ADVANCED TECHNIQUES FOR DESIGN ENGINEERS
■ BY FRED EADY
INVASION OF THE CHIPKIT MAX32
With the introduction of the Arduino-speaking chipKIT Max32, about the only
world-changing thing left for me to see in my lifetime is the arrival of aliens. There
have been lots of intrusions into AVR-controlled Arduino airspace. However,
the arrival of the 32-bit Microchip flagship microcontroller in the Arduino
sector is akin to the Vulcan scout ship T’Plana Hath’s first contact on Earth.
The chipKIT Max32 parked in Photo 1 is capable of
quickly ferrying Arduino shield payloads with minimal or
zero modifications. The chipKIT Max32’s warp drive is
based on a Microchip PIC32MX795F512L 32-bit
microcontroller clocked at 80 MHz. The PIC32MX795F512L
is rich in on-chip peripherals. However, external components
to support its on-chip peripherals are only required when a
particular peripheral is put into use. For instance, the
PIC32MX795F512L supports Ethernet and CAN. If you do
not need Ethernet capability, the Ethernet PHY IC need not
be mounted. The same goes for CAN. There is no need to
include the MCP2551 CAN transceiver if the PIC’s internal
CAN hardware is to remain idle in your application.
Arduino is a programmer’s paradise that shields the
complexities of the hardware from the programmer. To that
end, a specially modified Multi-Platform IDE (MPIDE) has
been developed to assist in chipKIT Max32 sketch
development. However, most “programmers” these days are
also interested in what they are loading their precious code
into. With that, we’re going to board that chipKIT Max32
you see in Photo 1 and check out the instrumentation.
The chipKIT Max32’s controlling microcontroller needs
no introduction. The PIC32MX795F512L is the biggest,
baddest, fastest microcontroller in the PIC family of devices.
Every logical embedded peripheral a designer would need
for an embedded application is integrated into the
PIC32MX795F512L’s silicon fabric.