Engineers from around the world are competing for the title of the RL78 Green Energy Challenge Grand Prize winner! Renesas is challenging everyone to change the way the world experiences green energy by developing an eco-friendly, low-power application using the RL78 MCU. Succeed and you’ll win share of a $17,500 Grand Prize. [via]
Plus, follow Renesas on Twitter and Facebook now for a chance to win additional prizes from official contest partners. Pmods, development tools, and even more cash prizes are up for grabs. Join the RL78 Green Energy Challenge today!
The RL78 Green Energy Challenge Is On! - [Link]
The Atmel® SAM3 family of ARM® Cortex™-M3 Flash-based microcontrollers (MCU) is expanding with 40 new devices in the mix that provide more memory options and more connectivity. With this high-performance, highly integrated and power-efficient portfolio, you’ll find just the right devices to meet your unique design requirements.
A powerful new family of microcontrollers from Atmel with Cortex™ M3 cores (rev 2.0). The new microcontrollers are energy efficient and the supply voltages range from 1.62 to 3.6 V. They are designed to make circuit board layouts simpler and keep system costs low. The circuits have a broad selection of interfaces and support Atmel’s touch control system, QTouch.
SAM3N – (Entry point) Entry-level model to ARM Cortex M3 technology with a 3-layer bus (AHB), 10 DMA channels and clock frequencies up to 48 MHz. UART, SPI and I2C interfaces. Pin-to-pin compatible with the SAM7S and SAM3S series. Up to 79 I/Os, 48-/64-/100-pin packages.
SAM3S – (General purpose) Mid-range model with a 4-layer bus, 21 DMA channels and clock frequencies up to 64 MHz. Full-speed (FS) USB, high-speed SD/SDIO/MMC plus USART and SPI. Pin-to-pin compatible with SAM7S. Up to 79 I/Os, 48-/64-/100-pin packages.
SAM3U – (High-speed) Fast 100 Mbps microcontroller for more advanced applications with complex communications. 5-layer bus, 22 DMA channels and clock frequencies up to 96 MHz. 480 Mbps high-speed USB, high-speed SD/SDIO/MMC plus USART and SPI. Up to 96 I/Os, 100-/144-pin packages.
SAM3 family – NEW 32-bit ARM Microcontroller - [Link]
Every once in a while something comes along that changes the way you look at things. A project posted last week by Dmitry Grinberg was such a thing for me. The project in itself is already pretty strange: porting a 32-bit operating system (OS) to an 8-bit microcontroller lacking most of the features needed to actually run the OS. Why would you want to run Linux on an AVR? “Because you can”, would answer George Obama (or was it Barack Mallory?) and now also Dmitry. Yes, apparently you can (I didn’t try it myself), it only takes two hours to boot Linux on the AVR, with an effective clock speed of a dazzling 6.5 kHz. It is fun as in academic demonstration.
Yet for me this demonstration, working or not, useful or not, shows more. Emulating one platform on another more powerful platform is common practice these days, but I had never thought about doing the opposite. Emulating a 32-bit ARM processor on an 8-bit microcontroller is actually quite a cool idea. Maybe Dmitry is not the first to have done this, I don’t know, but it is an excellent example of thinking the other way around, outside the box. The result may be useless for now, but who knows what one day may come from this? [via]
Run 32-bit Linux on an 8-bit MCU - [Link]
Raj from Embedded Lab describes in his latest tutorial the theory of a very basic digital capacitance meter and its implementation using a PIC microcontroller. It is based on the principle of charging a capacitor through a series resistor and determine the time required to charge it to a known voltage. The built-in analog comparator and Timer2 modules are used in this process. The meter can measure capacitance from 1nF to 99.99 uF.
Digital Capacitance Meter using a PIC Microcontroller – [Link]
Patrick Cambria posts this simple oscilloscope project using a Picaxe-08M microcontroller and a potentiometer. The Picaxe is programmed in BASIC and the entire MCU program follows:
The output from a potentiometer voltage divider is fed into an ADC pin of a PICAXE 08M then serially transmitted to a Serial Port in Visual Basic.NET and plotted over time in a line graph.
$5.00 simple oscilloscope using Picaxe and VB - [Link]
Derek Wolfe writes:
This is an all-in-one module for Atmel ATtiny24/44/84 8-bit microcontrollers and all necessary components to run them. Having a microcontroller module is nice because it reduces the amount of redundant design in projects using microcontrollers. You only need to provide 5V power and connect to the I/O lines to make a prototype microcontroller circuit. This design easily connects to a breadboard or a subcircuit with header pins and can also be wired directly for a permanent installation. Subcircuit design is greatly simplified by a modular approach because there are no traces blocking the way to the microcontroller pins. All traces on the microcontroller module are essentially on a different level making connections much easier.
ATtiny24/44/84 Mini Board - [Link]
Microchip presents several of techniques for lowering the power consumption of their PIC microcontrollers and dsPIC digital signal processors. Many things can apply to any low-power project. [via]
This document seeks to simplify the transition to low-power applications by providing a single location for the foundations of low-power design for embedded systems. The examples discussed in this document will focus on power consumption from the viewpoint of the microcontroller (MCU). As the brain of the application, the MCU typically consumes the most power and has the most control over the system power consumption.
App note: Lowering power consumption on PIC microcontrollers - [Link]
pyMCU is a python controlled MCU unlike other efforts out there that try to get the MCU to actually run python my approach is to use python on the computer to control the MCU. I’ve written a really optimized serial protocol and a python wrapper that lets you do the same kind of commands you would use if you were programming the MCU directly except its all done real-time on the computer so your essentially able to use the python interface on the computer to interact with the physical world. The current version has been tested and works on Windows, Linux, and OSX.
With more and more software having hooks into python the possibilities you can have with this are almost endless.
I think it can be a great product that falls somewhere between a basic stamp and an arduino and will be a great stepping stone for beginners to learn electronics and/or programming.
pyMCU – a python controlled MCU - [Link]
This is an experiment board based on the new AVR ATxmega 128A1 microcontroller from Atmel. It features some nice gimmicks like an opto coupler, a RGB LED, a microSD card slot, infra red transmitter and receiver, USB, an external SDRAM and EBI extension header as well as a rotary encoder. The board has 6mil structures and hence is not home-producible (at least for the most of us). The board aims to be a general test bed for getting familiar with the new Xmega series. It could also be used as an application board.
It started out as a community project and I am about to spread about 100 pieces of this board into the crowd. We can expect some external contributions mostly in form of example code, which is rare at the moment. Although Atmel announced the MCU well over a year ago it is now that the first models become available in small quantities. This edgy character also establishes itself when it comes to the toolchain and programming tools and costs a lot of effort.
ATxmega128a1 development board - [Link]
Having been disappointed by the generic offering of Christmas lights with small customization options, he decided to make fully customizable light decoration.
Small PIC12F609 MCUs along with RGB LEDs are placed on a board and daisy chained over a 3 wire cable. A master MCU is placed on one end of the cable and controls the color of the lights individually by sending addressed data over the wires. [via]
Christmas lights with a MCU in each bulb - [Link]