Posts Tagged RPi

Raspberry Pi I2C vs. Bosch BNO055 Clock Stretching: SCL Current Visualization

Clipping a Tek A6302 Hall effect current probe around the I2C SCL line between a Raspberry Pi and an Adafruit BNO055 sensor breakout board:

RPi I2C SCL current probe

RPi I2C SCL current probe

The arrow on the probe points toward the Pi, so (conventional) current flowing through the 10 kΩ pulldown resistors into the Pi will be positive and current flowing from the Pi into the BNO055 will be negative.

The top (yellow, analog) trace shows the current (1 mA/div) flowing through SCL:

I2C 100kHz - BNO055 SCL 1 mA-div - B7 Rd error

I2C 100kHz – BNO055 SCL 1 mA-div – B7 Rd error

The four distinct current levels show the clock state:

  • +1 mA = Pi pulling low
  • 0 mA = SCL high, no sinks active
  • -1 mA = Pi and BNO055 pulling low (clock stretching!)
  • -2 mA = BNO055 pulling low

The 0 mA baseline isn’t exactly at zero, because the AM502 amp has thermal drift like you wouldn’t believe, particularly with the gain cranked to 1 mA/div.

The probe + amp calibration seems slightly bogus: a 3.3 V supply pulled to ground at the Pi through the 10 kΩ resistor on the BNO055 breakout should deliver 0.33 mA, not nearly 1 mA. It’s close enough for now; I should cook up a probe calibration fixture.

The BNO055 sinks about 2 mA, which suggests a 1.6 kΩ pullup to 3.3 V on the Pi. Although you’re supposed to have one pullup on the I2C bus lines, some casual searching with the obvious keywords shows the Pi has 1.8 kΩ resistors on board.

Huh. Who knew?

So Adafruit’s advice to add 2.2 or 3.3 kΩ pullups at the BNO055 (admittedly, for a Beaglebone, not a Pi, but I suspect some folks miss such details) lowers the parallel resistance to about 1 kΩ, just about as low as you should go. It is not obvious to me that reducing the resistance by a factor of two will change the bus timing by enough to rescue a marginal situation (stipulated: the Pi is beyond marginal). TI has a useful App Note  on the subject of I2C pull up resistance calculations.

Anyhow, I now have a way to examine the Pi’s clock stretching bugginess in grim detail, which is the point of this exercise. Note that the hardware bug has remained un-fixed (probably tagged WONTFIX) in all Pi silicon versions, including the Pi 3 as of 2018.



Raspberry Pi: Nominal vs. Actual I2C Speeds

Two lines in /boot/config.txt enable the I2C hardware and set the I2C bus speed:


However, the actual SCL frequency comes from dividing the CPU’s core clock by an even integer, so you can’t always get what you want. The Pi 3 ticks along at 1.2 GHz (actually 1.1 GHz, because marketing) from a core clock of 550 MHz, so a 200 kHz clock calls for a 2750 divider: 550 MHz / 2750 = 200 kHz.

Actually measuring the SCL frequencies suggests something else is going on:

I2C 200kHz - actual 125kHz

I2C 200kHz – actual 125kHz

D0, the bottom trace, is SCL, D1 is SDA, and D2 is a trigger output not used in this setup. The yellow analog trace is the current in the SCL line between the Pi and the BNO055, about which more later.

So a 200 kHz nominal frequency produces a 125 kHz actual frequency.

The BNO055 pulls the clock low (“clock stretching”), which can (and does) cause problems, but it’s not active during the main part of the transfer where the Pi determines the SCL frequency.

More measurement along those lines produces a table:

CPU Core Clock: 550 MHz
Nominal Ratio Actual Ratio
250 2200 156.20 3521
200 2750 125.00 4400
150 3667 92.59 5940
125 4400 78.12 7040
100 5500 62.50 8800
50 11000 31.25 17600
25 22000 15.63 35189
10 55000 6.25 88000

Apparently, the code converting the nominal I2C rate in config.txt uses a table of divider values intended for another CPU core clock. AFAICT, the boot code could divide the actual core clock by the desired I2C frequency to produce the appropriate value.

I have no particular desire to Use The Source to figure out what’s going on …

[Update: Perhaps this comes along with CPU clock throttling due to temperature. For completeness, I should dump the temperature and actual clock speed.]

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Raspberry Pi 3 I2C vs. Bosch BNO055 Absolute Orientation Sensor

I’ve been coaching a high-school student (and his father!) on the intricacies of building a self-balancing robot; they’re doing all the hard work and I’m running interference with techie bugs. This one turned out to be particularly nasty.

