privitmj

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About privitmj

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  1. privitmj

    Project Feasibility

    Oh yes, I will definitely be playing with my FPGA I just have to decide on what I want to do with it first! Probably just start with the basic tutorials. Maybe sometime in the future I'll try to recreate the project with a FPGA! I also just purchased the STK-500. Looks like I'll be plenty of busy in the next few months "working" with this stuff.
  2. privitmj

    Project Feasibility

    I did purchase a FPGA board for the heck of it, but I think that I might go the AVR route for this particular project as speed and multitasking are not an issue. James - Is it possible to configure a shift register with a mixture of low and high signals i.e. I don't want all of the relays on at one time. For example I might want relays 1,2,4,8,25,42,43,50 on and the rest off.... Also, do you have any development suggestions for the AVR chips? I was looking at the Atmel development boards... is that overkill? Or should I just download the IDE, buy a programmer and be done with it? Thanks again! Mike
  3. privitmj

    Project Feasibility

    Hmm, Alex that is interesting. I've been looking for something similar. Let me do a little more research *****Update****** So, I checked it out and the latest drivers are for Vista. The website doesn't look too professional so I doubt my company will approve them as a vendor I don't think creating one would be too hard though... Do you have any other suggestions? I was looking at www.controlanything.com for those boards, but again, I feel like I should be able to build one for cheaper than $900. Plus all of this valuable FPGA experience I'd get
  4. privitmj

    Project Feasibility

    Thanks Jack. I'm currently reading the Free Range VHDL book and then I'm moving on to Ham's book. Hopefully all of this can get me started. Any other recommended reading?
  5. privitmj

    Project Feasibility

    Jack, Thanks very much for the response. I'd like to stay away from the BBB because of its Linux nature. I'm handcuffed to Windows based applications only. Not sure if there would be any way around this. Speed in this application is not of utmost importance. I'm thinking of using mechanically latching relays that get pulsed open, and once open they will stay in that configuration for hours at a time. If it takes 5 minutes (over exaggeration) to get all of the relays open, then that is fine so long as they can all be opened. The FPGA will theoretically put a voltage on certain I/O pins that will switch in a higher voltage (probably transistor switch, haven't gotten that far yet) to active the relay. Can I program a FPGA to take input from a serial/usb port and in turn put voltages and certain I/Os? Ham - Do you know of a good protocol tutorial? Your last post makes as much sense to me as my girlfriend's logic )
  6. privitmj

    Project Feasibility

    Thanks for the reply ham. I'd like to use the PC simply to have the GUI capabilities. We typically use a lot of latching button/relay panels here and I was trying to think outside the box on this one i.e use a windows based GUI instead of the mechanical button panel option. The technician will select the proper configuration and hit a confirmation button which invokes the PC to send the proper code to the FPGA which will interpret said code and active/latch the proper relays. Does this make sense? I guess I'm not sure what would be in control of timing for this... I would assume have the FPGA be in control of the timing? Does it matter? I'm an electronics guy, but my MCU/FPGA experience is quite limited (sad panda). I've read a lot about FPGAs in the last couple of days and I see a lot about companies/people using them just for prototyping. Do these have a permanent use just as a MCU has - after programming it, you can install it into a circuit and its good to go for years and years.... I'm basically unsure if a FPGA will even work for my application, and I'm especially unsure if they are easily interfaced with a GUI....
  7. privitmj

    Project Feasibility

    Oh, and one thing I'd like to add is that I would want this board to be a permanent part of the relay panel. I wouldn't want to just use it as a prototyping board. Do people usually do this?
  8. privitmj

    Project Feasibility

    Hello, I am another newbie to the FPGA world. I stumbled across the Papilio Pro in Make magazine 36 as I was trying to determine which type of microcontroller I wanted to use for the project that I'm about to describe. I have been tasked to create a relay panel that will configure different rocket engine valves. Each engine has multiple valves with multiple valve coil configurations. For example, some need 4 coils in series or 2 sets of coils in series which are then paralleled etc. I have come up with a fairly accurate relay count of around 60. I'd like to also create a GUI for a windows based PC so that the operator can select a pre-programmed engine type or valve configuration and then in turn have the PC send the signal to the FPGA which in turn will be able to close which ever necessary relays that are required for that config. I have some microcontroller experience from college and I also own an Arduino, would I be better off using one of these? I like the idea of FPGAs and I always wanted to learn VHDL programming... In general, what are some advantages of using FPGAs over a microcontroller? And is it easy to interface with a FPGA through a GUI? Thanks in advance for the help, Mike