Saturday, May 2, 2015

Blogger Tip: Don't Delete or Change Sharing for Google+ Blogger Photos

I just accidentally broke all my image links in this blog.  I'm in the process of updating them so please excuse the broken links for the next few days.   I did this by removing a sharing link to an album in Google+ photos.  The photo below shows how you could do this. Hopefully this will help someone else avoid this mistake.  At least I did not delete the photo album, when Google photos first went live many bloggers made this mistake and lost years worth of photos.

I believe I have found a way to avoid using any google photos on my blog.  I noticed a few images on my blog were not affected when I removed the share link.  These images were inserted into the blog post using an external URL and the original size was selected (they were not enhanced either).  I am trying this method as I update the broken links.  I am using an external URL for all images, some I am hosting on a subdirectory of my website.  I'm also adjusting the images so I can choose the original size.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Element14 Sci Fi Your Pi Challenge

The element14 community Sci Fi Your Pi design challenge is underway.  Competitors will be required to create an application inspired by Science Fiction.  You must to apply to compete but if selected you receive a Raspberry Pi 2, a few other Pi models and various add on boards.  For more details and some example projects see Sci Fi Your Pi Design Challenge Information.  The Grand Prize is a Star Wars Boba Fett Helmet, the community choice prize will be some additional electronics.  Recruitment closes on April 12, 2015.  Here's a great second chance to show off your tricorder design if you missed being a finalist in the $10 Million Qualcomm tricorder XPRIZE.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

ARM and Partners to Support mbed Free OS for Cortex-M Designs

ARM has just announced the ARM mbed IoT DEvice Platform to 'simplify and speed up the creation and deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) products,' (see Oct. 1 press release).  The platform includes the mbed OS, mbed Device Server and the website.  The open-source OS is currently available but under development to create a modern full-stack OS for ARM Cortex-M based MCUs.  The existing v2.0 is the starting point for the full platform release, v3.0, scheduled for ARM TechCon 2015.  For more details see the ARM mbed Blog post Announcing our plans for mbed v3.0 on the ARM mbed Developer Site. Many development boards are available to support mbed software development, most using processors fro NXP, STMicroelectronics and Freescale.  See the platforms page at the developer site for a complete list.  The images below show the $12.95 FRDM-KL25Z board, one of five Freescale Development Platforms with ARM mbed Enablement.

A partial list of ARM partners supporting mbed include Atmelelement14FreescaleMarvellNXPNordic semiconductorRenesasSTMicroelectronics,  SemtechSilicon Labsu-blox and

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

BeScope Dual Channel Analog Oscilloscope

The BeScope developed by Arrow is a two-channel analog oscilloscope system available for only $50 (USD) while supplies last.  The BeScope system supports real-time waveform analysis using an Altera Cyclone V FPGA. The BeScope Bundle includes a BeMirco CV Eval Kit (FPGA board), the BeScope daughter card, a 100MHz scope probe with 1x and 10x, a windows GUI written in python with source code, and an SDP interposer board for compatibility with Analog Devices evaluation boards.

Monday, June 2, 2014

BeagleBone Black Remote Debug With Eclipse

Here is my setup for BeagleBone Black remote debugging with eclipse on a Debian Wheezy host for a C/C++ application.  I'm using Robert Nelson's debian wiki and Linaro and help from a few other sites (links are in the pdf).

This is just a link to a pdf for now, I plan on converting it to a regular blog post and taking down the link when I retest this with the latest stuff.   Be aware that I created the document a few months ago and I haven't used it in a while so I expect some of the versions of the tools and sources has changed by now.

Update from Charles Hamilton's comment:
"on page 25 of the pdf, you have the BBB address as, and it should be"

Here is the end result showing the bbb_hellow_world.c debug session.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Getting Started with Audio Cape Revision B

UPDATE: CircuitCo has created a new page, BBB Audio Cape RevB Getting Started, that works out of the box with the Beaglebone Black RevC (I just tested on a new board).  It uses the debian flashed on the eMMC at the factory.  The directions below are for building your own debian Linux system and setting it up on the microSD.

I just started working with the new Audio Cape RevB from CircuitCo, I have revision B1.  I have tested it with a BeagleBone Black with PCB RevB5.  I know a few other people who might want to use this so I have summarized the steps to get audio output.  I haven't tested audio input yet, I might post that if it looks complicated.

AudioCape Rev B1 Picture
To build u-boot, the Linux kernel and debian root filesystem, and set up on the BeagleBone Black, I used instructions from by Robert Nelson.  

A few notes on the process of building and setting up debian on a mini SD card from that page.
  1. If you need to rebuild Linux, use the ./linux-dev/tools/ script.
  2. Don't forget to unmount the SD before you remove it to boot the board.
    # sync
    # sudo umount /media/boot
    # sudo umount /media/rootfs
  3. If you want to boot from SD only, delete the MLO file from the eMMC /boot/uboot directory.

Post installation steps.  

I can't access the serial port with the cape installed with my USB to serial cable, so I'm using ssh. Luckily I know what the IP address is so I don't need to remove the cape and reconnect serial.

