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Xling v3.1 - an animation demo, more checkpoints, 4-wire SPI and FreeRTOS

A project log for Xling

A tamagotchi-like toy with an OLED display and Li-Ion battery.

dsldsl 11/17/2019 at 19:450 Comments

Almost a month and a half passed since the previous update (not so much comparing to v0.3, eh?) and I'm here to share some details regarding the overall progress.

First of all, I've finally got rid of the leading zero in the Xling PCB version because there are no chances that I'll be brave enough to change it in future. So, v0.3.1 became v3.1 and it means that the most recent changes of the Xling PCB will find their way into current/3.0 branch of the repository.

Note that it has nothing in common with the firmware version of Xling. The most recent changes in code find their way into current/0.4 branch of the Xling-firmware repository

Animation demo

Anyway, I'd like to show you a walking animation demo at 24 FPS. There are only 4 images of the animation where each one stays on a screen during two frames.

However, a driver for SH1106-based displays I've been working on can do its best and produce the same animation at full speed:

You're probably interested in the technical information on the screen. Here it is:

  1. BAT_LVL - a raw ADC value of the battery voltage (voltage divider, ADC3, 10-bit, Vref = 1.1 V).
  2. BAT_STAT - a single bit, which is grabbed directly from the MCP73831 STAT pin (1 - when the battery current, Ibat, is below a selected threshold, Iterm, 0 - otherwise).
  3. Number of frames to re-draw before calculating a delay.
  4. Time spent to re-draw the frames.
  5. Current FPS (according to 3 and 4).

More PCB checkpoints and 4-wire SPI


Spending time debugging and optimizing the OLED driver, I've realised that it would be convinient to have additional test points on top of the PCB. It's now possible to solder wires and attach the oscilloscope probes easily, without turning the bottom part of the PCB into a mess.

Another change is 4-wire SPI which is used to connect the display in v3.1. I've decided to give up with the 3-wire SPI support in the driver entierly because of the 8-bit SPI shift register available in ATmega1284P only.

There is no room for the 9th bit required by the display controller to distinct between data for graphics RAM and command register. Moreover, there is no easy way to stop transmitting bits from the shift register to "hack" the protocol.

FreeRTOS-based firmware

This is probably the most interesting update of mine.

I've got a demo project (FreeRTOS/Demo/AVR_ATMega323_WinAVR) of FreeRTOS v10.2.1, copied several files (including list.c, queue.c, tasks.c, croutine.c and port.c + headers) to the Xling-firmware project and adjusted CMake configuration file according to the makefile from the demo project.

Another modification is the port.c file which has been re-programmed a bit in order to use a 16-bit Timer/Counter 1 of the ATmega1284P to generate ticks for the FreeRTOS scheduler.

So, it means that I can do something like that from now on :)

Other updates

Personally, I'd like to thank the community of r/PrintedCircuitBoard and u/charliebruce123 in particular because they pointed me to the issues with the previous version of the PCB. I've tried to fix them all in v3.1.

Xling v3.1 isn't the first PCB version which has been attached to the battery in order to check how load-sharing circuit works, but it is the first one which allowed me to measure a battery voltage obtained from ADC via a voltage divider, a direct battery voltage, an output voltage at +3.3V and a battery status pin.

All of the information should be enough to program a task which monitors the battery status correctly and prevents overcharges and deep discharges.

Anyway, if you have any questions and ideas on your mind, feel free to tell me then.

Have a good time!


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