Sep 292014
 
chipKIT Uno32 with USB Host Shield

chipKIT Uno32 with USB Host Shield

Oleg Mazurov and Andrew Kroll have ported the Circuits@Home USB Host Shield 2.0 Library to chipKIT. This is the library that inspired Google to create the Android ADK (Accessories Development Kit)! With this library you can add USB Host capabilities to chipKIT Uno32 (which has none) or to chipKIT Max32 with a Network Shield, allowing for either a second USB Host port or both a USB Host and USB Device port.

Find out more about it here.

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Sep 172014
 

If you’ve ever wanted to view and change parameters on a board without plugging into a PC and making the changes, PONTECH’s new Android app makes this possible for chipKIT boards with USB hosting capabilities. PONTECH just released this Property Viewer Android app, as their own Quick240 product is chipKIT-based. To read more about it, visit PONTECH’s post!

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Sep 162014
 
Learn PWM with chipKIT Uno32

Learn PWM with chipKIT Uno32

Whether you want to simulate analog by dimming lights or by controlling volume in your application, this Instructables.com tutorial is just for you. If you’ve never used Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM), there’s a quick and easy way to learn with chipKIT Uno32.
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Sep 112014
 
chipKIT-compatible LCD

chipKIT-compatible LCD

There’s a cool little LCD out there that is made for Arduino, but you too can make it work with chipKIT. You need only have the latest version of MPIDE.

  • You can buy the display here
  • The library is here (it worked no mods needed)
  • The sample code is here
Enjoy!
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Aug 122014
 
Easy Wireless Networking of chipKIT Boards

Keith hard at work

In preparation for the Microchip MASTERs Conference in Phoenix next week, Keith Vogel and Gene Apperson of Digilent are preparing two classes. Gene will teach the Introduction to chipKIT class and Keith will teach the more advanced class, which features an overview of wireless networking protocols and includes hands-on lab exercises with the chipKIT uC32, WiFi Shield, and Basic I/O Shield.

Digilent provides an open source networking stack as well as a robust http server sketch. Attendees will learn how to use this free software to add wireless networking to their designs quickly and easily. Hope to see you there!

Easy Wireless Networking of chipKIT Boards

Networked chipKIT boards with stacked shields

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Aug 102014
 

So you have a chipKIT Pi, which you have dutifully attached to a Raspberry Pi, and you’d like to deploy it “in the field” (with the cows). That’s fair enough. What you’d like to be able to do, though, is upgrade the firmware on the chipKIT Pi without having to go into the field (those cows are scary, man!).

pi-on-pi

So how would you do that? You can’t program the chipKIT Pi without pressing the RESET and BOOTLOAD-EN buttons (and you’re not about to train cows to do that for you), so what are your options?

Well, UECIDE has the answer for you.

pi-modFirst you will need to modify your chipKIT Pi. Don’t worry, it’s only a simple small modification. Basically you need to connect the BOOTLOAD-EN signal to one of the GPIO pins on the Raspberry Pi header.

Connect pin 8 of the chipKIT Pi pass-through header (GPIO17 on the Raspberry Pi) to the nearest pin of JP6 with a piece of fine wire. I use 30AWG wire-wrapping wire. This will allow the Raspberry Pi to trigger the bootloader automatically (hopefully future versions of the chipKIT Pi will have this modification in place already).

Now you can enter programming mode from the Raspberry Pi by setting GPIO 17 to an output and driving it LOW, then setting GPIO 4 to an output and driving that low too (it is connected to RESET), then releasing both the GPIO lines in reverse order. It’s good to put a short delay between releasing GPIO 4 and GPIO 17.

To make things even easier we have a chipKIT Pi support package in our Debian repository. Add the repository to your /etc/apt/sources.list file:

$ sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Add the line:

deb http://dist.majenko.co.uk/ wheezy main contrib

You can also add our signing key so it doesn’t ask if you want to install unauthorized packages:

$ wget -O - http://dist.majenko.co.uk/autobuild.key | sudo apt-key add -
The package is called “ckpi-support” and it sets up all you will need in order to program the chipKIT Pi remotely from UECIDE. It will:
  • Install avrdude
  • Install avahi-daemon
  • Configure a “ckpi” user
  • Install scripts for controlling the chipKIT Pi:
    • ckpi-reboot (reboots the chipKIT Pi)
    • ckpi-program (reboots the chipKIT Pi and triggers the bootloader)
  • Install an mDNS service so UECIDE can find the board on the network

So go ahead and install the package now:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install ckpi-support

If all goes well it will have asked you for a new password to give to the “ckpi” user. Remember this, as you will want it again later.

One more small modification you will need to make (if you haven’t done it in the past) is to disable the “getty” process on /dev/ttyAMA0 (the serial port). Edit the file /etc/inittab

$ sudo nano /etc/inittab

and look for the line:

T0:23:respawn:/sbin/getty -L ttyAMA0 115200 vt100

It is most probably right at the end of the file. Comment the line out by placing a # at the start of it and save the file out. You can now either reboot to enable the change, or trigger a reload of the file:

$ sudo kill -HUP 1

Now you’re good to go!

You’ll need the latest beta version of UECIDE as it has the networking support you’ll be using, so if you aren’t already running it then go ahead and download it. This is the version for your PC of course, not for the Pi. You don’t need it on the Pi.

Load UECIDE up, ensure the chipKIT Pi board is installed (and the latest version), and after a few moments it should detect the Raspberry Pi for you:

detected

You should now be able to select the board from the “Discovered Boards” menu:

discovered

And there should now be a suitable entry in the “Programmers” menu:

bootloader

Now you can just compile and upload your sketch as if you were directly connected to the chipKIT Pi. The first time you upload it will ask you for the password for the “ckpi” user – the password you entered when installing the support package. If you want you can tell UECIDE to save the password forever (it puts it in your preferences.txt file), but even if you don’t do that it will still remember it for the rest of your session so you won’t need to re-enter it again until you next load UECIDE.

upload
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Jul 032014
 
Pontech Quick240 Ping-Pong Levitation

Pontech Quick240 Ping-Pong Levitation

Jacob Christ, from PONTECH, put together a Ping-Pong levitation “trick” where ping-pong balls of various weights can be held up by a steady stream of air. Depending on the weight of the ball, the chipKIT-based Quick240 board controls the fan speed to keep the ball in the air.

Hackaday has featured a post about this very trick, if you’d like to read more about it. You can also click on the image above to view the post.

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