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Thread: New Hardware Developer - Putting lights on your homenetwork!

  1. #11
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    Default Re: New Hardware Developer - Putting lights on your homenetwork!

    I love the video
    I've thought about trying something like this myself after seeing fountains like this at the Orlando parks

  2. #12
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    Default Re: New Hardware Developer - Putting lights on your homenetwork!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ike View Post
    MikroBasic is a phenomenal programming language for PIC and has a fully functional free version that anyone can use. The best part about it is the built in libraries. SD Cards, USB, RS485, Graphical LCDs, SPI Communications. You name it they have a built in library for it. If anyone wants to learn PIC programming I 100% recommend you start with MikroBasic. It eliminates the Assembly learning curve and gets you right into the hardware.
    Sounds similar to Arduino? I started reading a book on the PIC and assembly but it was taking me about a full day to comprehend each page of material, so I put it off and started with the Arduino. Perhaps mikrobasic is a better way for me to learn the PIC.
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  3. #13
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    Default Re: New Hardware Developer - Putting lights on your homenetwork!

    Quote Originally Posted by n8huntsman View Post
    Sounds similar to Arduino? I started reading a book on the PIC and assembly but it was taking me about a full day to comprehend each page of material, so I put it off and started with the Arduino. Perhaps mikrobasic is a better way for me to learn the PIC.
    Arduino is a firmware that runs on top of the chip and interprets your code. So its almost like a program within a program. The advantage to Mikrobasic is that it compiles directly to an assembly hex file and runs without the interpretive layer. So its faster and more flexible that way. Plus you program the actual chip in MikroBasic so what you end up with is a chip you can solder directly to a custom PCB (way cheaper)

    If you pick up an EasyPIC v7 board, the awesome thing is you can drop in a working example program and then start tweaking away. I know I personally learn way faster by playing with working code and hardware than I do by reading a book. Its incredibly helpful to be able to decouple hardware debugging from software debugging. I usually get a basic program working on my EasyPIC board and then layout a PCB once the program is up and running. That way when I solder up the new PCB and something doesn't work I know it is the PCB layout and not the program. It saves a lot of time!

  4. #14
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    Default Re: New Hardware Developer - Putting lights on your homenetwork!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ike View Post
    Arduino is a firmware that runs on top of the chip and interprets your code. So its almost like a program within a program. The advantage to Mikrobasic is that it compiles directly to an assembly hex file and runs without the interpretive layer. So its faster and more flexible that way. Plus you program the actual chip in MikroBasic so what you end up with is a chip you can solder directly to a custom PCB (way cheaper)

    If you pick up an EasyPIC v7 board, the awesome thing is you can drop in a working example program and then start tweaking away. I know I personally learn way faster by playing with working code and hardware than I do by reading a book. Its incredibly helpful to be able to decouple hardware debugging from software debugging. I usually get a basic program working on my EasyPIC board and then layout a PCB once the program is up and running. That way when I solder up the new PCB and something doesn't work I know it is the PCB layout and not the program. It saves a lot of time!
    I think you have a misinterpretation of arduino. It uses avr-gcc to compile to "assembly" (a hex file) which is written to the arduino's flash. The part of arduino that makes it easy (and slow) is the way they wrap everything. There are tons of header files, include files, etc. in the background and they simply present you with the ability to use "setup" and "loop". If you dig down, there's a main() that simply runs setup, then a while (true) { loop() }. It's not some interpreted layer on top of something.

    This easyPic sounds very interesting.
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  5. #15
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    Default Re: New Hardware Developer - Putting lights on your homenetwork!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ike View Post
    I'm thinking where my board will fit in is for cost purposes. Using an all in one PIC, Ethernet Controller, I/O board should be pretty cheap and inline with the cost of a Renard board. I don't think it would be hard to create a firmware version that would utilize the E1.31 protocol, though I will probably start with my own proprietary protocol until I get the hardware worked out.
    Sounds interesting! Which PIC would you use for that?

    don
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  6. #16
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    Default Re: New Hardware Developer - Putting lights on your homenetwork!

