How to calculate STM32 bxCAN bit timings using Python

When I needed to configure some STM32 microcontrollers with nonstandard clock speeds to use the correct CAN bit timings.

While this script has been written for the STM32F413 series, it should be applicable to pretty much all STM32 MCUs with bxCAN – however, you need to check the details, especially from which clock the CAN is derived.

You need to know:

  • The frequency of the clock from which the CAN clock is derived (PCLK1 in my example: 48 MHz)
  • Your desired Baudrate: 1 MBaud in my example

Using an iterative trial and error approach, we will determine the appropriate values for BRP, TS1 and TS2 (these are specific sets of bits in the CAN):

#!/usr/bin/env python3
# Configuration. Change here
master_clock = 48e6 # PCLK1, or whatever CLK CAN is derived from
desired_baudrate = 1e6 # 1e6 = 1 MBaud, 500e3 = 500 kBaud
# Register values
brp = 5 # Baud rate prescaler
ts1 = 4 # (Length of time segment 1) - 1
ts2 = 1 # (Length of time segment 2) - 1

# Calculation. You usually don't need to change this.
bs1_segments = ts1 +1
bs2_segments = ts2 + 1
total_segments = 1 + bs1_segments + bs2_segments
bittime = 1. / desired_baudrate
master_time = 1. / master_clock
tq = (brp + 1) * master_time
total_time = total_segments * tq
effective_rate = 1. / total_time
sample_point = 1 - (bs2_segments / total_segments)

# Print results
print(f"Effective Baudrate: {effective_rate:.2f} Baud = {100. * effective_rate / desired_baudrate:.2f} % of desired baudrate")
print(f"Sample point: {100. * sample_point:.2f}  %")

When you run this script, you will see an output like this:

Effective Baudrate: 1000000.00 Baud = 100.00 % of desired baudrate
Sample point: 75.00  %

Of course you need to fill the master clock frequency and the desired baudrate at the top. You can start with the pre-configured values for BRP, TS1 and TS2.

In the end, you should achieve 100% of desired baudrate and a sample point that is 87.5% (80% to 90% is usually OK, 75% might not work with long cables. There might be a specific value dictated by your comms standard, e.g. CANOpen or J1939).

Change the values of for BRP, TS1 and TS2., re-running the script and observing the output each time. I recommend first changing BRP until you get close and then adjusting using this algorithm:

  • If your actual baudrate is too slow (i.e. < 100%), decrease BRP (larger step) and/or decrease TS1 + TS2
  • If your actual baudrate is too fast (i.e. > 100%), increase BRP (larger step) and/or increase TS1 + TS2
  • If your sample point percentage is too small, increase the ratio of TS1 to TS2
  • If your sample point percentage is too large, decrease the ratio of TS1 to TS2

Note that there might be master clock speeds and baudrates for which there is no ideal setting. Be sure to check whether a slightly different baudrate is still OK in your application (usually it’s not). If it is not, you need to find a way to use a different PCLK1 speed.

Fixing ScanaStudio error while loading shared libraries: libftd2xx.so: cannot open shared object file on Ubuntu

Problem:

You want to start IkaLogic ScanaStudio, but you see the following error message:

./ScanaStudio: error while loading shared libraries: libftd2xx.so: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

Solution:

You need to download the D2XX drivers from the FTDI D2XX drivers page.

Look for your architecture in the columns (usually x64 (64 bit), this is the same as x86_64) and click the link in the Linux row.

This will download a file named something like libftd2xx-x86_64-1.4.8.gz.

Now you can extract the archive using

tar xvf libftd2xx-*

Now we can copy the shared object file to the IkaLogic ScanaStudio directory:

cp release/build/libftd2xx.so.* ~/Ikalogic/ScanaStudio/libftd2xx.so

Now you can start ScanaStudio:

cd ~/Ikalogic/ScanaStudio
./ScanaStudio

How to fix Arduino SigFox.h: No such file or directory

Problem:

You are trying to run the Arduino SigFox first configuration tutorial but when trying to upload the sketch, you get this error message:

SigFox.h: No such file or directory

Solution:

While you have installed the board libraries and compiler for the SigFox boards, you have not installed the SigFox library itself.

Press Ctrl+Shift+I to open the library manager (you can also open it from the Tools menu).

Look for Arduino SigFox for MKRFox1200 by Arduino and click the Install button

Since the SigFox sketches also require the Arduino low power libraries (i.e. you would get the error message ArduinoLowPower.h: No such file or directory), also click the Install button for the Arduino Low Power by Arduino library.

After that, enter RTCZero in the search bar at the top of the library manager and click the Install button for the RTCZero by Arduino library.