It seems all versions of Raspberry Pis have an I2C bus hardware problem preventing them from working correctly with Adafruit’s Bosch BNO055 (yes, “bee en oh zero five five”) Absolute Position Sensor. The problem has been variously diagnosed as being due to the Pi’s inability to handle clock stretching in arbitrary parts of the I2C transaction and the BNO055 chip’s exquisite sensitivity to I2C bus levels, but it’s worse than that.

Reading the chip’s temperature sensor once every second produced this output:

BNO055 Sensor - Temperature Register vs I2C

BNO055 Sensor – Temperature Register vs I2C

He now knows why you must always leading-zero-fill binary values.

The shorter values say the chip ran at 26 °C, which means the longer values have a bogus binary 1 in bit 7. I2C bus transfers proceed MSB-first, so the Pi occasionally reads a bogus 1 at the first clock transition while reading the single temperature byte from the BNO055.

After some flailing around, we observed two types of I2C bus transactions.

Without clock stretching:

BNO055 - Normal I2C transaction

BNO055 – Normal I2C transaction

With clock stretching:

BNO055 - Clock-stretched I2C transaction

BNO055 – Clock-stretched I2C transaction

Contrary to what one might think from the lead-in description, the non-stretched version always produces the incorrect leading bit and the stretched version usually delivers the correct result.

He had previously installed the clock stretch workaround and we verified it was active. Turning it off had no effect, as did turning it back on again. The value uses units of the SCL period, so the modified value of 20000 produces 20×103 counts of 1/(100 k bit/s) = 2 s, far longer than any delay we observed. In fact, the default 640 μs would (apparently) suffice for the BNO055.

I installed the Adafruit-recommended pullup resistors and we verified they had no effect.

We noticed, but I did not record, nasty positive-going pulses on both SDA and SCL which were not due to noise or supply problems. As far as I can tell, the Pi does not maintain control over the I2C bus lines during some phases of the transaction, perhaps when the BNO055 invokes clock stretching, allowing the pullups to produce narrow upward glitches crossing the logic threshold. This will merit further study.

The solution, such as it is, seems to require slowing the I2C bus transactions to 25 kb/s, by inserting a line in the /boot/config.txt file:

... dummy line to reveal underscores ...

Slowing to 50 kb/s produced intermittent errors, while 25 kb/s seemed to completely eliminate them. This contradicts suggestions of proper operation at any speed other than the default 100 kb/s. Note: this applies to a single-byte data value and longer transactions remain to be tested.

I want to verify that the lower rate also eliminates the glitches, which will require running the Pi with the scope plumbed into its guts for some time. For obvious reasons, he’d rather get the robot working, so, until he encounters more problems, I won’t see the hardware …



Squidwrench Electronics Workshop: Session 3

Ex post facto notes from the third Squidwrench Electronics Workshop.

Exhibit various 50 Ω resistors, including my all-time favorite, a 600 W 3 GHz dummy load:

600 W Dummy Load Resistor

600 W Dummy Load Resistor

… down to a 1/8 Ω metal film resistor.

The dummy load’s N connector triggered a regrettable digression into RF, belatedly squelched because I wasn’t prepared to extemporize on AC concepts like reactance which we haven’t covered yet.

Discussion of resistor applications, power handling, power derating with temperature, etc:

Whiteboard - Session 3 - Resistor power derating

Whiteboard – Session 3 – Resistor power derating

Why you generally won’t find 50 Ω load resistors in Raspberry Pi circuits. Cartridge heaters for 3D printers, not aluminum power resistors, although everyone agrees they look great:

Power resistors on heat spreader

Power resistors on heat spreader

Discussion of voltage vs. current sources, why voltage sources want low internal resistances and current sources want high resistances. Bungled discussion of current sources by putting diodes in parallel; they should go in series to show how added voltage doesn’t change current (much!) in sources driven from higher voltages through higher resistances:

Whiteboard - Session 3 - Voltage vs Current Sources

Whiteboard – Session 3 – Voltage vs Current Sources

Use Siglent SDM3045X DMM in diode test mode to measure forward drop of power / signal / colored LEDs, discuss voltage variation with color / photon energy. Measure 1.000 mA test current for all forward voltages.

Compute series resistor (500 Ω) to convert adjustable power supply (the digital tattoo box, a lesson in itself) into reasonable current source; roughly 10 V → 20 mA. Find suitable resistor (560 Ω) in SqWr junk box parts assortment, digression into color band reading.

Wire circuit with meters to measure diode current (series!) and voltage (parallel!), measure same hulking power diode (after discovering insulating washers now in full effect) as before in 1 mA steps to 10 mA, then 15 and 20 mA, tabulate & plot results:

Whiteboard - Session 3 - Diode current vs forward drop

Whiteboard – Session 3 – Diode current vs forward drop

Discover warm resistor, compute power at 20 mA, introduce cautionary tales.

