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Sep
2
SRAM click and its kilobits and kibibits
Posted by on 02 September 2015 07:56 PM
  Even though the majority of us were taught in school or elsewhere that bits and bytes grow to kilos, megas and gigas by powers of 2, the not so well known fact is that in the late nineties we were supposed to settle on base-10 definitions for digital memory. So a megabit is officially 1000 kilobits. Important trade organizations with names in acronyms agree on this: IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology). It was a utilitarian compromise. Base-10 definitions of kilo (mega, giga…) bits/bytes complicate matters for people who work with ones and zeros. But for people who are not so digitally enlightened the base-10 system is much more sensible. And they vastly outnumber the first group. IEC introduced alternative measurements for those who didn't want to live in a world were a kilobyte is 1000 bytes. Namely, a set of prefixes that sound like names for kittens: kibi, mebi and gibi. So a kibibit would be 1024 bits and so on. So how come most of the data sheets you look at, including the one for the chip on SRAM click, still define megabits as 1024 kilobits? Haven't Chip Makers received the memo from IEEE, IEC or NIST? Turns out there's fourth trade organization which defies the three above: JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council). JEDEC has its own memory standards for semiconductor memory circuits and storage devices. Things get fuzzy here because JEDEC doesn't say which convention should be followed, but rather, they don't explicitly discard the common kilobit = 1024 bits usage. Apparently, that was enough of a straw for the semiconductor industry to hang onto, so, you can safely continue to use whichever convention suits you. As the saying goes: "the nice thing about standards is that you have so many to choose from." But for add-on boards, the choice is clear. Go with click boards and the mikroBUS™ standard. Check out the product details and on SRAM click. The Libstock example is also ready. Yours sincerely,MikroElektronika
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Sep
1
18 days left to submit your design
Posted by on 01 September 2015 04:26 PM
  Yeah, our engineers design click boards for a living, that's true. But please, don't come up with excuses, come up with ideas! You have 18 days left to submit your mikroBUS™ add-on board design. Don't mistake our tone. It's just friendly jostling. The prize list alone should be sufficient to motivate you to design at least one mikroBUS™ add-on board. Just scroll down on the Upverter page to see the impressive list. It's a treasure trove for any hardware developer. 6.5k+ in dollar's worth (hardware, software licenses, free consulting) If it wins the competition, we will manufacture and market it as a click board. Your design will be used by hobbyists and R&D engineers throughout the globe, on all the most popular development platforms: Arduino UNO and MEGA and their many other pin compatible cousins, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Freescale's Freedom… NETMF with Quail, kids could potentially play with it on FlowPaw... not to mention the seven different families of our own development tools. If the unfamiliarity of Upverter is what's stopping you, well, that's easy to solve. Go to their getting started forum and also look through their video tutorials. Trust us, if you're a regular reader of our site, you mastered many a tougher subject than this. Upverter is fairly simple for anyone who has done any hardware design work. Surely there's a way to find the time between now and September 18 to finish a few designs. Fit it in your schedule. Approach it seriously. Go over the guidelines and recommendations once more, and start designing. We're eager to see what you came up with. Yours sincerely,MikroElektronika
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Aug
31
Student companion blogs about PICs and mikroC
Posted by on 31 August 2015 12:59 PM
  Whenever we find useful tutorials we like to share it with you. Student Companion SA is the latest example. The owners of the blog posted one of their tutorials on our Facebook page. Even though the post in question (USB Communication Device Class with PIC microcontroller - mikroC) is over a year old, it seemed to us to be well written and laid out in a way that's easy to follow. We took a scroll through other posts tagged with mikroC and found a bunch. The archives contains posts like "Digital Clock using PIC microcontroller and DS1307 Real Time Clock", "GSM Based Temperature Data Logger with PIC microcontroller - mikroC", "web-based control and monitoring with PIC microcontroller - mikroC", "Automatic Temperature Control System using PIC microcontroller - mikroC". As you can hint from the titles, the tutorials emphasize practical applications over theory. That's what the owners state in the "About Us" section too. Aside from tutorials for specific projects, the blog also publishes career advice for students and young entrepreneurs as well. If you're into tutorials such as these, we'd like to remind you of the comprehensive listing of 50+ mikroC, mikroBasic and mikroPascal tutorials that we posted last year (it was one of the most read posts in 2014). If all these tutorials seem elementary to you.. well then, you're ready to start your own. They say that teaching is the best way to learn. And you can also rest assured that there's a huge audience of aspiring Embedded developers out there hungry for knowledge you can provide. Why, our PIC microcontroller book is consistently one of the most visited pages on our site for years on end. Yours sincerely,MikroElektronika
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Aug
28
  Andrew Hazelden returns with his mikromedia for PIC32-powered VR set. The first version of the project featured two mikromedia boards held in a Google cardboard to provide a stereoscopic 3D image. This time the project is expanded to utilize the accelerometers aboard mikromedia boards. So know there's a 3D MikroE logo that tilts up and down as you move your head. "Who would have guessed a $5 microcontroller could be strong enough to beam VR imagery into your brain!" – says Andrew on his blog. The source code is on Libstock. Separate hex files for the left and right mikromedia, and you'll need a pair of microSD cards to load the mikroE logo in RES format into each board. We would've tried it ourselves because you can download Google cardboard cutouts and instructions to make your own VR set, but unfortunately you also need a pair of particular lenses to complete the project. We didn't have those at hand. You can also order a pre-built cardboard. If you have a pair of mikromedia boards you could use Andrew's code and build upon it further. The first version was widely retweeted so your own efforts would probably warrant attention also. Yours sincerely,MikroElektronika
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Aug
27
TILT-n-SHAKE click released
Posted by on 27 August 2015 03:49 PM
  Some sensors are known for their tiltability some for their shakability but this is the first time (that we’re aware of) you have both built in the same MEMS chip, the MMA8491Q on TILT-n-SHAKE click. If you want to SHAKE it, use it is a 3-axis digital accelerometer. It has a 14-bit digital output with a ±8g full-scale range and 1 mg/LSB sensitivity, and a response time of about 700 microseconds. Very low power consumption as well. If you want to TILT it, it has a built in, also 3-axis, 45 degree tilt functionality. Depending on the direction it leans to, once the tilt angle reaches 45 degrees the click outputs either a Xout, Zout or Yout signal, all through the same interrupt pin. Therefore it’s dead simple to implement. We don’t need to explain the many uses for an accelerometer, but tilt sensors are great for tamper detection. For specific applications you may need only one or two dimensions, not all three. In that case all you have to do is unsolder the X, Y, or Z jumper on the board. It’s not tilt OR shake it’s tilt AND shake, so both sets of data can be accessed at the same time. Here’s the Libstock example. More details on the product page. Yours sincerely,MikroElektronika
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