STLink-V3 Mini Programmer not recognizing Sparrow Reference Node

Trying to connect the STLink programmer/debugger to the sparrow reference node board but the programmer fails to connect. The fail file says, “The interface firmware FAILED to reset/halt the target MCU.” I have been able to connect the essentials board and update the firmware through the STLink, but not the reference board. Has anyone found a solution or fix to this issue?

Hi @jgeckard! Welcome to the Blues family!

When you say “sparrow reference node”, are talking about the Sparrow Sensor Reference node (it has the PIR and BME280 built-in)?

It is fundamentally the same chip as the essentials board, so it doesn’t make sense that you can flash one and not the other.

Can you provide a close-up picture of the JTAG connector (to see if any pins are missing/damaged), and a separate picture of how you are connecting to it?


Yes, it is the sparrow sensor reference node.

I was confused why the debugger wasn’t working since yes it has the same chip as the essentials board.

I’m not sure the connector(s) is damaged because the dev kit I have has two reference node boards and both are not recognized by the programmer. I have attached pictures of the connections/connector to the board just in case.

Do I need to configure something differently or have something else set-up on my computer (or the board) to make it work?

@jgeckard, thank you for the pictures, that is super helpful!

I think I know what the problem is, but first, can you tell me what version of the hardware is printed on the front side of the board - just below the red antenna?

It says “sparrow 1.1”.

Hey @jgeckard, echoing Zak, welcome to the Blues community. We’re glad you’re here, and excited that you’re taking Sparrow for a spin.

Thanks so much for raising this issue, and allow me to apologize for the inconvenience and lost time that you’ve experienced dealing with this. I don’t take lightly how deflating it can be to hit a roadblock and not know where to go next.

Unfortunately, the issue that you’re seeing is a manufacturing defect on some of the Sparrow Reference Sensors that we include in the Starter Kit. I’ve just documented the issue in our board errata here but the tl;dr is that the Cortex Debug connector Reference Sensor board you have is mounted incorrectly with the dual tab side facing the outside edge of the board. We’ve gone through our stock and identified that other Reference Sensors also have this defect. We also verified that all Essentials Boards that we have on hand have a correctly-mounted connector.

I apologize again for the trouble this has caused you, and we’d like to send you two units to replace the ones included in your existing kit. I’ll send you a PM to get your address so we can arrange shipment.

Thanks again for building with Blues and I hope we can get you back on track ASAP!


[And as an aside for anyone else reading this, if you haven’t already heard from us via email, please PM me if one or more of your Reference sensors is defective and you would like a replacement]