Blinkenlights 2.0

Ido Gendel April 17, 2024

Nothing spells old movie computers like a panel of randomly blinking lights, but in fact, these so-called "blinkenlights" can be valuable indicators - especially in embedded systems where the user interface must be minimal, small and cheap. Control of these lights can be achieved using a very simple, real-time interpreted script, and this kind of solution may be extended to other and more complex embedded tasks.

You Don't Need an RTOS (Part 1)

Nathan Jones April 11, 20248 comments

In this first article, we'll compare our two contenders, the superloop and the RTOS. We'll define a few terms that help us describe exactly what functions a scheduler does and why an RTOS can help make certain systems work that wouldn't with a superloop. By the end of this article, you'll be able to: - Measure or calculate the deadlines, periods, and worst-case execution times for each task in your system, - Determine, using either a response-time analysis or a utilization test, if that set of tasks is schedulable using either a superloop or an RTOS, and - Assign RTOS task priorities optimally.

C++ Assertion? Well Yes, But Actually No.

Massimiliano Pagani April 8, 2024

Assertions are a double-edged sword - on one side you enforce program correctness catching bugs close to their origin, on the other your application is subject to run-time error, like any interpreted language. This article explores what C++ can offer to get the advantages of assertions, without risking the crashes by moving contract checking at compile time.

The volatile keyword

Colin Walls April 1, 20245 comments

Although the C keyword volatile is very useful in embedded applications, care is needed to use it correctly and vigilance is required to ensure its correct implementation by compilers.

When a Mongoose met a MicroPython, part I

Sergio R Caprile March 31, 2024

This is more a framework than an actual application, with it you can integrate MicroPython and Cesanta's Mongoose.
Mongoose runs when called by MicroPython and is able to run Python functions as callbacks for the events you decide in your event handler. The code is completely written in C, except for the example Python callback functions, of course. To try it, you can just build this example on a Linux machine, and, with just a small tweak, you can also run it on any ESP32 board.

Getting Started With CUDA C on an Nvidia Jetson: GPU Architecture

Mohammed Billoo March 28, 2024

In the previous blog post (Getting Started With CUDA C on Jetson Nvidia: Hello CUDA World!) I showed how to develop applications targeted at a GPU on a Nvidia Jetson Nano. As we observed in that blog post, performing a calculation on a 1-D array on a GPU had no performance benefit compared to a traditional CPU implementation, even on an array with many elements. In this blog post, we will learn about the GPU architecture to better explain the behavior and to understand the applications where a GPU shines (hint: it has to do with graphics).

Understanding Microchip 8-bit PIC Configuration

Luther Stanton March 26, 20243 comments

The second post of a five part series picks up getting started developing with Microchip 8-bit PIC Microcontroller by examining the how and why of processor configuration. Topics discussed include selecting the oscillator to use during processor startup and refining the configuration once the application starts. A walk through of the code generated by the Microchip IDE provides a concrete example of the specific Configuration Word and SFR values needed to configure the project specific clock configuration.

C to C++: Templates and Generics – Supercharging Type Flexibility

Jacob Beningo March 24, 20242 comments

"C to C++: Templates and Generics – Supercharging Type Flexibility" illuminates the rigidity of C when managing multiple types and the confusion of code replication or macro complexity. In contrast, C++ offers templates, acting as type-agnostic blueprints for classes and functions, which allows for the creation of versatile and reusable code without redundancy. By using templates, developers can define operations like add once and apply them to any data type, simplifying codebases significantly. Generics further this concept, enabling a single code structure to handle diverse data types efficiently—a boon for embedded systems where operations must be performed on varying data, yet code efficiency is critical due to resource limitations. The blog walks through practical applications, showcasing how templates streamline processes and ensure type safety with static_assert, all while weighing the pros and cons of their use in embedded software, advocating for careful practice to harness their full potential.

Using (Apache) NuttX Buttons Subsystem

Alan C Assis March 22, 2024

Previously in this EmbeddedRelated article, we saw how to use LEDs Subsystem on NuttX testing on RaspberryPi Pico. In the same way we avoided using GPIO Subsystem to control LEDs we can avoid using GPIO Subsystem to read Buttons inputs. That is right, NuttX has an Input Device Subsystem like Linux and today we will learn how to use it.

Buttons are one of the simplest user input interface and after the famous "hello world LED" example they are probably the second...

