chipKIT Pro Mini idea

Let us know what you think about the chipKIT, and what can be done to make it better!
pburgess
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:05 am

chipKIT Pro Mini idea

Post by pburgess » Sat Jun 11, 2011 10:46 pm

Something I would love to see would be a super-tiny minimalist chipKIT for integration into small projects...sort of a beefy 32-bit equivalent of the Arduino Pro Mini or PJRC's Teensy board. Reduce the support components to the bare minimum...e.g. move the FTDI interface off-board, maybe no voltage regulation or just pads a la Teensy, so it's just the decoupling caps and crystal and any essentials. Breadboard spacing for pins along two edges, but unpopulated by default. Size is everything.

Of course the UBW32 has the breadboard thing covered, but that's a big "kitchen sink" board with every last pin and peripheral feature covered. I'm picturing something more mbed-sized with just some solid core features. And of course still working with MPIDE. Just add FTDI cable.

Keeping such a board tiny would require some discipline in selecting only a subset of I/O pins to provide. I'd have to spend some time looking over the pinouts for the 64-pin parts, but the ideal situation would be at least one of each peripheral type (UART, SPI, I2C) in a non-overlapping manner so all can be available, along with some number of PWM channels (let's say 2, for a pair of servos), analog inputs (let's say 3, for an analog 3-axis accelerometer), and a contiguous set of bits on one PORT (let's say 8). If more can be shoehorned in, that's great, but not at the expense of size...I'm thinking tiny embedded applications...wearables and eye tracking and UAVs and stuff where the Arduino falls short in the processing department. Price it right (if the Uno32 is $27 with all the connectors and a costly FTDI chip on there, would under $20 be attainable?) and I'd be falling all over that.

Trev
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:43 pm
Location: The LAN Downunder

Re: chipKIT Pro Mini idea

Post by Trev » Sun Jun 12, 2011 3:13 am

Something like a PIC32 version of the PIC24/dsPIC33 Microstick without the onboard programmer...

Darth Maker
Posts: 40
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:10 am

Re: chipKIT Pro Mini idea

Post by Darth Maker » Sun Jun 12, 2011 6:27 am

I realize that I'm suggesting direct competition, but the Maple Mini (google: "leaflabs") is already on the market, is 32bit and is about the right size.

The Maple format is Arduino compatible (modified IDE, similar shield compatibility to chipKIT boards), but they have a different philosophy for how they do it. They sacrifice direct software compatibility for more direct control over the chip, where the chipKIT design would seem to be the other way around.

I2C is still in the early stages, but the medium-level part of it is fully working. I honestly don't know what stage SPI is at, since I don't use it myself (ever, seriously). UART works very well now, and with the same format as Arduino. USB Serial works fine now, but has some planned improvements.

The Mini is a 40 pin board. 12PWM pins, 9 16bit ADC channels, 2 I2C, 2SPI, 3UART. The Cortex processor has on-board USB for programming and and a serial COM port, so it has a mini USB connector.

There is much more documentation for the Maples than the chipKITs, but there are some mistakes here and there, and it isn't organized very well.

I am not a LeafLabs employee, nor am I affiliated with them. I have a Maple and a Maple Mini (and an UNO32). The chipKIT claim to be first Arduino compatible 32bit board is deceitful at best, and completely false at worst. However, I am open to both boards, especially given the rather different (almost opposite in some cases) design philosophies, and different chips, and the fact that both are open source (100% for the Maples). They both may serve their intentionally different purposes.

The Mini might still be larger than what you're asking for, but it's definitely worth a look.

pito
Posts: 193
Joined: Sun May 22, 2011 9:37 pm

Re: chipKIT Pro Mini idea

Post by pito » Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:36 pm

..you may use 695F512H or 795, it has usb, so no need for ftdi. I put the whole stuff on a very small breakout board (plus 3v3 stab, usb B socket, 13 capacitors, 8M crystal, 5 resistors, 2leds) with an mx695F512H. All pins available. It runs Maximite, StickOS, now I am trying to run arduino (see my other post). Those H chips are 64pin fully compatible with the UNO mx3 chip except 2 pins - rf0, rf6. The second diff is the Usart1 is on rd2 and rd3. P.

pburgess
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:05 am

Re: chipKIT Pro Mini idea

Post by pburgess » Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:57 am

Saw mention of the Mikroelektronika MINI-32 in a couple other threads here, so went looking...and hot damn, that's pretty much exactly what I had in mind! So...uh...never mind, I guess. :D Pity their stateside distributor doesn't have them yet.

So in the meantime, I'll be watching the MPIDE-with-HID-bootloader discussion with great interest.

Mark
Posts: 116
Joined: Sat May 21, 2011 4:26 pm

Re: chipKIT Pro Mini idea

Post by Mark » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:18 am

I have been working with Mikroelektronika, they have been very supportive, I will be supporting their entire product line in MPIDE


Mark

pburgess
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 9:05 am

Re: chipKIT Pro Mini idea

Post by pburgess » Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:24 am

Looking forward to it!

It's amazing...just a year ago, the prospects for cross-platform Microchip development stank, and stank HARD. I'd just about given up. Then suddenly...MPLAB X, MPIDE, this proliferation of new boards...it's like a kid in a candy store!

robotguy
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Location: Beaverton, OR
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Re: chipKIT Pro Mini idea

Post by robotguy » Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:14 pm

pburgess wrote:Looking forward to it!

It's amazing...just a year ago, the prospects for cross-platform Microchip development stank, and stank HARD. I'd just about given up. Then suddenly...MPLAB X, MPIDE, this proliferation of new boards...it's like a kid in a candy store!
Yes, indeed! I've been lurking here, watching things move forward. MPIDE isn't quite mature enough for me to jump in and buy an Uno32 or Max32 yet though. It's amazing what progress can be seen in under a year! So, I'll be here just lurking mostly and watching development of MPIDE. :D

8-Dale
I can handle complexity. It's those simple things that confound me.
Check out Hybrid Robotics | 73 from N7PKT

Dano
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:32 am

Re: chipKIT Pro Mini idea

Post by Dano » Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:24 pm

Keep an eye out for the soon-to-be-released by SeeedStudio "CUI32Stem" board - we've been working on making basically exactly what this original thread proposed (Pro Mini version with a '795 on it), with the added benefits of tying directly into Seeed's GROVE system :

http://seeedstudio.com/wiki/index.php?t ... OVE_System

So all the "Twigs" seen there will simply plug right onto the CUI32Stem board, no soldering needed (a bit like the "Teagueduino" - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tea ... rn-to-make - but much cheaper and faster!)

Cheers,
Dan

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Markus Gritsch
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:42 pm

Re: chipKIT Pro Mini idea

Post by Markus Gritsch » Thu May 03, 2012 8:05 am

The CUI32Stem is now available from SeeedStudio:

http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/cui32stem-p-1100.html

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