## Software is free and can right any wrong

Software changes are so much easier than hardware modifications, so the temptation is always to take this approach to fixing bugs. This may not always be a good idea.

## Modern C++ in embedded development: Static Classes

There is a concept of static class in C#. It is a class that contains only static members and methods, and it can’t be instantiated. In C#, a static class is declared using the static keyword.

Static classes are used to group functions that belong to the same logical unit or software module and that may have a shared state (member variables).

Static class in C++The concept of a static class can be implemented in C++ as a class with all static methods and members and by deleting...

## Creating a Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) in C

In my last post, C to C++: Using Abstract Interfaces to Create Hardware Abstraction Layers (HAL), I discussed how vital hardware abstraction layers are and how to use a C++ abstract interface to create them. You may be thinking, that’s great for C++, but I work in C! How do I create a HAL that can easily swap in and out different drivers? In today’s post, I will walk through exactly how to do that while using the I2C bus as an example.

## Elliptic Curve Cryptography - Key Exchange and Signatures

Elliptic curve mathematics over finite fields helps solve the problem of exchanging secret keys for encrypted messages as well as proving a specific person signed a particular document. This article goes over simple algorithms for key exchange and digital signature using elliptic curve mathematics. These methods are the essence of elliptic curve cryptography (ECC) used in applications such as SSH, TLS and HTTPS.

## What does it mean to be 'Turing complete'?

The term "Turing complete" describes all computers and even some things we don't expect to be as powerful as a typical computer. In this article, I describe what it means and discuss the implications of Turing completeness on projects that need just a little more power, on alternative processor designs, and even security.

## Elliptic Curve Cryptography - Security Considerations

The security of elliptic curve cryptography is determined by the elliptic curve discrete log problem. This article explains what that means. A comparison with real number logarithm and modular arithmetic gives context for why it is called a log problem.

## Handling Translations in an Embedded Project

A brief walkthrough on how to handle human language translations in a low level C application. Some options are listed, each with advantages and disadvantages laid out.

## Elliptic Curve Cryptography - Basic Math

An introduction to the math of elliptic curves for cryptography. Covers the basic equations of points on an elliptic curve and the concept of point addition as well as multiplication.

## Square root in fixed point VHDL

In this blog we will design and implement a fixed point square root function in VHDL. The algorithm is based on the recursive Newton Raphson inverse square root algorithm and the implementation offers parametrizable pipeline depth, word length and the algorithm is built with VHDL records and procedures for easy use.

## Mastering Modern FPGA Skills for Engineers

In the rapidly evolving tech industry, engineers must acquire proficiency in modern FPGA skills. These skills empower engineers to optimize designs, minimize resource usage, and efficiently address FPGA design challenges while ensuring functionality, security, and compliance.

## Lost Secrets of the H-Bridge, Part I: Ripple Current in Inductive Loads

So you think you know about H-bridges? They're something I mentioned in my last post about signal processing with Python.

Here we have a typical H-bridge with an inductive load. (Mmmmm ahhh! It's good to draw by hand every once in a while!) There are four power switches: QAH and QAL connecting node A to the DC link, and QBH and QBL connecting node B to the DC link. The load is connected between nodes A and B, and here is represented by an inductive load in series with something else. We...

## Adventures in Signal Processing with Python

Author’s note: This article was originally called Adventures in Signal Processing with Python (MATLAB? We don’t need no stinkin' MATLAB!) — the allusion to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre has been removed, in deference to being a good neighbor to The MathWorks. While I don’t make it a secret of my dislike of many aspects of MATLAB — which I mention later in this article — I do hope they can improve their software and reduce the price. Please note this...

## You Don't Need an RTOS (Part 2)

In this second article, we'll tweak the simple superloop in three critical ways that will improve it's worst-case response time (WCRT) to be nearly as good as a preemptive RTOS ("real-time operating system"). We'll do this by adding task priorities, interrupts, and finite state machines. Additionally, we'll discuss how to incorporate a sleep mode when there's no work to be done and I'll also share with you a different variation on the superloop that can help schedule even the toughest of task sets.

## BGA and QFP at Home 1 - A Practical Guide.

It is almost universally accepted by the hobbyists that you can't work with high-density packages at home. That is entirely incorrect. I've been assembling and reflowing BGA circuit boards at home for a few years now. BGAs and 0.5mm-pitch QFPs are well within the realm of a determined amateur.

This series of articles presents practical information on designing and assembling boards with high-density packages at home. While the focus is on FPGA packages, most of...

## VHDL tutorial - Creating a hierarchical design

In earlier blog entries I introduced some of the basic VHDL concepts. First, developing a function ('VHDL tutorial') and later verifying and refining it ('VHDL tutorial - part 2 - Testbench' and 'VHDL tutorial - combining clocked and sequential logic'). In this entry I will describe how to...

## VHDL tutorial - combining clocked and sequential logic

In an earlier article on VHDL programming ("VHDL tutorial" and "VHDL tutorial - part 2 - Testbench", I described a design for providing a programmable clock divider for a ADC sequencer. In this example, I showed how to generate a clock signal (ADCClk), that was to be programmable over a series of fixed rates (20MHz, 10MHz, 4MHz, 2MHz, 1MHz and 400KHz), given a master clock rate of 40MHz. A reader of that article had written to ask if it was possible to extend the design to...

