Learning A New Microcontroller
- The Peripherals
- System Complexity
- Support Software
- Do It Like Phil
- The Programs
- WET And DRY Code
Development of the MOS Technology 6502: A Historical Perspective
One ubiquitous microprocessor of the late 1970s and 1980s was the MOS Technology MCS 6502. I included a section on the development of the 6502 in Part 2 of Supply Chain Games, and have posted it as an excerpt here, as I believe it is deserving in its own right.
(Note: MOS Technology is pronounced with the individual letters M-O-S “em oh ess”, not “moss”, and should not be confused with another semiconductor company,
Supply Chain Games: What Have We Learned From the Great Semiconductor Shortage of 2021? (Part 2)
Welcome back! Today we’re going to zoom around again in some odd directions, and give a roundabout introduction to the semiconductor industry, touching on some of the following questions:
- How do semiconductors get designed and manufactured?
- What is the business of semiconductor manufacturing like?
- What are the different types of semiconductors, and how does that affect the business model of these manufacturers?
- How has the semiconductor industry evolved over...
Patterns of Thinking: Metaphors in Programming
Several years ago, I once attended an “Object-Oriented Analysis and Design” training. As most such courses go, the instructor began with brushing up on the fundamental OO concepts. When explaining inheritance, the instructor spontaneously compared inheriting from a class to passing traits from parents to the offspring in a family. At first, this “family tree” metaphor seemed to make a lot of sense and most attendees nodded approvingly. However, when the instructor discussed...
New Promo Video for the 2022 Embedded Online Conference
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!
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
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
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)
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...
Review: Modern Software Engineering
This is actually a review of 3 books by Dave Farley, because they really form a set:
- Modern Software Engineering: Doing What Works to Build Better Software Faster (just released for 2022, 224 pages)
- Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation (co-authored with Jez Humble, 2011, 463 pages)
- Continuous Delivery Pipelines: How To Build Better Software Faster (2021,...
Introduction to Microcontrollers - Beginnings
Welcome to this Introduction to Microcontroller Programming tutorial series. If you are looking to learn the basics of embedded programming for microcontrollers (and a bit of embedded hardware design as well), I hope these tutorials will help you along that journey. These are my first postings here, and I am writing this tutorial series because over the years I have seen countless newbies asking the same questions and tripping over the same stumbling blocks, and I thought I might be able to...
Ten Little Algorithms, Part 2: The Single-Pole Low-Pass Filter
Other articles in this series:
- Part 1: Russian Peasant Multiplication
- Part 3: Welford's Method (And Friends)
- Part 4: Topological Sort
- Part 5: Quadratic Extremum Interpolation and Chandrupatla's Method
- Part 6: Green’s Theorem and Swept-Area Detection
I’m writing this article in a room with a bunch of other people talking, and while sometimes I wish they would just SHUT UP, it would be...
Learning Rust For Embedded Systems
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
R1C1R2C2: The Two-Pole Passive RC Filter
I keep running into this circuit every year or two, and need to do the same old calculations, which are kind of tiring. So I figured I’d just write up an article and then I can look it up the next time.
This is a two-pole passive RC filter. Doesn’t work as well as an LC filter or an active filter, but it is cheap. We’re going to find out a couple of things about its transfer function.
First let’s find out the transfer function of this circuit:
MSP430 LaunchPad Tutorial - Part 4 - UART Transmission
Today we are going to learn how to communicate using UART with the Launchpad. For this purpose I will replace the default microcontroller that comes with the board with the MSP430G2553. It is the most powerful device in the MSP430 Value Line and it comes with an integrated hardware UART module, along with 16 Kb of Flash memory, 512 bytes of SRAM and an 8-channel, 10 bit ADC.
UART communication can be useful when dealing with sensors: as a basic example, we could...
How FPGAs work, and why you'll buy one
Today, pretty much everyone has a CPU, a DSP and a GPU, buried somewhere in their PC, phone, car, etc. Most don't know or care that they bought any of these, but they did.
Will everyone, at some future point, also buy an FPGA? The market size of FPGAs today is about 1% of the annual global semiconductor sales (~$3B vs ~$300B). Will FPGA eventually...
MSP430 Launchpad Tutorial - Part 1 - Basics
TI's LaunchPad is a complete MSP430 development environment: all you have to do is download and install CCS IDE (login required), connect your G2231-ready LaunchPad to your computer with the included mini-usb cable, and you are ready to code!Texas Instrument MSP430 LaunchPad
So, let's see how to start a new project in Code Composer Studio. This IDE is derived from Eclipse, so if you used it before you shouldn't have much problems.
