Electronic Projects
  • Micromite Microcontroller
  • Micromite Plus
  • The Microbridge
  • DDS Signal Generator
  • Super Clock
  • Boat Computer MkII
  • Parking Assistant
  • Micromite LCD Backpack
  • ASCII Video Terminal
  • GPS Controlled Clock
  • GPS Tracker
  • Colour Maximite Computer
  • The Original Maximite
  • The mini Maximite
  • Intelligent Fan Controller
  • GPS Synchronised Clock
  • GPS Boat Computer
  • GPS Car Computer
  • Making the GPS Computer
  • Energy Meter Firmware
  • ISM Band Scanner
  • Utility Power Supply
  • Precise Voltage Reference
  • Game of Pong
  • Water Level Meter

  • General Articles
  • Problems in Open Source
  • The Maximite Story
  • Programming PIC Micros
  • MMBasic on the UBW32
  • The TFT Maximite
  • Surface Mount is Easy
  • Measuring Capacitor ESR
  • EM-408 GPS Module
  • SG12232A LCD Driver
  • Custom PC Boards
  • The Gerber Format

  • Reviews
  • Hantek DSO-2250 Scope
  • Rigol DS1000 Scope
  • PIC C Compilers
  • Brickbats

  • PC Software
  • Weather Station
  • Mazing

  • About




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

    The Colour Maximite


    The Colour Maximite is a small and versatile single chip computer running a full featured BASIC interpreter with 128K of working memory and eight colours on a VGA monitor.

    It will work with a standard PC keyboard and because the Maximite has its own built in SD memory card and BASIC language you need nothing more to start writing and running BASIC programs.

    The Colour Maximite also has 40 input/output lines including an Arduino compatible connector.  These I/Os can be independently configured as analog inputs, digital inputs or digital outputs.  You can measure voltage, frequencies, detect switch closure, etc and respond by turning on lights, closing relays, etc - all under control of your BASIC program.

    The design and the firmware including the BASIC interpreter is free to download and use.   And all this is powered by a single chip which costs just $9.58.

    The Colour Maximite was described in the September 2012 and October 2012 issues of Silicon Chip magazine. 
    The original monochrome Maximite was described in the March, April and May 2011 issues of Silicon Chip magazine. 

    Both designs use a single microcontroller (the PIC32) for all processing and have a similar component count and cost.  The difference is that the Colour Maximite is a more modern design that was able to use improvements in the Maximite firmware to deliver colour, stereo sound and other features. 

    This is the short list of features in both designs:


    Feature Colour
    Monochrome Maximite
    Self contained high performance micro computer with a 32 bit CPU and 128K RAM.
    Full featured BASIC interpreter and operating system. Instant on, ready for you to type in and test your programs.
    VGA output.  480x432 pixels. COLOUR
    (eight colours)
    VGA output.  240x216  pixels.  Eight colour game playing mode.
    Monochrome Composite Video output (selectable PAL or NTSC)
    Standard PS2 style keyboard input.
    Synthesised music and sound effects (using the MOD format). STEREO MONO
    Battery backed real time clock.
    20 external I/O lines on the back panel.
    Arduino compatible connector with an additional 20 I/O lines that are independent of the original 20 I/Os.
    SD card for storing programs and files (up to 32GB).
    USB for connecting to a personal computer (Windows, Mac or Linux) as a terminal or for file transfer.
    Extensive communications protocols including Serial (RS232 and RS485 with transceivers), I2C, SPI, CAN and 1-wire.
    PWM analog output. DUAL SINGLE
    Graphics includes selectable fonts, user designed fonts, drawing lines, circles, squares and control over any pixel with any colour.
    Special commands for animated games.
    Firmware upgrades via USB.
    Powered from USB, 9V plug pack (wall wart) or battery.

    Where Can I Get It?

    For the original (monochrome) Maximite check this page.

    For the Colour Maximite you have a number of choices:

    When you do have your Colour Maximite up and running remember to download the demonstration music and colour files from the download area below and give them a run.  The result is stunning (an example is shown below).

