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Spammer warning: JSD PCB

We have been “discovered” by a very aggressive spammer company from Shenzhen area China, claiming to produce PCBs professionally. Despite several friendly warnings, the spam frequency of these emails has increased up to 12 hours before effective blocking.

Therefore all the following addresses have been definitely spam blocked:

  • *@163.com
  • *@jsdpcb.com
  • *@jsd-pcb.com
  • *.cn addresses, likewise

We recommend to not engage in any business with this company, as their services were evaluated as of no value and their staff turns out to be unprofessional or non-responsive at all.

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netpp node display

 

LCD 220×176 font display

Just as proof of concept, I up-ported the LCD-interface from the ‘beatrix’ SoC to the ‘dagobert’ netpp node default SoC configuration. This also introduces GPIO multiplexing options on port A, meaning, that a few pins have dedicated funcionality driven by an asynchronous bus engine with some extra decompression logic, tailored specifically for LCD screens. Since direct GPIO bit banging would burn a few more cycles and be slow, having a special interface definitely pays off (apart from DMA features, etc.)

The display controller of this OpenSmart variant has different addressing modes, so you can switch between landscape and portrait. However, there’s a catch: When trying to make use of the built-in scrolling feature, it turns out it is only supported for portrait mode, i.e. the shown landscape orientation would require to buffer the terminal content and redraw for each new line.

I have also tried to run a simple GUI toolkit as Achim Döblers µGUI. Due to its simple pixel-wise drawing API it is not very fast, but works ok for most purposes.

What is left to do is the touch screen implementation. This will only work on the ADC10 variant of the netpp node with populated msp430g2553. For now, touch screen is not required, so this task is not scheduled (no pun intended).

Other than that, the same techniques as mentioned in this post are used to save RAM resources using the SCACHE peripheral.

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Setting up virtual CPU environment on Windows

This is a short howto to get a Linux specific Virtual Chip running on a Windows OS:

  1. Download and install the Docker Toolbox
  2. Download and install the Xming X-Server
  3. Download MaSoCist docker container
  4. Run ‘Docker Quickstart terminal’, normally installed on your desktop. Be patient, the environment takes some time to start up
  5. Run the command below to import the container tgz
    docker import masocist-$VERSION.tgz masocist-test

    (Substitute $VERSION by the file version you’ve obtained via the Download)

  6. Prepare the Xming server by running XLaunch and configuring as follows using the Wizard:
    • Multiple Windows
    • Start no client
    • No access control selected (Warning, this could cause security issues, depending on your system config)
  7. Start the container using the script below
docker run -ti --rm -u test -w /home/test/src -e DISPLAY=192.168.99.1:0 -v /tmp/.X11-unix:/tmp/.X11-unix masocist-test bash

You might save this script to a file like run.sh and start it next time from the Docker Quickstart terminal:

. run.sh

Once the container is started, you’ll be in the /home/test/src directory. To run the simulation, enter the sim/ subdirectory:

cd masocist-$VERSION/sim

and type

make run

If all went well, you’ll see the GTKwave windows popping up. If the display is not showing and an error appears on the console, you might have a different IP address configured for your docker system.

A few more notes:

  • All changes you will make to this docker container are void on exit. If this is not desired, remove the ‘–rm’ option and use the ‘docker ps -a’ and ‘docker start -i <container_id>’ commands to reenter your container. Consult the Docker documentation for details.
  • Closing the GTKwave window will not stop the simulation!
  • Ctrl-C on the console stops the simulation, but does not close the wave window
  • The UART output of the virtual SoC is printed on the console (“Hello!”). Virtual UART input is not supported on this system, but can be implemented using tools supporting virtual COM ports and Windows pipes.
  • Once you have the Docker container imported, you can alternatively use the Kitematic GUI and apply the above options, in particular:
    • -v: Volume mounts to /tmp/.X11-unix
    • -e: DISPLAY environment setting