We'll write a simple program that will...
Working With ESP-C3-32S-Kit Dev Board
- Getting Started
- ESP-IDF Installation
Linear Feedback Shift Registers for the Uninitiated, Part XVI: Reed-Solomon Error Correction
Last time, we talked about error correction and detection, covering some basics like Hamming distance, CRCs, and Hamming codes. If you are new to this topic, I would strongly suggest going back to read that article before this one.
This time we are going to cover Reed-Solomon codes. (I had meant to cover this topic in Part XV, but the article was getting to be too long, so I’ve split it roughly in half.) These are one of the workhorses of error-correction, and they are used in...
Endianness and Serial Communication
Endianness is a consideration that is easily overlooked in the design of embedded systems. I myself am amply guilty of this oversight. It’s something you don’t ever have to worry about if you’re only working with a single processor or two processors that have the same endianness. You can even avoid it if you have two processors that have different endianness but never transmit data between themselves that consists of more than one byte. It’s easy to lull...
MSP430 LaunchPad Tutorial - Part 3 - ADC
In this new episode of our journey into MSP430 I will explain the basics of Analog to Digital Conversion on the MSP430G2231.We will write a program that will read an ADC channel and will toggle some leds based on the result of the conversion.
We start as usual with the inclusion of the header file for the MSP430G2231, the leds stuff and with the definition of a variable that will store the result of the conversion. We also declare a function that will initialize the ADC...
Introduction to Microcontrollers - Driving WS2812 RGB LEDs
This tutorial chapter is a bit of a detour, but I think an interesting and useful one. It introduces a bit of assembly language programming, and demonstrates bit-banging a tight serial data protocol. And it deals with RGB LEDs, which are just very fun in their own right, especially these new parts. So I thought I'd post this to give readers time for some holiday lighting experimenting.Back To The Future
Remember how we started this...
Boot Sequence for an ARM based embedded system
Allow me to introduce myself. I am Deeksha and I come from plains of North India. My tryst with embedded technologies has been 5 years long and every single day I am amazed with the vastness and learning involved. The thing with embedded technologies is either you are into it, or you aren't. You cannot just hang around half-heartedly (I guess that holds true for every field, for that matter).You have to keep the learning and sharing process going on. And that is the reason I am...
Important Programming Concepts (Even on Embedded Systems) Part I: Idempotence
There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of subtle concepts that contribute to high quality software design. Many of them are well-known, and can be found in books or the Internet. I’m going to highlight a few of the ones I think are important and often overlooked.
But first let’s start with a short diversion. I’m going to make a bold statement: unless you’re a novice, there’s at least one thing in computer programming about which you’ve picked up...
Introduction to Microcontrollers - Interrupts
That, at least, could be one reaction to this chapter. But over the years I've become convinced that new microcontroller programmers should understand interrupts before being introduced to any complex peripherals such as timers, UARTs, ADCs, and all the other powerful function blocks found on a modern microcontroller. Since these peripherals are commonly used with interrupts, any introduction to them that does not...
So You Want To Be An Embedded Systems Developer
- What's An Embedded System?
- Hobbyist vs. Professional Hardware
- The Primary Resources
- Some Advanced Resources
- Some Hardware
- Other Links
- Final Thought
10 Software Tools You Should Know
Unless you're designing small analog electronic circuits, it's pretty hard these days to get things done in embedded systems design without the help of computers. I thought I'd share a list of software tools that help me get my job done. Most of these are free or inexpensive. Most of them are also for working with software. If you never have to design, read, or edit any software, then you're one of a few people that won't benefit from reading this.
Disclaimer: the "best" software...
C++ on microcontrollers 1 - introduction, and an output pin class
This blog series is about the use of C++ for modern microcontrollers. My plan is to show the gradual development of a basic I/O library. I will introduce the object-oriented C++ features that are used step by step, to provide a gentle yet practical introduction into C++ for C programmers. Reader input is very much appreciated, you might even steer me in the direction you find most interesting.
I am lazy. I am also a programmer. Luckily, being a lazy...
