How to start building a hardware implementation that simulate a software?

Thread Starter

danatic

Joined Jul 4, 2015
34
I have a software that I plan to implement in hardware such that they are both synced up and communicate with each other i.e. if I on a switch in software, hardware will indicate on and vice versa

An example of the software code is this app: https://github.com/niyeradori/QuickSmith-Web

My question is the implementation of it using hardware and how to make them communicate.

How should I code the hardware and which platform should I use?
I only heard of Arduino and RaspberryPI...As I have no experience, what are the pros and cons of using either platform and which would be better for my use case? I guess Raspberry is more advanced in functionality but is more complex to learn and code?

Do you have any other suggestions/communication techniques/website/resources that you would recommend so I can go research further?

Note: If this is not the right place for project help, please let me know where is the correct section on the forums. Thank you
 

KeithWalker

Joined Jul 10, 2017
1,216
From your description, I do not understand what you are trying to do. I am not prepared to spend half an hour going through the link you provided to try to understand it. You mention that you want to implement some software in hardware but then you ask how you should code the hardware. It's all very confusing.
Can you briefly describe what the software does, what you want the hardware to do and how they are supposed to work together? Then we may be able to offer some advice.
Regards,
Keith
 

Thread Starter

danatic

Joined Jul 4, 2015
34
From your description, I do not understand what you are trying to do. I am not prepared to spend half an hour going through the link you provided to try to understand it. You mention that you want to implement some software in hardware but then you ask how you should code the hardware. It's all very confusing.
Can you briefly describe what the software does,
It's a simulation of a smith chart. The link has more info if you want to view in greater detail.
what you want the hardware to do
I have stated this in my question
and how they are supposed to work together?
That is the question I am asking
Then we may be able to offer some advice.
Regards,
Keith
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
14,398
We already have the hardware to make a Smith Chart. It is called a Vector Network Analyzer.
We have software simulator(s), of which QuickSmith is one, that can simulate an RF circuit and produce a Smith Chart.
Simulating a Smith Chart makes no sense to me at all.
Producing a Smith Chart from a design or a prototype is the only thing I can see that makes any actual sense.
 

Thread Starter

danatic

Joined Jul 4, 2015
34
We already have the hardware to make a Smith Chart. It is called a Vector Network Analyzer.
OK, looks like its a specialized equipment that measures stuff in a circuit. Yes, this is what I want to achieve. But the idea is to "gamify" instead of using the equipment.
We have software simulator(s), of which QuickSmith is one, that can simulate an RF circuit and produce a Smith Chart.
Simulating a Smith Chart makes no sense to me at all.
Yup, it sounds silly to create a hardware/real life version of a smith chart, but the rationale is that some learners do better by touching and playing with stuff, similar to having those chemical atoms mockup where u can mix and match atoms in real life instead of on paper only.
Producing a Smith Chart from a design or a prototype is the only thing I can see that makes any actual sense.
Hmm by design/prototype, do you mean having a circuit with variable components that can be swapped in and out and then producing the Smith Chart? Yup this is what I want.

I was thinking of having it also go 2 way, so for example, if you indicate points on the smith chart, it would tell you the impedance required of a resistor in a circuit that is fixed. But if this is too tough, it's okay to skip it.
I see. sorry, I should have stated the objective of the project. The objective of the project is to help students learn about the concepts of the Smith Chart. Thus, instead of simulating and entering numbers onto the software to do impedance calculations for a load on transmission line, the student can see a 3D model of a smith chart and mark out points for example. Ideally, the student can also play around by inserting resistors/placeholders on a circuit and the smith chart would "light up" on certain points to reflect the circuit etc

The assessment would be on both the learning experience as well as the technical hands on setup.
 
Last edited:

KeithWalker

Joined Jul 10, 2017
1,216
Now we know what you really want to do so now we can answer your questions.
Vector network analyzers are very sophisticated ans expensive electronic instruments.
The software apps that are available to produce a Smith charts only have an interface that will only accept user input values from the keyboard. I doubt whether any of the software writers would be willing to cooperate with you to write a different interface.
That leaves you with very limited choices:
Write your own software simulator that will produce a Smith chart from external inputs.
Write an app that will take text values from an external input and place them in the computer keyboard buffer at the right time to make entries into a Smith chart simulator.
Build your own network analyzer.
From your comments, we can assume that you understand electronics and network analysis theory. What are your software and circuit building capabilities?
Regards,
Keith
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
14,398
The original version of Berkeley SPICE used text descriptions of a circuit to do simulation. I can certainly tell you, that for me, it would be a near useless way to learn and explore circuits. I don't know if LTspice was the first to offer a graphical user interface, but I can tell you it makes all the difference in the world. It certainly was the easily obtainable, low cost alternative to pricey commercial packages. I don't know what your plans along those lines are, but I wish you luck.
 

KeithWalker

Joined Jul 10, 2017
1,216
I just remembered two pieces of visual programming software that would enable you to do exactly what you want. Unfortunately the price of both is high.They are National Instruments Lab View and Keysight VEE Pro. I have used them both in the past. I found VEE Pro to be much more intuitive and flexible with embedded Matlab for really good visual displays including Smith charts. I used it quite extensively to develope custom automatic test systems. They will both accept inputs via USB, serial port and IEEE488 interfaces. The learning curve is pretty steep for both but well worth the effort.
Regards
Keith
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
2,559
very sophisticated ans expensive electronic instruments.
Actually, there is a fairly inexpensive chinesium VNA in the marketplace that is getting some fairly good reviews. NanoVNA V2 Digital VNA Tester It has become very popular with Ham Radio Operators for their antenna analysis. It is actually less expensive than the good ole dip meter and coils and does a whole lot more.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4001263764074.html
 
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