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Resolving product shortcomings.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

power-guard-safe.jpg Recently I bought a document safe. This was necessary because some types of documents need to be kept safe even during still ongoing COVID-19 home office. I choose a model with a security grade necessary to legally comply required by the type of documents I work with. And I choose one with a digital keypad so I don’t have to have a physical key but a numeric code. From the time it was ordered, it took about a week to be delivered and some effort (weighs around 50kg) to get it into place. After I put in a fresh 9V battery, set up a security code, and put in some documents, I was done - I thought ….

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Arty-S7-50 MultiNet

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

arty_s7_50_multi_net_pcbs.jpg The prototype of my simple FPGA based SoC with multiple Ethernet interfaces worked so well that I decided to create a PCB for it and increase the number of network interfaces from two to four. It also includes a special PMOD connector for a SD-Card to boot a firmware or Linux from. Also two of the Arty’s four existing PMODs are also still available for extensions. PMOD-C and PMOD-D are no longer available as their pins are used for some of the Ethernet PHY modules.

Due to I/O limitations the Seven Segment Display was removed from the original design.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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fpga_net_1_l.jpg In my day to day business I work with Software Defined Networking (SDN) a lot. Especially with Open-Flow, Open-vSwitch and some commercial products.

Most of the time the projects are not “normal” ones where these techniques are used in larger scenarios like enterprise or data-center networks. Instead I use them on the other side of the scale in embedded environments for example to develop Space based satellite routers.

At the time of this writing we now have almost eight weeks lock-down due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. This means no travel time to my office and instead working from home. So this spare time must be filled with some experiments. Unfortunately at home I don’t have the resources I normally have at my workplace. So no fancy, multi k-euro development boards and tools. Wanting an embedded system with at least two Ethernet interfaces I looked around in my electronic junkyard and found some interesting components which might give a not so bad platform for some networking experiments. Especially low level Ethernet packet handling (filtering, modifying) is on of my interests. Maybe playing with P4, NetCope, or P4FPGA without spending a fortune.

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Now that it’s possible to write custom firmware for a Walkera Hoten-X RX2635H-D receiver it’s time to try to access the various components on the ATMEL XMEGA32A4 based receiver board. First thing was to blink a LED which was quite simple. But for easier development there must first be a more user friendly way interact with the board. Fortunately there is a serial port available. It is normally used to upload new firmware and as additional channel for controlling e.g. a camera in the original Walkera firmware.

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