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Thursday, December 30, 2010

MinGW: pexports for Windows DLLs

We were trying to extract the MinGW compatible library for FTDI driver DLL, this is part of the d2xx Project for PyUSB - Python Based FT232 Bit Banging Tutorial. This was part of upgrading the PyUSB package for Python 2.7 Compatibility.

Here are the steps to get the pexports working for MinGW:

[1] Download the pexports Package
The package pexports is available as an utility in the MinGW Sourceforge FRS. Here is a link:
In case you are unable to find it you can go to the Main FRS by clicking on "files" in the MinGW project page : http://sourceforge.net/projects/mingw
Then Files->MinGW->pexports->pexports-{Most Recent Version}

Download the peexports-0.44-1-mingw32-bin.tar.lzma file.

[2] Extracting the File
Now the downloaded file needs to be located in the MinGW directory.
Bassically the LZMA file contains an exe file called as pexports.exe which is to be placed in
/bin Directory.

To extract the LZMA file there are two ways
> You can can download the Tar for Windows utility located at : http://gnuwin32.sourceforge.net/packages/gtar.htm
> Use the msys system that comes with the MinGW auto installer.

After you have the tar.exe available either in "Windows Path" or directly in the same directory as the LZMA file. Execute the following commeand:
tar -x --lzma -f peexports-0.44-1-mingw32-bin.tar.lzma

This would unzip the pexports.exe file into ./bin directory.

[3] Generating the Verbose output from pexports.exe 
Just locate your "dll" file that you wish to see the Function Exports for and give the following command.
pexports -v <DLL FileName>.dll

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Versaloon Platform: One Debugger for All Microcontrollers

Versaloon Platform is an Completely Open-source project which dedicates itself to USB to Anything protocol. It is a versatile device that can be used to program a verity of Microcontroller and also act as a Debug Host.
At present is support s the following Protocols: JTAG, SWD, SPI, IIC, C2DK, AVR-ISP, Cypress-ISSP, ISP and BDM protocols
The Chips it supports includes:
    * LPC1000_ISP/JTAG/SWD
    * STM8_SWIM
    * AT89S51_ISP
    * PSOC1_ISSP
    * MSP430_JTAG(without TEST pin)
    * C8051F_C2/JTAG
    * LPC900_ICP
    * HCS08_BDM
    * HCS12(X)_BDM
    * SVF_JTAG
Also its available in Several form factors and feature combination.
1. VersaloonNano -- Ultra small hardware with 10Pin connector

2. VersaloonMini - Small hardware with standard 20Pin JTAG connector

There are a few Advanced Versions also planned which would include LCD, MicroSD card and High Speed USB etc.
This project is completely designed using Kicad, the open source Professional Grade EDA suit in Making.
The Entire Source Tree as well as the Schematics are available in Google Code SVN:

It has support for the OpenOCD and UrJTAG.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pro-Mboard: Development Board for Mbed Preview Pictures

Recently, We were able to Soldered and test the Pro-Mboard that we posted earlier. Here are a few Pics:
Top View
Bottom View
However we quickly noticed a problem that the Rev0.1 had a non connected ground in USB connector in the FT232 breakout section. We would be fixing this and also have planned a complete overhaul to help people develop their application transform into board and Pro-Mboard would help them do so.

Let us know your suggestions to make this board better.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Nano Radio Receiver out of Graphene Sheet

Researchers Yuehang Xu and his team at Columbia University in New York has been able to make a nano scale Radio receiver using Graphene Sheet. They buit nanotrampoline out of graphene that can directly detect radio frequency signals, paving the way for a new generation of radios.
Graphene Sheet Radio Receiver
 Picture shows how the Graphene Sheet has been placed on top of a FET which induces DC current in Graphene when the Radio waves strike. They say the graphene sheet resonates when blasted with a voltage changing at radio frequency signals and that this can be easily measured by monitoring the capacitance between the sheet and the third electrode below the sheet.
That's a significant result. For some time now, physicists have been hoping to find ways of using nanoelectromechanical resonators to filter and generate radio signals directly. At present, this has to be done with various kinds of mixing techniques. The problem is that nanoelectromechanical devices all suffer from parasitic capacitance, which tends to drown out the signals that physicists are interested in at radio frequencies.
Graphene sheet device is immune from this because its design causes the effects of stray capacitance essentially to cancel out. And they prove it by using their device to pick out a radio frequency signal at 33.27 MHz.
Graphene sheets are two orders of magnitude less massive than similar devices made of silicon and so can measure signals at much higher frequency. Xu and Team say, they should be able to measure signals in the GHz range. The new device works at 77K so its operating temperature will need to be boosted before it can be used in consumer devices. Neither of those problems seem like showstoppers, however.
Physicists have known about the amazing properties of graphene for a decade or so now. They've even predicted that it will take the world of microelectronics by storm. What nobody really appreciated was how quickly this would happen. Now we're finding out.

Here is the Ref: arXiv:1012.4415

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Multi Threshold Voltage CPLD: Altera MAX V

The latest in Low Power CPLD design the Altera's Max V line of CPLDs. Now the Dynamic Power Consumption( P=F.C.V) can be brought down significantly.
These work on an single 1.8V supply and can support I/O logics of 3.3,1.2,1.8,2.5V. Also have a very low entry marker of under a USD of pricing.