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'[EE]: SiLabs SI4701 FM radio (+ Circuit Cellar art'
2006\04\30@171531 by Philip Pemberton

face picon face
Hi,
 I've just finished reading Jeff Bachiochi's article on the SiLabs
Si4700/Si4701 FM receiver ICs in this month's Circuit Cellar (pages 51 to 57
if you're interested). Just out of curiosity, has anyone had a play with
these chips?

 I'm toying with the idea of buying a couple to play with (assuming I can
find somewhere that sells them) and was wondering if anyone else had used
them. They seem to be pretty nice chips - I2C or SPI interface, two external
components for line level output, onboard tuner (no external tuned circuit
required), and an RDS demodulator (Si4701 only).

 And speaking of this month's CC, am I the only person that thinks Atmel's
latest AVR advert (page 9, CC #190) is a bit, well, crap? I dunno, maybe I'm
just biased against Atmel...

Thanks.
--
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'[EE]: SiLabs SI4701 FM radio (+ Circuit Cellar art'
2006\05\01@123212 by M. Adam Davis
face picon face
I've been wanting to play with single chip FM receivers for awhile,
but don't have a good application to support the cost.  They look very
nice, though.

As far as the ad campaign, it caught your eye, didn't it?  :-)

-Adam

On 4/30/06, Philip Pemberton <.....philpemKILLspamspam@spam@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -

2006\05\01@124117 by Howard Winter

face
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Phil,

On Sun, 30 Apr 2006 22:11:16 +0100, Philip Pemberton
wrote:

>...
>   And speaking of this month's CC, am I the only
person that thinks Atmel's
> latest AVR advert (page 9, CC #190) is a bit, well,
crap? I dunno, maybe I'm
> just biased against Atmel...

Yes, I think it's pretty naff.  Doesn't really fit its
target audience, I'd say.

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


2006\05\01@141759 by Philip Pemberton

face picon face
In message <.....bc7a59a0605010932p59349cf3naf1bd37421fa245aKILLspamspam.....mail.gmail.com>>          "M. Adam Davis" <EraseMEstienmanspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTgmail.com> wrote:

> I've been wanting to play with single chip FM receivers for awhile,
> but don't have a good application to support the cost.  They look very
> nice, though.

I've got an MP3/Ogg player/recorder on the drawing board at the moment.
Freescale SCF5250 "Amadeus Plus" CPU (basically a V2 Coldfire with an IDE
interface and an I2S audio engine), 4MB FLASH, 16MB SDRAM, Wolfson WM8731
CODEC, IBM Travelstar hard drive, TFT-LCD from a Samsung E800, and a few of
those little "tactile effect" pushbuttons. Maybe a 4-position "D-pad"
joystick - ALPS make some pretty small ones.

In other words, a little like an iPod, but more powerful - onboard radio,
10GB storage, USB (courtesy of a USB PIC loaded with the Microchip Mass
Storage firmware) and I'll have full details on the hardware. That's the big
thing - I want to be able to tweak it and know how it works. Oh, and I want
to be able to record with it too. I've been known to sneak my Minidisc
recorder into concerts before, but 80 minutes isn't enough!

The design is a variant of the Freescale 5250 evaluation board with a
different CODEC, more SDRAM and a more efficient power system designed to run
off a lithium-ion battery (probably a Motorola mobile phone battery). The
big problem is going to be getting the CPU's power consumption down to a sane
level. The system supervisor (a nanowatt PIC) is going to handle battery
management and user interface control, though I might dispense with it and
use the Coldfire's GPIOs instead.

CPU clock rate is going to be 120MHz or so, with an audio bit rate of
11.2896MHz. You have no idea how much of a pain it was to get my mitts on
some 11.2896MHz crystals - I eventually got five of them from Golledge
Electronics for £17. They are, however, fairly high spec - 20ppm calibration,
50ppm stability, with a -20 to +70 C temperature range.

The big problem is going to be finding a way to isolate the headphone ground
in a way that doesn't negatively impact audio quality, but allows the SI4701
to use the headphone shield line as an antenna. The WM8731 doesn't provide a
virtual ground for the headphones like the LM4910, and I'm not going to add
an external headphone amp chip when the WM8731 has a perfectly good onboard
amplifier. If it was good enough for the Gen3 iPod, it's good enough for me!

> As far as the ad campaign, it caught your eye, didn't it?  :-)

Point taken. I also happened to notice they were offering poster-sized copies
of the add free for the asking. I don't think I know anyone who'd take them
up on that offer...

