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Getting Started With Zephyr: Kconfig

Mohammed Billoo June 22, 2023

In this blog post, we briefly look at Kconfig, one of the core pieces of the Zephyr infrastructure. Kconfig allows embedded software developers to turn specific subsystems on or off within Zephyr efficiently and control their behavior. We also learn how we can practically use Kconfig to control the features of our application using the two most common mechanisms.


An Iterative Approach to USART HAL Design using ChatGPT

Jacob Beningo June 19, 202311 comments

Discover how to leverage ChatGPT and an iterative process to design and generate a USART Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) for embedded systems, enhancing code reusability and scalability. Learn the step-by-step journey, improvements made, and the potential for generating HALs for other peripherals.


Modern C++ in Embedded Development: (Don't Fear) The ++

Amar Mahmutbegovic June 13, 20232 comments

While C is still the language of choice for embedded development, the adoption of C++ has grown steadily. Yet, reservations about dynamic memory allocation and fears of unnecessary code bloat have kept many in the C camp. This discourse aims to explore the intricacies of employing C++ in embedded systems, negotiating the issues of dynamic memory allocation, and exploiting the benefits of C++ offerings like std::array and constexpr. Moreover, it ventures into the details of the zero-overhead principle and the nuanced distinctions between C and C++. The takeaway? Armed with the right knowledge and a careful approach, C++ can indeed serve as a powerful, safer, and more efficient tool for embedded development.


Getting Started with (Apache) NuttX RTOS - Part 1

Alan C Assis June 2, 20234 comments

NuttX RTOS is used in many products from companies like Sony, Xiaomi, Samsung, Google/Fitbit, WildernessLabs and many other companis. So, probably you are already using NuttX even without knowing it, like the you was using Linux on your TV, WiFi router more than 10 years ago and didn't know too! Today you will have the chance to discover a little bit of this fantastic Linux-like RTOS! Are you ready? So, let's get started!


Working with Strings in Embedded C++

Niall Cooling June 1, 20233 comments

This article discusses the use of strings in embedded systems. It explains how the need for and use of strings in embedded systems has changed with the advent of cheaper, full graphic displays and the growth of the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT). The article also covers character literals, C-Strings and string literals, and the difference in memory models between them. It also highlights the safety and security issues that arise from using strings in embedded systems. Finally, it explains how C++11 introduced a Raw string literal type that is useful for storing file paths or regular expressions.


Return of the Delta-Sigma Modulators, Part 1: Modulation

Jason Sachs May 28, 2023

About a decade ago, I wrote two articles:

Each of these are about delta-sigma modulation, but they’re short and sweet, and not very in-depth. And the 2013 article was really more about analog-to-digital converters. So we’re going to revisit the subject, this time with a lot more technical depth — in fact, I’ve had to split this...


C to C++: Bridging the Gap from C Structures to Classes

Jacob Beningo May 23, 20238 comments

In our last post, C to C++: Proven Techniques for Embedded Systems Transformation, we started to discuss the different ways that C++ can be used to write embedded software. You saw that there is no reason to be overwhelmed by trying to adopt complex topics like metaprogramming out of the gate. An important concept to understand is that you can make the transition gradually into C++ while still receiving the many benefits that C++ has to offer.

One of the first concepts that a C...


The Missing Agile Conversation

Steve Branam May 15, 2023

In this article, we learn about Agile practices and how they use stories as units of development. Stories consist of a brief description, one to a few sentences. They don’t contain details sufficient to allow a developer to implement them. The Agile practice is to defer details as long as possible because conditions may change. When a developer takes on a story to implement, that’s the time for them to perform the work that has been deferred. They do this by having a conversation, a series of specific discussions working closely with the various SME’s (Subject Matter Experts) who have information relevant to the story.


STM32 B-CAMS-OMV Walkthrough

Peter McLaughlin April 30, 20231 comment

The STM32 B-CAMS-OMV camera module offers an accessible way to get started with embedded vision. Coupled with the STM32H747I-DISCO discovery kit and the FP-AI-VISION1 function pack, it's possible to be up and running in minutes.

This video describes the camera connection interface to the discovery kit and the key software functions required to control the camera and process its data. We review the ISP (Image Signal Processor) interface with examples of image processing...


