Announcing: MikroElektronika/chipKIT Flip N Click Powered by PIC32MZ

It’s hard to deny. Click boards are pretty cool! Having the ability to swap out just one element for an alternate part, or something else entirely, is a great way to rapidly prototype a design. But we also love our shields, and don’t want to lose any of them just to start using Click boards. If only we could use both!

Well, we have exciting news for you. In partnership with Serbia-based MikroElektronika, we are proud to announce the release of the Flip&Click powered by PIC32MZ! Now you can have the best of both worlds!

The Flip&Click PIC32MZ is a power-house of a board, featuring the 250-MHz PIC32MZ2048EFH100. This processor has 2 MB of Program Flash, 160 KB of Boot Flash, and 512 KB of SRAM, so you’ll have plenty of room for the code to make your design come to life. It runs at 252MHz, which will make your applications blazing fast!

In addition, the Flip N Click PIC32MZ has the following features:

  • Two programming headers, one for Microchip MPLAB tools, and one for MikroElektronika tools
  • USB to UART converter, with control of the reset line (intended for bootloader and serial communications with a host)
  • Micro-USB connector that can run both Device and Host High-speed (480 Mbps) USB applications
  • Two application switches and one reset switch
  • Five user LEDs (four on the Click side, one on the shield side)
  • Four Click sockets
  • Arduino/chipKIT-compatible shield interface

Starting with v1.4.2, which has already been released, the chipKIT-core now supports the Flip&Click PIC32MZ. Simply update the core in the Arduino IDE, and begin using it right away.

The board is available in two flavors, one with a chipKIT-based bootloader, so it can communicate with the Arduino IDE. The other is a bootloader created by MikroElektronika, that can communicate with its development tools, including the PIC32 compilers that allow you to code in BASIC, C, or Pascal. You can program the board with either bootloader, so you can support whichever environment you wish.

Now that we have the power of PIC32MZ, and the flexibility of four Click sockets and an Arduino shield, let’s go create some amazing things!

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New experimental USB stack

We in the chipKIT programming dungeons have been slaving away for the past few weeks to bring you a new, long awaited, USB stack for your USB-based chipKIT boards.

Finally we can say the PIC32MZ based boards have full USB support!

Continue reading New experimental USB stack

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Get Launched in San Diego

Microchip is hosting another Get Launched event on June 8th in San Diego, California. The event is co-sponsored by Arduino and the Jacobs School of Engineering at UCSD.

The general session starts at noon (admission is free) and includes a dozen presentations on startup topics, exhibit tables staffed by technical experts, and a networking/panel discussion at 6pm. (Pre-registration is required.) There are also eight hands-on training workshops running throughout the day. (A fee is required for the workshops, to cover the cost of hardware which attendees will own.)

If you’re based in SoCal and schedule permits, plan to attend and check out the new Sketch Importer for MPLAB X. Don’t forget to register in advance.

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Building a Custom OLED Display

Ever have the need to display real-time data with custom hi-res graphics and text? Super-user Majenko recently built up a cool green OLED display to fit inside a standard hard drive bay on his PC.

A custom mount inside the drive bay

The OLED display is backed by a chipKIT Lenny running the DisplayCore library. Take note of the hi-res scrolling graph along the bottom edge of the display. Not bad for a modest board like the Lenny running Arduino-compatible code. Check out this post that explains exactly how he did it.

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Private Voice-Control of Philips Hue Bulbs with chipKIT Wi-FIRE and Audeme MOVI Shield

The combination of the Arduino-compatible chipKIT Wi-FIRE board and Audeme’s MOVI speech recognition shield lets users voice-control their Philips Hue bulbs without leaking private information into the cloud (i.e., voice recordings to Amazon or Google, Philips Hue hub data to Salesforce and other data brokers). It also allows for better control and customization of the light bulb configuration compared to using Alexa or Google Home.  Here is a short video of the experimental system:

This is an uncut, unedited video. The system works by connecting to the Hue hub via WiFi. It is powered here by a 9V block battery and a small 8ohm speaker for acoustic responses. Both voice commands and responses are fully customizable and MOVI can also speak and understand Spanish and German. 

The delay between the actual light switch and MOVI’s response is introduced by the Hue hub. It is not clear why but one possible cause could be the Hub’s necessity to wait for a timeout as it is not able to send data to the cloud.

Audeme will present the system at this week’s Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA (May 19th – 21st) and they are happy to let you play around with it. In fact, their plan is to create an Instructable and possibly a home kit solution. So stay tuned!

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Serial seven segment LED display shield for chipKIT

Seven segment LED displays are brighter, more attractive, and provide a far viewing distance as well as a wider viewing angle compared to LCD displays. This project describes a serial seven segment LED display shield for chipKIT Uno32 or compatible boards. The shield consists of eight 0.56″ seven segment displays that are driven by one MAX7219 chip. The shield also features a light dependent resistor (LDR) to implement adaptive brightness control to the LED displays. The chipKIT Uno32 board can sense the surrounding illumination level by reading the LDR output through A0 or A1 analog input channel, and use that information to adjust the brightness of the LED displays. A demo code and Eagle CAD files are also provided.

Find more details here!

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HelveKit Robot: A chipKIT Robot Design

There are plenty of “how to design a robot” tutorials out there; this is not one of them. Why is this one different? Because the author, GastonLagaffe, doesn’t want to tell you what to do, as he doesn’t want to limit your creativity. 🙂 His personal goals for this robot were for it to be small, autonomous, cheap, easy to solder, easy to program, with plenty of holes, and swarm capable, and although the journey to get from concept to implementation took him 12 months, he learned a lot along the way.

So if you want to make a robot, why not dream big as you read about how Gaston took what started as a small wish and made it a reality, Gaston-style. To see his journey, check out this HelveKit Robot Design Journey on Instructables. You may smile as you see his approach and decide you would have done it differently, but that’s exactly what Gaston would want you to do!

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BME280 Weather Station

BME280 is a fully integrated environmental unit from Bosch that combines sensors for pressure, humidity, and temperature into a single tiny 8-pin metal-lid LGA package. Because of its compact size, ease of use (BME280 supports standard I2C and SPI interfaces), and availability of supporting open-source Arduino libraries, BME280 is very popular among hobbyists and weather enthusiasts.

This project describes how to read barometric pressure, relative humidity, and temperature measurements from BME280 using a chipKIT Uno32 to make a standalone weather station. The sensor readings are acquired over an I2C bus and are displayed on a Nokia 5110 LCD display.

Continue reading details of this project!

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Meet the chipKIT uC32


The chipKIT uC32 has been around a while, but Fábio Souza at Embarcados has just published a brand new Overview which is worth a look. The article is written in Portuguese; you should be able to use the “Translate” option in your browser to get the English version if needed.

Fábio’s article borrows some diagrams from Digilent’s excellent Resource Center, and also explains how to load chipKIT-core into the Arduino Boards Manager.

Thanks Fábio!

Note: The chipKIT uC32 is our full-featured, Uno-style board with 512K of Flash, 32K of RAM and 47 available I/O lines. It’s fully compatible with Arduino IDE and MPLAB X IDE.

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