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CSR BlueCore USB SPI programmer/debugger

Download Release

This is USB SPI programmer and debugger for CSR BlueCore bluetooth chips, based on FTDI FT232R USB to UART converter chip. Programmer hardware can be made using simple FT232RL breakout board, or built as a dedicated programmer using included schematic. Programmer driver works by replacing USB SPI programmer driver, usbspi.dll, in CSR applications and is currently ported to Linux/Wine and Windows.

Project home page:

CSR chips supported by programmer

Generally, all CSR BlueCore chips starting with BlueCore 2 should be supported. Programmer was tested with the following chips:

  • BC417143 (on HC-05 module)
  • BC57F687A
  • CSR8645
  • BC212015 (reported by Alex Nuc, see Chip notes)

Chip notes

  • BlueCore chips require either 3.3V or 1.8V I/O voltage level. Check the datasheet.
  • Some chips (like CSR8645) share SPI pins with PCM function. For such chips to be accessible via SPI, SPI_PCM# pin should be pulled up to I/O voltage supply through a 10K resistor.
  • On some chips SPI_DEBUG_EN (on BC6140) or SPI_PIO# (on CSR1010) pin should be pulled up directly to I/O voltage supply to enable SPI port.
  • BlueCore chips which integrate battery charger has charger configuration enabled by default. Such chip may shutdown shortly after power on if You don't connect charged battery. Battery charger configuration is defined in PSKEY_USR0 and can be changed using appropriate Configuration Tool or PSTool. See sample PSR files for disabling charger in misc/.
  • BlueCore 2 chips (such as BC212015) are not supported in BlueSuite 2.4 and above. It's also reported that to flash/dump these chips it's required to lower SPI speed. So for BC2 chips it's recommended to use BlueSuite 2.3 and set SPIMAXCLOCK=200 option.

Programmer hardware

Programmer hardware is based on FT232R chip. It is possible that later generation FTDI chips, such as FT2232C/D/H or FT232H, will also work, but this was not tested.

Using FT232RL breakout board as a programmer

You can build a simple programmer using popular FT232RL breakout boards (search Ebay for "FT232RL adapter" for example). Pinout specified in spi.c file. Change it at will. Note that FTDI boards usually provide 5V or 3.3V I/O levels while CSR chips require 3.3V or 1.8V I/O level. You may supply appropriate VCCIO to FTDI chip or use logic level converter if levels don't match. See description of VCCIO pin in FTDI chip datasheet for details.

This is a default pinout:

Signal FT232RL pin FTDI pin name FTDI GPIO bit CSR pin
TX 1 TXD Not used UART_RX
RX 5 RXD Not used UART_TX
LED_RD 10 DCD# D6 --
LED_WR 11 CTS# D3 --
GND 7, 18, 21 GND -- GND

SPI and UART BlueCore pins could be connected directly to FTDI pins, but I'd recommend to wire them through the 220 Ohm (or so) resistors.

TX and RX connections are optional and provide connectivity to BlueCore UART.

LED connections are optional. Wire LED cathodes through the current limiting resistors (330 Ohm works fine) to the appropriate FTDI pins. Wire LED anodes to FTDI 3V3 pin.

Other pinouts can be specified with FTDI_PINOUT Option.

Don't power BlueCore chip from FT232R internal 3.3V regulator! It's current draw may exceed FT232R 50mA limit, which may cause communication errors.

Also see notes on Counterfeit FT232RL chips.

Dedicated programmer

KiCad schematic for a dedicated programmer can be found in hardware/ subdirectory.

Counterfeit FT232RL chips

Cheap (< $5) FT232RL modules usually contain counterfeit FT232RL chips (1, 2, 3). I've got such chip (this one has read-only EEPROM, S/N A50285BI, probably it's a generation 2 counterfeit) and verified csr-spi-ftdi to work with it.

There is a known data loss issue with counterfeit FT232RL chip and ASM1042 USB 3.0 controller. If You encounter it (You'll get an error on stderr, see Troubleshooting), try to replug the programmer to other controller. Note that genuine FT232RL works fine with this controller.

Counterfeit IC also may produce some communication errors, but they are automatically retried, so in general it works well enough.

Some versions of Windows FTDI driver tend to intentionally brick 1st generation counterfeit chips by setting their PID to 0x0000. There are unbrick (2) and protect procedures, but csr-spi-ftdi will work on the bricked chips too.


