## How precise is my measurement?

Some might argue that measurement is a blend of skepticism and faith. While time constraints might make you lean toward faith, some healthy engineering skepticism should bring you back to statistics. This article reviews some practical statistics that can help you satisfy one common question posed by skeptical engineers: “How precise is my measurement?” As we’ll see, by understanding how to answer it, you gain a degree of control over your measurement time.

An accurate, precise...## Embedded World 2018 - More Videos!

After the interview videos last week, this week I am very happy to release two more videos taken at Embedded World 2018 and that I am proud of.

For both videos, I made extensive use of my two new toys, a Zhiyun Crane Gimbal and a Sony a6300 camera.

The use of a gimbal like the Zhiyun makes a big difference in terms of making the footage look much more stable and cinematographic.

As for the Sony camera, it takes fantastic slow-motion footage and...

## Phase or Frequency Shifter Using a Hilbert Transformer

In this article, we’ll describe how to use a Hilbert transformer to make a phase shifter or frequency shifter. In either case, the input is a real signal and the output is a real signal. We’ll use some simple Matlab code to simulate these systems. After that, we’ll go into a little more detail on Hilbert transformer theory and design.

Phase ShifterA conceptual diagram of a phase shifter is shown in Figure 1, where the bold lines indicate complex...

## Feedback Controllers - Making Hardware with Firmware. Part 8. Control Loop Test-bed

This part in the series will consider the signals, measurements, analyses and configurations for testing high-speed low-latency feedback loops and their controllers. Along with basic test signals, a versatile IFFT signal generation scheme will be discussed and implemented. A simple controller under test will be constructed to demonstrate the analysis principles in preparation for the design and evaluation of specific controllers and closed-loop applications.

Additional design...## Embedded World 2018 - The Interviews

Once again this year, I had the chance to go to Embedded World in Nuremberg Germany. And once again this year, I brought my video equipment to try and capture some of the most interesting things at the show.

Something new this year, I asked Jacob Beningo if he would partner with me in doing interviews with a few vendors. I would operate the camera while Jacob would ask the right questions to the vendors to make them talk about the key products/features that...

## Phase and Amplitude Calculation for a Pure Complex Tone in a DFT using Multiple Bins

IntroductionThis is an article to hopefully give a better understanding of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) by deriving exact formulas to calculate the phase and amplitude of a pure complex tone from several DFT bin values and knowing the frequency. This article is functionally an extension of my prior article "Phase and Amplitude Calculation for a Pure Complex Tone in a DFT"[1] which used only one bin for a complex tone, but it is actually much more similar to my approach for real...

## Linear Feedback Shift Registers for the Uninitiated, Part XIII: System Identification

Last time we looked at spread-spectrum techniques using the output bit sequence of an LFSR as a pseudorandom bit sequence (PRBS). The main benefit we explored was increasing signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) relative to other disturbance signals in a communication system.

This time we’re going to use a PRBS from LFSR output to do something completely different: system identification. We’ll show two different methods of active system identification, one using sine waves and the other...

## Coefficients of Cascaded Discrete-Time Systems

In this article, we’ll show how to compute the coefficients that result when you cascade discrete-time systems. With the coefficients in hand, it’s then easy to compute the time or frequency response. The computation presented here can also be used to find coefficients of mixed discrete-time and continuous-time systems, by using a discrete time model of the continuous-time portion [1].

This article is available in PDF format for...

## Design IIR Filters Using Cascaded Biquads

This article shows how to implement a Butterworth IIR lowpass filter as a cascade of second-order IIR filters, or biquads. We’ll derive how to calculate the coefficients of the biquads and do some examples using a Matlab function biquad_synth provided in the Appendix. Although we’ll be designing Butterworth filters, the approach applies to any all-pole lowpass filter (Chebyshev, Bessel, etc). As we’ll see, the cascaded-biquad design is less sensitive to coefficient...

## Design IIR Highpass Filters

This post is the fourth in a series of tutorials on IIR Butterworth filter design. So far we covered lowpass [1], bandpass [2], and band-reject [3] filters; now we’ll design highpass filters. The general approach, as before, has six steps:

Find the poles of a lowpass analog prototype filter with Ωc = 1 rad/s. Given the -3 dB frequency of the digital highpass filter, find the corresponding frequency of the analog highpass filter (pre-warping). Transform the...## Linear Feedback Shift Registers for the Uninitiated, Part XVI: Reed-Solomon Error Correction

Last time, we talked about error correction and detection, covering some basics like Hamming distance, CRCs, and Hamming codes. If you are new to this topic, I would strongly suggest going back to read that article before this one.

