Everyone has been in a situation, while prototyping your project you are in a need of more power and easy to configure peripherals. The requirement might not be easily met by an 8-bit Arduino which currently seems to be the best way to prototype your project faster. There are situations, where you need a microcontroller with fairly large number of pins, but most of them are available in SMD package which are so hard to solder. So Gaurav has come up with a breakout-board for his own, which is based on PIC32 based controller few necessary peripherals like bunch of LED ,few switches , USB , EEPROM , V-Reference for ADC ,Oscillator and Voltage regulators too.
The cost of the board has been tried to keep as low as possible and the most important thing, the board is bread-board compatible. The board boast off two on-board oscillator, an altimeter and temperature sensor along with a digital compass. It has also has a combination of different types of LED’s and few user switches. The board seems to be a good choice for robotics project.
chipKIT is a great PIC32 based Arduino like development board designed by digilent. They have made quite a bunch of them since last time I have checked. Additionally they are taking care of numerous shields that allow quick and easy interfacing and developing cool things. Embedded-lab has been doing a nice chipKIT tutorial series. This time they are building a pulse meter using several building blocks – chipKIT Uno32, Basic I/O shield and Easy pulse sensor along with their Easy Pulse sensor board.
Everything plugs in nicely while leaving soldering iron cold. Pulse waveform is captured with on Analog input and displayed on I/O shield graphical LCD. Program also calculates Beats Per Minute (BPM) value.
DRUM-MACHINE is a device which is modelled on classic machines like the ROLAND TR808. However, this version is digital and not analogue in nature and only require a single microcontroller which is PIC24 in this case to work. The PIC has 128kb of memory which is enough to store audio samples. Another advantage of PIC24 is it is capable of running at 40MHZ of frequency which is quite fast. However the author switched to PIC32 in the later stages as he couldn’t get the prototype working.
The advantage of PIC32 was that the user has full-access to flash memory s so it made the code part easier. Talking about the DRUM, the drum features 16 different instrument which are stored in flash memory along with 16 step patters with 16 pattern per song. It also has 8 sample polyphony, which are sample from classic drum machines. Another advantage is it can drive audio headphones directly or a speaker via a TPA301 IC. The data is displayed using a Nokia 5110 LCD and there are also a combination of 20 LED’s which are driven by a driver from MAXIM.
Color TFT displays bring quite some value to embedded projects. First of all the information can be presented in graphical form and second most – it can be represented with colors. This is why more and more hobbyists like to use them. But once you step into this area you face lots of small problems that may cause some effort to accomplish. First of all, TFT displays come with small pitch film wires and connectors. Second, controlling LCDs may take time. Luckily there are many libraries written to get started with. Herpderp decided to try ILI9320 controller based TFT display. So he built a PIC32 based development board that connects 2.8′ TFT LCD with touch screen.
At first he wanted to use one of existing libraries, but found that they are to complex for simple tasks. They tend to be more general and try to cover several controllers and so on. He redraw the library with things he needed and simplified it in to two main parts – drawing functions and basic GUI. From the looks of it software is pretty responsive and professionally looking.