Tag Archive for Digital

Tutorial on the Design & Implementation of an FPGA RGB LED Matrix Driver

RGB Matrix

In this episode Shahriar and Timo demonstrate the design methodology of an FPGA based 32×32 RGB LED matrix driver. Timo has kindly devoted some of his time to describe the block diagram and the thought process which goes into designing this type of FPGA display driver. The various components of the overall system (PLL, UART, and Display Controller) are shown along with the simulation data. The outputs of the Spartan-6 FPGA board are then measured using a Keysight S-Series oscilloscope. The design of the RGB matrix is also demonstrated using a custom clock interface sent wirelessly to the unit via Bluetooth.

Tutorial on the Theory, Design and Characterization of Delta-Sigma Analog to Digital Converters


In this episode Shahriar explores the world of Delta-Sigma modulators with emphasis on a Delta-Sigma Analog to Digital Converter (ADC). The basic concepts of analog to digital conversion is presented, particularly with respect to quantization noise spectral shape and power density. Next, oversampling ADCs are presented to demonstrate the possibility of increasing SQNR (ENOB) through manipulation of quantization noise spectrum.

Due to the practical limitations of high oversampling ratios, delta-sigma modulations is explored. The principle operation behind delta-sigma ADCs is presented with detailed explanation on noise shaping, filtering and decimation. The signal and noise transfer functions for a 1st order and 2nd order delta-sigma ADC are derived. Finally, as a practical example, a 2nd order delta-sigma ADC based on a 1-bit quantizer is presented. The ADC uses two Miller integrator op-amps, one comparator and a D-Type flip-flop. The complete measurement of this delta-sigma ADC is presented. The impact of over sampling ration, op-amp linearity and input signal bandwidth is presented. The slides for this video can be downloaded here.

Tutorial on Programming the NeoPixel (WS2812) RGB LEDs and Equipment Giveaway!


In this episode Shahriar takes a close look at programming the popular NeoPixel RGB LEDs using a PIC microcontroller and C-language. A close-up of the NeoPixel (WS2812) LED is shown with attention to identifying various semiconductor elements inside the package. The principle operation of the LED is the described along with a detailed explanation of the pins and the one-wire communication protocol.

A simple evaluation board for the PIC18F4550 is used to drive a circular array of 60 NeoPixel LEDs from Adafruit. After presenting the difficulties of providing an accurate pulse-shape using the C-language, the measured waveform is shown on a Tektronix MDO4000B. Finally, the code for a circular color rotating pattern is presented and demoed. The code for the experiment can be downloaded here.

There is also equipment giveaway! A TPI Scope Plus 440 and a Tektronix TDS2232 are being given away at no charge! Please leave a comment on the video or on the website. You must be a resident of the USA to receive the giveaway. A winner will be chosen at a later date and notified via email.

Cryogenic Experiments on Passive and Active Electronic Components


In this episode, Shahriar investigates the theory and experimental results of the impact of extreme low temperatures on passive and active components. Liquid Nitrogen in used in a transparent glass Dewar where different components can be fully submerged in the liquid.  Various types of resistors are compared for their temperature stability. An electromagnet which uses Copper coils is used to generate a magnetic field at a constant power consumption at both extreme temperatures. The impact of liquid nitrogen on the junction voltage of an NPN device is measured as well as the frequency shift of a CMOS ring oscillator. Finally, the wavelength shift of an LED submerged in liquid nitrogen is studied. There is a puzzle at the end of this video, please share your thoughts in the comments section. All documents can be downloaded from here.


9-DoF AHRS Sensor Board and RGB LED Matrix Demo

RGB Matrix


In this (experimental) episode Shahriar demonstrates two embedded-electronic circuits available for purchase from Sparkfun Electronics. The demos illustrate some of the capabilities of these circuits along with a short instruction on how to interface and operate them. All the code for the AHRS demo and the RGB Matrix demo are available to download.

The first demo is of a 9-degree of freedom (9-DoF) sensor board equipped with three dimension of linear acceleration (accelerometer), angular acceleration (gyroscope) and magnetometer. Using the combined information from these sensors an Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) data can be extracted. The demo shows this system in action using customized Matlab functions. 

The second demo demonstrates the ease of use of an RGB LED Matrix equipped with an SPI interface. A sample C code written for a Microchip PIC18F2455 is used to draw some simple animations.

This is an experimental episode to judge the level of interest in these type of demo videos. Please leave feedback!


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