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Forum Index : Microcontroller and PC projects : Beta Testers Wanted

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Geoffg

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Posted: 03:25pm 09 Jan 2014
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Over the past month I have had fun squeezing Maximite BASIC into the new PIC32MX150/250 series of chips from Microchip. These are available in a 28 pin dual in line package so they are easy to solder and use. Even better they cost just US$3.64 in single quantities direct from Microchip.

The result is not quite a Maximite... but it is close. Instead of the keyboard/video/USB it uses serial I/O for the console and instead of using an SD card it stores its program in internal flash memory. Other than this it runs the full MMBasic with floating point numbers, string handling, arrays, nineteen I/O pins, two serial ports, I2C, SPI, 1-Wire and PWM.

It also has a few extra features like being able to change the processor's clock speed (to reduce power consumption), put the chip to sleep (80uA sleep current) and set a password to prevent someone from listing/changing the program, etc. As far as performance is concerned, it is not a slouch. My benchmark shows that it does 23540 lines/minute (the Colour Maximite does 27340) and it has a total of 40KB for the program plus variables (the Colour Maximite has 31KB).

All this in a single chip that can run off a couple of AA cells.





At this time its tentative name is the MicroMite and eventually it will be published in Silicon Chip magazine. But in the meantime I am hoping to find a few beta testers who would like to put it through its paces and report on their experience. You will need the chip itself plus a programmer (like the PICKit 3) and a USB to serial converter (the console runs in a VT100 compatible terminal emulator).

If you are interested please send me an email (projects@geoffg.net ) and I will send you the firmware and the user manual (which contains details of the chips that you can use).

Geoff
Geoff Graham - http://geoffg.net
 
Grogster

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Posted: 04:37pm 09 Jan 2014
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Crikey - that is gonna be a PICAXE challenger!!!

If I had a PicKit, I would volunteer - perhaps I will get one(a PicKit).

I have read a few posts from people on the PICAXE forums, on how much the miss and want floating point on those chips, so that alone could be enough to swing them over to MM.
Smoke makes things work. When the smoke gets out, it stops!
 
bigmik

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Joined: 20/06/2011
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Posted: 05:37pm 09 Jan 2014
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Hi Geoff,

Unfortunately, due to health reasons, I cannot at this time offer to be a beta tester for you but I laud your efforts here and must say that this device really excites me as my main desire is for MICROCONTROLLER applications rather than as a Computer and this seems to fit the bill perfectly. In fact I only recently looked at the picaxe and was thinking of getting a couple to `play with', I will now wait for the uMite.

I cant wait till it becomes a reality.

Keep up the good work,



Regards,

Mick

Mick's uMite Stuff can be found >>> HERE (Kindly hosted by Dontronics) <<<
 
Geoffg

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Posted: 05:52pm 09 Jan 2014
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Hi Mick,

"health reasons" does not sound good. I hope that you get fixed up soon.

Geoff
Geoff Graham - http://geoffg.net
 
bigmik

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Posted: 06:03pm 09 Jan 2014
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  Geoffg said  
"health reasons" does not sound good. I hope that you get fixed up soon.


Not wishing to hijack this great announcement, Gizmo... delete this if you wish..

No not great... But I am still Vertical and generally doing well, although off work,

Had my Gall bladder removed, early December, and it was a difficult procedure, 6 holes to do it keyhole which I believe is normally only 3 or 4 and he broke the telescope inside me... Ok no drama I was about over that when starting New years day I started getting Angina pains if I even moderately exerted myself so I have to go back to see Cardiologist... who knows where we go from there. I hope just a stent..

If I could only plug a Maximite in to pump some blood....

Anyway I am still here and I generally read TBS daily

Thanks for your kind wishes,

Regards,

Mick



Mick's uMite Stuff can be found >>> HERE (Kindly hosted by Dontronics) <<<
 
Gizmo

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Joined: 05/06/2004
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Posted: 06:56pm 09 Jan 2014
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That's fine Mick, hope you get better.

Yeah I'm pretty excited about this one too Geoff. Often I've needed something with more brains than a PicAxe, but without the expense of a full blown Maximite. A Maximite on a 28 pin chip would be very handy, and I wont need a microscope to solder the thing.

Is the Pickit 3 only needed to initially program the Microchip into a maximite, or will it be needed for any communicating with the device?

Cant help with the beta testing, but will definitely be a future user.

Glenn
The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the second best time is right now.
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Grogster

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Posted: 07:02pm 09 Jan 2014
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Hope you recover fast, Mick - best wishes.

I have ordered a PicKit 3 - will be useful for the other I2C thread that MOBI is going to do - Geoff, I will be in touch via your email. I have VT100 terminals all over the place here, so getting one going on the new beast should not be to much of a problem...
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TassyJim

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Joined: 07/08/2011
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Posted: 07:19pm 09 Jan 2014
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I really look forward to the low poer option.
It will make life easier for me (or give me more things on the to-do list).

A first glance, MMEdit will need a few minor changes to make it suitable for programming.
That's Basic programs, not the firmware which needs the PicKit etc.

