Add full floating point math to your project

Add full floating point math to your project

Posted on 10. May, 2009 by in Misc Modules

If you've worked with microcontrollers like the PIC or AVR, and consequently the Arduino or any other module based upon these tiny controllers, you know that floating point math is one area they aren't optimized for. The small 8 bit processors generally don't have on-board floating point units, so while you can work around this in your code, it's not easy nor is the resulting computation very fast.

So, if your project calls for reasonably fast FP math, you'll probably be looking for a math co-processor. One such device, which is aimed squarely at the hobbyist microntroller market, is the uM-FPU V3.1 Floating Point Coprocessor. This smart little chip brings quick 32 bit math to any project with little hassle.

The uM-FPU V3.1 is technically not a "module" but I feel it's worth mentioning on this site because it is a drop-in component and even though it's not on a board, it easily connects to your project without needing an in-depth understanding of things like crystals or other clock sources. You just connect a few pins from the chip to your Arduino or other controller and move on to the software.

Once connected, you can use a number of programming languages to access and program the uM-FPU thanks to the libraries provided by the manufacturer.

Some features of the uM-FPU V3.1 float point math co-processor include:

  • 32-bit Floating Point and 32-bit Integer
  • User-defined Functions
  • FFT Instruction
  • Serial Input / Output
  • NMEA Sentence Parsing
  • String Handling
  • Table Lookup Instructions
  • MAC Instructions
  • A/D Conversion
  • Timers
  • External Input
  • Low Power Modes
  • Internal Oscillator

This is a pretty powerful little math chip that can enable a ton of extra functionality in your projects for only around $20. Get more info on the MicroMega uM-FPU V3.1 if you're interested.

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