This time we are going to cover Reed-Solomon codes. (I had meant to cover this topic in Part XV, but the article was getting to be too long, so I’ve split it roughly in half.) These are one of the workhorses of error-correction, and they are used in...

## ADC Clock Jitter Model, Part 2 – Random Jitter

In Part 1, I presented a Matlab function to model an ADC with jitter on the sample clock, and applied it to examples with deterministic jitter. Now we’ll investigate an ADC with random clock jitter, by using a filtered or unfiltered Gaussian sequence as the jitter source. What we are calling jitter can also be called time jitter, phase jitter, or phase noise. It’s all the same phenomenon. Typically, we call it jitter when we have a time-domain representation,...

## Frequency Dependence in Free Space Propagation

Introduction

It seems to be fairly common knowledge, even among practicing professionals, that the efficiency of propagation of wireless signals is frequency dependent. Generally it is believed that lower frequencies are desirable since pathloss effects will be less than they would be at higher frequencies. As evidence of this, the Friis Transmission Equation[i] is often cited, the general form of which is usually written as:

Pr = Pt Gt Gr ( λ / 4πd )2 (1)

where the...

## PID Without a PhD

I both consult and teach in the area of digital control. Through both of these efforts, I have found that while there certainly are control problems that require all the expertise I can bring to bear, there are a great number of control problems that can be solved with the most basic knowledge of simple controllers, without resort to any formal control theory at all.

This article will tell you how to implement a simple controller in software and how to tune it without getting into heavy...

## Discrete Wavelet Transform Filter Bank Implementation (part 1)

UPDATE: Added graphs and code to explain the frequency division of the branches

The focus of this article is to briefly explain an implementation of this transform and several filter bank forms. Theoretical information about DWT can be found elsewhere.

First of all, a 'quick and dirty' simplified explanation of the differences between DFT and DWT:

The DWT (Discrete Wavelet Transform), simply put, is an operation that receives a signal as an input (a vector of data) and...

## Using the DFT as a Filter: Correcting a Misconception

I have read, in some of the literature of DSP, that when the discrete Fourier transform (DFT) is used as a filter the process of performing a DFT causes an input signal's spectrum to be frequency translated down to zero Hz (DC). I can understand why someone might say that, but I challenge that statement as being incorrect. Here are my thoughts.

Using the DFT as a Filter It may seem strange to think of the DFT as being used as a filter but there are a number of applications where this is...

## Reduced-Delay IIR Filters

This blog gives the results of a preliminary investigation of reduced-delay (reduced group delay) IIR filters based on my understanding of the concepts presented in a recent interesting blog by Steve Maslen [1].

Development of a Reduced-Delay 2nd-Order IIR Filter

Maslen's development of a reduced-delay 2nd-order IIR filter begins with a traditional prototype filter, HTrad, shown in Figure 1(a). The first modification to the prototype filter is to extract the b0 feedforward coefficient...

## Design IIR Band-Reject Filters

In this post, I show how to design IIR Butterworth band-reject filters, and provide two Matlab functions for band-reject filter synthesis. Earlier posts covered IIR Butterworth lowpass [1] and bandpass [2] filters. Here, the function br_synth1.m designs band-reject filters based on null frequency and upper -3 dB frequency, while br_synth2.m designs them based on lower and upper -3 dB frequencies. I’ll discuss the differences between the two approaches later in this...

## Learn About Transmission Lines Using a Discrete-Time Model

We don’t often think about signal transmission lines, but we use them every day. Familiar examples are coaxial cable, Ethernet cable, and Universal Serial Bus (USB). Like it or not, high-speed clock and signal traces on printed-circuit boards are also transmission lines.

While modeling transmission lines is in general a complex undertaking, it is surprisingly simple to model a lossless, uniform line with resistive terminations by using a discrete-time approach. A...

## Discrete-Time PLLs, Part 1: Basics

In this series of tutorials on discrete-time PLLs we will be focusing on Phase-Locked Loops that can be implemented in discrete-time signal proessors such as FPGAs, DSPs and of course, MATLAB.

