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

MiniSpartan6 – affordable FPGA board

MiniSpartan6 FPGA board

FPGA is specific device that packs lots of power when used properly. They aren’t meant for general purpose use, but rather to do more specialized high resource demanding tasks like image, signal processing. If you see real potential of FPGA then give it a try. If you look for small and affordable FPGA development board – miniSpartan6 might fit your starting needs. It is built using Spartan 6 FPGA chip from Xlink. Board comes with JTAG programmer which uses FT2232D chip for USB connection. Also you will find 32MB of RAM and 8MB of SPI flash memory. There are 36 programmable I/Os where already 8 LEDs and 4 DIP switches are connected for fast start. Continue reading