Best wishes Mick.
(I am waiting on parts for a heart rate monitor and spirometer so I can use the exercise monster - using a Maximite of course.)

Jim
VK7JH
MMedit   MMBasic Help
 
MOBI
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Joined: 02/12/2012
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Posted: 08:24pm 09 Jan 2014
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Good health Mick.

uMite on a 28 pin plug in chip - just what I've been looking for.

I want to rehash my off grid RAPS monitoring system. I was going to use the CGMM but it is really way over the top for what I need and better suited to desk operation.

As all my peripherals are already I2C it will be a breeze to incorporate.

I already have the PicKit3, so programming not a problem. Does the firmware come with a boot loader? (I suspect not?)

I'll get on the Geoff's page and put my hand up as Beta.
David M.
 
Geoffg

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Posted: 08:33pm 09 Jan 2014
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  Gizmo said  Is the Pickit 3 only needed to initially program the Microchip into a maximite, or will it be needed for any communicating with the device?

The PICKit 3 is only needed to get MMBasic into a virgin chip. After that you write your BASIC program on the chip using the serial interface (the firmware includes the Maximite's full screen editor).

BTW, once you have written and debugged your BASIC program you can set the AUTORUN flag and disconnect the serial interface that you used for programming - the chip will then always run your program, just like a "black box" controller.

  MOBI said  Does the firmware come with a boot loader? (I suspect not?)

Sorry, no (not enough space).

Some suppliers will offer the chip pre programmed with MMBasic so a programmer is not vital.

GeoffEdited by Geoffg 2014-01-11
Geoff Graham - http://geoffg.net
 
Grogster

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Posted: 08:53pm 09 Jan 2014
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Will there be any way you can download programs written elsewhere to the chip, or will all programs HAVE to be written on that specific chip?

If there is no way to download a program to the chip, re-typing the code every time you need the new chip to run an existing program will be an off-putter if you see what I mean...

You would be unable to use any XMODEM commands to transfer programs, if there is no USB connection etc, nor is there any SD drive to send the code to either.

EDIT: Ignore. Geoff has sent me the files, and the PDF manual states that you can use XMODEM commands via the terminal. I guess it is as simple as being via a serial com port, rather then USB, but the result is the same in the end. Edited by Grogster 2014-01-11
Smoke makes things work. When the smoke gets out, it stops!
 
Geoffg

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Posted: 09:08pm 09 Jan 2014
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Hopefully TassyJim will be able to support the MicroMite in MMEdit, so that would be another way of editing and getting programs into the chip.

Geoff
Geoff Graham - http://geoffg.net
 
Grogster

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Posted: 09:20pm 09 Jan 2014
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I am reading the PDF manual Geoff sent me(and any other Beta testers) - drool...

This is very impressive indeed - can't wait for my PicKit 3 to arrive, so I can play with it.

Did you even HAVE a Christmas, Geoff?
Smoke makes things work. When the smoke gets out, it stops!
 
TassyJim

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Posted: 09:56pm 09 Jan 2014
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  Geoffg said   Hopefully TassyJim will be able to support the MicroMite in MMEdit, so that would be another way of editing and getting programs into the chip.

Geoff


I am reasonably sure that programming will be straight forward using MMEdit (after a few changes).

Connect the MicroMite using a USB to serial converter (or built in serial port),
Write the program on the PC,
One click and the program in the editor is uploaded and saved on the MicroMite.
Do
Fix the bugs.
One click.......
Loop until working

Jim

VK7JH
MMedit   MMBasic Help
 
Frank N. Furter
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Joined: 28/05/2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 562
Posted: 10:19pm 09 Jan 2014
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Hello Geoff,

I am interested too on your new project. It sounds very interesting!
Can you send me more information?
THANKS A LOT!

Frank

P.S.: Best wishes to Mick!
 
MOBI
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Posted: 10:54pm 09 Jan 2014
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@ Geoff,

just wondered if you have a preferred pic32 for the uMite?

Or is it a case of any of the items listed in your manual work, so get what is available?

After having a browse through the manual, I am eager to get going. It all looks very promising. Might even get Downwind interested?




David M.
 
Grogster

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Posted: 11:02pm 09 Jan 2014
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From what I gather, the 40MHz part is easier to get hold of then the true 48MHz part, but both should work. I have ordered a couple of 40MHz parts to play with.
Smoke makes things work. When the smoke gets out, it stops!
 
Geoffg

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Posted: 11:30pm 09 Jan 2014
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David - You need to re read page 4 which is quite specific.

Before everyone gets too hot and bothered, remember that this is a beta test and the objective is to find bugs. It is not production ready yet. My plan is to have it at that stage in about 8 weeks.

GeoffEdited by Geoffg 2014-01-11
Geoff Graham - http://geoffg.net
 
Grogster

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Posted: 11:33pm 09 Jan 2014
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...yeah, but what about your Christmas, Geoff!!!!????

(see top of this page of thread)

Smoke makes things work. When the smoke gets out, it stops!
 
Geoffg

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Posted: 11:45pm 09 Jan 2014
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I had a great Christmas... I went camping (photo of camper below).



Geoff Graham - http://geoffg.net
 
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