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Thread: Sending data to external DAC using Teensy 4.1, SPI and DMA

  1. #1
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    Sending data to external DAC using Teensy 4.1, SPI and DMA

    I'm using Arduino 1.8.19 / Teensyduino 1.56 to code a custom PCB which has a Teensy 4.1 and 3 external MCP4922 dual channel DACs. The code is meant to take a buffer of data and send it to the appropriate DAC/channel. There is no receive part back to the Teensy.

    I had previously adapted code from a different project to send data to the DACs using SPI and DMA on Teensy 3.2, but having made a new version of the PCB with Teensy 4.1, I have been having trouble porting the code. I have got it working using just SPI, but I'm going around in circles with the DMA part after many hours reading the reference manual, trying to find examples and info from others doing a similar project.

    I am posting part of the schematic and a simplified chunk of code to show where I'm up to (it should just be the DMA configuration bits which need checking). Any help would be gratefully received (or if anyone has an example of code for Teensy 4.1 using SPI and DMA to write to external MCP4xxx DACs, then I could try to use that too).

    Code:
    #include <SPI.h>
    #include <DMAChannel.h>
    
    DMAChannel spi_dma(false);
    #define SPI_DMA_MAX 4096
    static uint32_t spi_dma_q[2][SPI_DMA_MAX] __attribute__((aligned(32)));        // Double buffer
    static unsigned spi_dma_which;                    // Which buffer is being processed
    static unsigned spi_dma_count;                    // How full the buffer is
    //static unsigned spi_dma_in_progress;              // DMA in progress flag
    volatile int    spi_dma_in_progress;              // DMA in progress flag
    
    // Not sure how these are allocated, or if they're correct, but they function on Teensy 3.2
    #define SPI_DMA_CS_IC3          0             
    #define SPI_DMA_CS_IC5          1                  
    #define SPI_DMA_CS_IC4          2                  
    
    // Teensy 4.1 SS pins connected to DACs
    const int SS0_IC5 =     8;        
    const int SS1_IC4 =     6;         
    const int SS1_IC3 =    22;    
      
    #define SDI             11
    #define SCK             13
    #define DELAY_PIN        7
    #define IO_PIN           5
    
    // settings
    static int OFF_SHIFT    =    5;   
    static int OFF_DWELL0   =    0;    
    static int OFF_DWELL1   =    2;   
    static int OFF_DWELL2   =    2;   
    static int NORMAL_SHIFT =    2;    
    
    static uint16_t x_pos;
    static uint16_t y_pos;
    
    #define DAC_CHAN_A 0
    #define DAC_CHAN_B 1
    
    static int DAC_X_CHAN = 1;
    static int DAC_Y_CHAN = 0;
    
    #define MAX_PTS 3000
    static unsigned rx_points;
    static unsigned num_points;
    
    typedef struct ColourIntensity {                 
        uint8_t red;
        uint8_t green;
        uint8_t blue;
    } ColourIntensity_t;
    
    static ColourIntensity_t LastColInt;              
    
    // Chunk of data to process using DMA or SPI
    typedef struct DataChunk {
        uint16_t x;                                  
        uint16_t y;
        uint8_t red;                                  
        uint8_t green;
        uint8_t blue;
    } DataChunk_t;
    
    static DataChunk_t Chunk[MAX_PTS];
    
    #define REFRESH_RATE 20000u
    
    void setup()
    {  
      Serial.begin(9600);
    
      // Set SS pins to 3 DACs to output
      
      pinMode(SS0_IC5, OUTPUT);
      digitalWriteFast(SS0_IC5, HIGH);
      delayNanoseconds(100);
      pinMode(SS1_IC4, OUTPUT);
      digitalWriteFast(SS1_IC4, HIGH);
      delayNanoseconds(100);
      pinMode(SS1_IC3, OUTPUT);
      digitalWriteFast(SS1_IC3, HIGH);
      delayNanoseconds(100);
    
      pinMode(DELAY_PIN, OUTPUT);
      pinMode(IO_PIN, OUTPUT);
    
      digitalWriteFast(DELAY_PIN, 0);
      delayNanoseconds(100);
    
      pinMode(SDI, OUTPUT);
      pinMode(SCK, OUTPUT);
      
      delay(1);         // https://www.pjrc.com/better-spi-bus-design-in-3-steps/
    
      draw_test_pattern();
    
      SPI.begin();
      SPI.beginTransaction(SPISettings(20000000, MSBFIRST, SPI_MODE0));
    
    /*  uint32_t fastio = IOMUXC_PAD_SRE | IOMUXC_PAD_DSE(3) | IOMUXC_PAD_SPEED(3); Do the 3 pins need to be configured for DMA?
      
