Some of the active software or hardware projects that we have going on here at microBuilder
While there are a lot of interesting things that we'd love to do, we've decided to concentrate most of our time and efforts on producing reference designs for different microcontrollers and hardware. Our thinking is that you probably know what you want to develop, but you may not have the experience or time to get all the core plumbing out of the way to free yourself up to start working on the really interesting stuff ... your amazing <insert mind-bogglingly stupendous idea here>!
We've actually got about a half-dozen (OK ... 5) ARM7, Cortex M3 and Cortex M0 reference designs in the pipeline, but for the moment we're really trying to get just one or two out the door and into the wild to get some feedback on it before committing our time and (very feeble!) resources to any other designs. Essentially, we want to know what people are looking for, and if they find the idea of open-hardware reference designs useful or not. If you do (or don't!), please drop us a line since we want to spend our time providing the tools that people are actually looking for, rather than just what we've decided you should be interested in.
The low-power LPC1114 from NXP if the first Cortex M0
device on the market, and is a great choice for projects requiring a decent amount of processing power (up to 50MHz) along with a very low energy footprint. With 8KB SRAM and 32KB Flash, it has more than enough memory and storage to perform a wide variety of tasks, but is particularly ideal for small battery-powered devices, such as wanting to reading some sensors in the field, interpret and transmit the data wireless back to a central collection point, and then go back into sleep mode. You can see the schematic and other relevant content on the main LPC1114 Reference Design project page
. Don't forget to let us know if you find it useful!
We've put together a basic hardware design and accompanying software for the ARM7-based LPC2148
from NXP. We've chosen this chip because it's a very good 'all-rounder': it has a large amount of SRAM (32KB), a relatively massive internal flash (512KB), built-in USB 2.0 support and enough serial buses to work with almost any sensor or component you might be interested in. Plus a number of open-source software packages are already available for it (LPBUSB, several ports of FreeRTOS, uIP TCP/IP stack etc.). You can read a bit more
about the reference design, or download the Eagle files and code base right away. But please don't forget to let us know if you find it useful ... we're always curious how these reference designs get used!
If you don't need tonnes of storage space, or are looking for an inexpensive but performant mcu for your next design, we've put together a basic hardware design and accompanying software for the ARM7-based LPC2103
from NXP. The LPC2103 is a great choice for sensor nodes, or for small, cost-sensitive designs where a few core functions are regularly performed. It has 8KB SRAM and 32KB Flash, which is more than enough for a basic installation of FreeRTOS and a few common tasks such as reading some sensors, logging the data, and going back into low-power mode. You can read a bit more
about the reference design, or download the Eagle files and code base right away. Don't forget to let us know if you find it useful!