A project log for Team Ides: DC27 / da Bomb!

A wearable, hackable, blinky badge for Defcon27 featuring RGB leds, sound, BLE, games, and more!

John AdamsJohn Adams 10/07/2018 at 22:300 Comments

Bill has been working through some of the low-level firmware issues while we march towards an initial schematic for prototyping the badge. Of special interest to me, is that we've got working communication between the MCPU and the Cirrus CS4344. This means, stereo audio is possible on our device which is a bit of a quality jump for us. Last year we were barely able to support 12-bit audio. This year, 24bit/96Khz is probably doable, but now we're going to have new and exciting video sync issues which may reduce our ability to pump hi quality audio down the bus. 

He reports:

I got the I2S interface to work. I had to deal with some... interesting quirks. The Cirrus Logic CS4344 chip takes a certain amount of time after the clock signals are applied before it can start playing audio. To deal with this, I turn the I2S controller on and enable streaming with the master clock and left/right clock enabled, but with the pin for the audio bit clock disabled. Then I wait for a certain number of sample cycles to elapse for the chip to get its brains together.

The playback here is monaural, but apparently doing stereo is as easy as just including stereo sample data and changing the setting of one register. Of course that makes the audio files twice as big.

But there's one stupid problem. Nordic designed their I2S controller such that you only have a limited number of clock frequencies you can choose from. This means you can only use a certain fixed number of audio sample rates. Right now I'm using 12500Hz. The problem is that the scheme I cooked up for the DC25 badge to keep audio and video synchronized during playback depends on the number of audio samples per video scanline being a whole number. With the DAC and timer mechanism I used for playing audio on that badge, I could select any audio sample rate I wanted, so I deliberately chose one that would yield the right results.

But here I'm stuck with the frequency values that Nordic saw fit to bake into the I2S controller, and none of them result in a sample rate that lines up nicely. I think that with 12500 samples/second, I end up with about 6.5 samples per scanline.

I think I can get around this by dropping a couple of samples periodically, but it's more hassle than I had expected.

A video of this working is here: