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As an introduction to FPGA programming the PYNQ-Z2 provides FPGA overlays.  An overlay is a generic FPGA design that provides some specific functionality, in essence a hardware library.  An overlay is generally programmed via a software abstraction layer that has a defined API.  The PYNQ-Z2 has a base overlay that provides access to its onboard and external peripheral interfaces via Python.  The base overlay bitstream is loaded when the PYNQ-Z2 boots up, so its functions are ...
The Element 14 road test program is awesome. Where else would you get the opportunity to be sent some amazing bit of tech to play with? And all that is asked in return is that you write up what you found. Simple. Fair. In fact it's better than fair. As a road tester I think we definitely get the better end of the deal. But it is a deal.   I've done a few road tests. Some big. Some small. No matter how excited I am about the product, there's always a slight sinking feeling when it arrives. ...
My end objective for this roadtest is to implement a binary neural network (BNN) for image classification on the PYNQ-Z2.  I'll need to learn the board hardware and the development framework first.  There are a lot of tutorial videos on YouTube, but I found a Xilinx 1-day, hands-on workshop on GitHub that seems to be just what I need.  It uses some Pmod and Grove peripherals that I don't have, but they will be well worth the cost if I can get them quickly.  I'll blog about my ...
Before committing to my tests I thought I'd make sure I could make the motor turn. I wired up the motor and trio of boards. The screws were quite small so I had to use a jewellers driver. I connected up the power supply, set it to 9v with a 0.5A limit.   I fired up the IDE and it immediately reported the there was old firmware on the Eval board. I took the attitude of "what's the worst that can happen" and clicked on the Firmware update button. This asked me to select a file and I had a lo ...
Post #4Part of a series for the Road Test here:   IDT Wireless Flow Rate, Humidity&Temp Sensing Kit   Feature Walk-through This post gives a walk-through of the features and more in-depth look at hardware of the demo kit. As noted in some other posts, the aim of the demo kit is to get some IDT hardware in the hands of engineers to build new products around.   I'll start with current consumption as this was something I was curious about from the beginning. The sensor cube can ...
Post #3 Part of a series for the road test listed here: IDT Wireless Flow Rate, Humidity&Temp Sensing Kit   Kit Initial reactions & power up      Here is an overview video of what comes in the kit and my initial reactions on starting to tear into the kit.     Once I had opened the kit, I went right away and created a file back up of the SD card - "as shipped". So I have a time capsule to roll back if needed. I used the instructions from this page. &# ...
Just received the PYNQ-Z2 Dev Kit for the roadtest.  Thanks danzima for the quick shipment.   The kit contained everything needed to start immediately. PYNQ-Z2 board 12V, 2.5A Power supply with barrel jack and US and European plug adapters. Pre-flashed 16GB microSD card MicroUSB to USB cable Ethernet cable     Because the SD card already contained the required image, I just had to connect everything and it booted up immediately.   From the host PC (I'm runnin ...
Plan My road test of the TMC5161-EVAL-KIT by Trinamic is two fold. Firstly to confirm that the setup can accurately and repeatedly step to the required position. Secondly to look at the setup under stall conditions.   Accurate Stepping To measure accurate stepping the stepper motor will be used to raise a weight on a string. The position of the weight will be recorded and a sequence of steps run to move the weight up and down and to confirm it returns to the desired locations. This can be r ...
The eighth course module looks at a Cortex application processor the A9 to examine the features and programming for a processor that might be used in a mobile or smartphone design.     Here are some of the processor highlights:     Lab5 Exercise - Run a program using a processor simulator This lab uses the Arm Development Studio to run a mixed C and assembly code program on an Cortex A9x4 processor model.  It allows stepping through the code and viewing registers ...
Course module 10 is an introduction to Bluetooth with emphasis on the BLE protocol.   BLE has the characteristics that make it ideal for use in IoT communication:   BLE makes the tradeoff of shorter range to reduce power, but still has reasonable range:   There are two key profiles associated with BLE, the Generic Access Profile (GAP) and the Generic Attribute Profile (GATT). GAP defines communication modes such as discovery and connection and device roles of periphera ...
I road-tested the Harting MICA Complete IIoT Starter Kit. In this follow up blog, I'm connecting the Node-RED container of the Mica to AWS (Amazon Web Services). The goal if this blog is to exchange data with AWS via Node-RED flows. A follow up of the previous one where we registered the device and tested a message from and to the AWS IoT service with AWS' toolkit.   The process described here also works for Node-RED installations on a BeagleBone, Raspberry Pi, Windows or Linux compu ...
When I RoadTested the Kitronik Klimate board recently and made a wireless weather station with it, I needed to display four values (temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure and windspeed) plus some text, on a display.   As you can see in the photo above, it's hard to fit all the information onto a 16 x 2 display. I knew that a 20 x 4 display would be perfect for this, but there were two problems: The micro:bit uses 3.3v logic levels but 3.3v 20 x 4 LCD displays are hard to find - and ...
I road-tested the Harting MICA Complete IIoT Starter Kit. In this follow up blog, I'm connecting the Mica to AWS (Amazon Web Services). The goal if this blog is to register the device and test a message from and to the AWS IoT service.     Set Up the Thing  Prerequisite: have a free tier AWS account   You have to let AWS IoT know that you want to connect the Mica to it. The process involves creating certificates and setting up rights.   In your browser, log in ...
I road-tested the Harting MICA Complete IIoT Starter Kit. In this follow up blog, I validate their Alpine Linux container as a host for a safe(r) MQTT broker.   As usual, I follow someone else's instructions. This time Mosquitto SSL Configuration -MQTT TLS Security   The Alpine Linux Container  It's one of the three Linux general purpose flavours. The fourth one is a Linux container specifically targeted as a development sandbox.   I have never used Alpine before ...
I roadtested the Harting MICA Complete IIoT Starter Kit. In this follow up, some experiments with the SD card: how to mount it in a container and how to share it on the network. The documentation for the SD card options is terse. What you can see here are my try-outs. If you have a better solution, please comment.   For this exercise, It's expected that you have a formatted SD card installed in the mica, with at least one file on it - so that we can see if the content can be accessed. ...

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