AVR8 updates for Papilio Loader App

Jack Gassett

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In preparation for the upcoming work on the Papilio Loader App I've been working on the AVR8 to make it easier for us to move Wings on the fly under Arduino sketch control.

The first step towards that goal was to modify the AVR8 processor so that PWM and SPI pins can be moved to any of the 48 Papilio One pins by simply writing to a memory address. So far it is working well, I have been able to move PWM2 between pins by just using a sketch. I still need to do some cleanup tomorrow but that should be the easy part.

The next thing I think I will take another shot at is integrating the Stepper core into the external SRAM memory space of the AVR8 soft processor.


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Ok, this is great. I was able to get the stepper controller core integrated into the external SRAM address space of the AVR8 soft processor. So now it is possible to just write to the 0x2000 address to set which Wing Slot the Stepper Motor Wing is connected to and automatically all of the pins of the Stepper Controller Core will be connected to the Stepper Motor Wing.

It's pretty cool and it is the whole REDe (Rapid Electronics Design environment) concept finally being put into action. It is a relatively slow processor core (AVR8) being used to control a VHDL hardware core that implements all the heavy lifting such as generating the PWM signals. The behavior of the VHDL core is controlled completely from an Arduino sketch so the end user can utilize the power of the FPGA without ever touching any VHDL or the Xilinx tools.

The next step is to integrate it with the Papilio Loader App, which we have decided to call the Papilio Builder. The goal is to allow a user to graphically place the Wings that they are going to use and the Papilio Builder will generate the setup loop portion of a sketch with the appropriate settings to connect the desired Wing to the selected Wing slot. It will then inject example code and load it all up in the Arduino IDE.

After that I think the really cool thing to do will be to make a VGA core for the 8 color VGA Wing that I have prototypes for.

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