--
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2006\05\01@141759 by Philip Pemberton

face picon face
In message <@spam@200605011641.k41GfHXT017534KILLspamspamfort-point-station.mit.edu>>          "Howard Winter" <KILLspamHDRWKILLspamspamH2Org.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> >...
> >   And speaking of this month's CC, am I the only
> person that thinks Atmel's
> > latest AVR advert (page 9, CC #190) is a bit, well,
> crap? I dunno, maybe I'm
> > just biased against Atmel...
>
> Yes, I think it's pretty naff.  Doesn't really fit its
> target audience, I'd say.

Heh. If they were aiming it at kids (actually, I don't know many kids that
still read comics these days...) I'd say it was perfect. But I guess they're
aiming it at engineers and I know a few who'd take one look, think "Silly
crap-vert" and ignore it.

Actually, I've got a fair bit of stuff that could be considered Microchip
advertising material... The ICD2 pinout diagram, a copy of the "white-water"
product line poster...

On the other wall I've got a "Debugging Rules" poster (from
<http://www.debuggingrules.com> - the book is pretty good) and a Pantone colour
chart. Oh, and a printout of one of the Ozy and Millie
(<http://www.ozyandmillie.org>) comic strips - 29 Dec 2000, "Define Cynical"...

--
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2006\05\01@162449 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> I've just finished reading Jeff Bachiochi's article on the SiLabs
> Si4700/Si4701 FM receiver ICs in this month's Circuit
> Cellar (pages 51 to 57 if you're interested).
> Just out of curiosity, has anyone had a play with these chips?

Out of another curiosity, has anyone found a source?

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2006\05\01@182540 by Philip Pemberton

face picon face
In message <000701c66d5d$93653f30$0b00a8c0@PAARD>
         "Wouter van Ooijen" <spamBeGonewouterspamBeGonespamvoti.nl> wrote:

> > I've just finished reading Jeff Bachiochi's article on the SiLabs
> > Si4700/Si4701 FM receiver ICs in this month's Circuit
> > Cellar (pages 51 to 57 if you're interested).
> > Just out of curiosity, has anyone had a play with these chips?
>
> Out of another curiosity, has anyone found a source?

Not yet. I'm going to pester Azzurri (UK SiLabs sales rep) and maybe SiLabs
UK tomorrow about that though.
Only thing I'm worried about is the lack of a datasheet, but the article
covers most things and the SiLabs reference design source code covers a bit
more. What I'd really like is some info on how to read the RDS data from the
4701 - it'd be cool to have my MP3 player say "Tuned to PULSE!" instead of
"Tuned to 102.5 FM". Even better if I can get Radiotext working too - then
you get current programme information too.

Rest assured if I do get a few Si4701s to play with, I WILL be documenting my
findings. I need to get my website moved over to another server though; my
current webhost has broken PHP on the server and are ignoring my repeated
requests for them to fix it. I knew I should have jumped ship back in
January...

--
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2006\05\01@195248 by Rick Hochhalter

flavicon
face
On Mon, 01 May 2006 23:21:41 +0100
Philip Pemberton <RemoveMEphilpemspamTakeThisOuTdsl.pipex.com> graced us with this prophetic message:

> Only thing I'm worried about is the lack of a datasheet,

This is what gets me.  Why is the datasheet only available under an NDA?  Do they
NOT want people to design their stuff into projects, i.e. they actually don't want to sell
their stuff to others?  This is totally stupid, and it's not just with this chip but with (at
least some) of their other chips, too.

Rick

2006\05\01@222948 by kravnus wolf

picon face
What kind of packaging does the chip have? DIP?

john

--- Wouter van Ooijen <wouterEraseMEspam.....voti.nl> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> --

2006\05\02@082113 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>The big problem is going to be finding a way to isolate
>the headphone ground in a way that doesn't negatively
>impact audio quality, but allows the SI4701 to use
>the headphone shield line as an antenna.

Coilcraft make some nice wideband transformers where you could put the
primary in the shield line allowing you to keep the Rf grounding away from
the audio side, or some itsy 0608 chokes if you wished to capacitively
couple from the shield.

If you order samples the minimum quantity they seem to supply is 4, even if
you order less than that.

2006\05\02@082715 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>On the other wall I've got a "Debugging Rules" poster
>(from <http://www.debuggingrules.com> - the book is pretty good)

Yeah same here.

> Oh, and a printout of one of the Ozy and Millie
>(<http://www.ozyandmillie.org>) comic strips - 29 Dec 2000, "Define Cynical"...

Hmm, I liked the one from two days later - especially after reading 3 days
worth of "Timer1 problem" messages ...

2006\05\02@121347 by M. Adam Davis

face picon face
It is likely that the radio data service patent holders require this.
If the chip simply demodulates the digital signal and presents the
data as-is, then one must be privy to the protocol.

