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Looking for controller + SD card solution

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Richard Rasker, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. Hello,

    The question is simple: I'm looking for a relatively simple microcontroller
    with proper SD card support, for logging some basic data (switching LEDs
    on, waiting for a button to be pressed, and loggin the timing between these
    events).

    In the past, I've built something based on an Atmel controller and Ronald
    Riegel's SD software stack (http://www.roland-riegel.de/sd-reader/ ), but
    the programming guru I worked with found this a bit too frugal in all, and
    wasn't quite certain it was fully stable. I did the job though, but I
    thought I'd look for something more modern anyway.

    I found NXP's LPC1758 and LPC1768 controllers, but these are frankly
    overkill for the job. If it weren't for the SD card, I could easily do the
    whole thing in the cheapest PIC controller.

    Since I'm better at hardware than at software, I thought I'd ask here for
    some hints to point me in the right direction. Basically, I need a simple
    controller with proven reliable SD card support. Does anyone around here
    have any tips or preferences?

    Thanks in advance, best regards,

    Richard Rasker
     
  2. hamilton

    hamilton Guest


    I have used:
    https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10216?

    I installed this data logger in a rooftop air conditioning unit 2 years ago.

    Still running.

    The only problem is which SD card to use.
    The first cards I used did not like the summer heat.
    In the summer none of the SD cards I used lasted more then 2-3 weeks.

    I added this:
    https://www.sparkfun.com/products/9530

    and ran the SD card over a serial link inside the building.

    A relay to switch power ON/OFF to the OpenLOG device helped keep things
    in check.

    If I were to do this over, I would use an Arduino and OpenLOG device
    together.

    hamilton
     
  3. If you need any kind of real-time data rate with the logging, go with
    your guru and pick a BIG inexpensive micro. Big in RAM, that is. SD
    cards are nasty little things that can go AWOL for many, many
    milliseconds at a time (unspecified by 'class' or anywhere else that I
    can tell). You need enough buffer to avoid that happening.

    You also need to look at the library for file systems if that's
    important to you (so you can read it on a PC or whatever), and you may
    need to license IP for a file system that can handle large file sizes.
    Just writing to a SD card using SPI mode is something any micro can
    handle, but you probably want better than that.

    I would definitely go with an ARM processor, and one that has an eval
    board with an SD card socket and library to check it out. I can't give
    any specific recomendations beyond that (though I note that a few ARM
    micros have hardware to support SD cards on board- OKI maybe and
    others??)
     
  4. This is what a real paper logger looks like 'roud these here parts:

     
  5. This is a more clear version, but I thought you'd like the other one
    ;-)

     
  6. A Microchip PIC32 or even PIC24 associated with the FatFS open-source FAT
    stack will be ideal. We just finalized a project using this solution, with
    up to 460KB/s sustained write throughput on an SDHC using a PIC32. Nice,
    code, easy integration.

    Cheers,
    Robert Lacoste
    ALCIOM - The mixed signal experts
    www.alciom.com


    "Richard Rasker" wrote in message

    Hello,

    The question is simple: I'm looking for a relatively simple microcontroller
    with proper SD card support, for logging some basic data (switching LEDs
    on, waiting for a button to be pressed, and loggin the timing between these
    events).

    In the past, I've built something based on an Atmel controller and Ronald
    Riegel's SD software stack (http://www.roland-riegel.de/sd-reader/ ), but
    the programming guru I worked with found this a bit too frugal in all, and
    wasn't quite certain it was fully stable. I did the job though, but I
    thought I'd look for something more modern anyway.

    I found NXP's LPC1758 and LPC1768 controllers, but these are frankly
    overkill for the job. If it weren't for the SD card, I could easily do the
    whole thing in the cheapest PIC controller.

    Since I'm better at hardware than at software, I thought I'd ask here for
    some hints to point me in the right direction. Basically, I need a simple
    controller with proven reliable SD card support. Does anyone around here
    have any tips or preferences?

    Thanks in advance, best regards,

    Richard Rasker
     
  7. josephkk

    josephkk Guest

    On the face of, it at this point, take a blowtorch to the "programmer"
    about what is wrong with frugal. Indicate that you despise people that
    need 10X the resources to do something simple.

    But that is just my point of view.

    ?-)
     
  8. Guest

     
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