    Quote Originally Posted by djulien View Post
    Sounds interesting! Which PIC would you use for that?

    don
    My current prototype uses a PIC 18F26K22 running at 64MHz. For the ethernet I am using a Microchip ENC28J60.

    Here's a screen cap of my board layout from a version or two ago:


    I'm currently using Express PCBs miniboard service ($51 for 3 boards 3.8"x2.5" in size) and their free layout software. So these boards are pretty small at the moment. Its cheap and great for forcing me to keep the layout decently compact. The smaller the cheaper for everyone to get made. Unfortunately the size keeps me from adding a power supply circuit with transformer to the board for now. I'll add that once I get the basic design squared away and move on to a custom sized 8 channel board.

  7. #17
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    Default Re: New Hardware Developer - Putting lights on your homenetwork!

    Quote Originally Posted by Materdaddy View Post
    I think you have a misinterpretation of arduino. It uses avr-gcc to compile to "assembly" (a hex file) which is written to the arduino's flash. The part of arduino that makes it easy (and slow) is the way they wrap everything. There are tons of header files, include files, etc. in the background and they simply present you with the ability to use "setup" and "loop". If you dig down, there's a main() that simply runs setup, then a while (true) { loop() }. It's not some interpreted layer on top of something.

    This easyPic sounds very interesting.
    Ah, got it. I have not used an Arduino personally but have an engineering friend who uses it a lot. I misunderstood his explanation and had the wrapper functionality confused with an interpretive layer. Thanks for straightening me out =)

    As for the EasyPIC, let me just say you wouldn't be sorry in purchasing one. They make it so easy to try out PIC hardware functionality and peripherals. Graphics LCDs and ethernet were pretty daunting before I bought the board and now I find them to be quite simple to work with since I have a dev platform with them either on there natively or available in an accessory board. After I showed my board to one of my old professors from college he bought a bunch of them and they now use them for almost all of the micro controller labs. Its a perfect jack of all trades system for beginners all the way up to advanced projects like this.

  8. #18
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    Default Re: New Hardware Developer - Putting lights on your homenetwork!

    http://kicad.sourceforge.net/wiki/Main_Page

    just going to leave that there

    Befor i found this site i developed a relayboard via cmos 4000 series chips Kicad made it pretty easy. Also before i learned what a shift register was
    Last edited by kingofkya; 02-29-2012 at 02:49 AM.

  9. #19
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    Default Re: New Hardware Developer - Putting lights on your homenetwork!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ike View Post
    Ah, got it. I have not used an Arduino personally but have an engineering friend who uses it a lot. I misunderstood his explanation and had the wrapper functionality confused with an interpretive layer. Thanks for straightening me out =)
    You bet. I'm by no means an expert, but I do a bit of tinkering with an arduino when I can.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ike View Post
    As for the EasyPIC, let me just say you wouldn't be sorry in purchasing one. They make it so easy to try out PIC hardware functionality and peripherals. Graphics LCDs and ethernet were pretty daunting before I bought the board and now I find them to be quite simple to work with since I have a dev platform with them either on there natively or available in an accessory board. After I showed my board to one of my old professors from college he bought a bunch of them and they now use them for almost all of the micro controller labs. Its a perfect jack of all trades system for beginners all the way up to advanced projects like this.
    Sounds fun. Problem for me is I already have an arduino which makes LCDs and ethernet relatively easy as well, but I rarely pass up the chance to get another gadget I don't have time for! I'll probably check one out in the coming year.

    Quote Originally Posted by kingofkya View Post
    http://kicad.sourceforge.net/wiki/Main_Page

    just going to leave that there

    Befor i found this site i developed a relayboard via cmos 4000 series chips Kicad made it pretty easy. Also before i learned what a shift register was
    I saw KiCad when I was looking into schematic/PCB layout software but never installed it. I went with Eagle because it seemed popular and somewhat widely used. Now I know that it's a bit of a pain in the butt. Maybe I should try KiCad now.
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  10. #20
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    Default Re: New Hardware Developer - Putting lights on your homenetwork!

    Quote Originally Posted by djulien View Post
    Sounds interesting! Which PIC would you use for that?

    don
    Our ethernet controllers use a PIC24HJ series chip about $3.50 each.

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