## Some Observations on Comparing Efficiency in Communication Systems

IntroductionEngineering is usually about managing efficiencies of one sort or another. One of my favorite working definitions of an engineer says, "An engineer is somebody who can do for a nickel what any damn fool can do for a dollar." In that case, the implication is that the cost is one of the characteristics being optimized. But cost isn't always the main efficiency metric, or at least the only one. Consider how a common transportation appliance, the automobile, is optimized...

## Wavelets I - From Filter Banks to the Dilation Equation

This is the first in what I hope will be a series of posts about wavelets, particularly about the Fast Wavelet Transform (FWT). The FWT is extremely useful in practice and also very interesting from a theoretical point of view. Of course there are already plenty of resources, but I found them tending to be either simple implementation guides that do not touch on the many interesting and sometimes crucial connections. Or they are highly mathematical and definition-heavy, for a...

## Online DSP Classes: Why Such a High Dropout Rate?

Last year the IEEE Signal Processing Magazine published a lengthy article describing three university-sponsored online digital signal processing (DSP) courses [1]. The article detailed all the effort the professors expended in creating those courses and the courses' perceived values to students.

However, one fact that struck me as important, but not thoroughly addressed in the article, was the shocking dropout rate of those online courses. For two of the courses the article's...

## Benford's law solved with DSP

I have a longtime interest in the mystery of 1/f noise. A few years ago I came across Benford’s law, another puzzle that seemed to have many of the same characteristics.

Suppose you collect a large group of seemingly random numbers, such as might appear in a newspaper or financial report. Benford’s law relates to the leading digit of each number, such as "4" in 4.268, "3" in 0.0312, and "9" in -932.34. Since there are nine possible leading digits...

## Two jobs

For those of you following closely embeddedrelated and the other related sites, you might have noticed that I have been less active for the last couple of months, and I will use this blog post to explain why. The main reason is that I got myself involved into a project that ended up using a better part of my cpu than I originally thought it would.

edit - video of the event:

I currently have two jobs: one as an electrical/dsp engineer recycled as a web publisher and the other...

## Compute Modulation Error Ratio (MER) for QAM

This post defines the Modulation Error Ratio (MER) for QAM signals, and shows how to compute it. As we’ll see, in the absence of impairments other than noise, the MER tracks the signal’s Carrier-to-Noise Ratio (over a limited range). A Matlab script at the end of the PDF version of this post computes MER for a simplified QAM-64 system.

Figure 1 is a simplified block diagram of a QAM system. The transmitter includes a source of QAM symbols, a root-Nyquist...

## Compute the Frequency Response of a Multistage Decimator

Figure 1a shows the block diagram of a decimation-by-8 filter, consisting of a low-pass finite impulse response (FIR) filter followed by downsampling by 8 [1]. A more efficient version is shown in Figure 1b, which uses three cascaded decimate-by-two filters. This implementation has the advantages that only FIR 1 is sampled at the highest sample rate, and the total number of filter taps is lower.

The frequency response of the single-stage decimator before downsampling is just...

## Time-Domain Periodicity and the Discrete Fourier Transform

Introduction

The Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) and it's fast-algorithm implementation, the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT), are fundamental tools for processing and analysis of digital signals. While the continuous Fourier Transform and its inverse integrate over all time from minus infinity to plus infinity, and all frequencies from minus infinity to plus infinity, practical application of its discrete cousins can only be made over finite time and frequency intervals. The discrete nature...

## Design study: 1:64 interpolating pulse shaping FIR

This article is the documentation to a code snippet that originated from a discussion on comp.dsp.

The task is to design a root-raised cosine filter with a rolloff of a=0.15 that interpolates to 64x the symbol rate at the input.

The code snippet shows a solution that is relatively straightforward to design and achieves reasonably good efficiency using only FIR filters.

Motivation: “simple solutions?”## Design IIR Band-Reject Filters

In this post, I show how to design IIR Butterworth band-reject filters, and provide two Matlab functions for band-reject filter synthesis. Earlier posts covered IIR Butterworth lowpass [1] and bandpass [2] filters. Here, the function br_synth1.m designs band-reject filters based on null frequency and upper -3 dB frequency, while br_synth2.m designs them based on lower and upper -3 dB frequencies. I’ll discuss the differences between the two approaches later in this...