Tag Archives: Mcu

PulseRain M10 – FPGA Development board is Arduino compatible

Over the years FPGAs have become readily available to the maker community. They are now more accessible than ever as many development boards has seen the light. It’s now possible to embed a soft-core MCU into an FPGA  rather than using a hard-core ASIC MCU and here is where PulseRain comes into play with an open source design down to the silicon level.

The PulseRain M10 board embeds an open source soft MCU core (96 MHz) in an Intel/Altera MAX10 FPGA, while is Arduino compatible. In addition, the soft-core MCU features onboard resources like voice CODEC, microSD socket, SRAM, on-chip ADC, and dual IO voltages. The board will soon be available for funding on crowdsupply.com.

Features & Specifications

  • FPGA: Intel/Altera 10M08SAE144C8G
    • Logic Elements: 8 K
    • Block Memory: 378 Kb
    • User Flash Memory: 32 KB
    • 18 x 18 Multipliers: 24
    • Internal Configuration: 2 (This FPGA does not need external memory for configuration)
    • PLLs: 1
    • On-chip A/D Converter: 12 bit
    • Temperature Sensor: On-chip TSD (Temperature Sensor Diode)
    • Package: 144-pin EQFP
  • Microcontroller: Soft-core FP51-1T, with support package for Arduino IDE
    • Clock Rate: 96 MHz
    • Processor Core: Enhanced 1T 8051, with RISC implementation
    • Throughput: Single clock cycle execution for most instructions
    • Instruction Memory: 32 KB
    • Data Memory: 8 KB
    • On-chip Debugger: Yes (supports code download throughput of 921600 bps)
    • Open Source Compiler: SDCC (Small Device C Compiler)
  • Onboard Peripherals and Components:
    • Voice CODEC: Silicon Lab Si3000, with onboard microphone and speaker jack
    • DTMF Decoder: Available through software library
    • UART/PWM/I2C: The default configuration has 2 UARTs, 6 PWMs and 1 I2C
    • SRAM: 1 Mbit serial SRAM (Microchip 23LC1024)
    • microSD Socket: Molex 472192001
    • OpAmp and Potentiometer for Analog Input: 6 analog input channel, 1 potentiometer on A0
    • USB: USB/UART bridge (FT232R), with 921600 bps throughput
    • JTAG Header: Yes
    • Push Button: 2
    • Oscillator: 12 MHz crystal oscillator, with DIP package
    • LEDs: 6 (2 for USB/UART indication, 1 for IO power, 3 for general purpose)
  • Form Factor and Input/Outputs:
    • Arduino UNO Rev 3 Compatible Dimension: 2.1 inch x 3.2 inch
    • Maximum Height: 0.5 inch
    • IO Pin Map: Compatible with Arduino UNO Rev 3
    • IO Voltage: Dual voltage support (3.3 V / 5 V)
  • Power: 5 V USB or 7-12 VDC jack
  • Host Interface: microUSB

Programming the ATtiny10 using Arduino IDE

David Johnson-Davies @ technoblogy.com has a nice guide on how to program ATtiny10 6-pin mcu using the arduino IDE. Programming is done using the widely available USBasp programmer from Thomas Fischl. Examples are also included on the guide.

Unlike the SPI protocol used to program the larger AVR chips, such as the ATmega328 in the Arduino Uno, the ATtiny10 uses a programming protocol called TPI (Tiny Programming Interface) which needs only five wires. Fortunately Thomas Fischl’s excellent USBasp programmer supports this protocol [3]; you can build your own, order one from his site, or they are widely available on eBay [4], Banggood [5], etc.

Ultra-low-power MSP430 microcontrollers

Developers can implement simple sensing functions with TI’s lowest-cost microcontroller family

Texas Instruments (TI) on November 10, unveiled its lowest-cost ultra-low-power MSP430 microcontrollers (MCUs) for sensing applications. Developers can now implement simple sensing solutions through a variety of integrated mixed-signal features in this family of MSP430 value line sensing MCUs, available for as low as US$0.25 in high volumes. Additions to the family include two new entry-level devices and a new TI LaunchPad development kit for quick and easy evaluation.

Features and benefits of TI’s MSP430 value line sensing MCUs

  • Developers now have the flexibility to customize 25 common system-level functions including timers, input/output expanders, system reset controllers, electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM) and more, using a library of code examples.
  • A common core architecture, a tools and software ecosystem, and extensive documentation including migration guides make it easy for developers to choose the best MSP430 value line sensing MCU for each of their designs.
  • Designers can scale from the 0.5-KB MSP430FR2000 MCU to the rest of the MSP430 sensing and measurement MCU portfolio for applications that require up to 256 KB of memory, higher performance or more analog peripherals.

The new MSP430FR2000 and MSP430FR2100 MCUs (with 0.5 KB and 1 KB of memory, respectively) and the new development kit join the MSP430 value line sensing family which includes the MSP430FR2111, MSP430FR2311, MSP430FR2033, MSP430FR2433 and MSP430FR4133 microcontroller families and their related development tools and software.

Pricing and availability

Developers can purchase the value line sensing portfolio through the TI store, priced as low as US$0.29 in 1,000-unit quantities and US$0.25 in higher volumes. Additionally, the new MSP430FR2433 LaunchPad development kit (MSP-EXP430FR2433) is available from the TI store and authorized distributors for US$9.99. Today through Dec. 31, 2017, the TI store is offering the LaunchPad kit for a promotional price of US$4.30.

