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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software » Microcontrollers and Programmable Logic
Welcome to this exciting new subforum .....
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 6:20 pm    Post subject:  Welcome to this exciting new subforum .....
Subject description: Greetings from the moderator !!!!!!
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Hello all and happy new year! I can't think of a better way to kick it off but to welcome you all to the latest expansion of our "DIY" segment of the electro-music forum!! The community keeps getting better and is expanding all the time. Now with the new streaming technology being incorporated here at electro-music and the expanding members forum, and the greater attendances at the electro-music conferences, it's a great time to be actively involved here and to bring us all closer.

Thanks to Jan "Blue Hell" for suggesting this new subforum and to Scott Stites for moderating the "Mod Helper" area where I saw the thread to suggest the new expansion. Thanks to others in the thread who also suggested that a "Microcontrollers and Programmable Logic" subforum should exist.

I immediately jumped at the chance to get involved with this subforum as not only am I directly involved in this fascinating area of electronics professionally but would also like to incorporate more and more of it in my electronics music "DIY" circuits and in my small business venture.

The availability of cheap, fast, powerful programmable processors with rich sets of on board peripherals coupled with large memory footprints and some FREE development tools really can put lots of power into the hands of the DIY electronics enthusiast. Add this now to programmable logic technologies such as CPLD's and FPGA's by which now you can craft your own fully custom IC in the comfort of your own DIY workshop for a fraction of the cost of what it would have taken years ago is simply fantastic.

I am not suggesting the subject matter is easy and for those who are new to it, it will be a fairly steep learning curve with plenty of book and data sheet reading. Practical bench experience, writing code and building/debugging circuits is a must. Trust me the hard work will pay off and it will be worth your efforts! There are many very smart people here that will also aid you with your questions if they arise but you have to do the bulk of the work.

What do you all envision should take place here? I envision many application areas to be the following:

Audio Generation
Audio Manipulation
Digital Controls
Data Converters
Display/Indicator systems
keyboard Controllers
Percussive Sound Synthesis
Granular Synthesis
Logic Consolidation of older designs
Hybrid Digital/Analog system approaches
Numerically Controlled Oscillators replacing VCO's
FPGA or Microcontroller based synthesizers
Digital Filter Topology
MIPS
ARM
PIC
AVR
8051 variants
68HCxx
Parallel Propeller Processor
Basic Stamps
Rabbit Controllers

The list can go for miles I suppose Very Happy

What I don't envision is a place where folks could war against each other claiming that their processor, circuit, or firmware, technique, or whatever is better than the others. We are all adults and this is a place for you to exploit your new project, and expose folks to the vast array of devices and techniques out there. This should not be a place for PIC vs. AVR vs 8051. However, I am not here to police that. I am here to make friends, present projects, learn from others, and teach others Very Happy Very Happy

I mentioned at the beginning a Keyboard Controller and Dan Lavin and I have a nice project that you can all build and is nearly completed. That will most likely be released in a few weeks so hang tight for that one .... Very Happy Very Happy

Thanks as always for reading this and I know you "bit bangers" are out there so lets hear from you with your comments, information, product information, etc .......

Sincerely,
Bill Manganaro
"State Machine"

Last edited by State Machine on Mon Jan 28, 2008 7:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks Bill, great speech for someone who says to be not "THE greatest writer" Very Happy

A well meant sorry to all the people who had given up their hopes for ever seeing this forum. We had some "secret" discussions about this for quite a while, but well then, here it is, that it may flower in

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crazeydazey



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 5:16 am    Post subject: Re: Welcome to this exciting new subforum .....
Subject description: Greetings from the moderator !!!!!!
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State Machine wrote:
Thanks to Jan "Blue Hell" for suggesting this new subforum


wasn't this my idea??? Sad
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 5:30 am    Post subject: Re: Welcome to this exciting new subforum .....
Subject description: Greetings from the moderator !!!!!!
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crazeydazey wrote:
wasn't this my idea??? :(


Probably and very likely so, not my idea anyway. all I did was to bring it up amongst the editors/janitors and DIY mod helpers with a reference to the thread where you proposed this. It was not my intention to claim the idea, and I should have corrected the image that came out, I'm sorry about this unfortunate misunderstanding.

