[time-nuts] Controlling FEI 5680A

EWKehren at aol.com EWKehren at aol.com
Sun Jan 15 11:33:51 EST 2012

Thank you Paul.
By the way the GA programmer cost $ 10 and the software is free and  
relatively easy to use. Has most TTL functions in its library!
Bert Kehren
In a message dated 1/15/2012 11:27:50 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
paulswedb at gmail.com writes:

I have  been watching for a bit now. Its more interesting now that my
FE5680s  working quite well. I have noticed on numbers of threads the
conversation  dramatically shifts from reasonably implemented low cost
solutions to the  ultimate FPGA.
FPGAs are generally intended for the mass market with a  steep learning
curve. Though they can be pressed into whats of interest to  time-nuts it
simply seems like a overly complicated technology and method  for a non-mass
market solution.

The tools that are available in any  of the $2 micros these days are very
good and you have a wide choice of  tools and languages to develop in. I
have several FPGA dev kits and have to  say have never turned anything much
out with them.

On the flip side  I have several of the dev kits for PIC and I get pretty
much everything I  want to done in those. Just simple, stupid, dumb stuff at
a cost of a few  dollars.

Though it may have been lost in the thread. I think it started  as a how do
you control the 5680 with a GPS engine to lock it. It had  hovered around
filters and evolved to long counters and D/A converters.  Still all
reasonable approaches.

If I build anything it would be  along those lines. FPGA simply won't  

On Sun, Jan 15, 2012 at 11:07 AM,  <EWKehren at aol.com> wrote:

> Magnus   I  agree,
> I can not se how any one can simplify this approach. A $2 gate  array in a
> 0.5 $ socket that is solderable, a $ 2 14 pin DIP uP what  ever brand, a
> clock generator, a RS232 interface, a 3.3 V regulator  and two single gate
> 14's
> what more do you want. If  communication is limited to the 5680 a 74AC14
> could be  used  eliminating the RS232 chip and any SMD.
> The counter on the G/A has  been increased to 21 bits.
> With all this working, some group may want  to tackle it on a FPGA.
> Bert Kehren
> In a  message dated 1/15/2012 10:46:42 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
>  magnus at rubidium.dyndns.org writes:
> On  01/15/2012 05:48  AM, Chris Albertson wrote:
> > On Sat, Jan 14, 2012 at  4:32  AM,<EWKehren at aol.com>  wrote:
> >> I have no  expertise  when it comes to filter design or programming 
>  or
> >> other micro  controllers. But I know what works for  me. For 11 years I
> have
> >>  been  using Shera  controllers with very good results. (I still have
> some   new
> >> assembled  extra A&A boards, if any one is   interested, please contact
> me
> >> off list) Over   the years I  have made hardware work around's and made
> my  own
> >> boards ending  up  with 120 and 240 samples and  100 MHz clock in stead
> of 24
> >>  MHz. Over time  chips  are harder to get. The solution is an Altera 
>  3000
> >> gate array and that input  circuit can be  implemented on  a $ 2  100 
> >> version or $  5   200  MHz  version using either a 100 MHz or 200  MHz
> clock. That
> >> circuit  works with the   present Shera PIC but that is a 28 pin $ 4
> device.
> >>  Since in  this application the controller does not  have  to be  all
> things
> >> for all  devices it would make   sense to use a PIC16F688  or any other
> 14 pin
>  >>  device.
> >
> > Have you thought about  putting the PIC  _INSIDE_  the Altera FPGA?
> >
>  > It's a common trick to implement a  microcontroller in the FPGA and  
> > can get the code for just about  any CPU core  online.  Here is an
> > example of "virtual  PIC":
>  > http://www.embeddedtronics.com/pic_core.html
> > If the  PIC  fits inside then that is one less chip on the PCB.    The
> >  example above found that could run the virtual PIC a  little faster
> >  than a real pic so you don't give up any  performance
> A short notice on  embedded CPU/MPUs into  FPGAs. Using PIC or AVR might
> be tempting, but I  consider any  clone "dirty" from a rights perspective,
> MIPS for instance  have  been very protective on their side, so has ARM.
> So far has the  SPARC  been the only big one being accepted in their
> LEON-x  variants that I know  of. We be sad to see the cotton industry
>  level being smashed by the big  firm lawyers.
> So, either  using the OpenRISC variants or similar. There  is loads of
> CPUs  on the OpenCores website, but just because they are there  do not
>  think they are free to use if they are clones of commercial   stuff.
> I would either use one of the FPGA vendors CPUs and  then write  the core
> in C, or use a free CPU.
> I  could also roll my own CPU, as  I have already done before, but
>  building a tool-chain including GCC is a  bit of home-work. For  my
> application I haven't bothered, but it is  tempting to get C  
> Then again, if someone could show that  the  PIC and/or AVR is free to
> clone in FGPA, by showing a clear  statement  from the respective
> technology holders, then that  would be a way  forward.
> I've done this analysis before,  and so far I have not seen any
> comprehensive open analysis covering  these aspects.
> I fear that  this is way off topic for  this list, so I propose that this
> aspects is  continued on  another list, such as the FPGA-Synth list, which
> faces   essentially the same  problems.
> Cheers,
>  Magnus
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