Lesson learned about never returning parts to inventory, with 560 Ω resistor appearing in diode drawer. Cautionary tales about having benchtop can of used parts as front-end cache for inventory backing store.

Another intense day of bench work!


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Streaming Radio Player: CE Timing Tweak

Adding delays around the SPI control signal changes reduced the OLED glitch rate from maybe a few a week  to once a week, but didn’t completely solve the problem.

However, (nearly) all the remaining glitches seem to occur while writing a single row of pixels, which trashes the rest of the display and resolves on the next track update. That suggests slowing the timing during the initial hardware setup did change the results.

Another look at the Luma code showed I missed the Chip Enable (a.k.a. Chip Select in the SH1106 doc) change in

def _write_bytes(self, data):
    gpio = self._gpio
    if self._CE:
        gpio.output(self._CE, gpio.LOW)  # Active low

    for byte in data:
        for _ in range(8):
            gpio.output(self._SDA, byte & 0x80)
            gpio.output(self._SCLK, gpio.HIGH)
            byte <<= 1
            gpio.output(self._SCLK, gpio.LOW)

    if self._CE:
        gpio.output(self._CE, gpio.HIGH)

What remains unclear (to me, anyway) is how the code in Luma's bitbang class interacts with the hardware-based SPI code in Python’s underlying spidev library. I think what I just changed shouldn’t make any difference, because the code should be using the hardware driver, but the failure rate is now low enough I can’t be sure for another few weeks (and maybe not even then).

All this boils down to the Pi’s SPI hardware interface, which changes the CS output with setup / hold times measured in a few “core clock cycles”, which is way too fast for the SH1106. It seems there’s no control over CS timing, other than by changing the kernel’s bcm2708 driver code, which ain’t happening.

The Python library includes a no_cs option, with the caveat it will “disable use of the chip select (although the driver may still own the CS pin)”.

Running vcgencmd measure_clock core (usage and some commands) returns frequency(1)=250000000, which says a “core clock cycle” amounts to a whopping 4 ns.

Forcibly insisting on using Luma’s bitbang routine may be the only way to make this work, but I don’t yet know how to do that.

Obviously, I should code up a testcase to hammer the OLED and peer at the results on the oscilloscope: one careful observation outweighs a thousand opinions.


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Streaming Radio Player: Timing Tweaks

Slowing the SPI clock and updating the drivers having had no noticeable effect on the OLED display corruption, I once again pondered the SH1106 controller timing specs.

The chip reset seems remarkably slow, even at maximum VCC:

SH1106 - Reset Timing Specs

SH1106 – Reset Timing Specs

I think the relevant code is in the luma.core driver’s file. On the RPi, it resides in /usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/luma/core/interface/.

As far as I can tell, the bitbang class handles all the setup and teardown around the actual data transfers, but it’s not clear (to me, anyway) how it interacts with the underlying hardware SPI machinery.

So, let’s add some sleepiness to the Reset code:

        if self._RST is not None:
            self._gpio.output(self._RST, self._gpio.LOW)  # Reset device
            self._gpio.output(self._RST, self._gpio.HIGH)  # Keep RESET pulled high

A few milliseconds, rather than a few (hundred) microseconds, won’t make any perceptible difference.

Similarly, the Chip Select and Address (Command/Data) signals require more delay than might occur between successive Python statements:

SH1106 - SPI Address and Select Timing Specs

SH1106 – SPI Address and Select Timing Specs

This should do the trick, again with excessive delay:

        if self._DC:
            self._gpio.output(self._DC, self._cmd_mode)

... snippage ...

        if self._DC:
            self._gpio.output(self._DC, self._data_mode)

... snippage ...

        if self._CE:
            gpio.output(self._CE, gpio.LOW)  # Active low

... snippage ...

        if self._CE:
            gpio.output(self._CE, gpio.HIGH)

Although it shouldn’t be necessary, I blew away the pyc files to prevent future confusion over who’s doing what with which.

Once again, this will require several weeks to see whether the situation changes for the better.



MPCNC: Raspberry Pi Screw-down Case

Directly from  0110-M-P’s Thingiverse thing, because a Raspberry Pi in a 75 mm VESA mount case will work for me:

RPi in VESA case

RPi in VESA case

The hole fits a 25 mm fan, but the thing runs cool enough it should survive without forced air; think of it as a contingency. Mounting the case on standoffs seems like a Good Idea, however, as the bottom plate includes many vent slots for Good Circulation.

The top plate builds upside-down, so I had Slic3r add teeny support plugs inside the recessed screw holes. I think button-head screws would fit neatly in the recesses, but we’re obviously not in this for the looks.

The tiny white stud is a Reset switch hot-melt glued into the slot. I plan to just turn off the AC power after shutting the RPi down, so a power-on will suffice as a reset.

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