chipKIT® Development Platform

Inspired by Arduino™


Created Mon, 12 Jan 2015 02:41:07 +0000 by BobCochran


Mon, 12 Jan 2015 02:41:07 +0000


I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Bob Cochran. I live in the Eastern part of the USA, very close to Washington, D. C., but not quite inside Washington.

My goal is to learn how to use PIC32 MCU's. I am extremely interested in using them to run strips of RGB LEDs such as the "NeoPixel" and "DotStar" lines being marketed by Adafruit Industries.

I'm a software developer, but on Tier 1 (mainframe) systems. My skills with MCU's are quite basic. Most of my experience is actually with Arduino boards. On the PIC side, I have some very limited experience with older parts -- I think all in the 16F family of parts. I did start out with the 16F84A. I might have a 18F part laying around somewhere, but I haven't worked with it. I have more experience with Atmel AVR parts. I've never done a professional MCU-based project for the open source or commercial markets. It would be fun to do one, though! I have a lot of breadboards with various half-started or successful small Arduino, AVR, Propeller or PIC 16F690 projects on them.

I think I can write a "HelloWorld" program in C. So you see I need to learn C and C++ and pay attention to the datasheets.

I've purchased a Fubarino SD board which should arrive tomorrow, weather permitting. I'm also planning to buy a ChipKit uC32 board.

I learned about this forum from Brian who has been very helpful to me. I've installed MPIDE and I have many small parts scattered all over in the room I optimistically call my "lab". I guess I need to clean up!

Thanks for reading and have a great day!



Mon, 12 Jan 2015 15:12:20 +0000

Greetings, Bob.

Sounds like you have an interesting background. Tier 1, eh? I can't claim anything that grand... I was weaned on VAX minis - not quite as big as your mainframes, but still needed a fork-lift to move... :)

Programming microcontrollers has a lot in common with programming early home computers. You have limited resources, and sometimes you have to be quite creative to get the most out of them.

Funnily enough the 16F84A was the first MCU I ever started one - it was the only one the local store had at the time. Now I have mountains of stuff scattered around my "lab" :)

You'll find the PIC32 a far cry from that little baby. Especially if you were to get hold of one of the new PIC32MZ chips (despite their bugs)...


Mon, 12 Jan 2015 17:33:52 +0000

Salut Bob,

I love these Neopixels as well. There is a working library at github that worked for me. Link: Instructable:

I have not yet had a chance to touch the new DotStar as they are not yet available in Gernamy.

Ciao and a lot of fun with the pixels! Mathias PS: I have a modified version of the Picxel library that works with the PIC32MX250 - just in case


Tue, 13 Jan 2015 01:26:47 +0000

Thank you! Tier 1 work is not grand at all to me: it is just another monitor, keyboard, and login. And a lot of concentration, but then so is the rest of everyday living.

I did indeed get my Fubarino SD board today, it is right here with me. I will solder on the headers and start learning it soon.