      // from old Teensy 3.2 code : configure the output on pins 6, 8, 22 for !SS0 from the SPI hardware
      // and pin 6 for !SS1.
      CORE_PIN6_CONFIG = fastio;
      CORE_PIN8_CONFIG = fastio;
      CORE_PIN22_CONFIG = fastio;
    */
      // Set up a DMA channel to send the SPI data
      spi_dma.begin(true);                                        // Allocate the DMA channel first
      spi_dma.destination((volatile uint8_t &) LPSPI4_TDR);       // SHOULD BE UINT32_T???
      spi_dma.disableOnCompletion();
      spi_dma.triggerAtHardwareEvent( DMAMUX_SOURCE_LPSPI4_TX );  // start
      spi_dma.transferSize(4);                                    // write all 32-bits
      
      // send something to get it started
    
      spi_dma_which = 0;
      spi_dma_count = 0;
    
      spi_dma_tx_append(0, 1);    
      spi_dma_tx_append(0, 2);   
    
      spi_dma_tx();
    }
    
    void loop()
    {
      static uint32_t frame_micros;
      uint32_t now;
      
      while (1)
        {
        now = micros();
    
        // make sure we flush the partial buffer once the last one has completed
        if (spi_dma_tx_complete())
          {
          if (rx_points == 0 && now - frame_micros > REFRESH_RATE)
            break;
          spi_dma_tx();
          }
        }
     
      frame_micros = now;
    
      // if there are any DMAs currently in transit, wait for them to complete
      while (!spi_dma_tx_complete())
        ;
    
      // now start any last buffered ones and wait for those to complete.
      spi_dma_tx();
      
      while (!spi_dma_tx_complete())
        ;
    
      for(unsigned n = 0 ; n < num_points ; n++)
        {
        const DataChunk_t pt = Chunk[n];
        
        if (pt.red + pt.green + pt.blue == 0) 
          draw_moveto(pt.x, pt.y);
        else
          {
          brightness(pt.red, pt.green, pt.blue); 
          _draw_lineto(pt.x, pt.y, NORMAL_SHIFT);
          } 
        }
    
      brightness(0, 0, 0);
      goto_x(2048);
      goto_y(2048);
    }
    
    static void draw_test_pattern()
    {
      rx_points = 0;
      
      rx_append(0, 0, 0, 0, 0);
      rx_append(1024, 0, 128, 128, 128); 
      rx_append(1024, 1024, 128, 128, 128); 
      rx_append(0, 1024, 128, 128, 128); 
      rx_append(0, 0, 128, 128, 128); 
    }
    
    void rx_append(int x, int y, uint8_t red, uint8_t green, uint8_t blue)
    {
      rx_points ++;
      Chunk[rx_points].x = x & 0xFFF;
      Chunk[rx_points].y = y & 0xFFF;
      Chunk[rx_points].red = red;
      Chunk[rx_points].green = green;
      Chunk[rx_points].blue = blue;
    }
    
    void draw_moveto(int x1, int y1)
    {
      brightness(0, 0, 0);
    
      dwell(OFF_DWELL1);
       _draw_lineto(x1, y1, OFF_SHIFT);
       dwell(OFF_DWELL2);
    }
    
    static inline void brightness(uint8_t red, uint8_t green, uint8_t blue)
    {
      dwell(OFF_DWELL0);
    
      if (LastColInt.red != red)
      {
        LastColInt.red = red;
    
        // Some confusion here as to what to send : the SPI_DMA_CS or SS pin ...
        
        MCP4922_write(SPI_DMA_CS_IC5, DAC_CHAN_B, red << 4);
     //   MCP4922_write(SS0_IC5, DAC_CHAN_B, red << 4);
      }
     
      if (LastColInt.green != green)
      {
        LastColInt.green = green;
        MCP4922_write(SS0_IC5, DAC_CHAN_A, green << 4);  
       }
      
      if (LastColInt.blue != blue)
      {
        LastColInt.blue = blue;
        MCP4922_write(SS0_IC5, DAC_CHAN_B, blue << 4); 
      }
    }
    
    static inline void goto_x(uint16_t x)
    {
      x_pos = x;
      MCP4922_write(SS1_IC4, DAC_X_CHAN, 4095 - x);  
    }
    
