W801

Anything not related to STM32
dannyf
Posts: 193
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:46 pm

W801

Post by dannyf »

someone asked me if I could write a clone for this thing. never heard of it before. seemed quite impressive, until I looked into it:
1. no systick or core timer;
2. pooled timer vectors;
3. pooled uart vectors (for 4 of them!).
4. no core header and no device header.
5. documentation in chinese.
...

quite impressive for its speed, and space.

seems to be designed for bluetooth audio applications - soundbar or speakers...
dannyf
Posts: 193
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:46 pm

Re: W801

Post by dannyf »

spent a couple hours with this thing, porting over a clone of the arduino. so far, basic gpio, clock mgmt, uart, systick, etc. are up and running.

Pretty impressive:
1. 240Mhz opeation. lots of ram / flash.
2. all code fitting within 3KB -> yes, 3KB. no kidding.

Horrific documentation:
1. contradicting specification - just how many uarts are there?
2. no struct in header file.
3. meant to be a hal type development environment.
...

Chinese mcu firms need at least 10 years to be able to produce documentation on par with their western competitors.
ag123
Posts: 1388
Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2019 5:30 am
Answers: 18

Re: W801

Post by ag123 »

Quite interesting, RISC V based
https://www.cnx-software.com/2021/11/30 ... th-le-4-2/
and yes chinese docs
https://www.winnermicro.com/html/1/156/158/569.html
https://www.hlktech.com/en/Goods-198.html#datum
a thing is there is WiFi, my guess is a large part of it is firmware based as like esp8266, esp32 etc.

found something in github as well
https://github.com/IOsetting/wm-sdk-w806

My thoughts are that for those 'fans' of the chip, write to them (in english) and ask for the english docs.
if enough people do so, they may just provide that for convenience.
Expressif provide english docs, I'd think they'd provide the same to compete.

I've stuck with stm32/st in part as most things are well documented sufficiently to work with the chips, despite the premium.
more recently Raspberry Pico rp2040 isn't too bad either, well documented and is ARM based.
In fact, the same tool chain used to build 'sketches' on stm32 works just well with Pico
https://github.com/raspberrypi/pico-sdk

'chinese' chips, while not intending to be biased, my experience has been that there were omissions and 'poor documentation'.
i've played with 'Orange Pi' boards, those are ARM Cortex A7 AllWinner H3 Soc based boards.
While some things are documented, there is an internal controller that deals with shutdown of power is undocumented.
So when the shutdown command is issued, the soc overheats instead.
Those are some of the disappointment for boards that otherwise works.
dannyf
Posts: 193
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:46 pm

Re: W801

Post by dannyf »

my experience has been that there were omissions and 'poor documentation'.
I would agree. such devices may gain market shares if labor isn't expensive and people are willing to put up with this kind of stuff. But if everyone needs to go through this to just use this chip, there are too many alternatives for them to get a look.

pity, to say the least.
ag123
Posts: 1388
Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2019 5:30 am
Answers: 18

Re: W801

Post by ag123 »

it is still worth 'playing' with it as you would more than likely get a 'made-in-china' device which'd likely use that chip.
so that if it turns up we'd need to 'hack' that appliance/gadget, at least we'd know what it is.
but if it is simply a 'project' to get something 'simple' done, i may instead use things like STM32 or Rasp Pico (W if wifi is needed) if it is a 'one off' task. Then stm32 can easily be paired with esp8266 for wifi if need be.
dannyf
Posts: 193
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:46 pm

Re: W801

Post by dannyf »

aside from the massive specs, it has one interesting attribute that you don't see in modern mcus: simplicity: the peripherals are almost too primitive by modern standards. :)

I will keep playing with it - basically making an arduino clone for one person :)

the people who designed the hardware and software should be permanently banned from the mcu industry :)
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Just4Fun
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:45 am
Answers: 1

Re: W801

Post by Just4Fun »

It seems they are making an Arduino core for the W801 available!!!

See here.

Image

This could change "current scenario" a lot... :mrgreen:
ag123
Posts: 1388
Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2019 5:30 am
Answers: 18

Re: W801

Post by ag123 »

that sounds like fun, 1 more mcu to play with :D
dannyf
Posts: 193
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:46 pm

Re: W801

Post by dannyf »

Nice to see that.

I wonder about the overhead. the stock sdk demo compiled to close to 1MB, even with an empty (user_)main.c

mine now compiles to <2KB, after eliminating a few printf() calls.

Interesting chip for sure. I think it is an overkill as a general purpose mcu. For wifi/bt/sdio applications, using the sdk is likely the only possible route - I'm writing my port for both bare metal and sdk.
ag123
Posts: 1388
Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2019 5:30 am
Answers: 18

Re: W801

Post by ag123 »

i'd guess it'd take some searching around to see if the radio hardware is somehow documented. That's about the only way to make your own WiFi stack for those who dared go the distance on this chip. Most of the time, it is 'never' documented.

Of course, these days Raspberry Pico has a W version as well. But that it uses an external WiFi chip sort of. It is probably 'too much a challenge' to try to do both WiFi and to do everything else an normal MCU does.
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