## PID Without a PhD

I both consult and teach in the area of digital control. Through both of these efforts, I have found that while there certainly are control problems that require all the expertise I can bring to bear, there are a great number of control problems that can be solved with the most basic knowledge of simple controllers, without resort to any formal control theory at all.

This article will tell you how to implement a simple controller in software and how to tune it without getting into heavy...

## Linear Feedback Shift Registers for the Uninitiated

In 2017 and 2018 I wrote an eighteen-part series of articles about linear feedback shift registers, or LFSRs:

div.jms-article-content ol > li { list-style-type: upper-roman } Ex-Pralite Monks and Finite Fields, in which we describe what an LFSR is as a digital circuit; its cyclic behavior over time; the definition of groups, rings, and fields; the isomorphism between N-bit LFSRs and the field \( GF(2^N) \); and the reason why I wrote this series## Free Goodies from Embedded World - Full Inventory and Upcoming Draw Live-Streaming Date

Chances are that you already know that I went to Embedded World a few weeks ago and came back with a bag full of "goodies". Initially, my vision was to do a single draw for one person to win it all, but I didn't expect to come back with so much stuff and so many development kits. Based on your feedback, it seems like you guys agree that It wouldn't make sense for one person to win everything as no-one could make good use of all the boards and there would be lots of...

## 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 LaunchPadSo, 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...

## Cortex-M Exception Handling (Part 1)

This article describes how Cortex-M processors handle interrupts and, more generally, exceptions, a concept that plays a central role in the design and implementation of most embedded systems.

## Introduction to Microcontrollers - 7-segment displays & Multiplexing

Doing the 7 Segment ShuffleThe 7 segment display is ubiquitous in the modern world. Just about every digital clock, calculator and movie bomb has one. The treadmills at my gym have 6 or 7, each one displaying 3 or 4 digits. What makes the 7-seg interesting is that it presents an opportunity to make a trade off between GPIO (output pins) for time. Every 7-seg display requires 8 outputs (the 7 segments and usually either a decimal point or a...

## Important Programming Concepts (Even on Embedded Systems) Part IV: Singletons

Other articles in this series:

- Part I: Idempotence
- Part II: Immutability
- Part III: Volatility
- Part V: State Machines
- Part VI: Abstraction

Today’s topic is the singleton. This article is unique (pun intended) in that unlike the others in this series, I tried to figure out a word to use that would be a positive concept to encourage, as an alternative to singletons, but

## Linear Feedback Shift Registers for the Uninitiated, Part I: Ex-Pralite Monks and Finite Fields

Later there will be, I hope, some people who will find it to their advantage to decipher all this mess.

— Évariste Galois, May 29, 1832

I was going to call this short series of articles “LFSRs for Dummies”, but thought better of it. What is a linear feedback shift register? If you want the short answer, the Wikipedia article is a decent introduction. But these articles are aimed at those of you who want a little bit deeper mathematical...

## Lost Secrets of the H-Bridge, Part III: Practical Issues of Inductor and Capacitor Ripple Current

We've been analyzing the ripple current in an H-bridge, both in an inductive load and the DC link capacitor. Here's a really quick recap; if you want to get into more details, go back and read part I and part II until you've got equations coming out of your ears. I promise there will be a lot less grungy math in this post. So let's get most of it out of the way:

Switches QAH and QAL are being turned on and off with pulse-width modulation (PWM), to produce an average voltage DaVdc on...

## Visual Studio Code Extensions for Embedded Software Development

Visual Studio Code has become one of the most popular IDEs in the world. To date, software developers have downloaded it more than 40 million times! I suspect you’ve at least heard of it, if not already attempting to use it. Visual Studio Code allows developers to easily customize their development environment which can help them accelerate development, minimize bugs, and make developing software overall much better.

One challenge with Visual Studio Code is that embedded software...

## Lost Secrets of the H-Bridge, Part I: Ripple Current in Inductive Loads

So you think you know about H-bridges? They're something I mentioned in my last post about signal processing with Python.

Here we have a typical H-bridge with an inductive load. (Mmmmm ahhh! It's good to draw by hand every once in a while!) There are four power switches: QAH and QAL connecting node A to the DC link, and QBH and QBL connecting node B to the DC link. The load is connected between nodes A and B, and here is represented by an inductive load in series with something else. We...

## 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:

Not very...

## Introduction to Microcontrollers - More On Interrupts

A Little More Detail About The Interrupt MechanismIt's time to look a little closer at what happens in an interrupt request and response. Again this is in general terms, and different microcontroller designs may do things somewhat differently, but the basics remain the same. Most but not all interrupt requests are latched, which means the interrupt event sets a flag that stays set even if the interrupt event then goes away. It is this latched flag...

## Delayed printf for real-time logging

You often debug by adding a few printfs and looking at the logs. In some real-time/low-level contexts though, you don't have time for text formatting.

You don't want prints to affect timing too much, because then timing-related bugs you're chasing might disappear. And you certainly don't want the system to stop functioning altogether because prints cause it to miss real-time deadlines.

A common alternative to prints is more "raw" logging - an event buffer, where event is a union keeping...