Low-cost ARM7 prototyping

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Do you find that the capabilities of your current microcontrollers are holding you back when you try to take over the world? Moving up to ARM7 architecture will put your projects in the same arena with the iPod and the Nintendo DS.

The BlueBoard-lpc214x is a prototyping board with a lot to offer. It incorporates two RS232 connections, USB, VGA, SD card slot, piezo buzzer, JTAG, audio out, PS2 keyboard connector, and a 2-line character LCD. The processor is an NXP Semiconductor LPC2148 with 512KB of programming space and 32+8KB of ram. The board also includes a 256KB i2c eeprom. This is a lot of prototyping power, but the low purchase price knocks our socks off: $40.90! Sadly, shipping would cost us another $20.43 but that’s still a lot of functionality for around $60.

Sample code and schematic are available for download. All of the pins for the microcontroller have jumpers and there are rows for pin headers around the processors if you want to patch in your own hardware. We’ve seen other ARM boards that make use of pre-existing shields. We would love to see someone remove the processor and implement Arduino-like shields for different processors outside of the LPC214x series. Promo video after the break. [Read more...]

Maple beats up Arduino, takes its shields

maple

The Atmega168 at the heart of every Arduino is an eminently capable chip; its ilk have been seen working as a basic web server, playing back digital audio, even generating TV signals. But as projects continue to grow in sophistication, reality rears its ugly head: Arduino can handle any one of these tasks very well, but it often requires squeezing every last instruction cycle or bit of memory in the device. Even the ’368 chip and the Arduino Mega are stopgap measures. Sooner or later, you have to graduate to long trousers—move up to a more capable microcontroller platform—an uncomfortable change usually involving a hefty investment in new hardware and an intimidating learning curve. Leaf Labs’ Maple aims to change all that…
[Read more...]

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