TME: development kits from mikroLAB
MikroBUS is currently the fastest growing standard of expansion boards. It’s one of the developer solutions offered by MikroElektronika, but not the only one. MikroElektronika’s flagship products are the Big and Easy series, e.g. BigAVR and EasyPIC, available for seven microcontroller architectures used by the largest manufacturers. The kits include numerous peripherals (also multimedia ones), as well as many other amenities that enable you to save time, such as dip-switches.
With the largest boards from MikroElektronika, you can forget about connecting peripherals using dozens of cables. Each system on the board, be that a TFT touch display or a USB-UART controller, is connected to the microcontroller on the PCB circuit level. Users can still decide if they wish a particular system to be active for the microcontroller, using dip-switches. Only a few settings of the board have been realized with the use of classic jumpers, to prevent any accidental changes of those settings. 2-position piano switches let the user select the pin of the microcontroller that will work as the GPIO port, while the remaining ones will be connected to peripheral circuits on the board. This solution saves a lot of time. The board is also equipped with smaller 3-position switches, assigned to each of the pins of the microcontroller ports, and connecting external pull-up or pull-down resistors to any GPIO line.
Naturally, the Big and Easy series flagship boards are also equipped with MikroBUS connectors. Each board has at least two slots ready for connecting click boards to expand the functionality of the base board with e.g. wireless connectivity with the use of Wi-Fi or Bluetooth modules, motor control, temperature measurement, and many other functionalities.
Based on the Big and Easy boards, the company composed kits comprising all the components necessary for developing even the most sophisticated applications for a given family of microcontrollers. A perfectly designed box has a slot for even the tiniest component.
Mikrolab kits are offered for STM32, TIVA, 8051, FT900, AVR, PIC, dsPIC, and PIC32 microcontrollers. The smallest of the offered kits are the latest versions of the Easy and EasyMX boards, dedicated for a given family of microcontrollers, with a rich set of accessories and software. In addition to the key component, i.e. the evaluation platform, you also get two prototyping PCBs and supplementary displays (depending on the base board). The set also includes three sets of connection cables for pin connectors, for connecting external kits or a breadboard, as well as a high-quality USB cable to connect to your PC or laptop. These accessories are permanent components of mikroLAB sets.
Another important amenity is a complete toolset that you get together with the mikroLAB development kit. It enables you to work with a given architecture. Besides the hardware, you also get license keys for integrated developer environments: the compiler, Visual GLCD, or Visual TFT. These apps are standalone platforms that allow you to quickly create GUIs for TFT and LCD displays respectively. After designing an interface by the user, both apps generate a code for a selected microcontroller architecture compatible with any compiler from MikroElektronika. The compiler provided by the manufacturer is the mikroC PRO compiler created by MikroElektronika.
The BIG and Easy boards are compatible with the largest possible number of microcontrollers in a given architecture, and they have no microcontrollers soldered into them. Boards for THT packages, e.g. BIG AVR or BIG 8051, are equipped with a set of DIP sockets that allow for quick and easy installation of a chosen microcontroller. In case of microcontrollers in SMD packages, this issue is a bit more complex, but MikroElektronika has coped with this as well.
By selecting a mikroLAB kit, you get a versatile and universal product, which is also finely tuned in every detail complemented by a set of useful accessories and software for creating GUIs, a must-have in today’s world.