    static inline void goto_y(uint16_t y)
    {
      y_pos = y;
      MCP4922_write(SS1_IC4, DAC_Y_CHAN, 4095 - y); 
    }
    
    static void dwell(const int count)
    {
      for (int i = 0 ; i < count ; i++)
      {
        if (i & 1)
          goto_x(x_pos);
        else
          goto_y(y_pos);
      }
    }
    
    static inline void _draw_lineto(int x1, int y1, const int bright_shift)
    {
      int dx;
      int dy;
      int sx;
      int sy;
    
      const int x1_orig = x1;
      const int y1_orig = y1;
    
      int x_off = x1 & ((1 << bright_shift) - 1);
      int y_off = y1 & ((1 << bright_shift) - 1);
      x1 >>= bright_shift;
      y1 >>= bright_shift;
      int x0 = x_pos >> bright_shift;
      int y0 = y_pos >> bright_shift;
    
      goto_x(x_pos);
      goto_y(y_pos);
    
      if (x0 <= x1)
      {
        dx = x1 - x0;
        sx = 1;
      }
      else
      {
        dx = x0 - x1;
        sx = -1;
      }
    
      if (y0 <= y1)
      {
        dy = y1 - y0;
        sy = 1;
      }
      else
      {
        dy = y0 - y1;
        sy = -1;
      }
    
      int err = dx - dy;
    
      while (1)
      {
        if (x0 == x1 && y0 == y1)
          break;
    
        int e2 = 2 * err;
        if (e2 > -dy)
        {
          err = err - dy;
          x0 += sx;
          goto_x(x_off + (x0 << bright_shift));
        }
        if (e2 < dx)
        {
          err = err + dx;
          y0 += sy;
          goto_y(y_off + (y0 << bright_shift));
        }
      }
    
      // ensure that we end up exactly where we want
      goto_x(x1_orig);
      goto_y(y1_orig);
    }
    
    void MCP4922_write(int cs_pin, byte dac, uint16_t value) 
    {
      value &= 0x0FFF; // mask out just the 12 bits of data
    
      // add the output channel A or B on the selected DAC, and buffer flag
    #if 1
      // select the output channel on the selected DAC, buffered, no gain
      value |= 0x7000 | (dac == 1 ? 0x8000 : 0x0000);
    #else
      // select the output channel on the selected DAC, unbuffered, no gain
      value |= 0x3000 | (dac == 1 ? 0x8000 : 0x0000);
    #endif
      
      if (spi_dma_tx_append(value, cs_pin) == 0)
        return;
    
      // wait for the previous line to finish
      while(!spi_dma_tx_complete())
        ;
    
      // now send this line, which swaps buffers
      spi_dma_tx();
    }
    
    static int spi_dma_tx_append(uint16_t value, int spi_dma_cs)
    {
      spi_dma_q[spi_dma_which][spi_dma_count++] = 0 | ((uint32_t)value) | (spi_dma_cs << 16); // enable the chip select line
    
      if (spi_dma_count == SPI_DMA_MAX)
        return 1;
      return 0;
    }
    
    static void spi_dma_tx()
    {
      if (spi_dma_count == 0)
        return;
      
      digitalWriteFast(DELAY_PIN, 1);
    
      // add a EOQ to the last entry
      spi_dma_q[spi_dma_which][spi_dma_count-1] |= (1<<27);
     
      spi_dma.clearComplete();
      spi_dma.clearError();
      spi_dma.sourceBuffer(spi_dma_q[spi_dma_which], 4 * spi_dma_count);  // in bytes, not thingies
      
      spi_dma_which = !spi_dma_which;
      spi_dma_count = 0;
    
      LPSPI4_CR &= ~LPSPI_CR_MEN;             // Disable LPSPI:
      LPSPI4_CFGR1 |= LPSPI_CFGR1_NOSTALL;    // Prevent stall from RX
      //LPSPI4_TCR = 15;                      // Framesize 16 Bits - seems to stop things working on Teensy 4.1
      LPSPI4_FCR = 0;                         // Fifo Watermark
      LPSPI4_DER = LPSPI_DER_TDDE;            // TX DMA Request Enable
      LPSPI4_CR |= LPSPI_CR_MEN;              // Enable LPSPI
       
      digitalWrite(SS0_IC5, LOW);
      digitalWrite(SS1_IC4, LOW);
      digitalWrite(SS1_IC3, LOW);
      
      spi_dma.enable();
      spi_dma_in_progress = 1;
    }
    
    static int spi_dma_tx_complete()
    {
      if (!spi_dma_in_progress)           // if nothing is in progress, we're "complete"
        return 1;
     
      if (!spi_dma.complete())
         return 0;
      
      digitalWriteFast(DELAY_PIN, 0);
      
      digitalWrite(SS0_IC5, HIGH);
      digitalWrite(SS1_IC4, HIGH);
      digitalWrite(SS1_IC3, HIGH);
      
      spi_dma.clearComplete();
      spi_dma.clearError();
      
      delayMicroseconds(5);              
      