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crazeydazey



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

it's ok I'm only kidding.. I'm sure someone else probably thought of it before me anyway.. I'm not bothered about taking any credit, I'm just pleased to see it here..

Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Laughing good !
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Uncle Krunkus
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Great to see this happening Bill!
I have a bit of experience, but only with the PIC16F84A.
I built a walker robot a few years back which used one as it's everything. I got a simple programmer board, but it's a parallel port one, and only does that chip and a couple of others I think.
I've got a fair bit of programming experience, but I haven't done heaps of it lately. Basic, Euphoria, Visual basic, C++, etc. So I'm sure I could get my head around what's going on.
Yeah, my main issue is the programming interface. Is there a kit (or schem) around for a USB programmer which could do anything? (or a lot of things?)
I've still got a couple of 16F84As in my stash, waiting to be woken up.

This really is a great area to be experimenting with. If we could develope our own generalized input/output architecture, based on an inexpensive chip, and a simple interface, then the potential for swapping code and developing truly new and innovative SynthDIY modules would be enormous. Very Happy

I'll just go and finish some stuff on my "To do" list, so I can get started! Embarassed

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State Machine
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
wasn't this my idea???


Woops, it probably was. Embarassed Thanks why I said this to cover my butt Very Happy

Quote:
Thanks to others in the thread who also suggested that a "Microcontrollers and Programmable Logic" subforum should exist.


I believe many people started suggesting this but Jan was the guy to make it happy for us Very Happy Very Happy

Anyway, welcome Very Happy

Bill
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi Andy,

Quote:
Is there a kit (or schem) around for a USB programmer which could do anything? (or a lot of things?)


If you stay within the same processor family/manufacturer then you would want a more "universal" programmer that will do more than just the 16F84 device as you stated. I have seen this kit sold at Circuit Specialists and it has what you are asking for. It has USB and is switchable to use a serial port also.

http://webtronics.stores.yahoo.net/usbpicprk14.html

I realize your are in Australia so I don't know what CS's shipping policy is.

May I also suggest purchasing the ICD2 directly from Microchip. This is a handy USB "universal" type programmer that will program all the Microchip devices right in circuit. It's not a kit or FREE but will get the job done nicely and works directly with their integrated development environment MPLAB which is free to download.

http://www.microchip.com/stellent/idcplg?IdcService=SS_GET_PAGE&nodeId=1406&dDocName=en010046&part=DV164005

Quote:
If we could develop our own generalized input/output architecture, based on an inexpensive chip, and a simple interface, then the potential for swapping code and developing truly new and innovative SynthDIY modules would be enormous.


Yes, a sort of "common platform" with MCU, DAC's. etc with large prototype area ... A general purpose "electro-music" platform by which members could share ideas and swap code as you said. I know that in the FPGA synthesizer forums, they suggest a certain model "Spartan 3E" development board that most of their experiments would run on. This is a good idea for one particular MCU architecture and if a fair number of members feel comfortable developing with that, this would be worth approaching. I suspect that there will be many various types of controllers and PLD's here so targeting a common platform would be difficult if not impossible. Good suggestion and a logical one at that Very Happy Very Happy

Bill
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Helloo there,

I am someone with limited to no knowledge of either electronics or computers, but with a desire to learn and build interesting things.

Do any of you guys think this would be something that one could quite easily get into? State Machine, you mention that a lot of book reading is probably a good idea, do you jave any particular books in mind for a beginner?

I have plans in my head for giant instruments and hardware interfaces, but when I have to make them find myself replicating multiple analogue/logic circuits. I get the impression that by programming chips etc to do exactly what I want, the actual circuit boards could be a lot smaller, leaving me to concentrate on building the interfaces..

I have been doing a small amount of research on the web, but at the moment I am concentrating on basic electronics, and building up some modules etc.....