After that, retry uploading the sketch.

Identifying the frame length for an unknown serial protocol

Let’s suppose you’re reverse-engineering a serial protocol. You already know the correct configuration for the serial port (baudrate etc.) and you assume the protocol is built from frames of equal length.

For simplicity we will also assume that the device sends the data without the necessity to request data from it first. If this is not the case, you can use a different and much simpler approach (just send the request character and se

The next step is to determine the the frame length of the protocol. This post not only details two variants of one of the algorithms you can use in order to do this, but also provides a ready-to-use Python script you can use for your own protocols.

Approach 1: Autocorrelation with argmax

We will use a simple mathematical approach in order to find out what the most likely frame length will be. This is based on the assumption that frames will have a high degree of self similarity, i.e. many of the bytes in a single frame will match the corresponding bytes in the next frame.

It is not required that all bytes are the same in every frame, but if you have entirely different bytes in every frame, the approach will likely not deduce the correct frame length.

This approach is based on autocorrelation. Although it sounds complicated, it means nothing more Compare a sequence by a delayed/shifted version of itself.

This means we will perform the following steps:

  • Read a set of characters from the serial device
  • Correlate the set of characters with shifted versions of itself
  • The framelength is the shift where the maximum similarity occurs (using np.argmax)

As similiarity score, we’ll use 1 if the bytes equal or 0 else. For specific protocols, it might be a more viable approach to introduce individual bit matching, but this will also introduce noise into the process. 

For most simple protocols I’ve seen, this approach works very well for both ASCII and binary.

Plotting the correlation looks like this:

Approach 2: Multiple-shift aware Autocorrelation

This modified algorithms works well for protocols where there is insignificant similarity between any two frames or if there is a lot of noise. For such protocol, the maximum score approach does not yield the correct result.

However, we can use the property of constant-framelength protocols that we get high matching scores by shifting a frame by an integer multiple of the (unknown) framelength. Instead of just taking one maximum peak, we multiply all the scores for the integer-multiples of any length.

While this approach doesn’t sound too complicated compared to the first one, it has more caveats and pitfalls, e.g. that there are no integer multiples within the data array for the second half of the correlation result array, and the second quarter is not very significant as there are not many multiples to multiply.

The script (see below) works around these issues by only computing the first quarter of the possible result space. Use the -n parameter in order to increase the number of characters read by the script.

After computing the multiple-shift aware correlation, we can use argmax just like in the first approach to find the best correlation. Sometimes this identifies a multiple of the frame length due to noise. You can look at the plot (use -p) and manually determine the frame length in order to find the correct frame length.

As you can see from the result, the “noise” (in between the frame-length shift matches, caused by random matches between characters) is mostly gone.

In many real usecases, this algorithm will produce a more distinct signal in the plot, but the automatically calculated frame size will not be correct as several effects tend to increase the lobe height for multiples of the frame height. Therefore, it is adviseable to have a look at the plot (-p in the script) before taking the result as granted.

Automating the algorithm

Here’s the Python3 script to this article which works well without modification, but for some protocols you might need to adjust it to fit your needs:

#!/usr/bin/env python3
"""
ProtocolFrameLength.py

Determine the frame length of an unknown serial protocol
with constant-length frames containing similar bytes in every frame.

