I connected a FTDI USB to TTL 3.3v serial cable to the serial header on the device, and managed to get into the bootloader by a magic trick (holding the reset button at power-on and immediately releasing it). Using minicom, I got a kind of debug shell...
The pinout of the 6 pin header according to the datasheet:
In this article I described how to use the signal generator firmware to send out PWM signals generated on the PC. However, there is a better way. The USBee SX is based on a Cypress FX2lp, a microcontroller for which the firmware must be sent every time the device is connected. This gives an excellent oppertunity to experiment with custom firmwares that do fun stuff, such as driving led effects independently from the host...
In the signal generator application packaged with USBee SX, every waveform has to be manually 'designed'. I wanted to implement a led fading "chase" effect using Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). It is far too much work to manually design the waveforms in that case. Also, as I wanted a solution that also works on Linux, I did not use the DLL API, but instead what I've learnt up to now about the USBee protocol and put it to use with Python and libusb, a convenient way to interface to USB devices without writing kernel modules or device drivers. This is the kind of effect I wanted to achieve (works browsers supporting HTML5 canvas only):
The signal generator program packaged with the USBee does not seem very intuitive to use on first sight. Initially I was unable to change anything, wondering why clicking anywhere in the waveform doesn't do anything. I was starting to doubt that the program was functional at all. Too bad, as this was my reason to get this device instead of the Salae.
The pinout of the 11 pin header according to the USBee ZX toolbuilder document:
ZX DLL Routine Declarations:
The USBee SX is a Logic Analyzer. However, from a low-level view it is simply a colorful high-bandwidth 8 bit I/O controller, of which the lines can be set to input and output individually (external pinout).