OSHWA: A Resolution to Redefine SPI Signal Names

The Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) has just posted:

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A Resolution to Redefine SPI Signal Names

We, the undersigned, encourage educators, engineers, designers, and community members to discontinue the use of the terms MOSI/MISO/SS and in their place use SDO/SDI/CS.

  • New signal names:
    • SDO – Serial Data Out. An output signal on a device where data is sent out to another SPI device.
    • SDI – Serial Data In. An input signal on a device where data is received from another SPI device.
    • CS – Chip Select. Activated by the controller to initiate communication with a given peripheral.
    • COPI (controller out / peripheral in). For devices that can be either a controller or a peripheral; the signal on which the device sends output when acting as the controller, and receives input when acting as the peripheral.
    • CIPO (controller in / peripheral out). For devices that can be either a controller or a peripheral; the signal on which the device receives input when acting as the controller, and sends output when acting as the peripheral.
      SDIO – Serial Data In/Out. A bi-directional serial signal.
  • Deprecated signal names:
    • MOSI – Master Out Slave In
    • MISO – Master In Slave Out
    • SS – Slave Select
    • MOMI – Master Out Master In
    • SOSI – Slave Out Slave In
  • Signal names unchanged:
    • SCK – Serial Clock. The clock for the bus generated by the controller.

Designers should avoid signal names MOSI/MISO and instead use SDO/SDI. The SDI signal is defined by the perspective of the device. For example, the SDI signal on a sensor is the pin that receives data from the controller. Similarly, the SDO pin on a controller is the output pin that sends data to a peripheral.

It is best practice to use SDO/SDI and Controller/Peripheral. Change the way you write tutorials, create schematics, and diagrams. This is the best way to educate the next generation of users and engineers.

Read more..

OSHWA: A Resolution to Redefine SPI Signal Names

Tips for automatic testing equipment

Tom Fleet writes on Hackster:

Are You Shelling Out Too Much on ATE? Has a Few Tricks to Help You Claw Back Some Margins!

Anyone of us can build something.

Fewer of us, myself included, excel at building a great number of something, and when it comes to scaling a design to any level of volume production, it quickly becomes obvious that in order to save your sanity, the only sensible option is to outsource the onerous process of production to an OEM, or similar set of subcontracted companies, that can handle the production of your products.

Some of them make designing the board seem like the easy bit. You’ll need a clear and concise build pack, not only with the PCB data supplied in the preferred format of your fab house, but also preferably with clear supporting documents to illustrate any quirks of the design that might need explaining.

The BoM must be complete and well sourced, backup suppliers and all. And providing you can get a well assembled set of PCBA out the end of your subcontracted process, you then have the not insignificant task of verifying the work that has been done — you need to test, and program if required — this box of boards that you have been delivered.

The type of testng that you might apply to these boards is going to be dictated by what they do. For something such as a simple SAO, that might mean poking a bit of pin header, attached to a coin cell battery, into the required pins.

For a more complex board, such as the OrangeCrab FPGA development board, things can quickly start to get a bit more involved… There is a whole suite of functionality to validate — from the basics of bringing up the power supplies,to ascertaining the analog inputs, and finally booting a bit-stream, there’s a fair amount of functionality that needs that “final test” check mark.

Tips for automatic testing equipment

Agricoltura: connected control system for agriculture

Adam Vadala-Roth has posted on Hackaday.io about a connected control system for all agriculture applications based on RS485 control nodes and multiple wireless sensor networks:



Agricoltura is the culmination of multiple projects I’ve worked on in the past related to the sensing and control of agriculture systems, notably HydroPWNics and SunLeaf.  Agricoltura aims to unite all the concepts of those past projects into a new system based primarily on RS485 nodes for control of pumps, sensor sampling, and light control.

The base system will be a gateway controller linked to daisy chainable RS485 nodes designed for specific functions. These nodes are built around a board called Vine.
Vine allows interfacing of QWIIC connect sensros and devices as well as relay control. Coming in as two varients Vine can be used to setup and control complete hydroponic farming systems or any other agriculture system.



Agricoltura: connected control system for agriculture

Creating A Custom ASIC With The First Open Source PDK

A process design kit (PDK) is a by now fairly standard part of any transformation of a new chip design into silicon. A PDK describes how a design maps to a foundry’s tools, which itself are described by a DRM, or design rule manual. The FOSSi foundation now reports on a new, open PDK project launched by Google and SkyWater Technology. Although the OpenPDK project has been around for a while, it is a closed and highly proprietary system, aimed at manufacturers and foundries.

The SkyWater Open Source PDK on Github is listed as a collaboration between Google and SkyWater Technology Foundry  to provide a fully open source PDK and related sources. This so that one can create manufacturable designs at the SkyWater foundry, that target the 130 nm node. Open tools here should mean a far lower cost of entry than is usually the case.

via Creating A Custom ASIC With The First Open Source PDK — Hackaday


Virtual Toorcamp this weekend

Screenshot from 2020-06-25 12-46-43

ToorCamp 2020 was originally scheduled for June 23rd-28th, 2020 but due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, it’s been postponed until July 14-18th 2021. Instead, we’ve decided to host VirtualToor the weekend of June 27-28th as a self-organized event with talks, village hangouts, contests, and project collaborations to help ToorCampers build up momentum on research and projects for the event next year.

If you have ideas for talks, projects, contests, or other virtual events, please go ahead and post to this wiki. We’ll follow up if there’s any conflicts or issues with the self-organized content.

Find out more!

