Following on from our earlier post, we’re continuing with our create-an-audio-module project which reads wav file data from an SD card and plays it through a speaker.

So far, we’ve written the basic framework, using Sourceboost C so now it’s time to start fleshing it out.
Before we actually start making any sound, we’re going to make extensive use of the UART/serial comms to report back at every stage of the data transfer, so we can pinpoint any problem areas. We’re aiming to read an entire file off the sd card and stream it’s contents back to the PC over serial.
Once we’ve done this, we’ll modify the code to send the data to a PWM module to actually play the sound.

First up, with any Sourceboost project, we need our main() function.

void main(){
     unsigned char response;
     Boolean ret;     

     ret = sdInit();
          UARTPrintLn(“SD init failed”);
                         UARTPrintLn(“end of file clusters”);
          //just to prove we got here!


The main function pretty much speaks for itself, since it’s calling a whole heap of other (hopefully appropriately named) functions:

Firstly, we initialise the microcontroller.
This involves setting the registers to define how all our different multi-function pins are set up. One of the great things about the PIC range of microcontrollers is their versatility – each pin can have multiple functions and be used for a variety of different things. Unfortunately, this can also mean hours and hours of headaches, as it can make debugging quite difficult.
So in the main, we should always call an initialise routine after powering up, to put the microcontroller into a “known state”. In Oshonsoft, this includes commands such as


These BASIC commands are simply macros to put specific values into specific registers on the chip. In this program, we’re going to to that manually, following the datasheet.

void init(){
     osccon                    = 0b11110000;     //32 MHz clock     
     intcon                    = 0b10000000;     //ints enabled, all sources masked
     apfcon0                    = 0b01000000;    //MOSI on RA4
     trisa                    = 0b11001100;      //out on 0, 1, 4, 5, in on
     trisc                    = 0b00000010;      //portc.1 is our spi input
     ansela                    = 0;              //no analog inputs
     anselc                    = 0;              //no analog inputs
     option_reg               = 0b10000000;      //no weak pull-ups, timer0=osc/8
     wdtcon &= ~(1<          

The first register value OSCON sets the PIC to internal oscillator, 32Mhz.
The INTCON register is where we set up interrupts (bit 7 is the global interrupts bit)
APFCON0 is the alternative pin configuration register – we’ve put the SPI data out (MOSI = master out, slave in) onto pin RA.4 – on this particular chip the SPI out pin can go on different pins if required.
TRISA is the register where we set which pins are inputs and which are outputs. A 1 makes the corresponding bit an input, zero makes it an output (so bit 7 of the TRISA register maps to pin 7 on PORTA).
ANSELA and ANSELC are the analogue registers for ports A and C – setting these both to zero is the same as the Oshonsoft command ALLDIGITAL.

Once we’ve got the chip up and running, and in a known state, we allow a few milliseconds just for all the internal voltages to settle and allow any multi-function pins to take the state requested.

Next, we call the initialise SD card routine.
This function will return a value to say whether or not the SD card started up correctly. If it didn’t we report an error back and stop the code executing there (there’s no point trying to read data back if the SD card isn’t responding as we expect it to!)

If the SD card does respond to say it’s set up correctly and ready to receive commands, we then call a function to read the FAT16 tables on the card. This involves finding the boot sector on the disk, finding the location of the actual FAT tables themselves, finding the location of the root directory on the disk and calculating where the actual data starts.
This is a long and complicated process and will be explained fully over a number of blog posts! It’s hard going, but worth sticking with – being able to read and write data in a PC readable format is very very useful.

The setupFAT function returns a value to say whether or not the PIC was able to make sense of the contents of the card, and if it did, we open a file and start reading clusters of data from the card.
As long the file consists of more data, the function will keep calling and reading data back.

But already things are getting a bit confusing – clusters, sectors, boot sectors….. it’s time to look into how FAT works