New Promo Video for the 2022 Embedded Online Conference

Stephane Boucher April 19, 2022

Less than a week to go before the conference! Check out our 2022 Embedded Online Conference promo video, featuring (in order of appearance) Helen Leigh, Peter McLaughlin, Jack Ganssle, Tyler Hoffman, Steve Branam, Colin O'Flynn, Miro Samek, Henk Muller, Jacob Beningo, Harrison Donahue, Kate Stewart, Clive (Max) Maxfield, Don Wilcher, Adam Taylor, and Jean Labrosse.

If you haven't registered for the conference yet, please consider doing so today.  Make sure to use the...

2022 Embedded Online Conference - Final Push!

Stephane Boucher April 8, 2022

With the Embedded Online Conference only a couple of weeks away, we are now doing a final push to ensure that as many engineers as possible who could benefit from the conference are aware of it. 

If you'd like to help us spread the word, not only will you make our day, but you'll also earn a chance to win one of TWO Saleae Logic Pro 8.     

Prize: TWO Saleae Logic Pro 8Raffle...

Reading and Understanding Profitability Metrics from Financial Statements

Jason Sachs March 29, 2022

Whoa! That has got to be the most serious-minded title I’ve ever written. Profitability Metrics from Financial Statements, indeed. I’m still writing Part 2 of my Supply Chain Games article, and I was about to mention something about whether a company is profitable, when I realized something that didn’t quite fit into the flow of things, so I thought I’d handle it separately: how are you supposed to know what I mean, when I say a company is profitable? And how am I...

A Second Look at Slew Rate Limiters

Jason Sachs January 14, 2022

I recently had to pick a slew rate for a current waveform, and I got this feeling of déjà vu… hadn’t I gone through this effort already? So I looked, and lo and behold, way back in 2014 I wrote an article titled Slew Rate Limiters: Nonlinear and Proud of It! where I explored the effects of two types of slew rate limiters, one feedforward and one feedback, given a particular slew rate \( R \).

Here was one figure I published at the time:


Supply Chain Games: What Have We Learned From the Great Semiconductor Shortage of 2021? (Part 1)

Jason Sachs December 31, 20215 comments

So by now I’m sure you’ve heard about the semiconductor shortage of 2021. For a few complicated reasons, demand is greater than supply, and not everybody who wants to buy integrated circuits can do so. Today we’re going to try to answer some hard questions:

  • Why are we in the middle of a semiconductor shortage?
  • Why is it taking so long to get my [insert part number here]?
  • Did this shortage suddenly sneak up on everybody? If not, what were the signs, and why...

Learning Rust For Embedded Systems

Steve Branam November 12, 2021
The Motivational Portion

Based on recommendations from Kevin Nause, the VolksEEG project is considering using Rust as the embedded system programming language. So I've been off on a tear skimming books and e-books and watching videos at 2x to evaluate it.

My conclusion? Do it!

Most of the rest of us participants are primarily C/C++ embedded developers. I had previously been sensitized to Rust for embedded systems by 

The 2021 IoT Online Conference

Jacob Beningo November 9, 2021

The IoT Online Conference is back, and this time the core focus is on IoT embedded systems and edge computing. This post will explore what will be happening at this year’s conference and how teams and developers can benefit.

The IoT Online Conference Overview

The IoT Online Conference will be taking place December 8 – 10, 2021. This is the conferences’ fourth year, although it started as a fall embedded systems conference which was a single day of webinars. The...

Discrete-Time PLLs, Part 1: Basics

Reza Ameli December 1, 20159 comments

In this series of tutorials on discrete-time PLLs we will be focusing on Phase-Locked Loops that can be implemented in discrete-time signal proessors such as FPGAs, DSPs and of course, MATLAB.

VGA Output in 7 Slices. Really.

Victor Yurkovsky September 25, 20122 comments

Ridiculous? Read on - I will show you how to generate VGA timing in seven XilinxR Spartan3R slices.Some time ago I needed to output video to a VGA monitor for my Apple ][ FPGA clone.  Obviously (I thought), VGA's been done before and all I had to do was find some Verilog code and drop it into my design.  As is often the case (with me anyway), the task proved to be very different from my imagined 'couple of hours to integrate the IP'.I found some example code for my board.  I...

Favorite Tools: C++11 std::array

Matthew Eshleman February 26, 20172 comments

Many embedded software and firmware projects must be developed to high standards of reliability. To meet these reliability requirements, firmware project teams will consider many design tradeoffs. For example, an engineering team may avoid or outright ban the use of dynamic memory allocation, a feature typically accessed via the C library call "malloc" or the C++ allocator "new". When authoring software under such...

Review: Embedded Software Design: A Practical Approach to Architecture, Processes, and Coding Techniques

Steve Branam February 28, 2023

Full disclosure: I was given a copy of this book to review.

Embedded Software Design: A Practical Approach to Architecture, Processes, and Coding Techniques, by Jacob Beningo, is an excellent introduction to strategies for embedded systems design and bringing those designs to fruition. Renowned embedded systems expert Jack Ganssle was the technical reviewer.

This is a practical how-to book on the modern professional practice of embedded systems...

Practical CRCs for Embedded Systems

Stephen Friederichs October 20, 20153 comments

CRCs are a very practical tool for embedded systems: you're likely to need to use one as part of a communications protocol or to verify the integrity of a program image before writing it to flash. But CRCs can be difficult to understand and tricky to implement. The first time I attempted to write CRC code from scratch I failed once. Then twice. Then three times. Eventually I gave up and used an existing library. I consider myself intelligent: I got A's...

10 Items of Test Equipment You Should Know

Jason Sachs June 22, 20143 comments

When life gets rough and a circuit board is letting you down, it’s time to turn to test equipment. The obvious ones are multimeters and oscilloscopes and power supplies. But you know about those already, right?

Here are some you may not have heard of:

Non-contact current sensors. Oscilloscope probes measure voltage. When you need to measure current, you need a different approach. Especially at high voltages, where maintaining galvanic isolation is important for safety. The usual...

StrangeCPU #3. Instruction Slides - The Strangest CPU Yet!

Victor Yurkovsky March 18, 201311 comments

Decoding instructions with a Sliding Window system.  0-Bit Sliding Register Windows.

Table of Contents:

Coding Step 2 - Source Control

Articles in this series:

When I first started out in programming, version control was not an introductory topic. Not in the least because it required a 'server' (ie, a computer which a teenaged me couldn't afford) but because it seemed difficult and only useful to teams rather than...

Fluxions for Fun and Profit: Euler, Trapezoidal, Verlet, or Runge-Kutta?

Jason Sachs September 30, 20132 comments

Today we're going to take another diversion from embedded systems, and into the world of differential equations, modeling, and computer simulation.


First of all, just pretend I didn't bring up anything complicated. We're exposed to the effects of differential equations every day, whether we realize it or not. Your car speedometer and odometer are related by a differential equation, and whether you like math or not, you probably have some comprehension of what's going on: you...

Homebrew CPUs: Messing around with a J1

Victor Yurkovsky May 29, 2015

In this article I will examine James Bowman's excellent J1 CPU; I will then proceed to mess around with various parts of it, making it smaller, more appropriate to my particular application, and possibly faster.  I hope this will show you how easy it is to fiddle around with homemade CPUs and encourage you to make something weird and wonderful.


My hat is off to James Bowman.  J1 is pretty cool.  It is a stack machine; it executes instructions in one cycle, it is...