Is MPLAB X Any Good?

July 18th, 2014

I am an occasional user of MPLAB because we mainly use AVR microcontrollers in our products but recently we have done a lot with PIC microcontrollers. This gave the opportunity to compare MPLAB 8.70 and MPLAB X to decide which to use in the future, so we thought we would share our findings with you.

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Select the Right AVR Programmer

May 21st, 2014

AVR microcontrollers are all In System Programmable (ISP) so it doesn’t make sense to use a socket programmer for them – AVR ISP is the way to go. But what features should you look for when you are choosing an AVR programmer?

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Firmware Field Updates

April 25th, 2014

It amazes us how many people launch microcontroller based products without giving any thought to how they will update the product in the future. This may need to be done because there was a bug but more likely because of customers asking for new features or competitors producing better versions.

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Which PIC Microcontroller to Choose?

March 25th, 2014

The Microchip PIC microcontroller range looks really daunting at first, with lots of 8, 16 and 32 bit devices to choose from. This article will look at 8-bit PICs as they are adequate for most purposes and far more suited to beginners.

There are different series of 8-bit PIC microcontrollers- PIC10F, PIC12F, PIC16F and PIC18F, all with different features and price bands. The PIC10F and PIC12F are the cheapest and generally have less memory, smaller pin counts and less peripherals.

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UK Engineering Projects

December 19th, 2013

What a mess! The UK doesn’t seem capable of organising any large engineering projects, including power stations, airports or railways. This is not because of a failure of technology or engineering ability, it is completely the fault of the politicians.

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AVRStudio Explored

September 24th, 2013

AVRStudio is the development software for AVR microcontrollers supplied by Atmel to allow users to easily develop code for their devices. It includes project management, code editors, assembler and C compilers, simulator and programmer and emulator support. It has been developed over the years and has reached AVRStudio v6.1 but older versions are available, so which version is the best for you?

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Using the AVR Xmega Microcontroller Family

August 9th, 2013

Atmel have added the Xmega series to their AVR range and we are seeing more interest in these microcontrollers as time goes by, but who should be looking at using them?

Well for a start, it is not a chip for complete beginners and people wanting to learn microcontrollers from scratch would be better off starting with standard AVR ATmega microcontroller kits or PIC Microcontroller Kits.

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3D Printing At Home

July 19th, 2013

There has been much discussion recently about 3D printing, especially with the idiots producing the plastic gun, but has 3D printing got to the stage were it is viable for domestic use, a replicator in every front room, or more likely garage?

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Using USART or UART on a Microcontroller

July 9th, 2013

First, what is the difference between these terms, UART and USART? UART stands for Universal Asynchronous Receiver and Transmitter, and USART means Universal Synchronous and Asynchronous Receiver and Transmitter. Most microcontrollers today, like PIC and AVR, have USART, but the Synchronous function is not often used as they have other synchronous devices like I2C and SPI. So this post will concentrate on asynchronous transmission, which is the same on both devices.

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Custom ISP Connectors

June 14th, 2013

To carry out In System Programming (ISP) of devices, such as AVR, ST7 and PIC microcontrollers or serial EEPROMs, you need an ISP connector on your PCB that matches the format on the programmer you intend to use, but this isn’t always that simple.

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