Kevin Townsend – microbuilder.eu – blogging on Adafruit! Say hello!
Yet another middle aged male with a recently bulging wasteline, Kevin is marked by a noteworthy inability to feign interest in any of his former bosses pet projects or ‘brilliant ideas’, condemning him to a life of quietly muttering to himself over cold caffeinated beverages during slightly too-frequent coffee breaks. After deciding one morning (10 years later) that he in fact didn’t need to ponder said cold beverages day after day (after day), he threw in the towel on corporate life, gave up the creature comforts of an MSDN subscription and paid holidays to build stuff. Any kind of cool stuff, as long as it blinks and has LEDs. Like, 18 hours a day 7 days a week of building stuff. Kevin shares his crowded Paris apartment with his wife, daughter, his faithful Sheltie, and his Japanese mistress (and MDC7722FV). He has less hair than he used to, more bulge than he probably should … but he’s happy building stuff that sometimes even works. Just the way it should be.
After a decade or so of wondering “what the heck am I doing in this job?”, I decided to throw reason, sound-judgment and critical thinking out the window and try to build my own widgets. Not coming from a manufacturing background, though, I first had to figure out how to build the setup required to build those widgets, and microbuilder.eu was born.
There isn’t a lot of information out there on small scale commercial manufacturing (“micro-manufacturing”, etc.), so I setup the website to try to give back some of the know-how that other people took the time to share with me, and a few tidbits I learned myself the hard way. The website is still a work-in-progress, and I really want to move more towards the manufacturing side of things, but it’s been great to give a bit back to the larger HW community, and I’m glad to see people start to wonder themselves: “Why can’t I build a better X, Y or Z myself”? Indeed … it may not be ‘easy’, but it’s never been as doable as it is here and now!
MicroBuilder LPC1343 (ARM Cortex M3) – The LPC1343 is a low-power, 32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 microprocessor designed specifically for embedded devices. This is a fully assembled version of the LPC1343 Reference Design from talented Parisian designer, Microbuilder. No soldering required (female header pins are pre-soldered onto the board), this devboard is ready to go out of the box.
Please note that while there are some great introductory getting-started tutorials for this board, its best used by those with microcontroller experience. If you’ve played with AVR or PICs and are intrigued by the low cost and ultra fast 32-bit ARM Cortex M3 series, this is the dev board to get! If you’re just getting started with microcontrollers and electronics you should check out the Arduino which is very beginner-friendly!
In addition to publishing the schematics and layout files, MicroBuilder has written a full software library for the LPC1300 family. This allows you to quickly get started with all on-board peripherals, so you can focus on your own application functionality. The software library includes complete GCC-based startup code and details on setting up an ARM development environment using open source tools. Along with a standard Makefile, project files for the open-source CodeLite C/C++ IDE and the commercial GCC-based Crossworks for ARM are provided.
Within minutes, you’ll be using the USB interface for printf() debugging, reading from the analog inputs using analogRead(), tweaking pins without having to look up registers, etc. and best of all no ARM or JTAG programmer is required! The chip comes with a built in USB bootloader that appears as a very small disk drive. To reprogram, simply press the Bootload button and drag your new firmware file into the USB drive that appears. Then press Reset and your code is running. Is that cool or what?
- Power the board via the 2.1mm DC jack (6-12V) or the mini-B USB connector (5V). There’s an onboard 3.3V regulator (LT1113)
- Debugging LED on pin 2.10 and SWD connectors for programming and debugging
- Open source toolchain (GPL) and software library (BSD)
- USB 2.0 HID and Mass Storage support built right into the ROM
- 32K of flash, 8K of SRAM…running at 72 MHz
- Built-into-ROM USB bootloader works with any computer and OS
- Full Speed USB, TTL UART, SPI and I2C interfaces
- Up to 42 General Purpose I/O (GPIO) pins with configurable pull-up/pull-down resistors
- 8 10-bit Analog-to-Digital Converter pins
- Four general purpose counter/timers with a total of four capture inputs and 13 match outputs
- Programmable WatchDog Timer (WDT)
- System tick timer for ez timekeeping
- LPC1343 datasheet has a lot of information about this chip