-Adam

On 5/1/06, Rick Hochhalter <EraseMErhochhaltespamcableone.net> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> -

2006\05\02@124704 by Jack Smith

picon face

M. Adam Davis wrote:
> It is likely that the radio data service patent holders require this.
> If the chip simply demodulates the digital signal and presents the
> data as-is, then one must be privy to the protocol.
>
> -Adam
>
>  

Isn't the RDS protocol a published standard, both the US and the
European versions?

It's just a matter of paying the fees for a copy of the standard from
the standards entity.

Of course, implementations of the standards may involve patents or other
IPR, but the actual standards themselves are open documents, subject to
paying the copying charge.

Jack

2006\05\02@150639 by Philip Pemberton

face picon face
In message <RemoveME44578D07.3060603spam_OUTspamKILLspamcox.net>
         Jack Smith <RemoveMEJack.SmithTakeThisOuTspamspamcox.net> wrote:

> Isn't the RDS protocol a published standard, both the US and the
> European versions?

Yep. CENELEC EN50067. The American RBDS standard is freely available, but the
CENELEC one you have to pay for. IIRC there's a cheaper "non printable"
version available from the RDS Forum.

> Of course, implementations of the standards may involve patents or other
> IPR, but the actual standards themselves are open documents, subject to
> paying the copying charge.

The pretty extortionate copying charge, as is the case with most standards.
ISO are - in my experience - the worst for this. £95 for a four-page document
that just says "See CENELEC EN50067".

--
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2006\05\03@041150 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>Isn't the RDS protocol a published standard,
>both the US and the European versions?
>
>It's just a matter of paying the fees for a copy
>of the standard from the standards entity.
>
>Of course, implementations of the standards may involve
>patents or other IPR, but the actual standards themselves
>are open documents, subject to paying the copying charge.

Looking at the datasheets for RDS chips, I am not sure that there is really
anything that fancy in the "decoder" (really demodulator) part, to get a
serial data stream with clock. But I guess these chips are actually decoding
the serial stream into usable data for display (haven't tried to look at the
article).

This guy has done an encoder
http://renaud.cerrato.free.fr/oscillator.html#57K for RDS. Searching for RDS
on the web does bring up a fair bit of information.

2006\05\03@063531 by Philip Pemberton

face picon face
In message <05cb01c66e89$394313b0$RemoveMEe7bdf682KILLspamspamspace.rl.ac.uk>
         "Alan B. Pearce" <A.B.PearceSTOPspamspamspam_OUTrl.ac.uk> wrote:

> Looking at the datasheets for RDS chips, I am not sure that there is really
> anything that fancy in the "decoder" (really demodulator) part, to get a
> serial data stream with clock. But I guess these chips are actually decoding
> the serial stream into usable data for display (haven't tried to look at the
> article).

Going by the register map, it performs a bit of error correction on the RDS
frame, then loads it into the RDS buffer registers.

I got an email back from Azzurri:

> The Silicon Labs Si4701 is currently under NDA and is aimed at hogn volume
> applications.  An order will also be subject to a minimum order quantity of
> approx 75

I've asked for clarification on the NDA - if it covers just the datasheet or
the parts as well. Just waiting for an email back regarding pricing - if
they're cheap enough (and the NDA terms are acceptable) I might just buy a
tube of 75 and split them into smaller quantities. What I don't want is to be
left with 60 of them gathering dust in my cupboard.

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2006\05\03@085052 by Howard Winter

face
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picon face
There was an RDS project in Elektor, in the January 1994 edition (page 24 et seq) by Peter Topping.  It uses
an SAA6579T chip to decode the RDS signal into a serial data stream that he feeds to a 68Hxxxxx
microprocessor.  

The article describes some of the protocol - it appears to be "groups" of data, consisting of a number of
pairs of data type (CT = Clock Time, PTY = Programme TYpe, for example) followed by the data.

The software wasn't published, but was available from the magazine as a kit of the PCB plus the programmed
EPROM for £23.75

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


2006\05\04@090904 by alan smith

picon face
Neuros Audio has that.....MP3, ogg, radio rx, fm tx, built in record function....it was out before the iPod as well I think?

Philip Pemberton <KILLspamphilpemspamBeGonespamdsl.pipex.com> wrote:  
In other words, a little like an iPod, but more powerful - onboard radio,
10GB storage, USB (courtesy of a USB PIC loaded with the Microchip Mass
Storage firmware) and I'll have full details on the hardware. That's the big
thing - I want to be able to tweak it and know how it works. Oh, and I want
to be able to record with it too. I've been known to sneak my Minidisc
recorder into concerts before, but 80 minutes isn't enough!
.

               
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