Virtual Toorcamp this weekend

QuickLogic: The Tipping Point

Exciting news about an FPGA company embracing open source tools:


QuickLogic: The Tipping Point

The Benefits of Open Source…
Fast forward to 2020 – I believe we are at a similar moment in our industry. The Programmable Logic (FPGA/eFPGA) market is multi-billion dollars in size and expected to grow at a moderate pace of >7% per year over the coming five years. Another subset of the semiconductor market is the open source RISC-V IP, software and tools market – predicted to grow at nearly 7X that of the FPGA Market. That begs the question… “Why is an open source standard creating such a large market so quickly?”

We believe one key reason is that open source hardware and software enable flexibility and freedom. We should not mistake freedom for free, there are proven business models built on open source that benefit the user, the community and the companies that actively participate (e.g. Red Hat with Linux).

Open source FPGA tools have been around for a long time, being used primarily by hobbyists and in academia. Over the past few years, this situation has evolved, with an increasing number of new developers with software backgrounds gravitating towards open source FPGA development tools, including design teams at some of the largest companies in the electronics industry.

With companies like Google and Antmicro, as well as several universities, making significant contributions to them, these tools are only going to keep getting better. This active participation has improved the quality of results, user experience, and encouraged broader adoption. To see what the open source community has done without direct and active Programmable Logic company participation is nothing short of remarkable. And it makes one wonder what could be possible if Programmable Logic companies participated more actively. Building a sports car is so much more efficient and effective when the engine specifications are shared with the design teams.

Read more…

QuickLogic: The Tipping Point

Help Thrust Open Source Satellites To The Next Level

To place a satellite in orbit satisfactorily it is necessary not only to hitch a ride on a rocket, but also to put it in the right orbit for its task, and once it is there, to keep it there. With billions of dollars or roubles of investment over six decades of engineering behind them the national space agencies and commercial satellite builders solved these problems long since, but replicating those successes for open source microsatellites still represents a significant engineering challenge. One person working in this field is [Michael Bretti], who is doing sterling work with a shoestring budget on open source electric thrusters for the smallest of satellites, and he needs your help in crowdfunding a piece of equipment.

Beware suspiciously cheap eBay vacuum pumps!
Beware suspiciously cheap eBay vacuum pumps!

As part of his testing he has a vacuum chamber, and when he places a thruster inside it he has to create a space-grade vacuum . This is no easy task, and to achieve it he has two pumps. The first of these, a roughing pump, is a clapped-out example that has clearly reached the end of its days, and it is this that he needs your help to replace. His GoFundMe page has a modest target of only $4,200 which should be well within the capabilities of our community in reaching, and in supporting it you will help the much wider small satellite community produce craft that will keep giving us interesting things from space for years to come.

via Help Thrust Open Source Satellites To The Next Level — Hackaday


FOSSi Dial-up debuts with open source PDK talk

Exciting news for those that want open source chips!

Fully open source manufacturable PDK for a 130nm process

The SkyWater Open Source Process Design Kit (PDK) is a joint project of Google and SkyWater Technology Foundry to provide a fully open source PDK.

In this event, Tim Ansell will outline the collaboration and the goals of the project. He will get into the technical details of the PDK and outline the roadmap of the project.

Date: Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Time: 16:00 GMT

Screenshot from 2020-06-18 18-31-23

FOSSi Dial-up debuts with open source PDK talk

Custom Portable N64 Embraces Modern Making


In the beginning, there was hot glue. Plus some tape, and a not inconsiderable amount of Bondo. In general, building custom portable game consoles a decade or so in the past was just a bit…messier than it is today. But with all the incredible tools and techniques the individual hardware hacker now has at their disposal, modern examples are pushing the boundaries of DIY.

This Zelda: Ocarina of Time themed portable N64 by [Chris Downing] is a perfect example. While the device is using a legitimate N64 motherboard, nearly every other component has been designed and manufactured specifically for this application. The case has been FDM 3D printed on a Prusa i3, the highly-detailed buttons were printed in resin on a Form 3, and several support PCBs and interface components made the leap from digital designs to physical objects thanks to the services of OSH Park.

zeldaportable_detailA custom made FFC to relocate the cartridge port.

Today, those details are becoming increasingly commonplace in the projects we see. But that’s sort of the point. In the video after the break, [Chris] breaks down the evolution of his portable consoles from hacked and glued together monstrosities (we mean that in the nicest way possible) to the sleek and professional examples like his latest N64 commission. But this isn’t a story of one maker’s personal journey through the ranks, it’s about the sort of techniques that have become available to the individual over the last decade.

Case in point, custom flexible flat cables (FFC). As [Chris] explains, when you wanted to relocate the cartridge slot on a portable console in the past, it usually involved tedious point-to-point wiring. Now, with the low-volume production capabilities offered by companies like OSH Park, you can have your own flexible cables made that are neater, faster to install, and far more reliable.

Projects like this one, along with other incredible creations from leaders in the community such as [GMan] are changing our perceptions of what a dedicated individual is capable of. There’s no way to be sure what the state-of-the-art will look like in another 5 or 10 years, but we’re certainly excited to find out.

via Custom Portable N64 Embraces Modern Making — Hackaday


PS/2 Floppy Drive

Eric Schlaepfer created this nifty board for retro computer users:


PS/2 Floppy Adapter

This PS/2 floppy adapter is designed to allow standard PC floppy drives to be used in IBM PS/2 systems that have 40-pin edge connectors for their floppy drive interfaces. Compatible models include

  • IBM PS/2 Model 50 and 50Z
  • IBM PS/2 Model 60
  • IBM PS/2 Model 70
  • IBM PS/2 Model 80

And others as well.

The design files are here.


Fab Files

The bill of materials is as follows:

Designator Quantity Description
J2 1 34-pin 0.1″ breakaway header
R1-R5 5 1K ohm resistors, 0603

PS/2 Floppy Drive