We have had a couple of embedded projects for our customers where the requirement were large-screen LVDS displays. By large screen I mean sizes over 7″ and a resolution of 800×480 where the common SSD1963 LCD controller can’t be used as the frame buffer RAM is too small.
LVDS Display Controller V1.0
So now we have decided to make our own similar display controller board but for LVDS displays as they are much more inexpensive and common (used in TVs and PCs).
For you who have read about the STM32F4 Cortex-M4 processor you might know that this processor family includes a 10/100 Ethernet MAC with dedicated DMA that supports supports IEEE 1588v2 hardware, MII/RMII.
This means that the only electronics needed to enable the ethernet capability is an external PHY and the Magjack connector.
On the STM3240G-EVAL evaluation board the DP83848 PHY is used and luckily for us we were able to find a simple breakout board for this chip on eBay.
DP83848 Phy breakout board
To hook up this Phy to the STM32F4DISCOVERY board a slight change in the pins, compared to the connections on the evaluation board, had to be made. Because the STM32F4DISCOVERY board only contains the 100-pin version some of the full MII pins are missing so we have to use the PHY in RMII mode.
Recently mikroElektronika has been so kind to send us a couple of samples of their latest ARM development tool series.
The latest mikroElektronika ARM development tool series
mikroElektronika is known for their broad range of development boards especially in the PIC series where the most common board is their EasyPIC board
. Now they have done it again and come up with a new product line – the ARM series.
Now avaliable as a kit
A balancing robot kit is now avaliable via Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tkjelectronics/balanduino-balancing-robot-kit. Check out the blog post as well: http://blog.tkjelectronics.dk/2013/03/balanduino-balancing-robot-kit-kickstarter/.
I have for a long time wanted to build a remote controllable balancing robot aka Segway – that’s was actually the main reason why I created the PS3 Bluetooth Library both for Arduino and the FEZ Devices. It has been a long time since the sneak peak and the performance has been improved a lot since then. The original one had a FEZ Rhino as the main processor, but I discovered that it was not fast enough to read the encoders, as it is not running embedded code. Also I was already using more than 10ms per loop, which I used as a fixed time loop, so I decided to step up a notch and go for a much more powerful device: the mbed microcontroller, which is an ARM Cortex-M3 running 96MHz.
It might have been possible with just a normal Arduino (NB: I have now ported the code to Arduino, see update for the code), but I didn’t want the speed of the processor to be an issue, so I decided to go for the mbed. The robot also features an Arduino Duemilanove with a USB Host Shield on top running a sketch based on my PS3 Bluetooth Library. The mbed board actually has USB Host functionality, but I decided not to port the PS3 Bluetooth Library as my original thought were to use an Arduino Due, but as you might know it hasn’t been released yet, despite the Arduino team announced, that it would be released by the end of 2011. But as soon as it is released I think I will port the code to it instead.
Here is a short video demonstration of the robot and me explaining some of the concepts of the design and how it works:
Soon a BeagleBoard competitor will be released – the Raspberry Pi.
Raspberry Pi - Embedded ARM11 Computer
The Raspberry Pi is a small credit card sized ARM11 embedded computer, capable of running embedded Linux or WinCE.
When released it is supposed to be available in two models, where the biggest difference is the ethernet connector.
The first model, which comes with 128MB RAM, 1x USB but no ethernet will be priced at $25.
That’s an insane price for an embedded computer capable of doing HD video by using the onboard HDMI connector.
The second model, which comes with 256MB RAM, 2x USB and also ethernet, will be priced at $35.
And most of the times embedded applications requires some kind of internet connection as almost everything in this world becomes online. So why not spend those $10 extra to get the ethernet capability too.
The Raspberry Pi is expected to be sold in the end of February, though the initial stock is limited to around 10.000pcs so you have to be fast. Hopefully we will be able to do a review of the board soon.
Via: Raspberry Pi
Here is a short sneak peak of a project we are working on.
When the project is finished we are going to write a guide about it, publish the code and of course make a longer video explaining the different parts and showing the Segway in action!
I can briefly say that we are using 2x 12V motors + Motorcontroller from Pololu, a 6DOF board from Sparkfun, a FEZ Rhino and a 12V battery pack.
The data from the 6DOF board is run thru a Kalman filter, whose data is used in a PID filter to regulate the motors. More details and source code will come soon!
The code can be found below:
More information about the finished robot can be found here: http://blog.tkjelectronics.dk/2012/03/the-balancing-robot/
Some of you might have noticed the new upcoming product in the Arduino series, the Arduino Due. The Arduino Due is going to be the first Arduino with a processor not being an AVR.
Arduino Due - ARM based Arduino
The Arduino Due
is going to contain an ARM Cortex-M3 processor from Atmel, the SAM3U, running at 96MHz. This processor has got a lot more Flash and SRAM than the original Arduino boards, and includes 5 SPI buses, 2 I2C interfaces, 5 UARTs, 16 Analog inputs and a whole bunch of Digital I/Os.
With the processing power of this new board and the big community around the Arduino family, we are going to see much bigger and more advanced projects in the future.
Finally Arduino has realised the need for a more powerfull but easy development board for the market. They have realised that the ARM-family is the way to go in the embedded world, and I am very satisfied with the choice of an Cortex-M3 processor, which is relatively low cost, has a fair amount of processing power, Flash and SRAM and of course also a lot of usefull periphirals.
Their plan is to have this board ready for the market by the end of 2011. We are definitely looking forward to test and review this!