CSR software

This driver is tested with CSR BlueSuite 2.1 - 2.6.0 and with CSR BlueLab 4.1, but should work with other CSR software, such as SDK, ADK, Configuration Tool, Parameter Manager. Newer versions of BlueSuite can be found at Older versions of BlueSuite can be found at Access to these pages requires registration.

Installing prebuilt drivers

Prebuilt drivers for Linux and Windows can be downloaded from

Installing on Ubuntu/Debian Linux

Install Wine:

sudo apt-get install wine

Install CSR BlueSuite in Wine. Find all instances of usbspi.dll installed and move them out of the way:

find ~/.wine -iname usbspi.dll -exec mv {} {}.orig \;

Copy to Wine system directory:

sudo cp -p lib-wine-linux/ /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/wine/

Alternately You can specify location of the file in WINEDLLPATH environment variable, see wine(1) man page for details.

Allow yourself access to FTDI device

cat <<_EOT_ | sudo tee -a /etc/udev/rules.d/99-ftdi.rules
# FT232R
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="0403", ATTRS{idProduct}=="6001", MODE="0660", GROUP="plugdev"

After that You'll need to add yourself to plugdev group and relogin.

Installing on Windows

  1. Install CSR package such as BlueSuite;
  2. Make a backup of usbspi.dll in your application directory (e.g. in C:\Program Files (x86)\CSR\BlueSuite 2.6.0\);
  3. Copy lib-win32/usbspi.dll to your application directory;
  4. Connect Your FTDI device to computer;
  5. Download and run Zadig from In Options menu choose "List all devices", choose Your FTDI device ("FT232R USB UART" or similar), choose libusbK driver, press "Replace driver" or "Install driver". This will install generic libusb-compatible driver for your FTDI chip. There is a tutorial on running libftdi programs on Windows here:;
  6. Run your CSR apps.

Using the driver

Choosing USB transport

Older BlueSuite defaults to use CSR SPI LPT programmer, to use csr-spi-ftdi You need to select USB SPI transport. Use -TRANS "SPITRANS=USB SPIPORT=1" option for command line tools. Import misc/spi-set-usb-transport.reg to change the default.


Csr-spi-ftdi driver supports several options that can be set as environment variables or using the -TRANS option to most CSR commandline apps.

  • SPIMAXCLOCK - Maximum SPI clock frequency in kHz, default is 1000. Practical values range from 20 to 2000. CSR app may slow SPI clock down when read or write verification fails. Some commands are always executed at 20 kHz.
  • FTDI_LOG_LEVEL - sets csr-spi-ftdi log level, available log levels: quiet, err, warn, info, debug. Adding a ,dump option provides hex dumps of transferred data. Example: FTDI_LOG_LEVEL=info,dump. Default: warn.
  • FTDI_LOG_FILE - specify log file name. Can be set to stdout to log to standard output, or to stderr to log to standard error stream. Default: stderr.
  • FTDI_INTERFACE (since version 0.5.1) - specify interface on multi-interface chips (FT2232, FT4232). Default: A.
  • FTDI_PINOUT (since version 0.5.2) - specify a pinout. Available pinouts:
    • default - default pinout as described in Using FT232RL breakout board as a programmer.
    • noleds - this is the same as default but without LEDs.
    • hwspi - pinout for use with MPSSE chips (FT2232, FT4232, FT232H), uses the same pins as hardware SPI. Note that hardware SPI capability is not used, just the same pinout is used for convenience. This pinout can be used with adapters like TIAO TUMPA. The pinout is as follows: CS - DBUS3, CLK - DBUS0, MOSI - DBUS1, MISO - DBUS2.
    • hwspi+leds - this is the same as hwspi but adds read and write LEDs on DBUS4 and DBUS5 pins respectively.

For other options see misc/

Communication speed

Reading or writing a 1 MB flash on HC-05 module takes about 60 seconds. Dumping HC-05 PS keys takes about 40 seconds.

Running csr-spi-ftdi in a virtual machine slows things down presumably due to latency added by USB virtualization. E.g. running csr-spi-ftdi under VirtualBox slows transactions down about 4x times.

Useful commands

These commands should be executed from directory where BlueSuite is installed or this directory should be in your PATH.

  • Display chip ID, this is also a quick communication test:

      BlueFlashCmd.exe -chipver
  • Display chip ID, firmware version and flash size:

      BlueFlashCmd.exe -identify
  • Save firmware backup (only for chips with flash, backup will include PS keys):

      BlueFlashCmd.exe -dump csr-fw-backup

    This creates two files, csr-fw-backup.xpv and csr-fw-backup.xdv.