      LPSPI4_CR &= ~LPSPI_CR_MEN;             // disable LPSPI:
      
      spi_dma_in_progress = 0;
      return 1;
    }
    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
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    I have just posted up the complete project on Github: schematic, gerber, BOM, code, etc in the hope that this will encourage someone to spend a little time getting DMA up and working on this exciting (if you are a vector graphics / arcade game nerd) project! It's all here: https://github.com/english1234/vstcm

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by english2 View Post
    I have just posted up the complete project on Github: schematic, gerber, BOM, code, etc in the hope that this will encourage someone to spend a little time getting DMA up and working on this exciting (if you are a vector graphics / arcade game nerd) project! It's all here: https://github.com/english1234/vstcm
    Anyone able to offer any advice on this? It's an open source project for the arcade community. I was thinking that FlexIO could be an alternative solution to DMA maybe?

  4. #4
    Senior Member+ manitou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by english2 View Post
    I have got it working using just SPI, but I'm going around in circles with the DMA part after many hours reading the reference manual, trying to find examples and info from others doing a similar project.
    if you "got it working using just SPI", did you find the performance lacking? When I do a 1024-byte SPI.transfer() with SPI clock at 40MHz, I measure a data rate at 37.4 megabits/sec. I believe the Teensy4 SPI library already incorporates many optimizations, including DMA.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by manitou View Post
    if you "got it working using just SPI", did you find the performance lacking? When I do a 1024-byte SPI.transfer() with SPI clock at 40MHz, I measure a data rate at 37.4 megabits/sec. I believe the Teensy4 SPI library already incorporates many optimizations, including DMA.
    Yes, performance is lacking as I'm updating the 5 channels sequentially. I'm using the simple form of SPI.transfer with one parameter which is the data (which is blocking, I believe). There seems to be another way of using SPI.transfer with an eventhandler callback procedure, which is asynchonous and uses DMA, but I can't get it to work for more than one channel of one DAC.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by english2 View Post
    Yes, performance is lacking as I'm updating the 5 channels sequentially. I'm using the simple form of SPI.transfer with one parameter which is the data (which is blocking, I believe). There seems to be another way of using SPI.transfer with an eventhandler callback procedure, which is asynchonous and uses DMA, but I can't get it to work for more than one channel of one DAC.
    Teensy 4.x also has transfer16() and transfer32(). If you can do each DAC with a single 32-bit transfer, that should be a significant improvement over individual 8-bit transfers, even without DMA.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by joepasquariello View Post
    Teensy 4.x also has transfer16() and transfer32(). If you can do each DAC with a single 32-bit transfer, that should be a significant improvement over individual 8-bit transfers, even without DMA.
    I tried out transfer16 and just could not get it to work for some reason. I didn't realise that there was transfer32. I'll try again... thanks for the suggestion.

  8. #8
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    I have now got SPI.transfer16 and the non blocking SPI.transfer with event handler working, but I'm addressing each of the 3 MCP4922 DACs with dual channels sequentially and sending 12 bits of data + 4 bits of control to each. Neither type of transfer is giving sufficient performance for my needs. I need to find a way to send as much of the data as possible to the DACs simultaneously. It looks like FlexIO is the way to go, but I'm not sure if I have wired the DACs correctly for this. Right now I have a separate CS pin for each DAC, but someone mentioned that I should connect all 3 CS DAC pins to one pin on the Teensy, and use a separate pin for each sdi signal, which would be like a SPI bus with 3 datalines and for the Teensy the 3 dacs would look like one with 3*2 channels. Apparently FlexIO can be configured to support this multi data line SPI bus. The idea would then be to send 2 x 48 bits (48 to each of the 2 "channels"), which should be faster than sending 6 x 16 bits. Has anyone set up something like this or got any example code I could look at? I'm looking at Kurt's FlexIO T4 library examples, but this is a bit more complex than that, and I'm not sure how to go about it.

  9. #9
    You haven’t really said what is your speed requirement. It seems to just be “faster”. You might be on your own with FlexIO. You could try transfer32() or multiple SPI.

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