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

USB key sized Java Script computer

Usually when you are building microcontroller project (say Arduino), you need to write code first, upload to microcontroller and then run it. And if you need to change something or run different program, you need to flash new program in to it. But these things can be done differently – by using script language like Java Script. Basically this works like this – an interpreter program continuously runs on microcontroller which accepts and runs scripts written by user during run time. This gives less hustle on developing things. You don’t need development tools like compiler or download cables. Scripting language is hig level language, where lots of things are hidden and you need to write less code. Also your programs are executed immediately once typed. Gordon Williams have started great kickstarter project where he is building an Espruino pico device which is USB memory stick size which runs JavaScript interpreter. All you need is to plug it to USB port and start playing with it. Java script is commnly used scripting language. Probably all websites have JavaSript on it, so… Continue reading

Nucleo-F401RE Arduino shape with Cortex-M4 power

STMicroelectronics Nucleo boards are another way of prototyping with ARM Cortex-M microcontrollers. The idea was to get closer to Arduino interface, but still have ARM power and versatility. The shape of Nucleo board is somewhat close to Arduino Uno, just a bit wider so it could carry two types of connectors. Lets look at Nucleo-F401RE – one of four boards available now. First of all it features ARM Cortex-M4 STM32F401RET6 microcontroller which of course have FPU module and DSP instructions. There are 512KB of flash and 96KB of SRAM on chip and can be clocked up to 84MHz. Any Nucleo board have Arduino UNO compatible headers where most of Arduino shields can be plugged and used for fast prototyping. Other pins are brought out by using Morpho headers: Continue reading

Spectrum analyzer based on TIVA Lanchpad Series

Gabriel Francisco has been working on low frequency spectrum analyzer. It was meant to analyze accelerometer data gathered from automotive suspension system to measure comfort of the ride. But this analyzer can be used for any low frequency signals. Basically this measuring system consists of Graphical User Interface (GUI), data acquisition hardware based on LM4F120 TI’s ARM Cortex-M4 and data source – accelerometer. Logic analyzer support 8 channels with 512Hz sampling frequency. Data is passed through software FIR low pass filter with 75Hz cuttoff frequency. Then it calculates 256 points FFT, Power Density Spectrum. Graphical interface has several handy controls and signal ploting. Gabriel have made additional custom board for better connectivity and also designed whole custom PCB which seems hasn’t been built yet. Continue reading

McHACK – a versatile microcontroller platform with USB bootloader

McHACK

Mc HCK pronounced as McHACK is a versatile microcontroller platform which has a on-board USB bootloader for easy USB based programming. The main advantage of this platform is that it can be built at home and with a total cost of $5. By using this , you can built projects no matter how small or big they are without needing to spend extra $20 for the microcontroller board itself The MC HCK is entirely open-source platform with exposure to both hardware and software just like an arduino. The platform is of ARM-cortex M4 series of processors while the microcontroller used is manufactured by freescale and is named as MK20DX32VLF5. It features 8KB of RAM, 32KB of program flash as well as program data. Also on the board you can solder components to support LIPO charger along with a SPI flash storage and also a 2.4 Ghz radio module.  The board supports USB, I2C, SPI, UART as well as I2S. The MC HCK is a quick hack toy from geeks, for geeks. It is designed to be versatile, without adding excess… Continue reading

Unbeatable ARM Cortex-M4 board for any purpose

ARM Cortex-M4 board

A good prototyping board with many features can save a day. As there are all you need you can instantly focus on things you need it to do. Aithon Robotics LLC wanted to make powerful but yet simple to work with ARM board which would fit most needs – especially in robotics. First of all it is based on ARM Cortex-M4 STM32F407 that features FPU. 512KB Flash and 192KB of RAM can be enough for most of applications. We don’t need to name all the features of ARM controller which actually caries lots of them. The board itself has 15GPIOs that are running at 3.3V but are 5V tolerant. It has 8 ADC inputs and 8 PWM outputs where you can attache servos. You can see mini-USB seen as device and USB host ports, xBee socket, Bluetooth compatible header, SPI, SWD, DAC, microSD. Robotics enthusiasts will find a 3-axis accelerometer (LSM330DLC), 2 channel 5A H-bridge, alphanumeric LCD header, buzzer, couple push buttons and couple programmable LEDs. Besides great hardware there is software library available which is based on ChibiOS/RT. So… Continue reading