Tag Archives: Uno32

chipKIT Project 4: Digital light meter

A light meter is used to measure the intensity of illumination in a given area. It is widely used in schools, warehouses, factories, hospitals, office buildings, museums, art-galleries, parking garages, stadiums, and many more, to measure and maintain proper lighting levels. The intensity of illumination is usually expressed in Lux or foot-candles. As the 4th project in our chipKIT tutorial series, today we are going to build a digital light meter using the chipKIT Uno32 board and the BH1750 digital light sensor. This project uses Digilent’s chipKIT Basic I/O shield for displaying the measured light intensity in Lux, foot-candles, and Watts/m^2 units.


Digital light meter using chipKIT Uno32

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chipKIT Project 2: Temperature and relative humidity logger

This project is about building a PC-based temperature and relative humidity logger using the chipKIT Uno32 board and the DHT11 sensor. The project setup requires no additional wires (other than the USB cable) and components; the DHT11 sensor is directly plugged into four I/O pins of the Uno32 board and the project is ready to go. This could be a handy and an easiest way to setup an ambient room monitoring system for a server room. The Uno32 reads the temperature and relative humidity from the DHT11 sensor at preset interval and sends the data to PC through the USB-UART interface. A PC application is developed using the open-source Processing programming platform to log data onto an ASCII file. The PC application also displays the real-time temperature and relative humidity on computer screen.

PC-based logger for temperature and relative humidity

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Getting acquainted with the chipKIT programming tool

The overall process of designing a microcontroller-based system is divided into  two parts: designing the hardware of the system, and writing the control software for it. Before the design cycle begins, it is important to have good knowledge of the tools available for the chosen development platform. While we already explored the hardware features of the chipKIT UNO32 board in Exploring the chipKIT Uno32 board, it’s time to look at the software development process. The flowchart below gives an overview of how an application program is developed for the chipKIT board.

Software development process for the chipKIT board

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A brief introduction to the chipKIT platform

In order to understand the chipKIT platform, it is important to talk about Arduino first. Arduino is an easy-to-use and powerful open source environment for developing microcontroller based applications. It has gained huge amount of popularity in past few years, specially among hobbyists. Arduino has been a wonderful tool, introducing many people to the world of embedded electronics with little or no prior knowledge of electronics. The standard Arduino development boards are based on 8-bit Atmel AVR processors which are pre-programmed with a serial bootloader, and thus simplifies the uploading of user programs to the on-chip flash memory without the need of any external programmer. Because of its low cost, easy-to-use software development environment (open-source C/C++ like programming platform), rich set of libraries, and tons of resources available online, Arduino has become a common choice for electronics hobbyists these days. Hundreds of plug-in application boards, called Arduino shields, are also commercially available to extend the functional capabilities of the Arduino board. The simplicity and the open source nature of Arduino and its shields allow students, hobbyists, and even artists to do many creative things.

Inspired from the growing influence of Arduino, Microchip and Digilent, in 2011, introduced a new and much powerful form of Arduino platform, called chipKIT, which is based on 32-bit PIC processors. The chipKIT platform consists of two development boards (chipKIT UNO32 and chipKIT MAX32), and an open-source software development tool, which is basically a modified version of the Arduino IDE, and is called MPIDE (Multi-Platform Integrated Development Environment).

Arduino Uno chipKIT Uno32

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