about community. The Pine64 PineTime is unique among the devices supported by wasp-os because it is intended that the watch be used to run a variety of different open source or free software operating systems. By manufacturing a watch with the intention that it be hacked every which way from Sunday then we get a bigger, stronger community focused on the PineTime. There is a vibrant support forum, multiple different OS developers (who share ideas and knowledge even when hacking on very different code bases) combined with a near complete set of hardware documentation.

There’s definitely a lot of fun to be had buying something off-the-shelf and hacking it to become something the manufacturer never intended. We know this because we’ve done it! However there is also enormous benefit from participating in a community, especially if you enjoy working with or learning from other developers. Devices that can repurposed to run wasp-os are often only sold for short periods and may experience undocumented technical changes between manufacturing runs that can cause compatibility problems. This makes it hard for a large community to form around these devices.

Thus the second criteria it to think about your own needs and abilities. If you want to enjoy the social and community aspects of working together on open source watch development then you should look very closely at the PineTime.

Pine64 PineTime

Pine64 PineTime is a square smart watch based on an nRF52832 SoC and includes a 240x240 colour display with touch screen, a step counter and a heart rate sensor.

wasp-os can be installed directly from the factory default operating system using an over-the-air update with no tools or disassembly required. nRF Connect for Android can be used to install both the wasp-bootloader and the main OS image.

Note

The early adopter PineTime Developer Edition came pre-programmed with a proprietary test firmware rather than the current factory default OS. If you have an early adopter unit then it will appear in the device list as Y7S. In this case the process needed for an OTA update is different. Use DaFlasher for Android to install both the wasp-bootloader and the main OS image.

The developer edition comes without the case glued shut. This allows access to the Serial Wire Debug (SWD) pins which can make debugging easier. On developer edition devices it is also possible to install the wasp-bootloader using an SWD programmer.

The wasp-os simulator

The simulator allows you to run wasp-os programs using the Python interpreter included with your host operating system. The simulator provides a 240x240 colour display together with a touch screen and a physical button, all of which appears as a window on your host computer.

The simulator has large quantities of memory and, whilst useful for exploring wasp-os and testing your programs are syntactically correct, it is not a substitute for testing on real hardware. See Testing on the simulator for more details on how to use the simulator.

To launch the simulator try:

make sim

Colmi P8

The Colmi P8 is an almost square smart watch based on an nRF52832 SoC and includes a 240x240 colour display with touch screen, a step counter and a heart rate sensor.

Warning

The P8 has multiple hardware revisions and the newest version (the one that includes a magnetic charger) uses a different and, currently, unsupported step counter module. The new models will boot wasp-os successfully but the step counter application will be disabled and cannot function.

DaFlasher for Android can be used to install both the wasp-bootloader and the main OS image. No tools or disassembly is required.

Senbono K9

The Senbono K9 is a circular smart watch based on an nRF52832 SoC and includes with a square 240x240 colour with a touch screen, a step counter and a heart rate sensor.

The wasp-os port for Senbono K9 does not, at this point, include a driver for the touch screen because the protocol has not yet been reverse engineered. The touch screen enumerates via I2C at address 70d (0x46) and the interrupt can be used to detect touch screen activity but the touch coordinates cannot be read from the hardware. Currently the touch screen can only act as a multi-function button and can be used to cycle through the quick ring and display notifications. This makes the device usable but not fully featured.

Note also that the to conceal the square display within the circular face this device has a heavily tinted filter over the display. This improves the look of the device but also significantly dims the backlight making it difficult to read the display in strong sunlight.

DaFlasher for Android can be used to install both the wasp-bootloader and the main OS image. No tools or disassembly is required.

