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  • About

     

     

     

    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

    The Micromite MkII

     

    The Micromite MkII is a Microchip PIC32MX170F256 series microcontroller programmed with the free MMBasic firmware. This $4 chip is available in an easy to use 28 pin dual in line package which can be readily soldered and plugged into an IC socket.

    MMBasic is a Microsoft BASIC compatible implementation of the BASIC language with floating point, integer and string variables, arrays, long variable names, a built in program editor and many other features.

    Using MMBasic you can use communications protocols such as I2C or SPI to get data from a variety of sensors. You can measure voltages, detect digital inputs and drive output pins to turn on lights, relays, etc.

    Special features include an IR remote control receiver and the ability to easily use LCD displays, keypads, temperature sensors, distance sensors and more.

    All from inside this cheap 28 or 44 pin chip.


    The Micromite MkII was introduced in the January 2015 issue of Silicon Chip magazine. You can use it as the intelligence inside any project that requires a medium speed microcontroller but without the hassle of programming in a complex language.

    Back issues of the article can be purchased from Silicon Chip or electronic access can be purchased for about the cost of the printed issue.


    The original Micromite was introduced in the May, June and August 2014 issues of Silicon Chip magazine and used the PIC32MX150F128 chip .

    The Micromite MkII uses a more modern chip with double the memory and has over 50 new features including:

    • Programs run 40% faster at the same clock speed.
    • Almost three times the amount free memory for programs and data.
    • A single hex file for both the 28-pin and 44-pin versions of the chip.
    • 64-bit integers that are able to count up to 19 digits without loss of accuracy.
    • Many new commands and capabilities such as the ability to insert compiled C or assembler subroutines into a BASIC program.

    Because the difference in cost between the old chip and the new is only only a few cents it is recommended that all new designs use the MkII version.  However, if you have a few of the older chips around, you can still download the original Micromite firmware from the download section at the bottom of this page.


    Micromite MkII Features

    Remember, all of the above features are internal to the Micromite MkII. The only extra component required is a 47µF capacitor.

    GPS Clock

    To illustrate how easy it is to use the Micromite, part 1 of the Silicon Chip article (May 2014) described a GPS controlled digital clock based on the Micromite.  The rear of the clock is shown here and, as you can see, it uses just a few components.  It is always accurate to a fraction of a second and never needs setting.  A more detailed description of the clock can be found here.

     

    Getting Started

    There are two versions of the Micromite:

    The best way to get started is to download the Micromite User Manual or the firmware from the download section below.  The manual runs to almost 80 pages and includes all that you need to know about programming and using the Micromite. 

    The cost is zero, so why not give it a go?

    Where Can I Get It?

    The Micromite User Manual lists the exact part numbers of the chips that you can use for both the 28 and 44 pin versions of the Micromite.

    The 28-pin version is available from a variety of sources:

    Because the 44-pin chip is surface mount you need to solder it on a printed circuit board (PCB) for it to be useful. 

    Micromite.org sell an excellent adapter board (the Micromite Module) that includes the pre-programmed 44-pin chip, a USB-to-serial bridge and voltage regulator as illustrated on the right.  They sell the board in a variety of forms including the blank board and a fully assembled and tested version.  This is definitely the best way to go if you need the full 33 I/O pins that the 44-pin version offers.

    You can also buy the bare chip (not mounted on a PCB).  To use the chip you would need to buy a mounting printed circuit board such as Part Code: 44PINTQFP from Futurlec which costs US$1.20. Micromite.org also sell the blank board for their module (described above) and you can solder the chip to that board.

    Suppliers of the bare (un mounted) chip include:

    Interesting Web Sites

    A video review of the original Micromite (almost everything applies to the Micromite MkII):
       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-Ym758Unmw

    A website that sells the 44-pin version of the Micromite MkII, Micromite chips and all sorts of support parts:
       http://www.micromite.org

    A website that indexes reference material and products related to the Maximite and Micromite:
       http://mmreference.com

    The Back Shed forum is a great place to hang out and discuss the Micromite and microcontrollers:
      http://www.thebackshed.com/forum/Microcontrollers

    Firmware Updates

    New versions of MMBasic for the Micromite will be available from the download area at the bottom of this page. 

    To load the new version you will need a PIC32 programmer.  The best (and cheapest) programmer is the PICKit 3 from Microchip. Prices range from $25 for a clone of the PICKit 3 to $48 for the genuine article direct from Microchip.  Some typical sources include here, here and here. (Note: Do not purchase the PICKit2 – it requires special software to program the PIC32 processor).

    To save you from having to check this web page for firmware updates I can also send you an email.  To enable this please enter your email address in the box below and click on Submit.  Your address will be held confidential and will only be used when an update is available.

                                          

    Micromite and MMBasic Support

    The first thing that you should read is the Micromite Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list as this covers hints related to usage and programming.  The list is rather short at this time but as more questions arise it will be expanded.

    Also, you should check the list of current bugs found in the Micromite version of MMBasic as it lists any faults found in the current version and provides workarounds if applicable.

    The Back Shed has an active forum where many knowledgeable users are happy to help newcomers to the Micromite and MMBasic: http://www.thebackshed.com/forum/forum_topics.asp?FID=16

    Source Code to MMBasic

    The complete source code for the Micromite version of MMBasic is available for personal use at the main MMBasic website at http://mmbasic.com.

    Downloads

    Micromite MkII User Manual DOWNLOAD
    Micromite MkII Firmware V4.6 (includes a copy of the Micromite User Manual) DOWNLOAD
    Original Micromite Firmware 4.5E for the PIC32MX150F128 chip DOWNLOAD
    MMEdit, a full featured editor for MMBasic (it runs on your PC).  By Jim Hiley WEB SITE

    Previous versions of the Micromite firmware can be found in the archive.