cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Mysterious memory behaviour in simple DSP test program

JP_ama
Associate III

Hello,

I am currently developing a DSP application on an STM32F439ZI Nucleo board in combination with a Pmod I2S2 audio codec board. So far, basic testing and filtering worked fine until I started to try FFT processing. I isolated the issue in a simple test program (code attached). I am using the CMSIS DSP library for the FFT and IFFT.

This is what the code does:

Audio sample data is transferred over I2S using DMA in circular mode. The DMA buffer itself is rather small in order to have the TxRxHalfComplete and TxRxComplete ISR called every time after one audio sample from the left and right channel has been received. I need this because I have an FIR filter function that needs to be called for every sample transmitted and received (tested and works, but not used inside the test program). Inside the ISRs the incoming samples are converted from 24 bit signed PCM into float32 and copied into a bigger circular input buffer. As soon as one half of the buffer is filled with data a flag is set. Inside the main while loop the sample block is then transformed into the frequency domain using arm_rfft_fast_f32 and immediately transformed back into the time domain. The output buffer's current index is delayed to ensure there is enough time to perform the FFT calculations (verified).

Here's the issue:

It works perfectly fine for a transform size of 1024 and 2048. If I make the transform / buffer size any larger or smaller the audio output gets corrupted. Output buffer delay is adjusted appropriately. On top you can see the 1 kHz sine wave that is fed into the unit, below that is the corrupted output of the left channel and below that is the output of the right channel (feeding samples straight though inside the ISR).

FFT.png

What I have already done trying to fix the bug:

I verified the FFT and IFFT is working correctly by feeding a known array with a known output into the transform functions - works.

Simply copying the input buffer to the output buffer in the while loop works as well.

The really weird thing is, if I simply uncomment line 155 where I memcpy just the input buffer into another totally unused buffer, that has nothing to do with the transform, it suddenly works for all transform sizes.

 

So I assume this must be some kind of memory access issue. However at this point I am absolutely clueless what could potentially cause this behavior or how I could debug it. I would highly appreciate if somebody could point me into the right direction!

 

Best regards

20 REPLIES 20
JP_ama
Associate III

@JTP1, size 4 as an argument is correct because it means the number of 24 bit (= 32 bit) data length. All the peripheral initializations are the standard ones for the nucleo board and are unused. However, you were right that adding a small delay instead of the read works as well. I need about 30 us for a transform length of 4096 samples. 

@MM..1I was wrong about the calculation time, this was for 1024/2048. For 4096 samples the FFT + IFFT takes 5,6 ms. I have a timeframe of 9 ms (512 samples). As I said 30 us pre-delay is enough but even adding 1 or 2 ms of delay works fine as well. So it's plenty of time to do the actual calculations.

So after all it seems to be a timing problem indeed. But I still do not understand why I need this pre-delay though. @Piranha I am already double buffering. When the dataReady flag is set, it takes 90 ms until the offset variables are modified again. I drew a small sketch of my buffer structure to visualize this. Where is the flaw in my thinking?

  arm_rfft_fast_f32(&sMyFFTInstance, &audioInputBuffer[inputBufferOffset], fftBuffer, 0);
  arm_rfft_fast_f32(&sMyFFTInstance, fftBuffer, &audioOutputBuffer[outputBufferOffset], 1);

MM1_0-1690260764825.png

your info is in parenthes

I am aware of that. But still, it is reading and modifying the half of the buffer, that is currently not written by DMA. So why is this a problem?

Thanks!

Piranha
Chief II

The last parameter of the HAL_I2SEx_TransmitReceive_DMA() function is the number of transfers, not item size. Also your buffers have 8 items, not 4. And overall running DMA on 4 samples is inefficient. Why aren't you running it on 2*4096 samples and then just processing the whole 4096 sample block at once in thread (non-interrupt) mode?

My previous post is about the fact that code is not interrupt-safe - the said tree variables are not protected in the main loop and an I2S/DMA interrupt can jump in and modify those at any moment. Magic delays will not solve this, you will have to learn the fundamental problem. Maybe start by reading this article and watching the related video:

https://www.embedded.com/programming-embedded-systems-race-conditions-and-how-to-avoid-them/

JP_ama
Associate III

I found the issue. The 20 - 30 us pre-delay looked very much like the time between two samples at 44.1 kHz sampling rate. This made me realize I was doing the FFT/IFFT one sample too early. The array index gets updated at the end of the TxRxHalfCplt ISR and I was setting the dataReady flag at the same time, which is wrong, because the new sample has not been written to the buffer yet. This actually happens in the following TxRxCplt ISR. So moving this piece of code from TxRxHalfCplt to TxRxCplt fixed it:

 

 

	if(currentInputBufferIndex == AUDIO_BUFFER_SIZE_HALF-1)
	{
		dataReady = 1;
		inputBufferOffset = 0;
		outputBufferOffset = AUDIO_BUFFER_SIZE_HALF;
	}

	if(currentInputBufferIndex == AUDIO_BUFFER_SIZE-1)
	{
		dataReady = 1;
		inputBufferOffset = AUDIO_BUFFER_SIZE_HALF;
		outputBufferOffset = 0;
	}

 

Thank you everyone for pointing me towards the solution!