Installing wasp-bootloader

nRF Connect for Android

For Pine64 PineTime devices running Infinitime then nRF Connect for Android can be used to install wasp-bootloader:

  • Ensure the watch is fully charged before attempting to install the wasp-bootloader. Running out of power during this process can brick sealed devices.
  • Copy reloader-mcuboot.zip (see Building wasp-os from source) to your Android device and download nRF Connect for Android if you do not already have it.
  • Wake the device so that Infinitime is showing a watch face.
  • Connect to the Infinitime device usnig nRF Connect, click the DFU button and send reloader-mcuboot.zip to the device.
  • When the progress meter reaches 100% the nRF Connect will disconnect and the watch will reboot.
  • The watch will boot the reloader application which draws a small blue pine cone in the centre of the screen. The pine cone acts a progress meter and will slowly become white. Once the update is complete the watch will show the wasp-os logo and an additional on-screen prompt.
Over-the-air update from Infinitime to wasp-os

Over-the-air update from Infinitime to wasp-os

Note

If you want to restore the PineTime factory firmware then you can use nRF Connect to do this. Perform a long press reset and then use nRF Connect to send reloader-factory.zip to the PineDFU device.

DaFlasher for Android

To install the bootloader using DaFlasher for Android:

  • Ensure the watch is fully charged before attempting to install the wasp-bootloader. Running out of power during this process can brick sealed devices.
  • Download and install DaFlasher and copy the DaFlasher bootloaders to your Android device. You will need DaFitBootloader23Hacked.bin and FitBootloaderDFU2.0.1.zip.
  • Copy bootloader-daflasher.zip (see Building wasp-os from source above) to your Android device.
  • Open the app and connect to the device (e.g. Y7S if you have a developer edition PineTime).
  • Read the disclaimer carefully, then click Ok. PineTime).
  • Click Select file and choose DaFitBootloader23Hacked.bin, then wait for the payload to be transferred and for the install process to complete on the watch (leaving three coloured squares on the display).
  • Press the Back button to return to the scanner and connect to the device. The device name will have changed to ATCdfu.
  • Click Do DFU Update.
  • Click Select DFU file and select FitBootloaderDFU2.0.1.zip, then wait for the payload to transfer and the update to take place. The watch should be showing a single red square which is captioned ATCnetz.de.
  • Click Select DFU file again and select bootloader-daflasher.zip. Once the update is complete the watch will show the wasp-os logo and some additional on-screen prompt.

It is important to ensure that both bootloader-daflasher.zip and micropython.zip match the device you are installing for. There are no runtime compatibility checks.

An end-to-end video of the above process (and the final install of wasp- os) is also available:

Installing MicroPython on a Colmi P8 smart watch using DaFlasher

Installing MicroPython on a Colmi P8 smart watch using DaFlasher

Warning

The first step cannot be reversed. Once DaFitBootloader23Hacked.bin has been installed the factory firmware will be permanently removed from the device.

Although it is not possible to restore the factory firmware it is possible to switch back to Softdevice 5.0.1 and/or Softdevice 2.0.1 on order to run alternative firmwares such as ATCwatch. The zip updates in DaFlasherFiles cannot be applied directly but we can return to the DaFlasher bootloaders by installing DS-D6-adafruit-back-to-desay-sd132v201.zip followed by ATCdfuFromSD2toSD5.zip

Using an SWD programmer

There are many different SWD programmers that can be used to install wasp-bootloader. Use the PineTime SWD programming guide to lookup the specific instructions for your programmer.

Use the SWD programmer to install bootloader.hex to the device. This file is an Intel HEX file containing both the bootloader and the Nordic SoftDevice. Once the bootloader is installed the watch will boot, display a logo and wait for a OTA update.

Note

If you have a new device then it may have been delivered with flash protection enabled. You must disable the flash protection before trying to program it.

Be careful to disconnect cleanly from the debug software since just pulling out the SWD cable will mean the nRF52 will still believe it is being debugged (which harms battery life because the device won’t properly enter deep sleep states).

Installing wasp-os

nRF Connect for Android

To install the main firmware using nRF Connect for Android:

  • Copy micropython.zip (see Building wasp-os from source) to your Android device and download nRF Connect for Android if you do not already have it.
  • Ensure the watch is running in OTA update mode.
  • Connect to the device (e.g. PineDFU if you have a PineTime) using nRFConnect, click the DFU button and send micropython.zip to the device.
  • When the upload is complete the watch will reboot and launch the digital clock application.

