How precise is my measurement?

Sam Shearman March 28, 20183 comments

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...

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

Steve Maslen March 21, 2018

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...

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

Cedron Dawg March 14, 2018

This 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...

Phase and Amplitude Calculation for a Pure Complex Tone in a DFT

Cedron Dawg January 6, 2018

This 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 a DFT bin value and knowing the frequency. This is a much simpler problem to solve than the corresponding case for a pure real tone which I covered in an earlier blog article[1]. In the noiseless single tone case, these equations will be exact. In the presence of noise or other tones...

Feedback Controllers - Making Hardware with Firmware. Part 7. Turbo-charged DSP Oscillators

Steve Maslen January 5, 20187 comments
This article will look at some DSP Sine-wave oscillators and will show how an FPGA with limited floating-point performance due to latency, can be persuaded to produce much higher sample-rate sine-waves of high quality. 

Comparisons will be made between implementations on Intel Cyclone V and Cyclone 10 GX FPGAs. An Intel numerically controlled oscillator

An Efficient Linear Interpolation Scheme

Rick Lyons December 27, 201723 comments

This blog presents a computationally-efficient linear interpolation trick that requires at most one multiply per output sample.

Background: Linear Interpolation

Looking at Figure 1(a) let's assume we have two points, [x(0),y(0)] and [x(1),y(1)], and we want to compute the value y, on the line joining those two points, associated with the value x. 

       Figure 1: Linear interpolation: given x, x(0), x(1), y(0), and y(1), compute the value of y. ...

An Alternative Form of the Pure Real Tone DFT Bin Value Formula

Cedron Dawg December 17, 2017

This is an article to hopefully give a better understanding of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) by deriving alternative exact formulas for the bin values of a real tone in a DFT. The derivation of the source equations can be found in my earlier blog article titled "DFT Bin Value Formulas for Pure Real Tones"[1]. The new form is slighty more complicated and calculation intensive, but it is more computationally accurate in the vicinity of near integer frequencies. This...

Feedback Controllers - Making Hardware with Firmware. Part 6. Self-Calibration Related.

Steve Maslen December 3, 20177 comments

This article will consider the engineering of a self-calibration & self-test capability to enable the project hardware to be configured and its basic performance evaluated and verified, ready for the development of the low-latency controller DSP firmware and closed-loop applications. Performance specifications will be documented in due course, on the project website here.

  • Part 6: Self-Calibration, Measurements and Signalling (this part)
  • Part 5:

Improved Three Bin Exact Frequency Formula for a Pure Real Tone in a DFT

Cedron Dawg November 6, 2017

This is an article to hopefully give a better understanding of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) by extending the exact two bin formulas for the frequency of a real tone in a DFT to the three bin case. This article is a direct extension of my prior article "Two Bin Exact Frequency Formulas for a Pure Real Tone in a DFT"[1]. The formulas derived in the previous article are also presented in this article in the computational order, rather than the indirect order they were...

There's No End to It -- Matlab Code Plots Frequency Response above the Unit Circle

Neil Robertson October 23, 20179 comments
Reference [1] has some 3D plots of frequency response magnitude above the unit circle in the Z-plane.  I liked them enough that I wrote a Matlab function to plot the response of any digital filter this way.  I’m not sure how useful these plots are, but they’re fun to look at. The Matlab code is listed in the Appendix. 

This post is available in PDF format for easy...

Polyphase filter / Farrows interpolation

Markus Nentwig September 18, 200713 comments


this article is meant to give a quick overview over polyphase filtering and Farrows interpolation.

A good reference with more depth is for example Fred Harris' paper:

The task is as follows: Interpolate a band-limited discrete-time signal at a variable offset between samples.In other words:Delay the signal by a given amount with sub-sample accuracy.Both mean the same.

The picture below shows samples (black) representing...

Frequency Dependence in Free Space Propagation

Eric Jacobsen May 14, 20088 comments


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...

An s-Plane to z-Plane Mapping Example

Rick Lyons September 24, 20166 comments

While surfing around the Internet recently I encountered the 's-plane to z-plane mapping' diagram shown in Figure 1. At first I thought the diagram was neat because it's a good example of the old English idiom: "A picture is worth a thousand words." However, as I continued to look at Figure 1 I began to detect what I believe are errors in the diagram.

Reader, please take a few moments to see if you detect any errors in Figure 1.


The Most Interesting FIR Filter Equation in the World: Why FIR Filters Can Be Linear Phase

Rick Lyons August 18, 201516 comments

This blog discusses a little-known filter characteristic that enables real- and complex-coefficient tapped-delay line FIR filters to exhibit linear phase behavior. That is, this blog answers the question:

What is the constraint on real- and complex-valued FIR filters that guarantee linear phase behavior in the frequency domain?

I'll declare two things to convince you to continue reading.

Declaration# 1: "That the coefficients must be symmetrical" is not a correct

Sinusoidal Frequency Estimation Based on Time-Domain Samples

Rick Lyons April 20, 201719 comments

The topic of estimating a noise-free real or complex sinusoid's frequency, based on fast Fourier transform (FFT) samples, has been presented in recent blogs here on For completeness, it's worth knowing that simple frequency estimation algorithms exist that do not require FFTs to be performed . Below I present three frequency estimation algorithms that use time-domain samples, and illustrate a very important principle regarding so called "exact"...

Signed serial-/parallel multiplication

Markus Nentwig February 16, 2014

Keywords: Binary signed multiplication implementation, RTL, Verilog, algorithm

  • A detailed discussion of bit-level trickstery in signed-signed multiplication
  • Algorithm based on Wikipedia example
  • Includes a Verilog implementation with parametrized bit width
Signed serial-/parallel multiplication

A straightforward method to multiply two binary numbers is to repeatedly shift the first argument a, and add to a register if the corresponding bit in the other argument b is set. The...

Python scipy.signal IIR Filter Design Cont.

Christopher Felton June 19, 20127 comments

In the previous post the Python scipy.signal iirdesign function was disected.  We reviewed the basics of filter specification and reviewed how to use the iirdesign function to design IIR filters.  The previous post I only demonstrated low pass filter designs.  The following are examples how to use the iirdesign function for highpass, bandpass, and stopband filters designs.

Highpass Filter

The following is a highpass filter design for the different filter...

Phase and Amplitude Calculation for a Pure Real Tone in a DFT: Method 1

Cedron Dawg May 21, 2015

This is an article to hopefully give a better understanding of the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) by deriving exact formulas for the phase and amplitude of a non-integer frequency real tone in a DFT. The linearity of the Fourier Transform is exploited to reframe the problem as the equivalent of finding a set of coordinates in a specific vector space. The found coordinates are then used to calculate the phase and amplitude of the pure real tone in the DFT. This article...

Instantaneous Frequency Measurement

Parth Vakil February 4, 200821 comments

I would like to talk about the oft used method of measuring the carrier frequency in the world of Signal Collection and Characterization world. It is an elegant technique because of its simplicity. But, of course, with simplicity, there come drawbacks (sometimes...especially with this one!).

In the world of Radar detection and characterization, one of the key characteristics of interest is the carrier frequency of the signal. If the radar is pulsed, you will have a very wide bandwidth, a...

Discrete-Time PLLs, Part 1: Basics

Reza Ameli December 1, 20159 comments

Design Files: Part1.slx

Hi everyone,

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.

In the first part of the series, we will be reviewing the basics of continuous-time baseband PLLs and we will see some useful mathematics that will give us insight into the inners working of PLLs. In the second part, we will focus on...