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Getting started with DSP; AD SHARC (need advice)

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Advanced Member level 4
Aug 16, 2007
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sharc dsp loader file

Hello folks,

I need some advice regarding DSP development.. I am an EE student on starting my final year on school, I've programmed alot of stuff in the past but has never bumped into real DSPs before. I have been working on various dsPIC30F series devices for quite some time, but I feel the time has come to get aquainted with real floating-point DSPs.

So here the other day, I laid out a small PCB for the ADSP-2136x (SHARC) from Analog Devices. A very basic board it is, primarily breaking out the pins to connectors, but with regulators and oscillator onboard plus a bunch of decoupling caps...

I noticed it has quite a bit of internal RAM, and it has SPI boot options.. If I would want to say hello to it making it run a SPI "handshake" exchanging some bits and bytes (uploading some code and running it), without adding flash or external RAM, could I do this from a microcontroller and some EEPROM? Any advice on the setup?

Thanks in advance

analog devices spi boot mcu

hi vandelay,

you can boot adsp2136x from primary spi interface /those with dedicated pins/ using spi flash memory, spi eeprom or spi master processor.

best regards,


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adsp spi boot mcu

Cool. I noticed those pins while laying out the board.. I grouped the ADbus with /RD, /WR, and ALE, made a separate connector for the DAI bus, one for the JTAG, and the general purpose connector I intended for interfacing to a MCU with the boot config, clock config, SPI, reset and GPIOs. I am looking forward to this, the GFLOPS performance and numerous DMAs is like nothing I have ever tried, the numbers just looks so amazing :D

Perhaps I'll even load it from SPI EEPROM, any guidelines for how to do this? obviously I will have to configure the bootconfig pins accordingly, I'll have to compile my program to a hex(?) file and upload it to the SPI EEPROM, but are there any guides on the format? I just write config words and a main routine in soumething like AD's VisualDSP tool, compile, and expect the DSP to load everything correctly from the EEPROM on reset, or is it more of a hustle?

Apologize for the stupidity factor of my questions, as you probably understand I am very unfamiliar with how these devices operate, being used to MCUs with flash... :|

ad dsps

hi vandelay,
In general you have to:
1. configure you adsp pins according boot method /spi eeprom/
2. write your code in visual dsp
3. configure compiler and linker according boot method
4. compile and link the code with spi boot kernel included to .LDR file
5. program spi eeprom with ldr file using separate programmer. It is possible to program eeprom through jtag ping but in this case you will need visual dsp compatible ice such as HPUSB-ICE or USB-ICE
6. test to see if it works

you will find a lot of useful information on AD web site look for visual dsp Loader and Utilities Manual chapter 5 - LOADER FOR ADSP-2126X/2136X/2137X SHARC PROCESSORS.
If you have visual dsp installed look in examples directory

best regards,


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kernel sharc boot

Thanks alot, stroma. That's exactly what I needed to know :D

The ldr file... is basically a hex file? Will WinPIC type programs with ability to program EEPROMs reckognize the ldr format?


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serial peripheral interface in dsp

Thanks again, Stroma. I have not yet signed up for the VisualDSP test license as it is for a limited time period, and I have not yet put my board together. But now I at least have a game plan :D

visual dsp internal boot mode sharc

This is just great; the continuation of the "digital signal processing" classes we had last semester is "real-time systems", and I asked the teacher after todays classes if there were going to be any practical implementation work in the topic or just theory. His reply was we are indeed going to have lab exercises in the topic, using development systems for a DSP from Analog Devices called "SHARC"... He also informed we would program them in C using VisualDSP! Funny how things turn out, eh? 8)

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