DaFlasher for Android

To install the main firmware using DaFlasher for Android:

  • Copy micropython.zip (see Building wasp-os from source) to your Android device and download DaFlasher if you do not already have it.
  • Ensure the watch is running in OTA update mode.
  • Open the app and connect to the device (e.g. PineDFU if you have a PineTime).
  • Click Do DFU Update.
  • Click Select DFU file and select micropython.zip.
  • When the upload is complete the watch will reboot and launch the digital clock application.

wasptool for GNU/Linux

To install the main firmware from a GNU/Linux workstation:

  • Ensure the watch is running in OTA update mode.
  • Look up the MAC address for your watch (try: sudo hcitool lescan).
  • Use ota-dfu to upload micropython.zip (see Building wasp-os from source) to the device. For example: tools/ota-dfu/dfu.py -z micropython.zip -a A0:B1:C2:D3:E3:F5 --legacy

Troubleshooting

there are three boot modes of the device: ota update mode, safe mode and normal operation. understanding these modes is useful to help troubleshoot installation and boot problems.

OTA update mode

Bootloader mode is entered automatically of the boot image is invalid or if the watchdog fires when running in another operating mode. OTA update mode can also be can also be entered manually by holding a physical button on the device for five seconds until the boot logo re-appears. When running in OTA update mode pressing the physical button will attempt to launch the application.

Note

To remain in OTA update mode it is import to release the button as soon as the boot logo appears otherwise you may acidentally request the bootloader restart the application!

When the bootloader starts it will display a boot logo for two seconds and will then either boot the application or enter OTA update mode. OTA update mode is easily recognised by the Bluetooth logo in the bottom right hand corner of the display.

Bootloader splash screen overlaid on the simulator watch art

When the device is in OTA update mode then it will enumerate with a name ending in DFU (Device Firmware Update). This device can be used to update the application image.

Safe mode

Safe mode is a special boot mode of the application that does not execute main.py automatically (and hence that the watch will not fully boot). This ensures the Python REPL is accessible for debugging. Safe mode also causes the watch to show it’s boot activity on the screen which can be useful for fixing hardware problems.

Safe mode is entered if the physical button is held down when the boot logo disappears and the application first starts. The simplest way to enter safe mode is to hold down the physical button until Init button appear on the screen, then release it.

A device running in safe mode will display the message Safe mode on the display. To exit safe mode return to OTA update mode by holding down the physical button for five seconds and from there a short press of the button will return the device to Normal operation.

Normal operation

Underneath the covers normal operation is near identical to safe mode. There are only two differences:

  • the boot messages will not appear unless a fault is detected (in which case FAILED will appear on the display)
  • it will execute whatever it finds in /flash/main.py

A default version of main.py is installed automatically when wasp-os initially formats the external flash as a file system.

Most problems with normal mode operation occur either because main.py is missing, out-of-date or corrupt. These issues most commonly result in an entirely black screen when running the watch is running in normal mode.

Note

If the system reports FAILED at boot, in either safe mode or normal operation, then the best troubleshooting approach is to review the issue tracker. Initially look through the open issues and see if your problem is similar, if so there may be useful advice in the comments on the ticket. Otherwise if you cannot find anything similar then please raise a new issue.

main.py

By default main.py includes the following commands and, in normal operation, these will be executed to boot the watch:

# SPDX-License-Identifier: LGPL-3.0-or-later
# Copyright (C) 2020 Daniel Thompson

import wasp
from gadgetbridge import *
wasp.system.schedule()

One of the most powerful troubleshooting techniques (and one that is usually effective in debugging “black screen” issues) is to switch to safe mode and run the contents of main.py by hand using a bluetooth console (typically either wasptool --console or an Android tool such as Serial Bluetooth Terminal). Either the watch will start running when started by hand or it will issue diagnostics via the console which can be captured and shared via the issue tracker.

If the watch can be successfully started by hand then it is likely the copy of main.py on your watch is broken, missing or out of date. You can explore the watch’s filesystem using the shell module:

from shell import *
cd('/flash')
ls
cat('main.py')

If your copy of main.py needs to be updated you can use wasptool to upload a new version:

tools/wasptool --upload wasp/main.py

Note

If you are not able to run wasptool on your system but have another means to access to the python REPL you can also use shell.upload() to manually upload a new version of main.py.