Any thoughts from you guys on the best places to start would be most appreciated, and may help others who are 'just beginnners'

thanks,

Usine
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

hey coolness.
exciting subforum indeed!

i program for a living, but these embedded controllers are a very different animal. easy to understand, much harder to grok.

i've done some stuff with pic, nothing with audio outs though.
i've built several midibox projects, been planning some cv things.
would love to try some audio as well.
dspic, avr, etc also look interesting.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

yeah! it's the right time to make this forum happen, i think.

i don't have a clue about assembler and such (i only did some VBA Laughing ).

so i hopefully will learn a lot here!? i bought myself a PIC programmer already and i will try something together with a friend of mine, who is software engineer without a clue about synths. duo infernale Shocked

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

What are:

Quote:
Rabbit Controllers


Question
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Laughing

A controller is a (micro) processor with some extra stuff on the same chip. That extra stuff can be things like memory, or timers, or serial port (or USB even) controllers, all kind of useful stuff that's needed in a lot of devices made with it. Devices on the same chip are usually easier to interface and they'll be cheaper than anything external almost always as well. It also helps to reduce power consumption, so it's greener as well Very Happy

The rabbit is a type of controller, don't remember who manufactures it (maxim?), but had a look at it's data sheet once.

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State Machine
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

To add to Jan's post, Rabbit makes the 2000, 3000, and 4000 series high performance 8-Bit controller/microprocessors. They are usually programmed with a language called "Dynamic C" but you can also use assembler.

Sometimes these chips are called controllers because their instruction sets support boolean or "bitwise" operations to turn on and off specific bits on a port for example something microprocessors usually did not support.

For an example, a single line of PIC assembler might read:

bsf porta,1

which translates to set bit number 1 on port "A" to a logic "1".
This can turn an LED on for an indication ....... just dont forget the limiting resistor Wink Wink
BTW: bsf = bit set file register .......

Anyway, please check this rabbit link out :

http://www.rabbit.com/

Bill
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Do any of you guys think this would be something that one could quite easily get into? State Machine, you mention that a lot of book reading is probably a good idea, do you jave any particular books in mind for a beginner?


Well, I can suggest this book.

http://www.amazon.com/Programming-Customizing-Basic-Computer-Microcontrollers/dp/0079136842

It's a Scott Edwards book and have thumbed through it and it's a great way to get introduced to microcontrollers. It's basically a PIC microcontroller that you program in BASIC. Contrary to common belief, BASIC is a very popular language to use when programming these chips.

Micro Engineering Labs also has the PIC BASIC and PIC BASIC PRO which are compilers. Unlike the Basic stamp which is an interpretive basic language, meaning it will execute slower. Compilers on the other hand translate the high level BASIC commands and generate machine code that runs directly on the chip thus eliminating a sort of middle man, the interpreter.

http://cippsites.com/Merchant4/merchant.mvc?Screen=SFNT&Store_Code=melabs

Hope this helps you !

Bill
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 8:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Welcome to this exciting new subforum .....
Subject description: Greetings from the moderator !!!!!!
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State Machine wrote:
...
Display/Indicator systems
keyboard Controllers
Percussive Sound Synthesis
...

How about non-keyboard controllers, such as my PIC-on-a-Stick (or is it Stick-on-a-PIC):
http://home.comcast.net/~ijfritz/sos_over.htm

There is even a yearly conference in this area called "Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME)" Here are some papers there by just one researcher:
http://www.music.mcgill.ca/~gary/presentations/presentations.html

Very Happy

Ian
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Nice sub forum - good luck State Machine Very Happy

No mention of DSPs so far, but I guess they have a place here too. These days they do have all the microcontroller traits such as onboard memory, timers and rich audio friendly IO.

I'll be watching this place!

DJ
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
How about non-keyboard controllers, such as my PIC-on-a-Stick (or is it Stick-on-a-PIC):


Oh sure, yes Ian. The list really does go on and on !!! Thanks for those interesting links Very Happy

Bill
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Nice sub forum - good luck State Machine Very Happy

No mention of DSPs so far, but I guess they have a place here too. These days they do have all the microcontroller traits such as onboard memory, timers and rich audio friendly IO.


DJ, the name of the forum was getting long Shocked but yes INDEED, DSP's are certainly part of this Very Happy from Microcontrollers to Digital Signal Controllers to DSP's !!! Your right, DSP's are looking more like specialized microcontroller these days. The DSP's sometimes have the added advantage of a built in AC97 or "Integrated Interchip Sound (I2S)" serial interfaces that connects directly to delta sigma converters .... The PIC30F series Digital Signal Controllers also have this special interface built in as well.

Thanks !
Bill
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Just in case someone lost track, some FPGA related talk was split off from here to it's own new thread Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Just in case someone lost track, some FPGA related talk was split off from here to it's own


Thanks Wink

Bill
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