Embedded Systems

Do you use Real Time Operating Systems? Which ones?
The answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no. It depends on the product and especially on the price points and sales volumes. Generally we use a low level RTOS product if we need to and we have expertise in a number. In DSP applications for power electronics we typically use our own low level kernel adapted for the task.
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Can you design me a single board computer using an ARM processor with a Linux port?
Yes, we can. We generally don't and will try to talk you out of it due to reliability considerations but we can. Contact us if you are considering this route.
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What DSP processors do you use?
Typically we use the Texas DSPs but have used others such as Analog devices.
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What microprocessors do you use?
We try to fit the processor to the task. Previously we have used PICs in all shapes and forms, Atmel, 8051 and variants from an number of manufacturers and various Motorola and Intel processors.
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What is the best DSP for what you do?
This is hard to say definitively. For power electronic control possibly the TI product.
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What language do you write code in?
Typically C with assembler where necessary.
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Isn't C++ better?
We have found that sometimes C++ can produce very bloated code.
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What is the best compiler for embedded programming?
Each compiler has its own charm, strengths and weaknesses. The key thing is to get to know it well and use it appropriately. Best learning exercise ever is to port a compiler to another processor. This opens your eyes as to why compilers do what they do.
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What are the best four things to remember when doing embedded programming?
1. The processor that took men to the moon had less processing power than your microwave oven.
2. Embedded software looks like hardware to the customer.
3. Embedded code's lifetime can be more than 20 years.
4. You cannot solve the impossible problem until you have to.
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Do you use version control?
Yes. We use a check out/check in system. We also archive development tools.
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What sort of software modeling do you use?
We find that the UML is a good tool.
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