Thursday, December 15, 2005

New Job

New Job:

I start a new position with the Ohio State University Department of Astronomy in the Imaging Sciences Laboratory on Monday December the 19th. This marks the end of my 5 year stint as a factory automation consultant. I learned a lot in those five years, but I am glad to be moving to something new, interesting, and challenging.

Before going out on my own as a consultant, I worked as an Electrical Engineer with a Department of Defense contractor in the 1980s and early 90s. The company was Piqua Engineering, Inc. - I worked there for 10 years. After PEI a few former employees and I started a company called Technitron Labs, Inc. TL's main product was specialized instrumentation for paper mills, municipal waste and drinking water treatment plants, and industrial water treatment plants. TL was sold after a few years (along with my designs); I moved on to doing Controls Engineering at a company called Zed Industries, Inc. Zed made packaging machinery and thermo-formers. I spent 6 years at Zed bringing their equipment control systems up to modern standards before moving on to a purely software engineering job.

Finally, in 2001 I started vHMI Automation, Inc. The main product when I first started was a Visual Basic based Human Machine Interface (HMI) package that I wrote and various C++ based Programmable Logic Controller communication drivers. I expanded into both hardware and software system consulting in factory automation and control systems. I also did instrumentation, automated test system, and microcontroller based system design. Because I was an independent consultant, it enabled me to live outside of the USA for a while (where I learned a lot about how other countries view the US - which is not as bad as you hear from the news). I also realized how much we take for granted the life we have in the USA. I returned to the US in June of 2004.

I am very happy about leaving the stressful and uncertain side of consulting behind. I am looking forward to working in OSU's Astronomy Department where they design and build extremely interesting instruments for ground-based optical and infrared astronomy.

http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/MODS/Pictures/

Friday, December 09, 2005

Update... HPSDR

HPSDR Progress:
I am now able to configure the Spartan 3 FPGA over USB. I switched from slave parallel mode to slave serial configuration loading. This will make the FX2 firmware easy to use with Altera Cyclone FPGAs in addition the the Xilinx Spartan 3.

I am in the process of getting samples of Linear Technology's LTC2208 16 bit, 135 MSPS ADC. I still plan to develop a QSD based RX board using the TI PCM4202 as the ADC - So there will be a high bandwidth path as well as a low bandwidth path in the HPSDR. The LTC2208 board will probably get it's own FPGA to do DDC. The DDC's ouput will then feed the Spartan 3 which will be responsible for performing the second part of the DSP chain.

Verilog Projects for the Xylo Board:
I set up a folder on my server that people can browse . It will contain various verilog projects that can be tried on the Xylo board for educational purposes.

http://www.philcovington.com/FPGA/