Driving the PSP display with a FPGA

A2DGL() - A 2D Graphics Library: is a hardware accelerated graphics library for FPGAs and Microcontrollers. Mission Statement: produce a Borland(TM) BGI type graphics library with modern computer graphics constructs. Project Page:

The Missing Lecture Notes

The Missing Lecture Notes (MLN) series begins with Ben Popoola's popular series on hardware design. This series includes developing driver boards for the LQ043T3DX02 (Sony PSP) display, the OT-CO430-2P display and the development of a skeleton device drivers.

The Scientific Engineer

FPGA Design Tutorials. The first set of tutorials begin by developing a serial communications protocol between the DE0 Nano and a PC, using a USB to serial converter.

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In the News #5 - The Arduino TRE

Hot on the heels of the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B+ with its quad core processor, Arduino are set to release the Arduino TRE consisting of an AVR arduino and a 1-GHz Sitara AM335x processor, which allows makers to get up to 100 times more performance than the Arduino Leonardo or Uno. The TRE is set to host a Linux operating system that will allow users to run processing-intensive algorithm and high-speed communications, alongside the Arduino's traditional applications. Sounds similar to Intel's Galileo doesn't it? Also, this will be the first Arduino manufactured in the U.S and not in Italy or China.

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In the News #4 - The ARM, IBM Internet of Things Starter Kit

ARM and IBM have teamed up to produce an Internet of Things (IoT) starter kit, consisting of an ARM mbed enabled development board and an application board containing sensors. The kit has been designed to "spur on the invention" of Internet-connected gadgets in about five minutes, that is, from the time the kit is unboxed. It works by allowing the devices, hosting an ARM Cortex-M4 processor, to connect to IBM's cloud services and start sending readings to online apps.

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In The News #3 - FTDI's SuperSpeed USB3.0 Devices

FTDI are set to release a series of USB3.0 devices to complement their renowned USB endpoint-to-FIFO bridge USB 2.0 (FT232H) and USB 1.1 (FT245) ones, which have been available for a few years.  Available with optional 16-bit and 32-bit FIFO interfaces, the FT600 will be the first device released in the series. This is splendid news and music to the ears of the FPGA community, as the device could be used to  provide FPGA enhanced applications with simplified connectivity to host computers, with data transfer rates of up to 5 Gpbs.

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In The News #2 - The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B+

Without much fanfare the new Raspberry Pi 2 (B Model) has arrived on our doorsteps, well ours  did! This is the first major upgrade the world's most popular single-board computer has received, since its first release in 2012. This is a much needed upgrade that allows the Pi to compete against its faster contemporaries, including the Beagle Bone and the Banana Pi.

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In The News #1 - Free Non-Commercial Renderman

For years 3D animation hobbyists interested in Renderman, but not wanting to fork out the ££££ required for a  license, have had to rely on third-party REYES compliant renderers like, Aqsis (a favourite of ours), Pixie, Gelato, Angel and others.

Previously, we had used Aqsis, however in 2015, Pixar the owners of Renderman are due to release a free. non-commercial, version of their famous software.

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Development, Software and Tools

This category contains blog posts about Electronic Design Automation (EDA) and software development tools.

Posted by on in Development, Software and Tools

I've recently started work porting the design of the DE0 Nano serial communications protocol to Lattice Semiconductor's iCE40 HX8K Breakout Board (A First Impression review of the breakout board is coming soon). Now since I wasn't sure how much change would be involved, in porting the design, I thought now would be a good time to start using Git (git-scm.com) for versioning control religiously. Hence, I installed a Git server on a Synology DiskStation  DS215j Network Attached Storage (NAS) (First impression review also coming soon) and got on with it. Here's how the exercise unfolded.

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Tagged in: Git ICE40HX8K News
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Posted by on in Development, Software and Tools

This blog post is about determining the value of the base resistor of a MMBT3904L, which is ON Semiconductor's variant of the general purpose 2N3904 NPN  Bipolar Junction Transistor (BJT), when used as a switch. The value is determined when the transistor is in the common emitter configuration. Sounds like a simple task and so it should be too. However, as we have commented many a time in our blog posts tasks that appear to be easy never are.  Hence, while undertaking this task we decided to follow Lao Tzu's (Who? - Ed) advice, which he elegantly formulated in the following quote: 

Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step - Lao Tzu.

So, as he has suggested the sensible approach in determining  the value of the resistance of the base resistor of a BJT is to perform the calculation a step at a time, as we demonstrate below.

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Posted by on in Development, Software and Tools

If you like a blog post with a happy ending then this blog post has one, but only just. This particular post is about me against Yosemite (10.10) when attempting to install Bugzilla. This time  I won, but barely and the victory wasn't pretty to see. All the same I won albeit with a complete lack of composure at the end. 

 With two big projects coming up I just had to get Bugzilla working, no matter what. So finally getting it to work was more out of desperation than  anything else. Although, because it took so long it did mean that I was not able to begin some other work, as planned. Anyway enough of the waffle here is the story, as it unfolded.

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Tagged in: Mac OS X Yosemite
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Posted by on in Development, Software and Tools

 Every now and again the digital design engineer has to completely leave his (or her) comfort zone and enter the occult of analog design engineers. It is in this world that digital design engineers, used to making yes or no binary decisions, are presented with a multiple of answers all of which, or none, may be correct.  It is in this blurry and murky world that any type of help, to corroborate a design, is most welcome. 

As part of designing a servo controller board for the 17 DOF Robot (Using FPGAs) Project I had to enter such a world. However, rather than approach the design with Wigi (Ouija) board to hand, to confirm my results, I  simulated the circuit design using the electronic equivalent or a Software Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis, otherwise known as SPICE. The installation of LTspice IV on Mac OS X (Yosemite 10.10) is the subject of this blog post. 

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Posted by on in Development, Software and Tools

KiCad is an open source software suite for Electronic Design Automation (EDA) that facilitates the creation of professional schematics and Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) of up to 32 copper layers. It runs on Windows, Linux and Apple's OS X. One of the things we like about KiCad, apart from it being endorsed by CERN, is this multi-platform support. We also like the fact that it is released under the open-source GNU GPL v2 free of charge.

However, free does not mean free of functionality, on the contrary. This is a fully-fledged, feature rich EDA tool, that we will be using from now on to design our PCBs. Also, because the software is available to our readers too, our design files should be freely available once we switch over to Git Hub. Installing KiCad on a Macbook Air with Mavericks 10.9.5 is the topic of this blog post. 

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Mac OS X Dev (1) - Installing Xcode, MacPorts and XQuartz on Mavericks 10.9.5, An OpenGL Example
Development, Software and Tools
 As the title of this blog suggests this post is about installing and building an application using XCode on a Mac OS X system in general and on a Mac OS X with Mavericks 10.9.5 installed in pa...

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