your true open design chip programming tool


This application intends to be a user friendly and 100% open-hardware flashing tool and support equipment for free firmware projects.

Project's Naming Convention

The project's internal name simply is chipflasher, the firmware is called kick and the host's software, which is documented in an extra subtree, is called connect. The whole project is hosted under the umbrella of the zerocat label, thus referencing to this project in public should be done by using the name zerocat chipflasher. Please feel free to clone our git repository to your local drive like so:

1 $ git clone git://

Hardware Circuit

The zerocat chipflasher aims to be open-hardware as much as possible, that's why it mainly relies on the Parallax Propeller microcontroller. The internal chip design files of this controller have been released under the GPLv3 in 2011 by Parallax (compare to The flasher's gEDA-gschem circuit schematic is published as board.sch and tries to not rely on closed source microchips. Instead, the use of discrete components is preferred. The somehow more complex developer board board-dev.sch is available as gEDA-gschem source file as well.


Development has been done by playing around with a ThinkPad X60 motherboard. Please note that the system itself is developed on a liberated ThinkPad X60 with preflashed libreboot on it, thus forming a quite complete free software workbench. BIOS-chips are accessed from the laptop via the zerocat chipflasher, which is in turn connected to /dev/ttyS0 of the UltraBase docking station for data and to an USB-port for power. We compile the firmware C-source with a modified gcc, provided by Parallax, and then load the flasher's onboard LPC memory, which unfortunately is not open-hardware. As a workaround, we probably should use the controller's RAM instead.

Flash Targets

The ThinkPad X60 motherboard is known to have one of these SPI serial flash chips on board: MX25L1605D or SST25VF016B. In March 2016, the first bunch of Thinkpad X200 laptops with Macronix and Winbond chips have been flashed successfully. More chips will be implemented in future.

User Manual

The user's manual is probably the best place to get a quick understanding of how to use the chipflasher:

The Team


Please keep up to date with our website If you find bugs or have suggestions, please contact the zerocat label via A public OpenPGP key is available upon request.

Your Support

Your donations are very welcome! Please lookup for bank account details.

Our Service

We are going to offer the following products and services in Berlin, Germany:

Please check our current portfolio and prices on