Finite State Machines (FSM) in Embedded Systems (Part 2) - Simple C++ State Machine Engine

Massimiliano Pagani March 14, 2024

When implementing state machines in your project it is an advantage to rely on a tried and tested state machine engine. This component is reused for every kind of application and helps the developer focus on the domain part of the software. In this article, the design process that turns a custom C++ code into a finite-state machine engine is fully described with motivations and tradeoffs for each iteration.

Introduction to Microcontrollers - Driving WS2812 RGB LEDs

Mike Silva November 14, 201330 comments

This tutorial chapter is a bit of a detour, but I think an interesting and useful one.  It introduces a bit of assembly language programming, and demonstrates bit-banging a tight serial data protocol.  And it deals with RGB LEDs, which are just very fun in their own right, especially these new parts.  So I thought I'd post this to give readers time for some holiday lighting experimenting.

Back To The Future

Remember how we started this...

MSP430 LaunchPad Tutorial - Part 3 - ADC

Enrico Garante June 25, 20138 comments

In this new episode of our journey into MSP430 I will explain the basics of Analog to Digital Conversion on the MSP430G2231.We will write a program that will read an ADC channel and will toggle some leds based on the result of the conversion. 

We start as usual with the inclusion of the header file for the MSP430G2231, the leds stuff and with the definition of a variable that will store the result of the conversion. We also declare a function that will initialize the ADC...

Important Programming Concepts (Even on Embedded Systems) Part I: Idempotence

Jason Sachs August 26, 20145 comments

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of subtle concepts that contribute to high quality software design. Many of them are well-known, and can be found in books or the Internet. I’m going to highlight a few of the ones I think are important and often overlooked.

But first let’s start with a short diversion. I’m going to make a bold statement: unless you’re a novice, there’s at least one thing in computer programming about which you’ve picked up...

Boot Sequence for an ARM based embedded system

DM January 16, 201231 comments

Hello all,

Allow me to introduce myself. I am Deeksha and I come from plains of North India. My tryst with embedded technologies has been 5 years long and every single day I am amazed with the vastness and learning involved. The thing with embedded technologies is either you are into it, or you aren't. You cannot just hang around half-heartedly (I guess that holds true for every field, for that matter).You have to keep the learning and sharing process going on. And that is the reason I am...

Introduction to Microcontrollers - Interrupts

Mike Silva September 18, 20136 comments

It's Too Soon To Talk About Interrupts!

That, at least, could be one reaction to this chapter.  But over the years I've become convinced that new microcontroller programmers should understand interrupts before being introduced to any complex peripherals such as timers, UARTs, ADCs, and all the other powerful function blocks found on a modern microcontroller.  Since these peripherals are commonly used with interrupts, any introduction to them that does not...

Introduction to Microcontrollers - Hello World

Mike Silva September 11, 201316 comments

Embedded Hello World

A standard first program on an embedded platform is the blinking LED.  Getting an LED to blink demonstrates that you have your toolchain set up correctly, that you are able to download your program code into the μC, and that the μC and associated circuitry (e.g. the power supply) is all working.  It can even give you good evidence as to the clock rate that your microcontroller is running (something that trips up a great many people,...

VHDL tutorial

Gene Breniman October 4, 20079 comments

When I was first introduced to "Programmable Logic" several years ago, it was an answer to many of the challenges that I was struggling with. Though the parts were primitive by today's standards (simple PALs verses FPGA), they were an extremely cost effective tool addressing the need for specialized logic blocks.

I have continued to incorporate these powerful blocks into many of my latest designs. My current favorite part line is the Xilinx CoolRunner series (XC2Cxxx). In this...

Using the C language to program the am335x PRU

Fabien Le Mentec June 7, 201481 comments

Some weeks ago, I published an article on how we used the PRU to implement a power supply control loop having hard realtime constraints:


Writing this kind of logic in assembly language is not easy. First the assembly language itself may be difficult to learn depending on your background. Then, fixed and floating point arithmetics require lot of code. While macros help to handle the complexity, they still are error prone as you...

C++ on microcontrollers 1 - introduction, and an output pin class

Wouter van Ooijen October 9, 20117 comments


This blog series is about the use of C++ for modern microcontrollers. My plan is to show the gradual development of a basic I/O library. I will introduce the object-oriented C++ features that are used step by step, to provide a gentle yet practical introduction into C++ for C programmers.  Reader input is very much appreciated, you might even steer me in the direction you find most interesting.

