About this project
A big thanks to all backers - we have reached 100% Here's a little celebration - PICnDuino style!
PICnDuino is now available in six different colors! You will be able to choose which color(s) you would like at the end of the Kickstarter Campaign.
The PICnDuino is an Open Source dual microcontroller development platform built into a tiny direct to USB device. It is compatible with both Arduino and Amicus18 which have an already established fan base giving you instant access to hundreds of tutorials, code examples, project designs and support forums. For the more adventurous users, you can even use the PICnDuino with loads of other programming languages (including my favourite - Swordfish Basic).
You can configure the PICnDuino with various headers to plug straight into a breadboard or perhaps have no headers at all to solder into an embedded device.
The PICnDuino provides a fantastic opportunity to learn two programming languages in one device (Arduino which is C and Amicus18 which is Basic). The PICnDuino doesn't require any special programmer or extra hardware to work. You just plug it in to USB and start coding. The software is free to download and since the PICnDuino has four user programmable LED's onboard - you can can get started straight away with the LED Blink and Fader examples. Perfect for beginners!
Both microcontrollers run at the same time - you don't need to turn one off to use the other. Infact, you can be programming one while the other is still happily running it's code.
The PICnDuino features 44 Input/Output pins which is alot for such a small device. This allows you to interface to a wide range of devices including LED's, LCD screens, buttons, switches, SD cards, GPS and Bluetooth modules, speakers, buzzers, accelerometers and much, much more. You also have access to multiple SPI, Analog, I2C, PWM, external interrupts and USART ports.
To put it simply - The PICnDuino is perfect for all levels of microcontroller programmers. Providing two microcontrollers in one low-cost and easy to use unit, the PICnDuino is not only easy to use - it is also powerful enough to drive even the most demanding of projects.
- Direct to USB interface - no special programmer or power supply required
- Atmega 328P microcontroller (compatible with Arduino)
- PIC18F25K20 microcontroller (compatible with Amicus18)
- Seven onboard LED's (four of which can be directly controlled with the microcontrollers)
- Two reset buttons (one for each microcontroller)
- Microcontroller select switch (both microcontrollers run simultaneously, however this switch selects which one has access to the USB port. You can even select between them on the fly without powering down, unplugging or resetting the PICnDuino).
- A combined total of 44 I/O pins providing standard digital pins, analog, SPI, I2C, PWM, Interrupts and USART.
- A combined total of 64KB of program memory (some memory space is taken up by the Arduino and Amicus18 bootloaders)
Blinking an LED is where alot of people start out when programming microcontrollers. Since the PICnDuino has two, we will program the Atmega in the Arduino software, then we'll program the PIC in the Amicus18 software. Each microcontroller will blink a single LED.
The cool thing about the PICnDuino is that both microcontrollers are running at the same time. You can have them performing separate tasks if you wish, or they can communicate with each other to double your processing power!
The PICnDuino was created for programmers of all experience levels. From the very beginner just testing the waters of microcontroller programming, to seasoned coders. For the beginners, the PICnDuino gives you the ability to experiment with two types of microcontrollers and programming languages to help you decide which one is right for you.
For more experienced users who are accustomed to using one type of microcontroller, the PICnDuino gives you a perfect chance to experiment with a different type of microcontroller. Infact, you can have both the Arduino software and Amicus18 software open side by side and experiment with porting your Arduino code over to Amicus18 or vice versa.
The PICnDuino can perform a huge range of tasks, from the most basic LED blinker example as seen above, to recording GPS co-ordinates to an SD card or perhaps even making your own home video game system. The PICnDuino has many inbuilt features often only found in more expensive devices, but for a fraction of the price.
Here's the PICnDuino fading two LED's by PWM (one for each microcontroller).
Here's the PICnDuino running dual LCD screen's (one for each microcontroller)
Here's the PICnDuino sending data to the computer via USART.
Here's the PICnDuino running a River Raid type game on an RGB Matrix with a Super Nintendo control pad.
The PICnDuino currently only runs with Windows. It will however work with a virtualisation environment such as parallels desktop on a Mac (as seen in the video clip).
The PICnDuino is plug and play compatible with Arduino and Amicus18 software. It will also work with other programs like Swordfish Basic (which is my favourite IDE) - it just requires you to tell the software that this is the programmer that you want to use. (This will be demonstrated in the PICnDuino Intro Video contained on the USB Flash drive and will also be uploaded to YouTube).
Each PICnDuino reward comes with male and female headers (as shown below). The headers are the only components not soldered to the board - this allows you to configure the PICnDuino to your requirements.
Each 1GB Credit Card sized USB Flash Drive will come with a PICnDuino logo printed on it and will contain:
- Instructional video showing you how to install the Arduino and Amicus18 software and how to install the PICnDuino driver
- Instructional video showing you how to load your first programs onto the device including LED blinkers, LED faders and USART communications - all of which don't require any extra hardware. Infact, these pieces of example code are already built into the Arduino and Amicus18 software!
- PICnDuino schematic and PCB design files
- Bill of materials
- Links to download the Arduino and Amicus18 software
- Links to useful sites and forums
- 50mm long x 25mm high x 2mm thick PCB allowing direct connection to USB ports, hubs and cables.
- Two microcontrollers (Atmega328 and PIC18F25K20 - see below for details)
- A combined total of 44 I/O pins including standard digital pins, PWM, ADC, I2C, SPI and external interrupts.
- 3.3V regulator
- FT232RL chip (allows the microcontrollers to communicate via USB)
- Seven LED's - One for power, two for transmit / receive indications and then two each for the Amicus18 and Arduino (which are programmable).
