Brad Ormand Books - Cortex BN Oct

10.06.2015 – New Books came in and ARM CortexM4F


Books again!  I really love getting used books from Barnes and Noble.  The most expensive book I wanted, bought new, went for $120+, and I literally got it for $5 at a used textbook bookstore affiliate of B&N.  Two of ’em, I got for less than $3.  I just share the occurrence because I get really excited about getting them in! (like I did the last time I did this) They’re beautiful.  Analog.  Books.  Also, they pertain to my current projects, as well.

I ordered 6 books this time – 5 electronics-related and one about architecture / building construction.  I got a  book on Digital Logic from the 70’s!  Haha – I just wanted to see what it was like back then, plus there’s actually good logic education content in there.  I even sometimes fantasize about living at the age I am now back when transistorized computers were just getting started.  I have a great love of computer history.

And, I got 2 books about power supply design – One for Linear supplies and one for Switched-Mode.  Can’t wait to see if I can beef up my design capabilities and understanding with these.  I would like to have a more versatile palette of production possibilities for providing power. 😉 a P alliteration, why not…  And, I got another one about different ways to build analog audio amplifiers – circa 1980.  Much love!

I got an ARM Cortex M-series book, as well, which was the main one I went to the site for.  I started reading it yesterday outside in the cool Fall weather on my comfy chair out near the garden and wood pile.  What a nice experience.  I’m really looking forward to using the DSP/floating-point features of this chip to drive displays (with FFT, etc) and my electronic art.  I wrote an 8-bit, integer FFT after this linked post a year ago.  Now, I want to bump it up a bit.  I want to get a complete, comprehensive understanding of this chip so I’ll know just what all I can do with it when it comes to design time.  I don’t want any surprises come firmware time – I wanna be caught up completely, so I’m reading it front to back.  Made it to page 71 out of 800 so far… 🙂

Brad Ormand Books - Cortex BN Oct

And, it’s been since last Spring that I have been immersed in embedded stuff.  It good to have the time to focus on it again.  Recently, I had been focusing on the album release (and also changed software jobs), and now I have a little more free time to get back on what I left off of. Very exciting.


I’m targeting the Silicon Labs (also headquartered in Austin) CortexM4F chip, EFM32WG942F256 in a QFP64 package, code-named the Wonder Gecko.  Awesome.  32-bit, 256K of flash, 32KB of SRAM, and runs at 48MHz, with a hardware FPU, and with SIMD that I will try to take advantage of for light and stereo sound applications.  That’ll do the trick.  Let’s start some work…

In September, I went on a river cruise with friends and family on the Austin “Town Lake”, and we floated by the main Silicon Labs building, downtown (right on the river).  I had been using the Atmel SAM4S ARM chips.  They were fine, but I had to use an open source toolchain, lots of dependencies and patches, and – I program using a Mac, and just..  well, there was no ported IDE or any integration at all and lots of complications.  So, that got me to thinking, “I wonder what Silicon Labs has in their portfolio”?  It was just a few minutes after I saw their suitable offerings that night online and that they had a Mac version of their IDE that triggered my interest right away!  And, now, I’m trying it out.  Boots up fine and with CMSIS support and support for my programmer/debugger.  And, energy efficient – I’m runnin’ it with a CR2032 as well, right now.  Awesome!  So, I’m doing that now, instead.  Plus *they frum Texas..  BTW, ARM also has an office in Austin.  I drive by it every day. 🙂

Brad Ormand - Austin Downtown Cruise

Brad Ormand - Family - Guys - Austin Downtown

There have been instances, in the past, of me deciding on a platform and going with it, Sam4 gcc, Pickit3, etc., but I wasn’t actually entirely satisfied with my toolchain.  I really hope I’ll be able to have a really smooth time with this setup – one where I can really work efficiently and creatively.  I’ll continue and report on my results later.

And, as a final thought…  I think it’s time that I finally settle down with the gear I am going to use and show what I can do with it besides flashing LEDs and running cool animations on displays.  I wanna show myself what I can do system-wise, mainly, and for the marketplace and for my future creative career.  I’m sincerely dedicated and interested in doing that just for the love of the game alone, and for the expanse of possibilities that I can produce (for IoT and light and sound) if I just had the right calm mindset and time to do it.  It’s coming up, I think.  I’ll batten down and see what I can do.