Archive for November 2011

WolframAlpha FM Synthesizer

Monday, November 28, 2011
Tag :
This is a nice way to simulate the modulation effects.
We came across an interesting technique of interfacing Shift Registers. We all know that the Shift Registers need 3 I/O lines to interface at minimum.
However if we can cleverly time  the Load and Clocking pulses to get the job done:
The above circuit times the PL pulse of the 74HC165 with the Clock pulse. It uses the limit of the CMOS threshold levels in 74HC14.
Even more interesting is that if this could be done over a single I/O line by alternately configuring it as an input or output.
For Detailed info Refer:

We were trying to compile the windows version of Mspdebug from its source.
In this post we would detail the dependencies that needed to be taken care off and how to make the Mspdebug-0.18 build with MinGW.

First let us browse the setup:
1. We need Latest version of the MinGW installed presently using :gcc version 4.6.1 (GCC)
2. Download the Old Regex utility from GNU file regex-0.12.tar.gz

3. Download the Mspdebug-0.18
Note: Make sure that MinGW in in the path along with Msys for the binutils

Building the Dependency of the regex in MinGW
1. Extract the regex-0.12.tar.gz file in a directory say regex-0.12
2. Compile the files: gcc -g -DHAVE_STRING_H=1 -I. -c regex.c
3. Now make the lib file: ar ru libregex.a regex.o
4. Copy the files to the respective directories:
libregex.a => [MinGW dir]\lib and regex.h => [MinGW dir]\include
Here are some quick commands:

cp libregex.a ..\MinGw\lib 
cp regex.h ..\MinGW\include
Thanks to kemovitra blog for help.

Also possible to Get the more recent(2007) Regex Package mingw-libgnurx-2.5.1:

File modifications for including LibUsb-Win32 used in MinGW:
1. Need to change #include<usb.h> to: #include <lusb0_usb.h>

2. Each of the following files need to be modified:
mspdebug-0.18\util\usbutil.h      Line number: 22
mspdebug-0.18\drivers\olimex.c Line number: 23
mspdebug-0.18\drivers\rf2500.c Line number: 22
mspdebug-0.18\drivers\ti3410.c Line number: 23

Compiling the  Mspdebug:
1. Use the command:  make WITHOUT_READLINE=1
2. If this works then you have a mspdebug.exe ready !!
Next we need to try out using this to program the MSP430 chips.

We recently developed our first MSP430F53XX breakout board. This board was targeted for developing advanced applications on MSP430.
We have hosted this project as an Open Source Hardware project on Github.

Here is a preview of the schematics:
This board can be programmed using the TI LaunchPad also.

We would be revising this to make a Booster Pack for the TI LaunchPad.
Many time we have see that we are stuck with some odd serial port Numbers such as COM58, COM86 and all. We were bugged up with this issue as we have several Bluetooth dongles and each creates it own set of 10 COM ports!
To make matters worse when the 2-digit COM numbers is exhausted then 3-digit code like COM103 or COM112 are listed. Most of the Serial port terminal programs support only 2-digit code. And if you happen to have some old piece of software that expect the COM to be a single digit one like COM3 or COM9 then you hit the road block.
This problem has happened to us several times. We found some quick workaround to fix this. The platform being Windows XP Professional in consideration, but should work for Windows 7 also.
Here are the steps to achieve this:
  1.  Open Regedit :
    • From Start Menu click on Run and then type regedit in the text provided
    • Make sure you are logged in as Administrator in Windows XP else in Windows 7 it would ask for Administrator permission.
  2. Navigate to the Key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control/COM Name Arbiter
    • Looks something like this:
      Regedit Window showing the CommDB option
    • Now Right click on CommDB and click on Modify..
    • This will show a window like this:
    • The Value of the CommDB would be some thing like COMDB = FC FF FF 03... or some thing similar. Now this indicates the number of ports occupied in binary. Each bit represents a COM port slot being occupied.
      For Example if you have COM1 , COM2 and COM4
      then COMDB = 0B 00 00... in => Binary (0000)u (1011)l = (0D) hex
    • So accordingly first calculate the value of the COM ports that you have on your PC at all times and cleat off rest of the bits.
    • For our case we have COM3 at all times representing the built-in Modem so our value would be Binary (0000)u (0100)l = (04) hex
    • Here is the modified window:
    • Note: Make sure you dont add additional bytes to this entry or it would cause System Crash
    • This completes the second step
  3. Navigate to the Key:
    • Here you can see all the COM ports currently present or are plugged into the computer
    • For our case we don't have any other ports than the Modem so here is how it looks like:
    • If you need first uninstall the ports from pc and check if they are update here.
  4. Navigate to the Key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/Ports
    • Here you would be able to see all the assigned COM ports available
    • This is how it would look like:
    • Delete the COM ports that you don't need. For Example we needed only COM3 rest all COM port entries can be deleted.
    • Make sure you dont delete any other ports else System Crash
  5. Now reboot the PC
Now when ever you plug in the new hardware if it shows the old port then just uninstall the driver and plug it back again. It should get a new port assigned.

For more info Read the following:
BeagleBone is a new development board from TI in the BeagleBoard Series. This brings nearly the same power of the other Beagleboards right into palm of your hand.
This board contains the AM335x Family of Sitara Arm(r) Cortex-A8 processor.
Here are some vitals about this board:

  • Board size: 3.4" x 2.1"
  • Processor: 720MHz AM3358 Family of Sitara Arm(r) Cortex-A8 processor
    Link: (Ref Manual)
  • Memory: 256-MB DDR2 RAM
  • USB: 1-port USB 2.0 host, 1-Port USB Debug + Serial Terminal using FT2232
    Single cable development environment with built-in FTDI-based serial/JTAG and on-board hub to give the same cable simultaneous access to a USB device port on the target processor
  • Ethernet: Integrated 10/100 Ethernet
    On-chip Ethernet, not off of USB
  • Expantion: 3.3-V 2× 46-pin peripheral with multiplexed LCD signals and battery-control expansion headers. Industry standard 3.3V I/Os on the expansion headers with easy-to-use 0.1" spacing
  • Shipped with 2GB microSD card with the Angstrom Distribution with node.js and Cloud9 IDE
  • Easier to clone thanks to larger pitch on BGA devices (0.8mm vs. 0.4mm), no package-on-package memories, standard DDR2 vs. LPDDR, integrated USB PHYs and more.

Have a look the the Current Beagleboard Flyer to compare with the other boards.
If you are wondering where to plug in the display then worry not there is a DVI-D board that gives the DVI monitor port and the audio connections.
Here is a video that show it all:
We can wait to grab of these - Hope it would be same for you too :-)
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