FCDEV3B bring-up status

Serg l serg at tvman.us
Mon Apr 24 20:38:18 UTC 2017

Hi All,

I have CMU200 on the way and hope that it is a good working unit as claimed
by the source. I also have GPS disciplined 10MHz ref clock, so I hope that
it makes up a proper calibration station. Said so I will be happy to
validate any RF calibration procedures and help with further development up
to my ability to carve out time for it.

Right now I'm doing a deep dive into the codebase to document some parts of
it, it already replaced all my leisure time activities and I'm still
looking for someone to do it for money... Yes, I cannot offer a lot, but it
could be reasonable money for non-US based person. If anybody is
interested, ping me here in the list.

It would be great to find the root cause of the flash boot and sleep mode
issues, but it is not a show stopper for my part of the project, I'm
already very happy with the results FC got up to this point.

I'll tackle MCSI test activity and I think that I will start at some point
in about two weeks from now, cannot promise any earlier.


On Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 2:57 PM, Mychaela Falconia <
mychaela.falconia at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi DS,
> > This is an excellent suggestion and I did just that, using a board from
> > pldkit. It works very well and I wrote a README for those interested in
> > doing the same. Please have a look at
> >
> > https://www.freecalypso.org/members/ds/ftdi/
> Thank you for implementing my idea.  I am going to update
> doc/High-speed-serial in freecalypso-tools with this additional
> option, and include a link to your implementation.
> Meanwhile, I am still working on developing an automated process for
> production RF calibration of FreeCalypso hardware devices starting
> with FCDEV3B.  The VCXO calibration which I've done manually on one of
> the FCDEV3B boards is just the first step, the complete calibration
> process required for a fully spec-compliant product also includes Rx
> and Tx calibration for each band, and even the VCXO step alone is too
> much of a pain to do manually for every board, hence I need to develop
> automated calibration before I can finally send a properly calibrated
> board to everyone who is waiting for one.
> If you look in the freecalypso-tools repository, you will find that I
> wrote a bunch of calibration-related notes under doc/RF-cal.  You may
> find them to be interesting reading if you are curious about the
> calibration adventure.
> I am using the CMU200 as my choice of RF test station; I started by
> operating it manually through the front panel and that is how I got
> that manual VCXO calibration done, but I am now learning how to
> operate it programmatically so I can automate the process.  The
> industry standard way of controlling such instruments is through GPIB,
> but one nice thing about the CMU200 is that it supports not only the
> classic GPIB way, but also offers the option of control via SCPI
> commands over RS-232.  I chose the RS-232 option to eliminate the need
> for exotic hardware and equally exotic drivers and libraries - with
> RS-232 I can just write plain old C code without any library
> dependencies that talks to a serial port.
> I have now learned enough CMU200 SCPI commands to make frequency
> offset measurements for the VCXO calibration step and to run its RF
> signal generator (will be needed for the next step of Rx calibration),
> and now I am starting to implement the code that will test this
> knowledge.  I started writing the fc-cmu200d Test System Interface
> Daemon that will talk to the CMU200 via RS-232 and present a local
> socket interface with higher-level commands; the actual calibration
> automation programs will then connect to the latter interface - see
> the doc/RF-cal/Architecture write-up.
> I need to finish this fc-cmu200d (right now it is just a skeleton,
> none of the actual functionality has been added yet), test it manually
> with a netcat-like tool talking to its local UNIX domain socket, and
> only then we shall reach the point of being able to write the first
> automated calibration program for the VCXO step - and then the other
> two calibration steps (Rx bands and Tx bands) still need to be
> learned...  So there is still a ton of work to be done, and I
> guesstimate that it may take me another month or two with the limited
> time budget I have for this project - like most people, I have an
> entirely separate job to pay my bills.
> Aside from RF calibration, we still have the mysterious flash boot
> issue on our boards, as well as a power supply issue that requires us
> to disable sleep as a workaround.  I suspect that the current
> measurement jumpers in the VBAT path may be the culprit.  I added
> those jumpers with the idea of being able to characterize the current
> draw of the chipset and of the RF PA at different VBAT voltages, in
> order to support various kinds of powering arrangements in potential
> future FreeCalypso products, but these inserted jumpers in the power
> current path may be causing a problem - the power supply current has
> to go through these jumpers, they may be adding too much resistance,
> and these inserted jumpers are after the big 1000 uF capacitor.
> Right now the inserted current measurement jumpers take the form of a
> two-post header with a shorting block placed on the pins, and I wonder
> if this arrangement may be adding more resistance into the VBAT
> current path than is allowed.  One of my planned experiments is to
> remove the header pins and solder jumper wires directly into the
> corresponding plated through holes on the PCB, using the thickest
> gauge wire that will fit into those holes, and see if this change
> improves the situation.  But I would like to get a better insight as
> to exactly what happens during flash boot on our boards in their
> present state before I try any hw modifications, in order to do that I
> would like to experiment with JTAG, and for that I am waiting for some
> "dupont" jumper wires (female to female) to arrive from Hong Kong.  I
> could probably find the needed jumper wires more locally (and thus
> faster) with some looking, but right now I am not in a hurry on that
> front as the RF calibration software development work still needs to
> be done no matter what, and it is not blocked by the flash boot issue
> or the sleep issue.
> Once we get both RF calibration and the flash boot/power issues solved,
> two more steps will be needed before the FCDEV3B can be considered to
> be complete:
> * There is a loudspeaker driver circuit on the board connected to the
>   chipset's EARN&EARP (analog audio output) pins, and a microphone
>   input circuit connected to the MICIN&MICIP (analog audio input) pins.
>   But the actual loudspeaker and microphone have not been added yet (I
>   have not even picked out suitable parts), thus those circuits are
>   currently completely untested.  When we reach that point, I will need
>   to pick some suitable loudspeaker and microphone parts, connect them
>   to the board (the interface takes the form of two-post headers), and
>   exercise those audio circuits.  (Can someone else do this test?  As
>   I understand it, Serg is not interested in analog audio, but maybe
>   someone in Harald Welte's OsmocomBB club will get to trying it
>   before I do.)
> * The digital audio routing option via MCSI also needs to be exercised,
>   and the first step toward that end is to put an oscilloscope probe
>   on the MCSI_CLK pin to see if the DSP is operating the MCSI in
>   master or slave mode.  Perhaps Serg can do this experiment ahead of
>   me.
> Hasta la Victoria, Siempre,
> Mychaela aka The Mother
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