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B&W-tech Spectrometer & 473 module: Setup+Mods+Info

jnrpop

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My unit continues to provide acceptabley accurate results, well beyond the expectations I had. Really once the calibration is accurately dialled into these units, they function not to bad at all.....for a <$50 spectro ;)
 

uk-laser

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Paul, I'd put money on U401 - XC9536 CPLD having gone short. These are still available, but need programming. I haven't yet tried to read one from a good board, but I'd also put money on B&W having set the code protection bit to prevent read-back.
Very decent little spectro for the price. What else are you going to get for that price - webcam and grating?
 

Richard A

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Paul, I'd put money on U401 - XC9536 CPLD having gone short. These are still available, but need programming. I haven't yet tried to read one from a good board, but I'd also put money on B&W having set the code protection bit to prevent read-back.
Very decent little spectro for the price. What else are you going to get for that price - webcam and grating?
It might be worth a shot running it with a MCU or DSC if you have one lying around.
I bought four units and cooked one by powering it with 12 V.
I ended up removing the PCB from the bench and used a dsPIC with a 12 bit ADC to drive the CCD.
 

kecked

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Can you share the design. I'd be happy to layout a board. I wonder if we can just use the optical bench and dump the entire rest of it. Then it would be open source to boot. It will never be hyperfine but the deck is very nice.
 

paul1598419

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It might be worth a shot running it with a MCU or DSC if you have one lying around.
I bought four units and cooked one by powering it with 12 V.
I ended up removing the PCB from the bench and used a dsPIC with a 12 bit ADC to drive the CCD.
It's not worth my time or effort as I have a good working Ocean Optics spectrometer. I'll hang onto to it as it would be silly to trash it, but I don't need another subpar spectrometer.
 

Richard A

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Can you share the design. I'd be happy to layout a board. I wonder if we can just use the optical bench and dump the entire rest of it. Then it would be open source to boot. It will never be hyperfine but the deck is very nice.

Well, it's not much of a design at the moment. I wanted to pursue it further and make a PCB with a more suitable MCU, equipped with a 16-bit ADC, but the project got pushed to the back burner due to higher priority things. I used a prototype that I happen to have lying around from an old work project, and tacked some wires on it to see if I get the CCD working, which I did.
I probably can get back to this in a couple months and make a schematic with a better MCU. IMG_0372.JPG


Yes, those long wires are great for reducing noise. :whistle:
 

uk-laser

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Nice work Richard, Tempted to try a micro, but was really looking for path of least resistance to get one of these running again. My experience in more hardware than software so C coding isn't fast and isn't pretty. Given some time with a logic analyser I could probably recreate the CPLD functionality in Verilog. I imagine it is acting as a glorified counter / state machine to reset the pair of cy7c429 FIFOs and clock them full of ADC data, allowing the micro to take it back out of the read port in slow time.
 

Richard A

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Nice work Richard, Tempted to try a micro, but was really looking for path of least resistance to get one of these running again. My experience in more hardware than software so C coding isn't fast and isn't pretty. Given some time with a logic analyser I could probably recreate the CPLD functionality in Verilog. I imagine it is acting as a glorified counter / state machine to reset the pair of cy7c429 FIFOs and clock them full of ADC data, allowing the micro to take it back out of the read port in slow time.
I tend to use assembly and take advantage of the peripherals where timing is critical.
The 8051 on these spectrometers is a bit archaic, but it gets the job done with a little help.
Hopefully, I'll get some time to improve my hack job.

Have you attempted to read flash of the CPLD yet?
 

uk-laser

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Nope. I came unstuck when I couldn't find any of my Xilinx programmers, or a laptop with a real parallel port, so easiest route was asking if anyone had a scrap board, with in all likelihood the IC being protected anyway.
I'd traced back the programming header (pic attached). Given that availability of surplus boards looks to have dried up, I suppose I might as well try reading. I need to get a new programmer anyway, to persuade the others to come out of hiding since my last house move.
Irritatingly you only need a few resistors if you have a PC with a parallel port. I designed in an XC9536 programmer to a lasershow DAC I did a decade or so ago. http://www.die4laser.com/die4dac/index.htm
 

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Richard A

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Nope. I came unstuck when I couldn't find any of my Xilinx programmers, or a laptop with a real parallel port, so easiest route was asking if anyone had a scrap board, with in all likelihood the IC being protected anyway.
I'd traced back the programming header (pic attached). Given that availability of surplus boards looks to have dried up, I suppose I might as well try reading. I need to get a new programmer anyway, to persuade the others to come out of hiding since my last house move.
Irritatingly you only need a few resistors if you have a PC with a parallel port. I designed in an XC9536 programmer to a lasershow DAC I did a decade or so ago. http://www.die4laser.com/die4dac/index.htm
I have a few computers with parallel ports, including a few old Compaq Portable III machines.
I could try to read the CPLD from one of my good units.
Do you have or know of program capable of performing the task?
I've got a programmer but I think it will only work with Actel chips.
As far as things coming out of hiding after you grab another one, I've had that happen more than a few times. lol
 

uk-laser

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I've got a Xilinx platform USB cable on order plus a few blank CPLDs.
Unless you have some sacrificial devices to play with, I would be wary of trying it out on an irreplaceable B&W programmed part, but if you are really feeling lucky.... There is a very dirty parallel programmer shown here: http://diy.acornatom.nl/construction.html
It supposedly works with ISE 10, after that, support for parallel port programming was dropped. Archive versions of ISE are here:
https://www.xilinx.com/support/down...linx/en/downloadNav/design-tools/archive.html
Might be safest to hold off a couple of days though. I should have an answer by then...
 

Richard A

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I've got a Xilinx platform USB cable on order plus a few blank CPLDs.
Unless you have some sacrificial devices to play with, I would be wary of trying it out on an irreplaceable B&W programmed part, but if you are really feeling lucky.... There is a very dirty parallel programmer shown here: http://diy.acornatom.nl/construction.html
It supposedly works with ISE 10, after that, support for parallel port programming was dropped. Archive versions of ISE are here:
https://www.xilinx.com/support/down...linx/en/downloadNav/design-tools/archive.html
Might be safest to hold off a couple of days though. I should have an answer by then...

Well, good luck with reading the CPLD.
Thanks for the info. I've used ISE but it's been a while.
Unfortunately, the only computer I have with a parallel port that can handle that software is partially disassembled right now.
 




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