Turn-key PCB assembly services in prototype quantities or low-volume to mid-volume production runs

Free PIC32 C++ compiler

PIC microcontrollers are great choice but there is always a problem when choosing compiler. The weak side of PIC is lack of open source C compiler. What if you aren’t doing commercial projects and down want pay a penny just for trying things out. The best choice is to use trial or limited version like CCS. Anyway there is a bit change here with PIC32 microcontrollers. Microchip has announced a free version of MPLAB XC32++ compiler with no time or code size limitations. Compiler supports all 32-bit PIC microcontrollers for C++ or mixed C/C++ projects. Free version has no best-in-class optimization or server license, but for most hobby and even commercial projects works fine. Continue reading

Picture frame that follows image orientation

Some images are portrait and other are landscape. When taking photos you probably were trying to get best picture out of it and rotated camera as you found it necessary. Well then after in order to view pictures correctly you need to rotate them. Markus found another great solution. Instead of editing pictures he left rotation job for his frame. He made a platform with 320×240 graphical LCD attached using servo motor. Images from SD card are uploaded to screen with help of PIC32 microcontroller. Electronics is mounted on prototype board using through hole elements only. Sadly the frame doesn’t support jpeg images only raw. So they must run through python script for conversions. But this process is fast and works automatically. Finally raw image data is taken from SD… Continue reading

Maximite – a PIC based BASIC language interpreter

Couple decades ago BASIC language was quite popular. If you feel sentimental about those old style BASIC interpreters then take a look at Geoff’s project so called Maximite. It is a PIC32MX based basic interpreter box that can be used to play with BASIC around. It has 128k of ram on PIC microcontroller, VGA output, PS/2 interface to connect keyboard. Also you can use USB and SD cards to store and load your programs. Board also has 20 programmable I/O pins that makes it real fun to interact with external hardware. I/O pins can be used for digital and analog voltages. BASIC interpreter supports floating point arithmetic’s, string values with full file I/O. Interpreter can handle up to 40000 program lines per second. If new firmware is released – it… Continue reading

PIC32 based GSM car alarm system

No matter what security system is in your car you can’t feel secure – especially if your vehicle is expensive or unique. Standard alarm systems are well known and easily crackable by persons of interest. If you look for more protection – custom alarm system may be great addition to current. In following project there is a bunch of technologies used. It is based on PIC32 microcontroller that interfaces a GPS module that tells CAR position at any given time, also it is able to send and accept SMS messages with system status. System can take pictures with on-board camera and send it via GPRS. And lastly car movement can be monitored with PC software (data is sent with same GPRS). While GPS, GSM and other high tech toys get… Continue reading

Play chess with PIC

Considering how much power have modern microcontrollers there is no surprise what they are capable of. Following project developed by arthurb is based on DSPIC33F128MC804 microcontroller that runs at 80MHz. The final source isn’t limited by chess engine. There was enough room left for audio, keyboard, serial, VGA video, temperature sensor, RTC analog clock and even game of life. Code is written from scratch and is modular and well commented. Continue reading

Ambitious RGB LED cube project

LED cubes are pretty common projects that actually are quite easy to build. The only need is a patience to solder LED diodes nicely in to cube. Usually hobbyists build cubes out of mono-color LEDs, but this one is different. It is built of RGB LEDs that makes lots of wiring and soldering. This is an 8x8x8 RGB LED cube so totally 512 RGB LEDs or 512×3=1536 individual LEDs to be controlled. Hardware part took quite time to accomplish, but results are amazing. Such creation requires some processing power to display real time transitions, so it is controlled by PIC32 MCU which sends commands to LEDs via TLC5940 -16 channel PWM drivers. So as usually every LED of cube is addressable individually. Continue reading