chipKIT-Board Microcontroller Specs

A typical description for the specs of a microcontroller
A typical description for the specs of a microcontroller

Integrated circuits (ICs), microprocessors, microcontrollers (MCUs)… These are all similar names for devices like the PIC32 device that is the main IC on your chipKIT board. Such devices have many specifications that might make your head spin if you’re new to this sort of thing. If you’ve ever found yourself intimidated when you see a spec list like the one to the left, or perhaps hopeful that someone might explain to you, in layman’s terms, what all the technical jargon about microcontrollers REALLY means, then look no further. Josh Woldstad at Digilent has put together a quick explanation of the specs of an MCU, namely the one on board the chipKIT Max32 board. Hopefully, he helps dispell some of that fear!

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Open-Source Science Tricorder with chipKIT Max32


Did you ever watch Star Trek and wish you had your very own Tricorder? Well, even if you can’t buy one right now, you can at least find solace in the fact that it exists as an open-source project. Peter Jansen believes in a world where we can learn and care about our environment by using such tools, so he put together the Arducorder, an Arduino-compatible sensing device (Tricorder), using a chipKIT Max32 and a collection of sensor boards, along with Arduino-compatible libraries.

So if you didn’t catch it on Hackaday, check it out now!

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CAN Hacking with chipKIT Max32 and OpenXC Platform

OpenXC chipKIT Vehicle Interface
The OpenXC chipKIT Vehicle Interface – There’s a chipKIT Max32 in that there CAN Vehicle Interface!

Have you ever wanted to hack your CAN (in-vehicle network)? Well, now you can — no pun intended ๐Ÿ˜› — and there are plenty of resources out there to help you. For starters, this Hackaday post provides an overview of the hardware available to you for “CAN hacking,” mentioning, among other tools, that you can use the chipKIT Max32 as your development platform!

What you might not know is that Ford Motor Company put together a combination of open-source hardware and software that function as an API for your car’s internal network, calling it the OpenXC platform. Worth noting is the inclusion of the chipKIT Max32 in their list of officially supported embedded platforms. The OpenXC chipKIT Vehicle Interface, which makes use of the chipKIT Max32, also incorporates a chipKIT Network Shield to send and receive OpenXC messages. With that said, why reinvent the wheel, when OpenXC provides instructions to DIY, and you can download the firmware from Github!

Now that you know how to hack your CAN, what are you waiting for?!? ๐Ÿ˜‰ This calls for endless customization of your vehicle interface! Go forth ๐Ÿ™‚

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chipKIT + Accelerometer in LabVIEW

chipKIT Max32 and ADLX345 Accelerometer IC setup for LabVIEW
chipKIT Max32 and ADLX345 Accelerometer IC setup for LabVIEW

If you’ve been wanting to use an accelerometer in your project, there’s a great tutorial on Instructables using a chipKIT Max32 and LabVIEW. With the included code, you could be up and running in a flash. Check it out!

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QEMU Simulator for PIC32 and chipKIT

QEMU - Quick EMUlator
QEMU – Quick EMUlator

QEMU (short for “Quick EMUlator”) is a generic and open-source machine emulator/virtualizer, and now a port of QEMU for PIC32 MCUs is available, which means some chipKIT boards are now supported! The supported families include PIC32MX7 and PIC32MZ, and several boards including chipKIT Max32 and chipKIT Wi-FIRE are among the list of supported boards.

Serge has posted some of this information on the forum, and he welcomes volunteers to enhance and extend the simulator with more peripherals and board types. Check out build instructions and examples for yourself on the wiki at GitHub.

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