- 16Mhz Crystal Oscillator
- Loaded with Arduino Bootloader
- 16Mhz clock
- 32KB of program memory
- 1KB EEPROM
- 2KB RAM
- 14 Digital I/O pins (6 can be used as PWM pins)
- 8 10-bit Analog input pins
- SPI Bus
- I2C Bus
- External Interrupts
- 6 PWM pins
- Loaded with the Amicus18 Bootloader
- 64Mhz clock (16Mhz crystal multiplied by 4 with PLL)
- 32KB of program memory
- 256Bytes EEPROM
- 1.5KB RAM
- 13 Digital I/O pins
- 9 10-bit Analog input pins
- SPI Bus
- I2C Bus
- External Interrupts
The PICnDuino has undergone several design revisions to make it as small as possible while still providing a whole heap of functionality and keeping the price per unit down.
Here's what has been done, and what lies ahead:
- The PICnDuino circuit boards have been designed
- Bill of materials have been finalised
- A small batch of PICnDuino prototype boards have been made, programmed and tested
- Quotes and lead times have been received from numerous manufacturing companies
- We have locked in one such manufacturing company based in Shenzhen, China. This company can provide a great price per unit (if manufactured by the hundreds) as well as taking care of worldwide shipping and providing a three month return to base replacement warranty.
- Our Kickstarter campaign is currently underway and will on 31 December 2012. If successful, it will take up to 14 days for us to receive the Kickstarter funds. It may take a further 5 days for these funds to get transferred to the manufacturers bank account. The manufacturer can then begin production of the PICnDuino units. Backers can expect to receive their unit's in March 2013.
The PICnDuino is an open source hardware platform that will be released under the 'Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike' license. This means that you are free to recreate and modify the PICnDuino design, even for commercial purposes, as long as you attribute the original designer and distribute it under the same license.
The PICnDuino has been released under this license because it is based on two already existing open source products. These being the Arduino and Amicus18. Please note that while the PICnDuino is compatible with both of these products, it is not endorsed by them in anyway.
Schematic diagrams and PCB layouts will be available for download at the completion of the Kickstarter campaign (whether funding is successful or not).
For more information on the official Arduino platform please see here
For more information on the official Amicus18 platform, please see here
All reward levels come with free international shipping. If you would like more than one PICnDuino - just add $15 to your pledge amount for each additional PICnDuino.
For example, if you wanted five PICnDuino's (and assuming you missed out on the early backer special) you would pay $17 for the first PICnDuino and then $15 for the extra four.
If you would also like to add a pre-loaded credit card sized USB flash drive to accompany your PICnDuino, you just need to add $3 to your pledge amount.
For example, if you wanted one PICnDuino and one USB flash drive it would be $17 for the PICnDuino and $3 for the flash drive.
A survey will be emailed out at the end of the campaign where you will be able to write a list of what you want, for your pledge amount.
Brought into the microcontroller world through the wonderful projects Brad has created, Stacy's interest in microcontrollers are geared around smaller 8-bit microcontrollers developing LED based projects and musical note generation.
Stacy also loves designing miscellaneous electronic projects and likes to mix things up a bit with his passion for wood work and acrylic.
Stacy has had numerous popular projects on instructables that have not only won him prizes, but have also been featured on the site. Stacy works as an RF technician and has many interests including electronics, programming, playing drums, recording music, and videography.
Stacy thoroughly enjoys learning new skills and has been the driving force behind getting Brad to keep learning also.
Brad loves designing all sorts of electronic projects which more often than not, revolve around a microcontroller and at least one LED. He works full time as an electronics teacher and gets super excited when a student finally understands how a transistor works.
Brad has been an active contributor to the electronics community since 2007.In that time he has released many valuable resources to the community in the form of video and web based electronics and programming tutorials, project schematics, source code and answers all sorts of questions via email and on his electronics forum.
Apart from electronics, Brad thoroughly enjoys snowboarding, basketball, skateboarding, teaching, playing drums and bass guitar (not at the same time) for his church band, listening to music, playing retro video games and hanging out with his amazing wife and two awesome boys.
Risks and challenges
There are certainly all sorts of risks and challenges that can present itself in any project such as this. One of the best ways to deal with these is to plan ahead - which is exactly what we have done. By working with a reputable PCB manufacturing and assembly company, we can significantly reduce the risk of backers receiving second grade products. Each PICnDuino will be tested for functionality before shipping out to each of our backers.
The PICnDuino design uses readily available components that will not be obsolete in the near future. Both microcontrollers are in widespread use worldwide along with the support chips, passive components and LED's. Essentially, PICnDuino is designed to be future-proof.
PICnDuino has been in development for a number of months now and has undergone multiple revisions to arrive at a design that is not only practical, but functional and easy to use. The completed prototypes have undergone extensive testing to ensure correct operation and ease of use. This means that the unit that backers will receive will be the finished product - ready to go and bug free.
Both Stacy and Brad have had extensive experience in the design, manufacture, coding testing and debugging of numerous circuit designs. These projects can be found all over the internet on various websites, blogs and forums. Please see our bio for links and further information on our qualifications and experience.
Last of all (but certainly not least) - we understand that backers expect to have their item to be delivered within the specified time frame stated by creators. We have factored in the time required for us to receive funds, transfer funds to the manufacturer, manufacturing and testing times and also shipping times to give an accurate time frame for when backers will receive their PICnDuino's.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Can you still plug the USB cable in while the PICnDuino is on a breadboard or soldered onto another PCB?
Yes! due to the components on the underside of the device - when you plug the PICnDuino into a breadboard or solder it onto another PCB, it doesn't quite sit flush with the board which means that you can still plug in the USB cable.
The PICnDuino has both 5v and 3.3v outputs. The Atmega microcontroller runs on 5v while the PIC runs on 3.3v - However the PIC chip has 5v tolerant port pins allowing you to connect up any device that you would normally connect to a 5v microcontroller.
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