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My adventures in writing an OTA bootloader for the ATmega128RFA1

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This adventure begins with the acquisition of a low priced gadget from the secondhand market. The SMART Response XE was designed to be a classroom communicator that allowed students to vote and submit answers in real time to the teacher.


Support ended a few years ago and what once cost $100-200 each are now available on eBay for $10 or less. The hardware is just asking to be hacked. Inside is:
60-key keyboard384x136x2-bpp monochrome LCDATmega128RFA1 MCU (128K Flash, 4K EEPROM, 16K RAM, integrated 802.15.4 MAC)1Mb (128KB) SPI flash4xAAA battery power supply This particular MCU is part of the AVR family of products and that makes it easy to write code using the Arduino IDE. I initially spotted this on Hackaday because a group of people in the Arduboy community decided that it could be fun to run their games on it. My interest is more in the learning side. For me, this device was a good way to learn about:
Serial (SPI) FLASH memoryAVR Bootloaders802.15.4 wireless I started by writing a sup…