From BudgetTrainer to BeagleTrainer

As mentioned in the previous update, until recently I’d been sending a serial data stream to a laptop for processing.

This was primarily due to the curve fitting & floating point maths that I’m using in the spindown calibration process. While this code could likely be replaced in the long term, as it stands now it’s a poor fit for a resource constrained 8-bit micro with no hardware floating point support!

So now I’ve switched development to a BeagleBone Black. This is a small development board capable of running Linux on a 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor.


One great thing about the TI Sitara processor on this board is that it includes a pair of Programmable Realtime Units (or PRUs). These run independently of the main processor, with a 200MHz clock speed (5ns per instruction), and are perfect for guaranteed real-time tasks. They are programmed in their own assembly language, but there is also a C compiler (currently in beta) available from TI.

For my purposes, I’ll be using PRU assembly for the timing sensitive hardware interaction (frequency measurement, PWM etc), with the main C code running in Linux userspace on the ARM processor, and using an ANT2 USB stick for the comms.

I’ve already written some initial test code for speed measurement, spindown processing, curve fitting, power calculation, and the ANT+ transmission. The individual pieces are all working separately, now I just need to tie them together under a single control program. Once it’s all been tidied up a bit, I’ll post a link to a new github repo for this code.

When that’s done, I’ll be getting back to some metalwork & preparing new electromagnets for the adjustable resistance control.