$ ssh -l root

# apt-get update
# apt-get install alsa-base alsa-utils
# aplay -L
Discard all samples (playback) or generate zero samples (capture)
TI BeagleBone Black,
Default Audio Device
TI BeagleBone Black,
Default Audio Device

Enable the audio cape at boot.

# sensible-editor /boot/uboot/uEnv.txt

Add this line or, if you have multiple optargs settings, combine them all onto one line.

## Enable Audio Rev B1 cape

Next, reboot the board.   When it comes up you can see that HDMI is using the overlay without audio, BB-BONELT-HDMIN, instead of the normal HDMI with audio because of a conflict with the audio cape.

# dmesg | grep bone-capemgr | grep conflict -A 3
[    1.804057] bone-capemgr bone_capemgr.9: slot #5: BB-BONELT-HDMI conflict P9.25 (#7:BB-BONE-AUDI-02)
[    1.813631] bone-capemgr bone_capemgr.9: slot #5: Failed verification
[    1.820367] bone-capemgr bone_capemgr.9: loader: failed to load slot-5 BB-BONELT-HDMI:00A0 (prio 1)
[    1.829837] bone-capemgr bone_capemgr.9: loader: check slot-6 BB-BONELT-HDMIN:00A0 (prio 2)

# cat /sys/devices/bone_capemgr.*/slots
0: 54:PF---
1: 55:PF---
2: 56:PF---
3: 57:PF---
4: ff:P-O-L Bone-LT-eMMC-2G,00A0,Texas Instrument,BB-BONE-EMMC-2G
6: ff:P-O-L Bone-Black-HDMIN,00A0,Texas Instrument,BB-BONELT-HDMIN
7: ff:P-O-L Override Board Name,00A0,Override Manuf,BB-BONE-AUDI-02

# aplay -L
Discard all samples (playback) or generate zero samples (capture)
DA830 EVM,
Default Audio Device
DA830 EVM,
Default Audio Device

Test that audio output is working.

# speaker-test
speaker-test 1.0.25

Playback device is default
Stream parameters are 48000Hz, S16_LE, 2 channels
WAV file(s)
Rate set to 48000Hz (requested 48000Hz)
Buffer size range from 128 to 32768
Period size range from 8 to 2048
Using max buffer size 32768
Periods = 4
was set period_size = 2048
was set buffer_size = 32768
 0 - Front Left

This should output noise, there are other settings that you can use with speaker-test to check which is right and left.

# speaker-test -c2 -t wav

Monday, April 21, 2014

CADSTAR Express 15

Express is a set of free PCB design tools limited to 300pins and 50 components.  It has the same functionality of CADSTAR, a PCB design suite from Zuken optimized for small and mid-size design teams.

An interesting new feature of CADSTAR is the CADSTAR Touch App for Android and iOS devices.  It links to the CADSTAR IDE to turn your tablet or smartphone into an input device.  For example, you can pan, view all, and run Macros you have defined in CADSTAR.  The Android version also supports voice commands.  See the video below for a demo.

I have been a user of CADSTAR Schematic since version 13, I find it is a professional quality, low-cost solution.  The yearly maintenance cost is very affordable and entitles you to download the newer versions which are released about once a year.  I receive great support from my distributor, Algozen, who helped organize a local CADSTAR User's Day I attended last week.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Win Free Passes to Freescale Technology Forum

Freescale Semiconductor is asking what great inventors would do today if they had Freescale MCUs.  Answer to enter a drawing for passes to the Freescale Technology Forum Americas 2014, you also receive hotel accommodations and development tools.

Development tool description from
"Includes the Tower System development kit and Freescale Freedom development platform for Kinetis MCUs, sensor shields, Tower System shield adapter, i.MX 6Solo community board, and a coupon for three Tower System peripheral modules of your choice."

Post to social media using the hashtags #FTF2014 and #GreatInventor to increase your chances. Contest ends Feb. 28, 2014.

Friday, December 6, 2013

TI and Microchip End 2013 With Discounts on Tools

Microchip has up to 40% off a dozen development boards, with the best prices of the year going until Jan 3, 2014 when purchased at MicrochipDirect.  Use coupon code EOY2013 to see the discounted price in your cart.
Low Pin Count USB Development Kit

Texas Instruments is discounting the original BeagleBone white 50% (order BeagleBN), along with three other AM335x development boards at 20% off.  At $143, the AM3359 Industrial Communications Engine (order TMDSICE3359) includes two GbE ports that can be controlled from the Programmable Real-Time Unit (PRU) or from a Gbe switch.  These prices will last until December 31, 2013 at the TI eStore.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Embedded Graphics Application Design Contest

$10000 cash and development tools will be awarded for best applications using the ST Microelectronics STM32F429 ARM core in the EvoPrimer development platform.  The application must use the Chrome-ART Accelerator graphics technology shown in the video below.  You may add your own custom hardware to the platform if you send it and all the design files with your entry.  For more information on the contest and the EvoPrimer platform go to The total cost for the base platform and STM32F429 target board is a little over $100 and can be purchased from STMicroelectronics or online distributors.  The contest ends on February 15, 2014.  The grand prize is $5000, and all prize winners will receive Raisonance development tools with no code size limitations and EvoPrimer platforms.