I am lazy. I am also a programmer. Luckily, being a lazy...

Spread the Word and Run a Chance to Win a Bundle of Goodies from Embedded World

Stephane Boucher February 21, 2019

Do you have a Twitter and/or Linkedin account?

If you do, please consider paying close attention for the next few days to the EmbeddedRelated Twitter account and to my personal Linkedin account (feel free to connect).  This is where I will be posting lots of updates about how the EmbeddedRelated.tv live streaming experience is going at Embedded World.

The most successful this live broadcasting experience will be, the better the chances that I will be able to do it...

Launch of EmbeddedRelated.tv

Stephane Boucher February 21, 2019

With the upcoming Embedded Word just around the corner, I am very excited to launch the EmbeddedRelated.tv platform.  

This is where you will find the schedule for all the live broadcasts that I will be doing from Embedded World next week.  Please note that the schedule will be evolving constantly, even during the show, so I suggest your refresh the page often.  For instance, I am still unsure if I will be able to do the 'opening of the doors' broadcast as...

Live Streaming from Embedded World!

Stephane Boucher February 12, 2019

For those of you who won't be attending Embedded World this year, I will try to be your eyes and ears by video streaming live from the show floor.   

I am not talking improvised streaming from a phone, but real, high quality HD streaming with a high-end camera and a device that will bond three internet connections (one wifi and two cellular) to ensure a steady, and hopefully reliable, stream. All this to hopefully give those of you who cannot be there in person a virtual...

Sensors Expo - Trip Report & My Best Video Yet!

Stephane Boucher August 3, 20183 comments

This was my first time at Sensors Expo and my second time in Silicon Valley and I must say I had a great time.  

Before I share with you what I find to be, by far, my best 'highlights' video yet for a conference/trade show, let me try to entertain you with a few anecdotes from this trip.  If you are not interested by my stories or maybe don't have the extra minutes needed to read them, please feel free to skip to the end of this blog post to watch the...

Who else is going to Sensors Expo in San Jose? Looking for roommate(s)!

Stephane Boucher May 29, 20186 comments

This will be my first time attending this show and I must say that I am excited. I am bringing with me my cameras and other video equipment with the intention to capture as much footage as possible and produce a (hopefully) fun to watch 'highlights' video. I will also try to film as many demos as possible and share them with you.

I enjoy going to shows like this one as it gives me the opportunity to get out of my home-office (from where I manage and run the *Related sites) and actually...

Crowdfunding Articles?

Stephane Boucher April 12, 201828 comments

Many of you have the knowledge and talent to write technical articles that would benefit the EE community.  What is missing for most of you though, and very understandably so, is the time and motivation to do it.   

But what if you could make some money to compensate for your time spent on writing the article(s)?  Would some of you find the motivation and make the time?

I am thinking of implementing a system/mechanism that would allow the EE community to...

Embedded World 2018 - More Videos!

Stephane Boucher March 27, 20181 comment

After the interview videos last week, this week I am very happy to release two more videos taken at Embedded World 2018 and that I am proud of.  

For both videos, I made extensive use of my two new toys, a Zhiyun Crane Gimbal and a Sony a6300 camera.

The use of a gimbal like the Zhiyun makes a big difference in terms of making the footage look much more stable and cinematographic.

As for the Sony camera, it takes fantastic slow-motion footage and...

Embedded World 2018 - The Interviews

Stephane Boucher March 21, 2018

Once again this year, I had the chance to go to Embedded World in Nuremberg Germany.  And once again this year, I brought my video equipment to try and capture some of the most interesting things at the show.  

Something new this year, I asked Jacob Beningo if he would partner with me in doing interviews with a few vendors.  I would operate the camera while Jacob would ask the right questions to the vendors to make them talk about the key products/features that...

Finally got a drone!

Stephane Boucher August 28, 20172 comments

As a reader of my blog, you already know that I have been making videos lately and thoroughly enjoying the process.  When I was in Germany early this summer (and went 280 km/h in a porsche!) to produce SEGGER's 25th anniversary video, the company bought a drone so we could get an aerial shot of the party (at about the 1:35 mark in this video).  Since then, I have been obsessing on buying a drone for myself and finally made the move a few weeks ago - I acquired a used DJI...