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Beyond Bits and Bytes: MCUs Embrace On-Chip FPGAs
12/18/2014

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Figure 2: Possible Logic Functions For PIC16(L)F1503 CLC  (Source: Microchip)
Figure 2: Possible Logic Functions For PIC16(L)F1503 CLC
(Source: Microchip)

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pruzis471
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Iron
PIC16F15xx CLBs
pruzis471   12/21/2014 10:44:21 PM
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I've used PIC16F15xx CLBs several times. They are useful but... there are a lot of (virtual) registers to configure just one CLB. And no debug visibility. So you have to be like Santa; making the list and checking it twice.

That clunky-ness limits the expandibility of PIC CLBs; I think they will come up with some Configurator like PSOC.

mrdon
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Re: devices available
mrdon   12/20/2014 8:54:15 PM
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WarrenM

I've noticed a lot of Defense contractors and suppliers using FPGAs in their designs which is totally opposite of the Automotive Industry. I can see why some EE's use FPGAs over mcus because of the hardward abstraction level of describing circuit functionality. VHDL and Verilog languages allow EE's to easily describe digital behaviors by way of Boolean expressions. For more complex design functions, as discussed in your blog, combinational descriptions can be implemented quite easily with a FPGA.  In my new book titled, Practical Robotics I'm currently writing for O'Reilly Media, the first chapter is devoted to using a FPGA in developing bumper sensor and an object detector prototypes for a concept mobile robot application. To keep cost low for building the project prototypes,  I used a Mojo FPGA development board designed and sold by Embeddedmicro.com. The development board uses a Xilinx Spartan 6 FPGA.

Also, I will be conducting a week long Design News CEC course on Cypress PSoCs: exploring digital electronics concepts and fundamentals using the PLD component. This course is scheduled for the week of March 30th.

mrdon
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Re: devices available
mrdon   12/20/2014 8:37:32 PM
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naperlou

I've played with Cypress PSoCs and found them to be quite an impressive PLD. The Cypress PSoC part I played with is the CY8C3866AX1 which suprisingly has an 8051 as its main mcu. I teach a Microprocessors and Microcontrollers course and the training dev board for the class is an 8051 mcu. I like how Cypress gives the developer the choice of building the app using a hiearchical block diagram or writing C-code. I used both programming tools when developing a demo for my class on how PSoCs can display messages on aLCD. I plan on obtaining their new PSoC which has BLE transceiver packaged with a Cortex M mcu probably after the Christmas holidays from either Arrow or Mouser electronics. Who knows, I might do a Guest Blog column discussing the feature/functions of this new PSoC arrival.

mrdon
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Re: devices available
mrdon   12/20/2014 8:37:16 PM
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naperlou

I've played with Cypress PSoCs and found them to be quite an impressive PLD. The Cypress PSoC part I played with is the CY8C3866AX1 which suprisingly has an 8051 as its main mcu. I teach a Microprocessors and Microcontrollers course and the training dev board for the class is an 8051 mcu. I like how Cypress gives the developer the choice of building the app using a hiearchical block diagram or writing C-code. I used both programming tools when developing a demo for my class on how PSoCs can display messages on aLCD. I plan on obtaining their new PSoC which has BLE transceiver packaged with a Cortex M mcu probably after the Christmas holidays from either Arrow or Mouser electronics. Who knows, I might do a Guest Blog column discussing the feature/functions of this new PSoC arrival.

WarrenM
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Iron
Re: devices available
WarrenM   12/18/2014 12:37:19 PM
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Good point! I will talk about the PSoC series in a future blog. It does use a different and interesting approach which is worth discussing.

Thanx!

naperlou
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Blogger
devices available
naperlou   12/18/2014 12:29:03 PM
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Warren, another device that has a mixture of programmable logic and CPUs is the Cypres PSoC series.  In fact, one can order some of their parts with 8-bit CPUs, while most of them use 32-bit ARM processors.  There are a number of different types of programmable logic blocks, and the whole system is configurable.

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