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    Micromite Explore 64

     

    The Explore 64 is a small board designed by Graeme Rixon that includes a 64-pin Micromite Plus, a micro SD card socket, a USB socket and power supply and is designed to plug into a standard solderless breadboard.

    The Micromite Plus is a 32-bit microcontroller running a BASIC interpreter called MMBasic. This is compatible with Microsoft BASIC and includes floating point, integer and string variables, arrays, long variable names, a built in program editor and many other features.

    With the Micromite Plus and 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 the ability to use temperature sensors, distance sensors and more.

    The standout feature in the Micromite Plus is support for large (up to 8 inch) LCD display panels and its advanced graphics which include on screen controls such as radio buttons, check boxes and alphanumeric keypads. This makes the Explore 64 perfect for many control situations from a simple pump controller to a sophisticated industrial controller.

    This page provides a description of the hardware features of the Explore 64. For details of the Micromite Plus and the MMBasic programming language refer to the Micromite Plus web page.

    Sourcing the Explore 64

    Graeme Rixon of Rictech (who designed the Explore 64 PC board) offers blank boards, kit of parts and fully assembled and tested boards.  These can be purchased from his website: http://www.rictech.nz/micromite-products.

    Over time Graeme has updated his version of the Explore 64 and it now includes a Microbridge which acts as a USB to Serial bridge and a PIC32 programmer.  This allows you to update MMBasic running on the chip without any extra hardware.  Because the Microbridge provides the Serial to USB function it means that you will not lose the USB connection to your desktop computer when the Micromite is reset - something that was annoying in the original design.  More details are on his website.

    Silicon Chip magazine also sell blank boards, a kit of parts and a pre programmed 64-pin Micromite Plus chip from their on line shop: http://www.siliconchip.com.au/Shop/

    The Explore 64 featured in Silicon Chip magazine in August 2016.   This web page provides a much shorter description so, if you would like the full story, you are encouraged to read the magazine article.  Back issues of the magazine can be purchased from Silicon Chip or electronic access can be purchased for about the cost of the printed issue.

    Features

    There is not a lot to say about the Explore 64. It is really just a PC board carrier for the Micromite Plus chip and a few extra components and connectors.

    I/O Pin Allocations

    Notes:

    Console Connections

    Note that you do not need to use an external USB-Serial converter as shown here if you are using the 1E version or later of Graeme Rixion's version of the Explore 64.  This is because his later versions now includes a Microbridge which acts as a USB to Serial bridge and a PIC32 programmer.  The 1E version of the Explore 64 can be purchased from his website: http://www.rictech.nz/micromite-products.

    However, if you are using an earlier version of the Explore 64 this is how you can connect the popular CP2102 USB-Serial converter to the Micromite's console.

    Schematic

    Essentially the Explore 64 consists of just the Micromite Plus and a few peripheral components. 

    Points to note are:

    Click on this image for a high resolution diagram

    Parts List

      1 PCB 72mm x 27mm

      1 Tactile switch, two pin, surface mount

      1 20MHz crystal, low profile

      1 Micro SD card socket (Altronics P5717 or similar)

      1 Mini USB socket (Altronics P1308 or similar)

      2 50 pin 0.1" male header strip

    Semiconductors

      1 Microchip PIC32MX470F512H-120/PT (120MHz) or PIC32MX470F512H-I/PT (100MHz)

      1 Microchip MCP1703AT-3302E/DB voltage regulator (SOT-223)

      1 Microchip MCP120T-270I/TT supervisor (optional)

      1 LED Green, SMD 1206 package

    Capacitors

      2 22pF Ceramic, SMD 1206 package

      7 100nF Ceramic, SMD 1206 package

      3 10μF Ceramic, SMD 1206 package, preferable XR5 dielectric

    Resistors

      1 10Ω, SMD 1206 package

      1 470Ω, SMD 1206 package

      1 1K, SMD 1206 package

      1 10K, SMD 1206 package