Using the C language to program the am335x PRU
Some weeks ago, I published an article on how we used the PRU to implement a power supply control loop having hard realtime constraints:
Writing this kind of logic in assembly language is not easy. First the assembly language itself may be difficult to learn depending on your background. Then, fixed and floating point arithmetics require lot of code. While macros help to handle the complexity, they still are error prone as you...
Introduction to Microcontrollers - Hello World
A standard first program on an embedded platform is the blinking LED. Getting an LED to blink demonstrates that you have your toolchain set up correctly, that you are able to download your program code into the μC, and that the μC and associated circuitry (e.g. the power supply) is all working. It can even give you good evidence as to the clock rate that your microcontroller is running (something that trips up a great many people,...
Who else is going to Sensors Expo in San Jose? Looking for roommate(s)!
This will be my first time attending this show and I must say that I am excited. I am bringing with me my cameras and other video equipment with the intention to capture as much footage as possible and produce a (hopefully) fun to watch 'highlights' video. I will also try to film as many demos as possible and share them with you.
I enjoy going to shows like this one as it gives me the opportunity to get out of my home-office (from where I manage and run the *Related sites) and actually...
Many of you have the knowledge and talent to write technical articles that would benefit the EE community. What is missing for most of you though, and very understandably so, is the time and motivation to do it.
But what if you could make some money to compensate for your time spent on writing the article(s)? Would some of you find the motivation and make the time?
I am thinking of implementing a system/mechanism that would allow the EE community to...
Embedded World 2018 - More Videos!
After the interview videos last week, this week I am very happy to release two more videos taken at Embedded World 2018 and that I am proud of.
For both videos, I made extensive use of my two new toys, a Zhiyun Crane Gimbal and a Sony a6300 camera.
The use of a gimbal like the Zhiyun makes a big difference in terms of making the footage look much more stable and cinematographic.
As for the Sony camera, it takes fantastic slow-motion footage and...
Embedded World 2018 - The Interviews
Once again this year, I had the chance to go to Embedded World in Nuremberg Germany. And once again this year, I brought my video equipment to try and capture some of the most interesting things at the show.
Something new this year, I asked Jacob Beningo if he would partner with me in doing interviews with a few vendors. I would operate the camera while Jacob would ask the right questions to the vendors to make them talk about the key products/features that...
Finally got a drone!
As a reader of my blog, you already know that I have been making videos lately and thoroughly enjoying the process. When I was in Germany early this summer (and went 280 km/h in a porsche!) to produce SEGGER's 25th anniversary video, the company bought a drone so we could get an aerial shot of the party (at about the 1:35 mark in this video). Since then, I have been obsessing on buying a drone for myself and finally made the move a few weeks ago - I acquired a used DJI...
SEGGER's 25th Anniversary Video
Chances are you will find this video more interesting to watch if you take five minutes to first read the story of the week I spent at SEGGER's headquarters at the end of June.
The video is only a little more than 2 minutes long. If you decide to watch it, make sure to go full screen and I would really love to read your thoughts about it in the comments down bellow. Do you think a video like this succeeds in making the viewer want to learn more about the company?...
Went 280km/h (174mph) in a Porsche Panamera in Germany!
Those of you who've been following my blog lately already know that I am going through some sort of mid-life crisis that involves going out there to meet people and make videos. It all started with Embedded World early this year, then continued at ESC Boston a couple of months ago and the latest chapter just concluded as I returned from Germany after spending a week at SEGGER's headquarters to produce a video to highlight their 25th anniversary.
VERY Fast Japanese Sumo Robots
For some reasons, I could not stop watching. I would love to have the maker of one of these robots to blog about the project here on EmbeddedRelated.com, the sensors, microcontroller, algorithms and the challenges... This would make for a very interesting read! Do you know someone?
Going back to Germany!
A couple of blog posts ago, I wrote that the decision to go to ESC Boston ended up being a great one for many different reasons. I came back from the conference energized and really happy that I went.
These feelings were amplified a few days after my return when I received an email from Rolf Segger, the founder of SEGGER Microcontroller (check out their very new website), asking if I would be interested in visiting their headquarters...
ESC Boston's Videos are Now Up
In my last blog, I told you about my experience at ESC Boston and the few videos that I was planning to produce and publish. Here they are, please have a look and any feedback (positive or negative) is appreciated.Short Highlight
This is a very short (one minute) montage of some of the footage that I shot at the show & conference. In future shows, I absolutely need to insert clips here and there of engineers saying a few words about the conference (why they...