For an explanation, see
Identifying the frame length for an unknown serial protocol
Example usage: $ python3 ProtocolFrameLength.py -b 115200 /dev/ttyACM0 """ import serial import numpy as np import math from functools import reduce import operator __author__ = "Uli Köhler" __license__ = "Apache License v2.0" __version__ = "1.0" __email__ = "ukoehler@techoverflow.net" def match_score(c1, c2): """ Correlation score for two characters, c1 and c2. Uses simple binary score """ if c1 is None or c2 is None: # Fill chars return 0 return 1 if c1 == c2 else 0 def string_match_score(s1, s2): assert len(s1) == len(s2) ln = len(s1) return sum(match_score(s1[i], s2[i]) for i in range(ln)) def compute_correlation_scores(chars, nomit=-1): # Omit the last nomit characters as single-char matches would be over-valued if nomit == -1: # Auto-value nomit = len(chars) // 10 corr = np.zeros(len(chars) - nomit) # Note: autocorrelation for zero shift is always 1, left out intentionally! for i in range(1, corr.size): # build prefix by Nones prefix = [None] * i s2 = prefix + list(chars[:-i]) # Normalize by max score attainable due to Nones and the sequence length (there are i Nones) corr[i] = string_match_score(chars, s2) / (len(chars) - i) return corr def print_most_likely_frame_length(correlations): # Find the largest correlation coefficient. This model does not require a threshold idx = np.argmax(correlations) print("Frame length is likely {} bytes".format(idx)) def plot_correlations(correlations): from matplotlib import pyplot as plt plt.style.use("ggplot") plt.title("Correlation scores for a protocol with 16-byte frames") plt.gcf().set_size_inches(20,10) plt.plot(correlations) plt.title("Correlation scores") plt.ylabel("Normalized correlation score") plt.xlabel("Shift") plt.show() def multishift_adjust(correlations): """ Multi-shift aware algorithm """ corr_multishift = np.zeros(correlations.size // 4) for i in range(1, corr_multishift.size): # Iterate multiples of i (including i itself) corr_multishift[i] = reduce(operator.mul, (correlations[j] for j in range(i, correlations.size, i)), 1) return corr_multishift if __name__ == "__main__": import argparse parser = argparse.ArgumentParser() parser.add_argument('port', help='The serial port to use') parser.add_argument('-b', '--baudrate', type=int, default=9600, help='The baudrate to use') parser.add_argument('-n', '--num-bytes', type=int, default=200, help='The number of characters to read') parser.add_argument('-m', '--multishift', action="store_true", help='Use the multi-shift aware autocorrelation algorithm') parser.add_argument('-p', '--plot', action="store_true", help='Plot the resulting correlation matrix') args = parser.parse_args() ser = serial.Serial(args.port, args.baudrate) ser.reset_input_buffer() chars = ser.read(args.num_bytes) corr = compute_correlation_scores(chars) if args.multishift: corr = multishift_adjust(corr) print_most_likely_frame_length(corr) if args.plot: plot_correlations(corr)

 

Usage example:

python3 ProtocolFrameLength.py -b 115200 /dev/ttyACM0

You can use -m to use the multiple-shift aware approach.

Use -p to plot the results as shown above. If one of the approaches does not work, it is advisable to plot the result in order to see if there is something visible in the plot which has not been detected by the

As the results depend on the actual data read, it is advisable to perform multiple runs and see if the results vary.

Accurate calculation of PT100/PT1000 temperature from resistance

TL;DR for impatient readers

PT100/PT1000 temperatures calculation suffers from accuracy issues for large sub-zero temperatures. UliEngineering implements a polynomial-fit based algorithm to provide 58.6 \mu{\degree}C peak-error over the full defined temperature range from -200 {\degree}C to +850 °C.

Use this code snippet (replace pt1000_ by pt100- to use PT100 coefficients) to compute an accurate temperature (in degrees celsius) e.g. for a resistane of 829.91 Ω of a PT1000 sensor.

from UliEngineering.Physics.RTD import pt1000_temperature
# The following calls are equivalent and print -43.2316359463
print(pt1000_temperature("829.91 Ω"))
print(pt1000_temperature(829.91))

You install the library (compatible to Python 3.2+) using

$ pip3 install git+https://github.com/ulikoehler/UliEngineering.git

Read more

Accurate short & long delays on microcontrollers using ChibiOS

How system ticks work

In order to understand how delays work, we’ll first need to have a look at system ticks. Although ChibiOS 3.x supports a feature called tickless mode, we’ll stick to a simple periodic tick model for simplicity reasons.

A system tick is simply a timer that interrupts the microcontroller periodically and performs some kernel management tasks. For example, with a 1 kHz system tick (systick) frequency, the program flow is interrupted every millisecond. When being interrupted, one of the things the kernel does is to check if a thread that is currently asleep needs to be woken up. In other words, if your thread has some code like this:

// [...]
chThdSleepMilliseconds(5);
// [...]

and the kernel has a 1 kHz systick frequency, the kernel will set your thread to sleep, wait for 5 system ticks (i.e. 5 ms) and then wake up the

Read more

Using burnout current sources for Wheatstone bridge detection

Many recent high-performance ADCs like the AD7190 include a builtin so-called burnout current source that can allegedly be used to detect an open circuit in the sensor. However, most vendors don’t provide an easy explanation on how this can be done.

In this blogpost I will attempt to explain how those current sources can be useful for practical applications. For this example, we will assume the ADC has one idealized differential channel and is connected to a simple wheatstone bridge strain gauge:

Read more

Normalizing electronics engineering value notations using Python

In electronics engineering there is a wide variety of notations for values that need to be recognized by intuitive user interfaces. Examples include:

  • 1fA
  • 0.1A
  • 0.00001
  • 1e-6
  • 4,5nA
  • 4,500.123 A
  • 4A5
  • 4k0 A

The wide variety of options, including thousands separators, comma-as-decimal-separator and suffix-as-decimal-separator, optional whitespace and scientific notations makes it difficult to normalize values without using specialized libraries. Read more