Piranha
Chief II

The last parameter of the HAL_I2SEx_TransmitReceive_DMA() function is the number of transfers, not item size. Also your buffer arrays have 8 items, not 4 like in parameter. And overall running DMA on 4 samples is inefficient. Why aren't you running it on 2*4096 samples and then just processing the whole 4096 sample block at once in thread (non-interrupt) mode?

My previous post is about the fact that code is not interrupt-safe - the said tree variables are not protected in the main loop and an I2S/DMA interrupt can jump in and modify those at any moment. Think about the consequences of interrupt, which modifies those three variables, executing, for example, between the arm_rfft_fast_f32arm_rfft_fast_f32() calls. Even, if it doesn't happen now, it is a disaster waiting to happen. Magic delays will also not solve this, one has to learn the fundamental problem. Maybe start by reading this article and watching the related video.

The solution for this is actually pretty simple. The general principle is explained in the previous links about the lock-free ring buffer. In this case you can just think of it as a buffer of a length of two.

volatile bool iSet, iGet;

void ISR(void)
{
	// The next buffer is ready
	iSet = !iSet;
}

int main(void)
{
	for (;;) {
		bool iBuf = iGet;
		if (iBuf != iSet) {
			ProcessData(&aanBuffers[iBuf]);
			iGet = !iBuf;
		}
	}
}

All the other indexes, pointers etc. can and must be calculated from these critical variables. Such code is interrupt-safe, much simpler and is the most efficient solution.

Yes, and I think it needs to be 4 because on the F439 it's a 16 bit peripheral operating in 32 bit mode (because I am using a 24 bit audio codec). It should be possible to switch DMA from half-word to word transfer though.

I answered the question why I am not doing 4096 sample block DMA transfers in my initial post. I need to filter the incoming samples with a direct FIR filter. This filter function needs to be called for every incoming sample. That's why I am calling it inside the ISRs. This function is not shown in my code because I wanted to create a test program that is as simple as possible to illustrate my issue. The direct FIR filter already worked and I though it would be unnecessarily confusing to include it. Do you think there is another way to do this more efficiently?

I have to switch over to implementing it in a FreeRTOS task anyways. I am going to include and implement all the suggestions you made. Any thoughts on using xTaskNotifyFromISR to wake up the task when data is ready to be processed?

Thanks!

Well, I implemented the interrupt-safe solution as you suggested which worked just fine. However, as I took over the code into FreeRTOS context things started to behave weird again. The FFT function throws me into the HardFault_Handler from time to time and the FIR filter inside the ISR doesn't work anymore although it is completely independent. Variables and buffers are defined globally, not on the FreeRTOS heap. 

Any ideas what could be wrong?

(Maybe it's some starting point (the TxRxHalfCplt ISR) for making the Ghostbusters tools 😅)

Piranha
Chief II

Oh, indeed it's a 16-bit peripheral. Anyway, let's improve some of your previous code...

// Force the shift operations to at least 32-bit unsigned
lSample = (rxBuffer[0] << 8ul) | (rxBuffer[1] >> 8ul);
lSample |= (rxBuffer[0] & 0x8000) ? 0xFF000000 : 0x00000000;

// Improve the sign extension
lSample = (rxBuffer[0] << 8ul) | (rxBuffer[1] >> 8ul);
lSample = (int32_t)(lSample << 8ul) >> (int32_t)8;

// Incorporate the sign extension left shift into the halfword combining
lSample = (rxBuffer[0] << 16ul) | rxBuffer[1];
lSample = (int32_t)lSample >> (int32_t)8;

// Merge the code lines
lSample = (int32_t)((rxBuffer[0] << 16ul) | rxBuffer[1]) >> (int32_t)8;

// Use a single 32-bit load and ARM specific instructions
lSample = (int32_t)__REV(__REV16(*(uint32_t*)&rxBuffer[0])) >> (int32_t)8;

For 32-bit loads the uint32_t buffer array type would not need a pointer cast and will perform better, because it's inherently aligned to 4 bytes. The DMA can still do 16-bit transfers, if 32-bit is not possible.

The big question is why you are not using the SAI peripheral? It is a much more versatile and simpler to use peripheral for this purpose.

 

This filter function needs to be called for every incoming sample.

Why cannot you just capture the whole block and do all processing in thread mode, including the FIR filtering? The only valid argument would be some strict real-time requirements for some other functionality.

Actually in my previous code it would be better not to invert the iSet variable in ISR, but set it to true/false explicitly, depending on half/full or first/second DMA buffer interrupt. That will ensure that it always recovers correctly even if the ISR is delayed for prolonged time. With RTOS the general principles are the same, but typically you can eliminate the iGet variable, because the reception of the notification itself already means that there is a new buffer to process and you don't need additional testing for that. And, if you use the DMA in dual buffer mode, then the absolute fastest way to save "iSet" is to just save the contents of DMA_CR register in ISR and get the buffer index from the DMA_SxCR_CT bit in thread mode. Just take a note that, when the ISR executes, that bit shows the new buffer, which the DMA is already processing at that moment.