Microchip Technology (Chandler, AZ) recently announced the expansion of its Arduino compatible chipKIT platform ecosystem, including a new Raspberry Pi tool that it co-developed with partner element14—the chipKIT Pi Expansion Board.  On the software side, volunteers from the chipKIT and Arduino communities collaborated with Microchip’s engineers to expand the free chipKIT Multi-Platform IDE (MPIDE), to allow users to create, compile, and program Arduino sketch-based chipKIT applications within the Raspberry Pi operating system.  The chipKIT MPIDE is open source and compatible with the Arduino programming language and development environment.  Both of these tools are based on Microchip’s 32-bit PIC32 microcontrollers (MCUs) in prototyping-friendly, low pin count SPDIP packages, which was previously only available with 8-bit MCUs for the Arduino community.  This enables all users—including hobbyists, academics, makers, and professionals—to benefit from the PIC32’s high performance, memory, and integrated peripherals while using the basic hobbyist prototyping equipment found in most home workshops.

The Raspberry Pi, widely viewed as one of the easiest and most affordable computers on which to program, shipped more than one million units in less than a year on the market.  element14’s chipKIT Pi Expansion Board enables the development of 3.3 V Arduino compatible applications for the Raspberry Pi using a 32-bit, high-performance MCU in a prototyping-friendly package.  Because the Raspberry Pi’s processor is a 3.3 V chip, its digital I/O and communications (I2C, UART, SPI) pins require 3.3 V.  Meaning that existing prototyping-friendly Arduino boards, which are all based on 5V 8-bit MCUs, require users to create or purchase additional components to translate the voltages.  The chipKIT Pi can interface directly to the Raspberry Pi I/O Expansion header without any additional components, reducing both cost and design complexity.

The PIC32 features:

  • 3.3 V compatibility.
  • Compatibility with Arduino.
  • 32-bit MCU.
  • Prototyping-friendly SPDIP package.
  • High level of performance, memory, and integrated peripherals.
  • Touch sensing, audio processing, and advanced control. 
  • Peripheral Pin Select feature, which provides the flexibility to re-map certain peripheral I/O pins.

The chipKIT Pi board and the Raspberry Pi compatible version of the MPIDE software further enable users to tap into the large repository of available Arduino tutorials, reference materials, curriculum, and more to create a diverse array of designs.

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