All you need to know about frequency counters and building one

fpga frequency counter with Android connectivity

Andy Brown was working with embedded project where he needed to test oscillator accuracy. The first thought was to grab frequency counter on eBay and continue working. Bus somehow he ended up building his own counter with great characteristics and Android connectivity. He used FPGA to do the counting. FPGA is faster comparing to MCU. Its hardware like nature and parallel operations allow reacting to incoming signals much faster than MCU would do. He included STM32 microcontroller in his built to take care of logging and connectivity with external world. His frequency counter is able to precisely measure frequencies up to 50MHz. He took special care when designing reference oscillator, because the accuracy of counting depends on it. He built a prototype four layer board which includes Bluetooth module for … Continue reading

Enter contest with your FPGA based POV

Pyroelectro announced that they started contest on building FPGA or CPLD based POV (Persistence Of Vision). There are plenty of microcontroller driven POV displays, clocks and 3D sculptures. FPGA’s can also be successfully used to build various types of POV’s. Give a try and win prize (Basys2 Spartan-3E FPGA board). Submit your entry to with the subject line “PyroElectro POV Contest.” Your entry must contain two photos of the device – one of its components in a well-lit environment and one of it in action in a darkened environment – as well as a circuit diagram and the VHDL code to run the device.

Cheaper FPGA boards are getting closer

Michael Dunn have done a research on FPGA boards available for less than $100. We all know that hobby market is always looking for low price hardware to do amazing projects. We already have almost free microcontroller boards including 8-bit and 32-bit ARM. FPGA always were was behind barrier. Not things seems to changing. Today you can get quit several FPGA boards for your projects that are under $100 limit. You can find boards from Altera, Cypress, Lattice, Microsemi, Xilink and even more that aren’t listed. The lowest price you can find is like $4 for PSoC 4 FPGA board (at least more or less). In that price range you can get up to 22 kLE (logic elements). This is more than enough to run soft processor, build calculus intense … Continue reading

Bus Pirate ported to FPGA

Original Bus Pirate is a great tool for hacking, testing and programming things. It’s an universal serial interface board developed by Dangerous Prototypes. It is based on PIC24 microcontroller, FT232RL for USB interface and other parts to make it flexible. Eventually there has been a port of Bus Pirate to FPGA made by enthusiast from ultra-embedded. Core functionality is running on soft AltOR32 OpenRISC CPU inside Xilinx XC6SLX9 running at 48MHz. It has 1.1 USB, SPI and basic GPIO functions available. Since most of work is done inside FPGA there are even fewer components on board. The board was designed to fit in to original Bus Pirate enclosure. Using FPGA in such project has some benefits like USB. It can be implemented to support different USB devices like audio, mass … Continue reading

Tetris in Real Life

All of you must have played a very famous game know as Tetris. This review is about ‘myTetris’ which is a giant (~6ft tall) physical version of Tetris developed by National Instruments. It features a grid of 10×20 RGb leds along with myRio. For those who don’t know myRio is an embedded hardware device designed specifically to help students design real, complex engineering systems more quickly and affordably than ever before. It has a dual-core ARM® Cortex™-A9 real-time processing and Xilinx FPGA customizable I/O all in a single board. The game can be played using any browser including those of mobile and tablets. The user taps the buttons on the web-page or use the arrow keys on the keyboard to move the tetrominoes.  The web-page on your bowser also update … Continue reading