VHDL tutorial - A practical example - part 1 - Hardware

Gene Breniman May 18, 20111 comment

In previous posts I described some simple VHDL examples.  This time let's try something a little more complex. This is part one of a multiple part article.  This is intended to be a detailed description of one of several initial designs that I developed for a client.  This design never made it into a product, but a similar design was used and is currently being produced.  As a considerable amount of work was put into this effort, I decided to share this design...


Lazy Properties in Python Using Descriptors

Jason Sachs November 7, 2017

This is a bit of a side tangent from my normal at-least-vaguely-embedded-related articles, but I wanted to share a moment of enlightenment I had recently about descriptors in Python. The easiest way to explain a descriptor is a way to outsource attribute lookup and modification.

Python has a bunch of “magic” methods that are hooks into various object-oriented mechanisms that let you do all sorts of ridiculously clever things. Whether or not they’re a good idea is another...


Two Capacitors Are Better Than One

Jason Sachs February 15, 20155 comments

I was looking for a good reference for some ADC-driving circuits, and ran across this diagram in Walt Jung’s Op-Amp Applications Handbook:

And I smiled to myself, because I immediately remembered a circuit I hadn’t used for years. Years! But it’s something you should file away in your bag of tricks.

Take a look at the RC-RC circuit formed by R1, R2, C1, and C2. It’s basically a stacked RC low-pass filter. The question is, why are there two capacitors?

I...


Byte and Switch (Part 2)

Jason Sachs May 7, 20118 comments

In part 1 we talked about the use of a MOSFET for a power switch. Here's a different circuit that also uses a MOSFET, this time as a switch for signals:

We have a thermistor Rth that is located somewhere in an assembly, that connects to a circuit board. This acts as a variable resistor that changes with temperature. If we use it in a voltage divider, the midpoint of the voltage divider has a voltage that depends on temperature. Resistors R3 and R4 form our reference resistance; when...


R1C1R2C2: The Two-Pole Passive RC Filter

Jason Sachs July 28, 20181 comment

I keep running into this circuit every year or two, and need to do the same old calculations, which are kind of tiring. So I figured I’d just write up an article and then I can look it up the next time.

This is a two-pole passive RC filter. Doesn’t work as well as an LC filter or an active filter, but it is cheap. We’re going to find out a couple of things about its transfer function.

First let’s find out the transfer function of this circuit:

Not very...


Arduino robotics #4 - HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensor

Lonnie Honeycutt October 20, 20131 comment
Arduino Robotics

Arduino robotics is a series of article chronicling my first autonomous robot build, Clusterbot.  This build is meant to be affordable, relatively easy and instructive.  The total cost of the build is around $50.  

1. Arduino robotics - motor control2. Arduino robotics - chassis, locomotion and power3. Arduino robotics - wiring, coding and a test run4.

The habitat of hardware bugs

Yossi Kreinin July 13, 20163 comments

The Moscow apartment which little me called home was also home to many other creatures, from smallish cockroaches to biggish rats. But of course we rarely met them face to face. Evolution has weeded out those animals imprudent enough to crash your dinner. However, when we moved a cupboard one time, we had the pleasure to meet a few hundreds of fabulously evolved cockroaches.

In this sense, logical bugs aren't different from actual insects. You won't find...


The Least Interesting Circuit in the World

Jason Sachs October 7, 20185 comments

It does nothing, most of the time.

It cannot compute pi. It won’t oscillate. It doesn’t light up.

Often it makes other circuits stop working.

It is… the least interesting circuit in the world.

What is it?

About 25 years ago, I took a digital computer architecture course, and we were each given use of an ugly briefcase containing a bunch of solderless breadboards and a power supply and switches and LEDs — and a bunch of


Ten Little Algorithms, Part 4: Topological Sort

Jason Sachs July 5, 20151 comment

Other articles in this series:

Today we’re going to take a break from my usual focus on signal processing or numerical algorithms, and focus on...


Important Programming Concepts (Even on Embedded Systems) Part II: Immutability

Jason Sachs September 14, 2014

Other articles in this series:

This article will discuss immutability, and some of its variations in the topic of functional programming.

There are a whole series of benefits to using program variables that… well, that aren’t actually variable, but instead are immutable. The impact of...


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