Installation guide for TinyOS 2.x, TelosB, MicaZ and Imote2 sensor

This page is on how to install a recent TinyOS 2.x framework which allow code development for TelosB, Crossbow MicaZ and Crossbow Imote2 sensors. There are a lot of material out there and I've learnt a lot myself with all the posts that are available. First of all, there are many useful information on the TinyOS web site, then on the Crossbow support Knowledge Base, and then from the invaluable feedbacks of the many users that are too numerous to be listed here. However, even with so much material out there, it was quite difficult for me to get a simple snapshot of what should be done to get the easiest to install development environment. One of the reasons is that many contributions are a bit obsolete as software and hardware have changed. Probably that this page will become obsolete in a while also...

You can install from in a native Linux (Ubuntu for example) machine or a non-Linux host environment (Windows, Mac OS X mostly). The last solution is mainly based on installing an Ubuntu VMWare image with VMWare software running in the host environment. For those with a native Linux environment, this may also be one solution as your  version of Linux may not be suitable. The TinyOS installation procedure can be seen here. Prior to this step, you probably need to install the tool-chain first and you can proceed as decribed here which is probably the easiest way.

Here is a summary of the required steps depending on your starting configuration.
First of all, I'm using a MacBook Pro with Mountain Lion (10.8.2) with VMWare Fusion 5. Should work with any other configuration as it mostly depends on the VMWare software.

1. get and install VMWare (VMPlayer is free for Windows and Linux) for your environment (Linux, Windows, MacOS X,...).

2. get the FULL featured TinyOS 2.1 Ubuntu VMware image from

The image includes:

    * Ubuntu 9.04
    * TinyOS-2.x + TinyOS-2.x-contrib CVS repositories (checked out October 2009)
    * Ready TinyOS environment
    * Eclipse 3.5.1 + Yeti 2 plugin installed (TinyOS 2 Plugin for Eclipse)

Decompress it and open it with VMWare (there are 2 users: nap and root as explained on the web page). The VMWare image has TinyOS-2.x + TinyOS-2.x-contrib CVS repositories and fully support the micaz platform.

3. compiling the Blink application for the micaz sensor platform

Asuming that you've installed you TinyOS 2.1.2 tree in /opt

$ cd /opt/tinyos-2.1.2/apps/Blink
$ make micaz
$ make telosb

It should work fine and produce the main.exe file in the build directory

4. intelmote2 support

However, the VMWare image does not support the intelmote2 platform and additional tools and compiler have to be installed. Therefore if you try compiling for the intelmote2 platform with make intelmote2, you will have a problem indicating that the xscale-elf-gcc compiler can not be found. To fix this problem download the following packages:

When you try to install the packages by clicking on the first link, you may have a conflict with /usr/lib/libiberty.a. I had this problem on Ubuntu 9.04 but not anymore on Ubuntu 10.04. If you have conflict issue, you have to execute (as root is a new terminal) the following commands before:

# cd /usr/lib
# mv libiberty.a libiberty-avr-gcc.a

and then install manually the package (supposed you are in the directory where you downloaded the .deb files) with dpkg. Note the --force-overwrite option for the first package to manage the libiberty.a problem (that was already installed from the avr-gcc package for micaz platform included in the VMWare image)

$ dpkg --force-overwrite --install xscale-elf-binutils-2.15-2.i386.deb
$ dpkg --install xscale-elf-gcc-3.4.3-2.i386.deb
$ dpkg --install xscale-elf-newlib-1.13.0-1.i386.deb

get back to the terminal where you are logged as root. We keep the newest one (the libiberty-avr-gcc.a since it has a bigger size) and make a link on it

# mv libiberty.a libiberty-xcale-elf-gcc.a
# ln -s libiberty-avr-gcc.a libiberty-newest.a
# ln -s libiberty-newest.a libiberty.a
# exit

This is actually the solution I came to. It is possible that only the newest one should be kept and the symbolic links are not useful.

5. compiling the Blink application for the intelmote2 sensor platform

$ cd /opt/tinyos-2.1.0/apps/Blink
$ make intelmote2

Everything should be OK now.

