@Adam (aeroengineer): I remember seeing and writing about this Red Pitaya Kickstarter project when it had just launched -- I'm delighted to hear that they are doing so well -- hopefully you will be writing a blog or two about the Red Pitaya when you eventually get one in your hands.
@Max, I will be posting a few more posts about this device. There will be one that is focused on the design side of things, what is it, and how did they arrive at the techincal solution, and then one where it is a review of the device itself. As their Community develops, I may also come back and see how that is working.
Rok and his team have been top notch in allowing me to ask quite a few questions.
I am interested, how would you envision this being implemented in the easiest way of being used? Is there a. specific method that you would like to see? like I said, Rok and his group are watching the comments for ideas.
The Red Pitaya project defines a new product category. The open source software structure combines ease of use and development platform functionality. The intuitive web based applications turn Red Pitaya into a palette of single click accessible software defined instruments. From the other side the source code is available in order to enable new application development. Here different entry levels are supported and the Red Pitaya developer can incrementally apply changes to the pre-existing code and learn through direct experience. The beauty of Red Pitaya is that building blocks can be reused by different applications and there is no need to start developing from scratch each time a new functionality is required. For example, once the signal acquisition and signal generation building blocks are defined is relatively easy to turn a spectrum analyser into a frequency response analysis tool. This saves a lot of development effort and enables the developer to focus on the algorithms, avoiding the distraction of implementation details. Moreover developers can share their applications with the community in order to enrich the set of available applications and building blocks. Red Pitaya as a self standing network attached operating system based instrument does not need additional modules to operate. The 14 bits 125 Msps two channel signal acquisition and generation functionality give to the instrument enough flexibility to cover many applications in the DC to 50 MHz frequency range. Additional analog input and output channels are available and there are other extension possibilities. www.redpitaya.com
Yes it's very nice - currently listed as $449. However, just as the FPGA Zedboard lead to the cheaper Microboard, I keep hoping for a "Pitaya Lite".
One ADC, one DAC, slower 100M ethernet [or just USB], dump the micro SD... under $200. Stack 2 together and you have the IO of the original, without the high speed network support, for almost the same price.
Call it the White Pitaya, Dragonfruit, or just Hylocereus.
The specs are in the forst link, but I will go and gather them up and post them in a comment. I am aware of a few other potential applications that might find a home on the Red Pitaya. It has the potential to be a VNA, logic analyzer, and a few others that still need to be coded up. Due to the reconfigurable nature of the device, there are many potential applications.
I would once again encourage you to go to their website and go to the details page as they have much more information there, but here is the sumary. The device has 2 analog inputs and 2 analog outputs that are 14bit and about 50MHz.This compares to most other scopes that are only 8bit resolution. there are also 2 PID control channels. There are also some slower analog input channels that are slower speed, as well as 16 digital io channels.
I may have missed something as I am trying to do this on my phone while I am out of town 😉
Can it be used to speed up the hardware development. like there is a long cycle in hardware development schematics, boards, placing compnents and testing and then proving. Using Red Pitaya the concept can be proven first. One can save some time and cost.
It can be used to speed up hardware design, but not in the exact way youu may be mentioning. The core of the device is a reprogrammable FPGA that is supported by ARM A series coprocessors. This allows the device to have an OS as well as reconfigure how it processes the data coming in from both analog and digital sources. With the fact that it has both analog and digital outputs, you could potentially use it as a device simmulator for a part that you currently have yet to design.
I have used some of the NI equipment, and can say that they do have great support, but most of their hardware is very expensive. For. a simple 4 bridge strain gauge module it was on the order of 1000 dollars, plus you still needed the main board to plug the module into. I am sure that they have faster analog input devices, but I am sure that they would be more costly without any outputs.
I also have used NI kit. I have a MyDAQ, which is intended for student use and was cheap, but it is only 200 KSPS which I find woefully inadequate (Compare Red Pitaya at 50 MSPS). Digilent do make the Analog Discovery which is more comparable to the Red Pitaya and is $99 if you can get the student price. 100 MSPS 14-bit channels and they claim effective 5 MHz bandwidth. But it's not intended for development - just as an instrument - and the Red Pitaya can be reprogrammed to be part of a bigger system I think?
The Red Pitaya early bird price was $299 each and the subsequent price was $359 each (with higher prices for additional features). As of today they have 5x the original target in funding. If they reach strecth objective funding levels then all the units ship with improved specifications.
Yes, they did upgrade the network connection to gigabit speed and increased the ram from 1 to 4 gig. All the units will ship with these improvements. There was a small delay caused by the upgrade to the gigabit network connection, but they have communicated this well with their backers. There was a small board level redesign in the ethernet connector region. The great thing is that even thought this was a small intermittant problem that most manufacturers would have swept under the rug and shipped hardware while silently making a revision, they choose to stop shipment and redesign. I can think of more than a few companies lately that have been shipping defective hardware hoping it would either go un noticed or that there would be some goodwill because they shipped on time. I commend them for the path they took.
I wanted to post this for reasons of full disclosure. I really do like the Red Pitaya concept, though I have not received any financial compensation from them. I have received the promise to be able to test on at a future date. I also have developed a good friendship with Rok, the founder. He and I exchange emails on a regular basis. We have also kicked back and forth some futuere ideas. I feel that it is important for the readers to have this information.
The Red Pitaya project is truly a game changer in that introduces a new category of devices. It offers open source software that's easy to use and at the same time performs a t a certain level of functionality. Web-based applications are becoming more and more important with cloud computing and Red Playa takes full advantage of that wave. Part of the ease of use icomes in the fact that it only takes one click to access many of these instruments and that source code is available for those looking to offer new applications in development. On the whole this is an exciting breakthrough and one that shouldn't be overlooked. There are many uses for it and we should see more devices like it in the coming years.
I think that the biggest thing is that they are developing a community around the device. This to me is more important than being open source. I have seen many open source projects that are almost unintelegable. They lack documentation, or how to even get basic functionality out of the devce. Worse yet they contain errors.
With the community effort it allows for the sharing of ideas and the real process of learning takes place. You have both teachers and students of various levels. For me this will be great. I am looking forward to learning more about custom instrumentation and FPGA's.
Yeah, I think that the community will be key. I look forward to seeing how they implement it. This combined with good documentation. I think that these are two key things to have a sucessful open source project, especially one like the Red Pitaya. Most of the open source projects that I come across are just junk. It is sad to say. I know that people get all excited about them, but oftentimes they over promise and under deliver, and it takes a great effort to just get them to work.
Yep- good docs are key. Perhaps this will be a problem for kickstarter campaigns. The focus wil be on getting the product out and not developing the documentation infrastructure needed to really get momentum going. I'd like to see more kickstarter likecampaigns involve the community as more than just financial backers. How about getting backers to help with documentation, testing, example designs, etc as a form of 'backing' too?
It is really great to see products like this rise to the top. There is a lot of noise still in the crowd funded projects, but I think that it is getting better. The one thing that I do not like about Kickstarter is that it is rather hard to search for the types of things that you are looking for.