Microchip’s chipKIT Uno32
The chipKIT platform from Microchip is a PIC32-based developer board that is natively compatible with the Arduino programming language and development environment. This board uses a modified version of the Arduino integrated development environment and existing Arduino resources like code examples, libraries, references and tutorials.

Freescale’s i.MX53 Quick Start board
Freescale’s i.MX53 Quick Start board

“Microchip’s foundation started with the hobbyist community and we are also well entrenched in the academic community worldwide. We were constantly receiving multiple requests and inquiries for a PIC MCU-based Arduino solution. So we decided to act on the voices we were hearing from these two groups and launched the PIC32-based chipKIT platform,” said Cheri Keller, senior design partner program manager, Microchip Technology Inc.

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These chipKIT boards are clocked at 80 MHz, and provide 512kB Flash and 128kB RAM. The boards feature connectivity peripherals, including Ethernet, CAN and USB (full-speed host, device and OTG), plus peripherals such as multiple timers, a 16-channel 1MSPS ADC, two comparators, and multiple I2C, SPI and UART interfaces. In addition, the chipKIT platform features the MIPS32 M4K core from MIPS Technologies.

The chipKIT Uno32 development board costs just Rs. 2300 in India, compared to Rs. 2500 for the Arduino Uno on which it is based.

ATMEL STK500
This kit is shipped with an Atmel microcontroller in the socket marked SCKT3000D3. The default jumper settings allow the microcontroller to execute from the clock source and voltage regulator on the STK500 itself. However, the starter kit can be programmed for various clock and power sources.

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The STK500 can be controlled from the AVR Studio (v3.2 or higher). AVR Studio is an integrated development environment for developing and debugging AVR applications. It also provides a project management tool, source file editor, simulator, in-circuit emulator interface and programming interface for the board.

There also exists another model, the STK600. It has routing cards, but is far more expensive (at Rs. 17,330) than the STK500. The STK500 is available from element14 for around Rs. 7230. It was voted as the most popular developer board by the EFY Electronics Design Community on Facebook.

Freescale’s i.MX53 Quick Start board

Freescale offers the Quick Start board targeting such applications as human-machine interface in embedded consumer, industrial and medical markets. The board comes integrated with the ARM Cortex-A8 processor and Freescale’s own MC34708 PMIC. It also includes a display controller, hardware-accelerated graphics, 1080p video decode, 720p video encode as well as some connectivity options. With Cortex-A8 clocked at 1 GHz and a full gigabyte of DDR3 memory, this board is built to perform.

The i.MX53 Quick Start board comes pre-installed with Linux OS. Android and Windows Embedded Compact 7 board support packages are also available through third parties. In addition to optimised board support packages, Freescale provides a large portfolio of optimised video, speech and audio codecs. Also included is a VMware player image running ready-to-go Linux. This allows those with a Windows PC to bypass the typical setup of a standard Linux-based development system.


The author is a tech correspondent at EFY

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