    More Information

    This website contains everything you need to build and play with your own Maximite.

    For information on the Colour Maximite click on these links:

    For details of the original (monochrome) Maximite click on these:

    Other useful pages:

    New Firmware - V4.5

    A new version of MMBasic is available for download at the bottom of this page.  This version is a major update and includes support for InfraRed remote control, numeric keypads, LCD Display Modules, distance measurement and many other special devices.  Because of the significant number of changes and bug fixes an upgrade to this version is recommended.

    The change log (included in the download) provides full details of all changes.  The update can be applied via USB from a Windows computer and all software and instructions are included in the download.

    When a new version of MMBasic is available I will post it on this web page.  To save you from having to check this web page all the time I can also send you an email.  To enable this please enter your email address in the box below and click on Submit.  You have my word that your address will be held confidential and will only be used when an update is available.


    Maximite and MMBasic Support

    The first thing that you should read is the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list as this covers construction problems, usage questions and general questions related to all Maximites (colour, monochrome, DuinoMite, etc).

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

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

    MMBasic Library

    The MMBasic library is a collection of programs specifically written for MMBasic.  These include games like Space Invaders and Pacman, demonstration snippets of code and programs to do interesting things like generate morse code.  Because the programs are so small they are all bundled together into a single downloadable file available in the download section below.

    The library is managed by Hugh Buckle and is a great resource for beginners and experts alike.  If you have written a program for MMBasic and you believe that it is worth sharing, please send it to Hugh at and he will add it in.  You should also include a description of what the program does for the library index.

    Interesting Web Sites

    Two excellent classic games for the Maximite plus a file manager:

    The Back Shed forum is a great place to hang out and disscuss the Maximite and microcontrollers:

    A video review and discussion of the Colour Maximite by Chris Tusa:

    A video clip showing a moon lander game running on the Colour Maximite with sound effects:
       http://youtu.be/knq5vX65Xy4 (the program is included in the MMBasic Library which can be downloaded below)

    A short video clip which provides an excellent introduction to the original monochrome Maximite:

    And another clip which introduces the Colour Maximite:

    A few reviews of the Altronics kits for the Maximite:

    A benchmark showing the speed of the Maximite compared to the 80's style computers (it is fast):

    RetroBSD.  A port of BSD Unix running on the original and Colour Maximite (also see downloads below):

    Glenn from Melbourne built his Maximite from scratch (including the PCB): 

    Source Code to MMBasic

    The source code for MMBasic is available from the main MMBasic website at http://mmbasic.com


    All downloads are for the current version.  Older versions can be found in the archive.
    The firmware updates include all the relevant documentation (it does not have to be separately downloaded).


    Maximite Hardware Manual DOWNLOAD
    MMBasic Language Manual DOWNLOAD
    MMBasic Language Manual - Russian language version by Alexey Skomorohov (V4.4 only) DOWNLOAD
    MMBasic Change Log DOWNLOAD
    Colour MMBasic for the UBW32 DOWNLOAD
    Using Serial Over USB on the Macintosh DOWNLOAD

    MMBasic Updates

    Colour Maximite MMBasic firmware V4.5C (also for the UBW32 with colour) DOWNLOAD
    Monochrome Maximite MMBasic firmware V4.5C DOWNLOAD
    DuinoMite MMBasic firmware V4.5B DOWNLOAD
    DOS MMBasic V5.04.08 DOWNLOAD
    Special Version of V4.5 with support for CAN (Controller Area Network) DOWNLOAD

    Other Downloads

    MMBasic Library dated  3-July-2015  (user written programs for MMBasic) DOWNLOAD
    Demonstration programs for the Colour Maximite (including a synthesiser demo) DOWNLOAD
    Windows Serial Port Driver (for connection to the Maximite via USB - Windows only) DOWNLOAD
    BSD Unix for the Colour Maximite (by Serge Vakulenko) DOWNLOAD
    MMEdit, a full featured editor for MMBasic (it runs on your PC).  By Jim Hiley WEB SITE
    Sprite and Font File Editor for the Maximite (written by Fabrice Muller) DOWNLOAD