Microchip Arduino compatible chipKIT combines WiFi, motor control, IoT

December 03, 2013

Bernard Cole-December 03, 2013

For serious embedded systems developers who want to try their hand as serious application development on a do-it yourself platform, Microchip Technology has expanded its Arduino compatible chipKIT

Among the new capabilities for servo, stepper and DC motor design are two new development tools from Digilent,  and an embedded cloud software framework .

According to Derek Carlson, Microchip’s vice president of Development Tools, Digilent’s chipKIT WF32 board minimizes the need for users to purchase additional hardware or shields through integration of Microchip’s 32-bit PIC32MX695F512L MCU with Full Speed USB 2.0 Host/Device/OTG.

It includes an agency-certified MRF24WG0MA Wi-Fi module and an energy-saving switch-mode power supply that employs Microchip’s MCP16301 DC-DC converter, along with a microSD card—all while maintaining an Arduino hardware-compatible form factor.

What makes the kit useful to serious embedded control developers, he said, is Digilent’s chipKIT Motor Control Shield that enables the development of applications using a wide variety of motor types, including Servos, Steppers and DCs, while allowing users to take advantage of the extra I/O pins found on many of the chipKIT development boards.

“This additional I/O provides added connectivity and more features than traditional, lower pin-count Arduino shields,” said Carlson, “On the software side, the embedded cloud software framework http://www.microchip.com/get/LS3W enables designers to easily create “Internet of Things” (IoT) applications with the chipKIT WF32.

He said Digilent makes it easier to do rapid development of wireless HTTP server applications, through the incorporation of a comprehensive sample application that supports static pages loaded from the chipKIT WF32’s microSD card, as well as dynamically generated Web pages.

“This board also provides professional engineers with a rapid method for evaluating Wi-Fi in their embedded designs,” said Carlson, “and for creating embedded cloud computing services using Exosite.”

Additionally, for this audience, as with all chipKIT base boards, the chipKIT WF32 can be connected to Microchip’s PICkit 3 programmer/ debugger, allowing professional developers to seamlessly move into the company’s professional MPLAB X IDE and XC32 C and C++ compilers.

Not ignored, he said, are hobbyists, makers, students and academics who want an easy way to add wireless connectivity to their Arduino projects. This is done through a combination of Digilent’s chipKIT WF32 base board and its HTTP server example application.

Cognizant of the popularity of robotics applications hobbyist, maker, student and academic DIYers, Carlson said the kit will allow them to drive their boards with the motor types that the chipKIT Motor Control Shield is designed to support.

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