Turn-key PCB assembly services in prototype quantities or low-volume to mid-volume production runs

Bringing retro 8080 retro computer on Stellaris Launchpad

Some people have passion on building old gear simulators on modern hardware. Some of you may remember old BASIC machines that run on 8080 processors. If you look at hardware specs – they were really scarce: 1k of user RAM, 1k of display RAM, 8k for BASIC ROM and 2k of monitor ROM. Simply speaking almost any modern microcontroller can house such parameters inside memory and have more than enough of processing power. jscrane have built an emulator for this machine on Stellaris Launchpad. Launchpad has 16k of RAM which was divided in two parts – 12k for main memory and 2k for the display. It has plenty of flash (256k) where all ROMs can be placed. Simulator supports 30 lines of 40 characters on a display, which is a bit less from original (32×48) but this limitation seems to be on a 240×320 display. There is also an SD drive attached, and PS/2 keyboard. Programs can be loaded from SD card really fast as the programs are limited to 14k. For more info and source files refer to GitHub. Continue reading

Stellaris launchpad driven audible chirp sonar

Sonar based detection is commonly used in many areas. Starting with animals – bats and dolphins use sonar for navigation and hunting. People also use this technology in many areas like in car parking systems (parktronics), in robot navigation. High frequency ultrasound is used in medicine for visualization and anomaly detection. Ultrasound has very wide practical use as it is non-destructive way of seeing things that naked human eye can’t. Today practically everyone can do simple experiments with ultrasonic modules that cost pennies. You can get modules that work in air that can be used for measuring distances and even for robot navigation that detect obstacles. Jason, wanted to move things from air to water. As we know ware sonars are also intensively used in many areas like naval navigation or fishing. For his experiments he’s chosen Stellaris Launchpad microcontroller board which sends and listens to audio signals reflected for various obstacles and surfaces in water. He decided to construct chirp signals that were sent from piezoelectric buzzer. Signals were detected with mic and audio amplifier module. The rest work… Continue reading

Flashing Stellaris Launchpad with mass storage bootloader

Probably there is nothing more easy to do than copy hex file to flash card in order to write new firmware to microcontroller. Andrzej found this functionality on some NXP microcontrollers and wanted to make something similar on Stallaris Launchpad. Stellaris Launchpad already has an USB that can be used to set up mass storage. Bootloader takes around 16kB of flash memory – not so much comparing to total size. After flashing it all you have to do is to press SW2 button while plugging the board and it will be recognized as small external drive. Copy firmware to it and bootloader will load it in to program space. Compiled and ready to use bootloader can be found on Google docs. Continue reading