# How to generate a square wave with integer values and fixed timespan?

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I want to generate a square wave with integer values between 0 and 5 in a timespan of 30ms.

An example:

[1 1 1 1 2 2 2 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 ]

I've tried different things but I can't seem to find an effective way.

##### 2 Comments

### Accepted Answer

DGM
on 7 Apr 2021

Edited: DGM
on 7 Apr 2021

Something like this. I'm assuming you want your timestep to be a uniform 30ms.

clf

% build the coarse signal

dt=0.03;

y=[1 1 1 1 2 2 2 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 ];

t=linspace(0,dt*numel(y),numel(y));

plot(t,y,'--b'); hold on

% but if you need better transition times, increase the resolution

tfine=linspace(0,dt*numel(y),numel(y)*100);

yfine=interp1(t,y,tfine,'nearest');

plot(tfine,yfine,'k')

While that's simple to get better transitions by interpolation, most of the signal is constant-valued. It's kind of a waste of space to have all those intermediate samples when all you really need are the points at the transitions. If you're starting from scratch, it'd be easy enough to make the vectors as needed, but let's say you're trying to work with an existing low-resolution step signal and you want to improve it without interpolating:

clf; clc

% build the coarse signal

dt=0.03;

y=[1 1 1 1 2 2 2 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 ];

t=linspace(0,dt*numel(y),numel(y));

plot(t,y,'--b'); hold on

% or you could reduce it to a simple series of points

% this allows a much higher effective resolution with a minimal number of samples

tt=0.0000001; % transition time

b=[t(find(diff(y)~=0)); t(find(diff(y)~=0)+1)]; % find times at steps

b=bsxfun(@plus,mean(b,1),[-tt/2;tt/2]); % reduce rise/fall time

tp=[t(1) b(:)' t(end)];

yp=interp1(t,y,tp,'nearest');

plot(tp,yp,'k')

- Original: 35 samples, 30ms transition time
- Full interpolation: 3500 samples, 300us transition time
- Edges only: 14 samples, 100ns transition time

The big point is that the number of required samples in the last case is independent of transition time.

##### 2 Comments

DGM
on 7 Apr 2021

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