Has anybody used the Newmicros Isopod or Sevopod boards? I am especially
interested in the Small C implemetation. The DSP56805 and family have a
really nice set of peripherals for motor control but I have not seen GCC
ported to this processor and Motorola wants megabucks for development
tools beyond demo copies.
How much of the C language does Small C implement?
Is it reliable?
Munged reply Address
I have not yet had a chance to play with the Pete's SmallC, but I have heard
only good things from the dozen or so people I know who have had exposure to
You can post on NMI's forum as well, at
http://www.newmicros.com/discussion/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=9, ( forgive
me for direct linking on a frames site ) but there isn't a lot of action
here is SmallC's site for the 'pod
You can also email Pete Grey at firstname.lastname@example.org .
I have been using IsoMax since version 0.1, being one of Randy's beta
testers, and am enriched for it.
check out my canipede at http://www.bio-bot.com/movies , 6 minipods,
communicating over CANbus
It's also a very steep learning curve. The company picked up the
Metrowerks C package for the DSP56800 family and the compiler's way of
doing things is... challenging. It was also much more limited than I had
expected for an "ANSI" compiler. IIRC (it's been a while) the math
package was rather skinny, at least as far as the transcendental
Erm... download it and read the docs? Only you know if the subset it
implements maps onto your problem domain. It does "work" and there's a
lot of potential there but NewMicros is the home of IsoMAX and I don't
think they're interested in C much beyond being able to say that they
have free C compiler available. Can't blame them, really.
IsoMAX requires a different technique than you're probably used to if
you're coming from an asm/C background. Done much in Forth? In the
applications it's designed for, and on those boards, it may be a better
Although the Small C implementation is really good, I do say though, that
once you get the hang of using the ISOMAX(TM) and Forth you'll find it
really difficult to want to use the other compilers from then on. The
ISOPOD(TM)s and SERVOPOD(TM)s simply have so many features to use it's
overwhelming. I expecially love how fun it is to setup for PWM and PID using
the onchip quadrature decoders.
With the onboard Forth and ISOMAX(TM) on the chip, it makes for fast
experimenting with things before you commit them to flash.
Yes I do have some of these units myself.
Thanks for the inputs everybody!
I am planning to run at least 2 motors and maybe 4 in a PID
configuration. I am hoping to do this in C. I am not too worried about
the CPU loading. I have not done DSP programming before and don't feel
like doing an assembler project of this magnitude, especially on an
I have an FPGA coded up with an almost identical set of peripherals that
I can build into a microcontroller system with known C and emulator
support, but this chip looks so cool that I thought I would give it a
Earl Bollinger wrote:
Well, considering there are 12 pwm pins that can be set up for complimentary
pairs, with dead time, and 2 quadrature modules, or 6 quads if you use the
timers, I have to assume they had something like that in mind (grin)
I am familiar with multi-channels of PID running on the '807 running at 4khz
servo update rate.
The only disadvantage of using the timers for quad, is that you lose the
digital filter. The nifty thing here is the ability to do very fine velocity
control, by setting up a timer in the same block to count the I.P. between
The CANbus is also a nice feature, as well as the 807's 16 channels of A/D.
I use the IsoPod and ServoPod, as well as the other DSP56800-based boards,
and they're wonderful.
Small C is a subset of "full C", and doesn't include support for floats or
structures. Having said that, it's more than enough to get the
microcontrollers to operate a wide range of sensors etc (including IR and
Sonar), and a lot of example programs are available for download from my NMI
site (http://petegray.newmicros.com). Small C for the DSP56800 series, the
Small Assembler, JTAG flash utility, and example programs are all free. The
source code for the Small C compiler is also free, for those wanting to
add/tweak compiler features.
For those wanting to experiment with IsoMax (an excellent integrated
development environment), it is possible - by using the JTAG - to flash the
IsoMax kernel to the controller before/after using Small C. Contact NMI for
the licensing agreement.
I'm somewhat biased, but I've found the Small C compiler to be a great -
free - starting point for many projects.
Software Engineer, NMI.
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