6. installing the compiled code on the TelosB, MICAz hardware

We have so far only compiled the code. We have to install it on the sensor board memory. For the MicaZ, you need to have the MIB510 or MIB520 board. The description here is for the MIB520 board with a built-in USB port.  The simplest way to do it is:

$ make micaz install mib520,/dev/ttyUSB0

For the TelosB:

$ make telosb install bsl,/dev/ttyUSB0
Actually, the general syntax is:

make <platform> re|install.<n> <programmer>,<port>

as explained in the "Getting Started Guide" from Crossbow. The optional <n> parameter indicated the node ID (in decimal) that you want to put in the sensor.

You may need to install the FTDI drivers (link here to the 1.1.12) from FTDI and the uisp programmer (see here). For FTDI, here is a script for version 1.1.12:

gunzip libftd2xx1.1.12.tar.gz
mkdir libftd2xx1.1.12
cd libftd2xx1.1.12
tar -xvf ../libftd2xx1.1.12.tar
cd release
cp ftd2xx.h /usr/include
cp WinTypes.h /usr/include
chmod a+r /usr/include/ftd2xx.h /usr/include/WinTypes.h
cd build/i386
cp /usr/local/lib
cd /usr/local/include
rm -f ftd2xx.h
rm -f WinTypes.h
ln -s /usr/include/ftd2xx.h ftd2xx.h
ln -s /usr/include/WinTypes.h WinTypes.h
cd /usr/local/lib
rm -f
ln -s
cd /usr/lib
rm -f
ln -s /usr/local/lib/

You can then use TinyOS printf library for a very convenient way to display data on your PC.  Starting from version 2.1.2 the semantic of printf has changed, as explained in tos/lib/printf.

$ java -comm serial@/dev/ttyUSB0:telosb

On the MicaZ, there is one serial port for programming and one serial port for output so if you use USB0 for programming the mote, you will use USB1 for getting the output:

$ make micaz install mib520,/dev/ttyUSB0
$ java -comm serial@/dev/ttyUSB1:micaz

7. installing the compiled code on the Imote2 hardware

As far as I understood, here is the situation for the Imote2.

For the Imote2, there is a difference when you are using a Window-based programming environment or a Linux-based as it is described here. For Windows, there is no need of a JTAG dongle as said so in many web sites nor of the IIB2400 board as a USB boot loader can be used (see here for a description here for checking whether the USB boot loader is installed or not). Actually, the JTAG dongle and the IIB2400 board are needed only if you want to change the Imote2 bootloader.  If you want to use Windows+cygwin+TinyOS, follow this link.

For a Linux-based environment, things are not as easy. You actually need a JTAG cable as direct USB programming is not supported (I don't know why exactly nor do I know how difficult it is to get the same USB features on a Linux-based environment).

So, for Linux-based programming environment, the most common way of programming the Imote2 is through a JTAG cable (I use Olimex) connected to the IIB2400 board, which is then connected to the USB port of the host computer. Then another USB cable will connect your iMote2 USB interface (not the one of the IIB2400) to the computer as well. See figure below.

Then use openocd software as described in this page. You will find on this page links to the supported JTAG cable from Amontec and Olimex, along with links for the FTDI libftd2xx library to support the JTAG connexion and the required configuration files. Personnaly, I use openocd v0.4.0 that I've installed with:

tar xvfz openocd-0.4.0.tar.gz
cd openocd-0.4.0
./configure --enable-maintainer-mode --disable-werror --enable-ft2232_ftd2xx
sudo make install
sudo chmod 4755 /usr/local/bin/openocd

Once everything's setup, you can upload your program with the following command line (don't forget to press on the reset button on the Imote2 before):

$ make intelmote2 install openocd

Then, you can also use the TinyOS printf library for easy display (it has been reported that the printf library is not working on the Imote2 but I had no problem under Tinyos 2.1.2). When you want to get the output from the iMote2, you have to use the IIB2400 board and connect the USB interface of the board (not the one of the Imote2) to the PC. See below.

Normally you should have 2 USB-serial interface /dev/ttyUSB0 and /dev/tty/USB1. On the iMote2, we have the same situation that for the MicaZ: there is one serial port for programming (even though Linux uses a JTAG and not the USB) and one serial port for output so you need to use USB1 for getting the output.

$ java -comm serial@/dev/ttyUSB1:intelmote2

7. Use another Bootloader and programming environment for Imote2

Here is a link decribing a completely different bootloader and tool-chain for the Imote2. Seems quite promising but I've haven't tried it yet.

"Based upon the TinyOS-Bootloader for the Imote2, a new, completely rewritten Bootloader"

8. Using the camera on the Imote2

See this page