For more information visit: www.ti.com/ValueLine-pr

STMicro Introduces 20 Cents MCU in 8-Pin Package

STMicro has launched STM8S001J3, a new 8-bit micro-controller that sells for $0.20 per unit in 10k quantities. STM8S001J3 is also the first STM8 MCU offered in 8-pin package (SO8N), and should compete with some of the Microchip Attiny or PIC12F series micro-controllers.

STM8S001J3 has small package and little number of pins, but still it embeds rich set of peripherals. Below some of key features of this device:

  • Core and system
    • Flexible clock control capable to use three clock sources: 2 internal (HSI 16MHz, LSI 128kHz), 1 external clock input.
    • Wide operating voltage range: from 2.95V to 5.5V
    • 5 I/Os
    • 8- and 16-bit timers
  • Memories
    • 8k Flash
    • 1k RAM
    • 128 Bytes EEPROM
  • Conenctivity and debug
    • UART
    • SPI
    • I2C
    • Single Wire Interface Module
  • Analog
    • 10-bit ADC with 3 channels

PICKit 3 Mini

Reviahh has published a new project, the PICKit 3 Mini:

Previously, I made a Pickit 3 clone – (see previous blog post). It works well, but I have often wondered just how little of its circuitry was needed to program and debug the boards I make. For instance – I primarily use the newer 3.3V PIC32 processors, so I really don’t need the ability to alter the voltage like the standard Pickit 3 can. I also have no real need for programming on the go, or even to provide power to the target MCU to program. Knowing this – I decided to see what I could do to remove the circuitry I didn’t need, yet still have a functioning programmer/debugger.

PICKit 3 Mini – [Link]

Attiny Programmer (using Arduino UNO)

by @ instructables.com:

The Arduino UNO is small, but if you require your project to be in a small enclosure, the UNO might be way too big. You could try using a NANO or MINI, but if you really want to go small, you go tiny, Attiny to be precise.

They are quite small, cheap chips (basically small Arduinos) and can be programmed in the Arduino IDE, however you might notice that there is no USB connection. So how do we program it???

Attiny Programmer (using Arduino UNO) – [Link]

20 PIN PIC Development Board

Small size multipurpose 20 Pin PIC Micro-Controller development board, includes onboard 5V regulator, prototyping area and ICSP programing port. The board provided with few more components which includes 4 optocoupler, 2 LEDs connected to RA5, RC7 with series resistors, 2 tactile switches and 2 Trimmer Potentiometers.  These components help to implement Microchip’s AN1660 single phase AC Motor driver. Just need 3 Phase Inverter IPM module to complete the Motor driver, Code and documents can be obtained from Microchip website.  However these components can be used to implement other application or can be left unsoldered.

Features

  • Supply 7-12V DC
  • 20 PIN SO20 PIC16F1509 Micro-controller
  • On Board 5V Regulator
  • Connector for Microchip AN1660
  • CN5 5V Isolated supply required if Microchip AN1660 Used
  • On Board PIC programing ICSP port
  • Two Connected LED on RC7, RA5 port Pin

20 PIN PIC Development Board – [Link]

Making A Pickit 3 Clone

Make Your Own Pic Programmer and Debugger. by reviahh @ reviahh.wordpress.com

After using the Microchip tools to program and debug the projects I work on, I wondered about creating my own programming/debugging module that I could put on my own boards – just like Microchip does with their starter kits and such. As I became more interested in that idea, I began to search the web to see if anyone else had already done something similar. Initially, I found lots of posts regarding the 2nd version of the Pickit – the Pickit 2, but not as much regarding the latest version – the Pickit 3 – which is what I need to program the 32 bit pic processors that I am using.

Making A Pickit 3 Clone – [Link]

STM32 Arduino compatible board

@ instructables.com build an alternative board to Arduino using STM 32 series of mcus.

We love the Arduino board and it’s prototyping platform . It makes the complete prototyping process smooth and enjoying with the help of it’s add on such as Arduino IDE and a huge community support.But sooner or later you will find that the specifications provided by the arduino boards is not enough . And then the problem arises about which board should we use so that our desires are fulfilled.Also How easy is to use a non arduino board . After a good research I found that the STM 32 is perfect fit.

STM32 Arduino compatible board – [Link]

Are Today’s MCUs Overdesigned? A Research Team Has The Answer

MCUs are called microcontrollers because they embed a CPU, memory and I/O units in one package. Apparently, today’s MCUs are full of peripherals and in most cases they are not used in the application, and from an engineering point of view this is a waste of money and energy, but on the other hand, for developers and consumers it’s about programmability and flexibility.

Rakesh Kumar a University of Illinois electrical and computer engineering professor and John Sartori a University of Minnesota assistant professor tried to prove that processors are overdesigned for most applications.

Kumar and his colleagues did 15 ordinary MCU applications using openMSP430 microcontroller with bare metal and RTOS approach (both are tested in their study). Surprisingly, the results showed that all of these applications needed no more than 60 percent of the gates. Therefore, smaller MCUs can be used (cheaper and less power consuming). As stated by Sartori, “a lot of logic that can be completely eliminated, and the software still works perfectly”.

Bespoke Processor research results
Image courtesy by: University of Illinois/ACM

In the image above the analysis of unused gates for two applications: Interpolation FIR filter and Scrambled Interpolation FIR. The red dots are the used gates and gray ones are the not used ones.

The research team called the optimum MCU the “Bespoke Processor”, and described the process “like a black box. Input the app, and it outputs the processor design.” says Kumar.

Source: IEEE Spectrum