  • Flash firmware from files csr-fw.xpv and csr-fw.xdv:

      BlueFlashCmd.exe csr-fw
  • Collect debug logs:

      BlueFlashCmd.exe -trans "SPIDEBUG=ON \
          SPIDEBUG_FILE=csr-spi-debug.log FTDI_LOG_LEVEL=debug,dump \
          FTDI_LOG_FILE=ftdi-debug.log" -identify
  • Lower SPI speed 5 times:

      BlueFlashCmd.exe -trans SPIMAXCLOCK=200 -dump csr-fw-backup
  • Save chip settings (PS Keys) backup into csr-pskeys.psr:

      pscli.exe dump csr-pskeys.psr
  • Merge some settings from pskeys.psr to the chip:

      pscli.exe merge pskeys.psr
  • Backup whole EEPROM image to a file:

      e2cmd.exe dump eeprom-backup.hex
  • Restore EEPROM contents from backup file:

      e2cmd.exe download eeprom-backup.hex


  • Decreasing SPI speed using SPIMAXCLOCK option may help in case of communication failures.
  • Unable to start read (invalid control data) errors are usually harmless, since read attempts are retried. If You've got a pile of theese errors and programmer doesn't work - check connections, voltage levels, try to lower SPI connection resistor values or connecting ~ 1nF capacitors in parallel with resistors. Decreasing SPI speed using SPIMAXCLOCK option may also help.
  • WARNING: Attempt %d to read sector %d warnings are also harmless if they are not result in error.
  • Couldn't find LPT port error means You use spilpt.dll driver instead of usbspi.dll. Try importing misc/spi-set-usb-transport.reg or adding -trans "SPITRANS=USB SPIPORT=1" option on command line.
  • Lost %d of %d bytes of data in transit or ERROR: Download Failed, Sector %d - probably an indication of counterfeit FT232RL plugged into ASM1042 USB 3.0 controller. Try to replug into other controller. See Counterfeit FT232RL chips.

Building for Wine

Building Wine DLL on 32-bit Debian/Ubuntu Linux

Install build tools:

sudo apt-get install -y build-essential

Install development libraries:

sudo apt-get install -y wine-dev libc6-dev libstdc++-dev libftdi-dev

Build with command:

make -f all

Building Wine DLL on 64-bit Debian/Ubuntu Linux

Install build tools:

sudo apt-get install -y build-essential gcc-multilib g++-multilib

Install 32 bit stuff:

sudo apt-get install -y wine-dev:i386 libc6-dev-i386 libstdc++-dev:i386 libftdi-dev:i386

Build with command:

make -f all


Install CSR BlueSuite in Wine. Find all instances of usbspi.dll installed and move them out of the way:

find ~/.wine -iname usbspi.dll -exec mv {} {}.orig \;

Install Wine dll into the Wine libraries directory:

sudo make -f install

Alternately You can specify location of the file in WINEDLLPATH environment variable, see wine(1) man page for details.

Building DLL for Windows

Cross-compiling DLL for Windows on Debian/Ubuntu using MinGW

Install MinGW cross-development environment:

sudo apt-get install -y mingw-w64 cmake

Download precompiled libusb for windows and extract it to the libusb directory:

7z x -olibusb libusb-

Build libftdi from source:

tar xjvf libftdi1-1.2.tar.bz2
cd libftdi1-1.2
cmake -DCMAKE_TOOLCHAIN_FILE=cmake/Toolchain-i686-w64-mingw32.cmake \
    -DLIBUSB_INCLUDE_DIR=../libusb/include/libusb-1.0 \
    -DLIBUSB_LIBRARIES="-L../../libusb/MinGW32/static -lusb-1.0" \
    -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=../libftdi1 .
make all install
cd ..

Build with command:

make -f Makefile.mingw all


  • See Issues on github to list current bug reports or to report a bug.
  • Current implementation of 1.4 SPI API (used in BlueSuite starting from 2.4) is based on a wild guess and is just a wrapper around 1.3 functions. It doesn't support multiple programmers connected at the same time and may contain other bugs.


Related projects

Other sources of information

  • BlueSuite 2.5.0 "source code" - it doesn't contain source code for SPI drivers but at least development header files in CSRSource/result/include/ are of some help. It seems CSR removed it from download.


USB SPI programmer/debugger for CSR BlueCore bluetooth chips, based on FTDI USB to UART converter, for Linux and Windows







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