I received my Cypress PSoC 6 BLE Pioneer Kit. Once again, Cypress has put together a nice little package for doing some prototyping of their products. The kit came with a PSoC 6 BLE chip (Dual Core MCU, 1MB Flash, 288K SRAM, BLE Radio) on board and some nice on-board peripherals to play with. It also came with an E-Ink Display shield/board. I never used an E-Ink display before, only saw them in Kindles as I walked by. I’m interested to see the power/performance of such a device. Time to download the beta version of their PSoC Creator software with supports the PSoC 6 series. I really hope this new chip is worth the wait.
A project I was set on doing was my 100W/channel Hi-Fi Amplifier. But it has snowballed into 3 projects now and some new test equipment.
While designing my amp I find that I need a current limited 500V power supply. Well, there aren’t too many affordable ones out there. Check that…there arn’t any any affordable ones. So I started designing and building my own. I wanted to verify the accuracy of the current meter/limited and see how it works under different loads. So now I need a electronic load for testing. Again, there aren’t any decent affordable loads so now I have to design and build one. The list keeps growing.
I also just purchased some “new to me” (used) multimeters. I currently have three meters (Metex, Tenma, UNI-T) and they all give wildly different readings on the same signal. So I just ordered (2x) GW Instek GDS-8142 (4-1/2 digit) and (1x) Keithly 2015 (6-1/2 digit). The GW Instek were just about being given away (~$20 ea) but the Keithly made up for it at $650. I hope this stuff works better then my current crap.
I put the Smart Calculator Watch project on hold a while ago when Cypress announced that they would be coming out with their PSoC 6 chip. Since this chip has greater performance and lower power consumption, I felt it prudent to wait and evaluate the new chip.
For over 20 years I have been carrying my beloved Casio calculator watch on my wrist. Alas, time and abuse have taken their toll and my beloved watch ceased operation. Originally I was going to replace it with a Casio Databank watch, but their evolution of functionality seemed to have stagnated for the last 10 years. I also looked into smart watches but their price and dependency on being linked to a cell phone was a major drawback for me. So I replaced my trusty Casio CA-53W calculator watch with another one. (Thankfully Casio still makes them…and their relatively inexpensive.)
This fueled my inner engineer to see if it is possible to make a “smarter” watch. I am looking at designing something that has greater functionality than my calculator watch and even the databank watches, yet maintains independence from requiring a smart phone. (Although I might give it the ability to link with a phone, it just wouldn’t require it.)
You can find project details here.
Here is a minimalistic UART receiver module. It works with standard baud rates from 300 to 115200 and non-standard rates up to 921600. You can find it here.
I have uploaded the first VHDL Module. It is a very simple UART transmitter. You can check it out here.
As I sit here working on my FPGA projects, it occurs to me that some of the work I am doing may be of interest to viewers of this site. So, I will break down some of my projects into more basic blocks/modules and upload them for others to use or learn from. I will attempt to annotate my code in a meaningful way so that everyone can understand what and how I am doing what I am doing in my code.
You can find an index of the VHDL modules in the link below.
I just purchased a Lattice iCEstick Development Board. I have wanted to try these chips for a while now to see if they meet my needs for my smaller/simpler projects.
The iCE40 FPGA chips are a small form factor, inexpensive and minimalist series of programmable logic. They are very low power device and have specs that range from 384 to 7680 logic cells and are available with up to 128Kbit of RAM and 210 I/Os. That is still plenty of horsepower to do some pretty great things.
I have put some basic specs and data sheets up for the ICEstick board and its on-board peripherals. Also, I have written a tutorial on how use the basic functions of Lattice’s iCEcube2 development software and programmer with a good ol’ blinking LED example. If you are interested, you can check them out below.
Lattice iCEstick Development Board
I created another quick tutorial on communicating with the STM32F4-DISCOVERY board using a Virtual Comm Port over the USB-OTG port. This example repeatedly sends a small string of data to a serial terminal. Also, there are instructions for setting up a free serial terminal application, PuTTY.
Example 2: PuTTY and the Virtual Comm Port
(I hope these little tutorials are found useful.)
I have created a quick tutorial on how to use the Arduino IDE with the STM32F4-DISCOVERY board. It explains the basics of using the Ardunio IDE with some code designed to make the four LEDs on the STH32F4-DISCOVERY board blink in a clockwise pattern.