The Original Maximite
It became an instant hit and many thousands have been built or purchased. These days you can find a Maximite calculating prime numbers, monitoring a windmill power generating system or teaching children about computers.
A new generation of the Maximite family has been introduced (the Colour Maximite) but the original Maximite is still good for many tasks particularly controlling or monitoring systems in the real world.
The firmware for the original Maximite is still being updated and other than some physical limitations (monochrome video, mono sound, etc) the original Maximite will do most things that the Colour Maximite will do.
For details of the Colour Maximite and to download firmware updates for all Maximites go to the main Maximite page. For design and construction details for this Maximite go to Monochrome Maximite Design and Construction
This diagram provides a handy summary of the features of the original Maximite:
The Maximite Collection
There are many variations of the original Maximite (or clones of it) that you can build or purchase:
|You can build the original Maximite as described in the magazine by sourcing the parts yourself. The blank PCB is available from from Silicon Chip (link), BudgeTronics or Dontronics. The pre programmed PIC32 chip is also available from Silicon Chip (link) or you can purchase a blank PIC32 chip from Futurlec or Microchip and program it yourself (a programmer will be required). See the page Maximite Design and Construction for details.|
|An easier approach is to purchase a full kit of parts from Altronics (part number K9550). They can ship to anywhere in the world. The kit includes the magazine article, all parts including the case and the main processor chip (the PIC32) which is pre programmed and soldered to the PC board.
In Europe you can purchase a kit of parts from BudgeTronics. They also offer a lasercut Maximite enclosure made from wood.
|The mini Maximite was described in the November 2011 issue of Silicon Chip. It is a low cost miniature version of the original full sized Maximite intended for use as an embedded controller. It is fully software and hardware compatible so you can develop your program on the full sized Maximite and transfer it to the mini version when you are ready. You can buy it as a kit from Jaycar or Altronics or you can purchase the PCB and pre-programmed PIC32 chip from Silicon Chip and source the rest of the parts yourself. More Details|
|The CGMMSTICK1 from CircuitGizmos is a great Maximite compatible board that costs just US$30. It is supplied fully assembled and has a micro-SD card connector for convenient program and data storage. It is the perfect plug in module for adding intelligence to your project or, with the addition of this $13 add on board, you can have something similar to the full sized Maximite. More Details|
|The DuinoMite from Olimex or Dontronics is a Maximite compatible range of boards that feature an Arduino compatible connector allowing you to use many of the plug in "shields" from that range. The DuinoMite is not fully compatible with the Maximite but it is still a good board. You can read about it on this page. The current version of MMBasic now runs on these boards and can be downloaded from the main Maximite page.|
|If you are expert in electronics you could build your own version of the Maximite All you really need is the PIC32 microcontroller which costs US$8.44 in single quantities from Microchip. The page Maximite Design and Construction has an example of a simple assembly using a breakout board that costs 90 cents. You will also need a few other parts and a programmer but in essence the PIC32 chip programmed with MMBasic is the Maximite and you can construct a working computer with just that chip.|
These are the current errata for the magazine articles:
- In the March 2011 issue of Silicon Chip. Fig 1 shows the H-SYNC signal going to the wrong pin on the VGA connector. It should connect to pin 13. Fig 2a, the PCB artwork and the schematics on this website are all correct.
- In the schematic (Fig 1) the IDC pin numbers of the 26 pin I/O connector are incorrect. The correct schematic can be found here (this diagram also contains a number of other minor corrections). If you are connecting an external circuit to this connector the best approach is to refer to the image of the I/O connector in the April 2011 issue of Silicon Chip (Fig 5) or the Maximite User Manual as they are correct.
- The PIC32 article in the March 2011 issue of Silicon Chip used the wrong photograph for Fig 4. The correct photo can be found here. Also, line 2 of the program listing on page 21 was incorrect, it should be:
#pragma config FNOSC=FRCPLL, FPLLIDIV=DIV_2, FPLLMUL=MUL_20, FPLLODIV=DIV_4
- The mini Maximite article in the November 2011 issue has an error in Fig 9. It should show a IK pullup resistor connecting pins 11 of the MAX232 chip to 5V. In MMBasic the serial port should be opened with open collector output.
- Note that while the mini Maximite can operate on voltages down to 2.3V it needs at least 2.9V if it is writing to the internal flash drive A:
To download firmware updates for all Maximites go to the main Maximite page. The following links will take you to other pages related to the original Maximite.:
- Design and Construction
- The mini-Maximite, a miniature version of the Maximite for embedded systems
- The DuinoMite, a Maximite clone
Other useful pages:
- MMBasic introduction
- The MMBasic home page at http://mmbasic.com
- Firmware downloads
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The Maximite Story (how it came about)