THE DESIGN CYCLE n BY FRED EADY
If the ready-made gadget is a sensor and the PCB
the sensor is mounted on is pluggable, you have the
choice of wiring in the sensor gadget on a breadboard or
making space for the sensor gadget on your home-brewed
production circuit board. An even better alternative is to
have a dedicated motherboard that is designed to accept
multiple types of pluggable gadgets; thus, allowing you to
write code for and test the gadget before committing to
the design and fabrication of a custom PCB.
The Io T (Internet of Things) revolution has brought
sensing and wireless communications to the forefront.
There seems to be a sensor for everything. So, it’s now
impractical to attempt to fabricate a special circuit board
for every sensor you want to evaluate. Fear not, for all is
The MikroElektronika EasyPIC Fusion v7
The EasyPIC Fusion v7 development board sitting
in Photo 1 supports over 250 pluggable gadgets.
MikroElektronika calls these gadgets “clicks.” Click boards
take on all manner of guises. Just about any sensor you can imagine can be had on a click board. You can
even get a click board that houses a pair of relays.
There are multiple versions of ADC (analog-to-digital
converter) and DAC (digital-to-analog converter)
clicks, plus Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, OOK (On Off Keying),
GPS, and GSM clicks.
Every MikroElektronika click is designed to plug
into a standardized socket. The click socket standard
is called mikroBUS. Basically, a mikroBUS socket
consists of an analog pin, a reset pin, a four-pin SPI
portal, a two-pin I2C portal, a PWM pin, a hardware
interrupt pin, a two-pin UART portal, a + 3. 3 volt
power pin, a + 5.0 volt power pin, and a pair of ground
pins. The mikroBUS socket layout is shown in Figure 1.
The mikroBUS standard identifies each pin
function. However, the mikroBUS pins are sometimes
used for other functions depending on the needs of the
esigning and fabricating your own printed circuit boards (PCBs) is still a relatively
expensive proposition. In most instances, you can purchase a ready-made gadget
with all the components mounted on a fancy PCB for less than you would pay for the home-brewed circuit board alone. That’s not all bad.
EasyPIC Fusion v7 Development Board
Really Clicks with Cellular IoT
n FIGURE 1. All the most common microcontroller
communications protocols are covered by the mikroBUS.
Although the pins are standardized by the mikroBUS definition,
they are sometimes used for other purposes depending on the
needs of the device mounted on the click board.
n PHOTO 1. The EasyPIC Fusion v7 is built to support
the Microchip PIC24, dsPIC33, PIC32MX, and PIC32MZ
microcontrollers. A pair of onboard mikroBUS sockets
support over 250 click board variants.
70 May/June 2018