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Q. I want to reply to a previous issue when you talked about the chipKIT. I have been reading up on these quite a bit, and I really want to explore
the chipKIT MAX32. I was wondering if you could do a
more in-depth write-up on this. I would love to see more of
the capabilities of this guy. I know Fred Eady has done
some articles on it, but his are more advanced topics; I still
consider myself a beginner/novice in the electronics world.
Learning about CAN is still well above my head. Now, I’m
not saying I want to see a “Hello World” program, but I
would like to see some of the more basic stuff such as
utilizing the ADC with sensors, basic timer/interrupts, and
the like. Also, I would like to see it interfaced with MPLAB
utilizing C instead of the Arduino processing structure. If I
want help with that, I can just go to the Arduino site. I’m
more interested in using this as a development board rather
than a small projects board. Thanks!
— Corey Hastings
A. This is an interesting topic, to say the least. I’ve been wanting to investigate these boards a bit more, as well. There is a LOT of capacity in the ChipKit MAX32
board, and it has the side benefit of being Arduino
compatible with the new Arduino MPIDE system. I
“assume” that you have not hitched your wagon to the
“Cult of Arduino” since you want to have projects for this
board that use the MPLAB IDE instead of the Arduino. You
will definitely have more flexibility and smaller (perhaps
faster) code if you use MPLAB over Arduino, but even
though you aren’t a fan you should look into the value of
the Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment).
The hardware objects written for the Arduino are
abstracted enough to remove the drudgery of writing
setup code and dealing with the arcane nuance that
drives so many beginners mad when writing embedded
programs. Try it and see if it fits your needs, then you can
move on; some would say, step up to full-on embedded
programming right at the “iron.”
Because my ADHD tendency is to get sidetracked by
new toys (“shiny things are nice!”), I’m going to start out
here with some interesting servo code done with Arduino
(I’ll admit) just to shake out the hardware. Next month,
I’ll move on to an MPLAB example doing more stuff that
folks can find interesting. The MAX32 board has easily
accessible I2C and SPI interface pins, as well as a TON of
other I/O that can be utilized. In fact, the MAX32 is only
one board in Digilent’s chipKIT continuum of PIC32
Figure 1 shows the full line of Digilent’s chipKIT
Arduino compatible boards. This includes the UNO32 —
14 SERVO 04.2012