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Microchip Joins Arduino’s Bandwagon: Welcome chipKIT MAX32

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Microchip is very much into the fast prototyping ball game. In fact, years earlier than the introduction of the Arduino prototyping boards, Microchip’s PIC line of microcontrollers had already established its own prototyping setup. If Arduino had its Arduino IDE, PIC had MPLAB years back. However, Arduino’s magic comes from the opensource community that gave birth to Arduino-based hardware and software libraries development. Naturally as signaled by the two Arduino-compatible boards with 32-bit PICs, Microchip wants in.

Figure 1.0. Microchip’s chipKIT MAX32

Figure 1.1. Microchip’s chipKIT UNO32

To make it Arduino compatible, they edited the Arduino IDE, which now supports these two new Arduinos as well as backwards compatible with all other Arduinos. The chipKIT Arduinos are tested to run properly with the example codes available with the IDE.

Now to the tech specs:

1) For the MAX32

  • Microchip® PIC32MX795F512 processor
    • 80 Mhz 32-bit MIPS
    • 512K Flash, 128K RAM
    • USB 2.0 OTG controller
    • 10/100 Ethernet MAC
    • Dual CAN controllers
  • Provides additional memory and advanced communications peripherals
  • Compatible with Arduino IDE and libraries
  • Can also be programmed using Microchip’s MPLAB (along with a PICkit 3 or 6-pin header)
  • Arduino Mega form factor
  • Compatible with Arduino shields
  • 83 available I/O
  • User LED

2) And the UNO32

  • Microchip® PIC32MX320F128 processor
    • 80 Mhz 32-bit MIPS
    • 128K Flash, 16K SRAM
  • Compatible with existing Arduino™ code examples, reference materials and other resources
  • Can also be programmed using Microchip’s MPLAB® IDE (along with a PICkit 3 and our PICkit3 Programming Cable Kit, seen below)
  • Arduino™ “Uno” form factor
  • Compatible with Arduino™ shields
  • 42 available I/O
  • User LED
  • Connects to a PC using a USB A -> mini B cable (not included)

This is something worth looking into as well considering 32-bit microcontrollers at 80 MHz coming at US$50 for the MAX32 and US$27 for the UNO32, which is the same range for the 16 MHz, 8-bit for the Arduino MEGA and UNO respectively. Looks like a winner if it’s a complete Arduino. Let’s see how the Due will be introduced into the game later this year: Arduino IDE or Linux or RTOS? One thing’s for sure, rapid prototyping with higher processing power is becoming a common commodity with these new boards.

I’d better get my hands on these boards soon. 😀

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