I want to program microcontroller, but I am neither engineer nor engineering student. How can I quickly pick up to get my things done?
Probably you are thinking of making a birthday card, with embedded circuit to play birthday theme tone, or you want to decorate your house using LEDs with own customized blinking pattern or you are too boring and just want to know how fast your bicycle’s wheel can spin.
Yes, you are not required a degree to do that.
We have a lot of open-source tools that describe technical stuff in very straight and easy way. For example: Make a delay of 500ms and then toggle a LEDs. In order to do that we need to know the frequency that running on your system, number of clock cycle that execute one instruction, resources of Timer registers in your device and calculate the total loop needed to fit exactly 500ms.
No! I am not interested in these things, I just want to toggle my LEDs with some time delay!
So in open-source IDE you basically need to program
delay(500); // wait for 500ms
That’s it, you can have 500ms delay with one-line programming.
When come to open-source hardware you probably you heard before about Arduino. What is Arduino, here the explanation from Arduino’s Home Page:
Arduino is an open-source prototyping platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. Arduino boards are able to read inputs – light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message – and turn it into an output – activating a motor, turning on an LED, publishing something online. You can tell your board what to do by sending a set of instructions to the microcontroller on the board. To do so you use the Arduino programming language (based onWiring), and the Arduino Software (IDE), based on Processing.
Yes, it is a very popular platform nowadays and they have a lot of communities to help to develop and maintain the platform.
So basically Pinguino is doing same thing with Arduino. However, Arduino platform developed based on Atmel chips and Pinguino platform developed based on Microchip PIC chips. In fact, other vendor like Texas Instruments also has open-source platform Energia for their MSP430 series microcontroller chips.
However, Pinguino community is not as big as Arduino and we need more volunteers to keep working on development to enlarge our design resources pool. Some works we’re unable to directly plug in from Arduino because Atmel and Micrcohip having different kind of hardware architecture.
So if you are looking for alternatives for Arduino or you are willing to explore new things on open-source hardware, we are welcome you to join us and together we build stronger community to benefit others in Pinguino environment.
Click the links below to kick start to build a Pinguino’s project:
- Prerequisite -Hardware
- Pinguino Pins Mapping
- Lab 1 – Hello World
- Lab 2 – LCD Interfacing
- Lab 3 – Rotary Encoder