Monthly Archives: November, 2014

Microcontrollers
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I really enjoy what I do here at Digilent. I get to work with some of the best tools available for students, professionals, and hobbyists alike. One of the things I like most is how easy it is to get your hands on a good quality microcontroller board, like the chipKIT Uno32. But even once you get a good board, it will still need to be programmed.

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Pmod
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As many of you know, it is possible with many types of displays, such as LCDs and LED displays, to create your own custom characters and, naturally, display them. However, to create your own characters, you need to be able to create a bitmap of how your character (or characters) look. We will be working with the PmodOLED and it’s corresponding library to create our own characters.

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Learn.Digilent
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On our website, WaveForms is described as a powerful suite of virtual instruments that brings analog and digital circuit design to your PC desktop. The instruments within WaveForms include an oscilloscope, logic analyzer, arbitrary waveform generator, digital pattern generator, power supplies, a voltmeter, virtual I/O devices, and a spectrum analyzer. Okay, so there’s a long list of fancy technical terms. But what makes WaveForms so special?

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Guest Blog
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Howdy! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything new to my For Cheap Robots series, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been idle, far from it actually! I’ve recently been offered the chance to write a guest article for another robotics blog called IntoRobotics! I’d like to show all of you how to use the For Cheap Robots tutorial to make a simple, line-following robot of your very own.

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Guide
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The other day I decided to program my chipKIT PRO MX4 board using MPIDE. Long story short, it wasn’t working and I couldn’t figure out why. So I posted my question to the forum and waited for somebody else to find the answer. I got impatient because the answer didn’t come within the next hour, so like a good boy, I started digging into the reference manuals. Come to find out, if you use the chipKIT boards with MPLAB X, the bootloader will be overwritten and must be reloaded if you want to use the board with MPIDE. Since I had done some programming with MPLAB X in assembly language, that was clearly my problem. Should be a simple fix, right? Well, it is.

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Microcontrollers
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When using a microcontroller or FPGA, or any electronic component for that matter, you will need access to a source of power. However, when you check out our numerous microcontroller and FPGA projects on our Learn site and Instructables, you’ll notice that most of them use our programming USB cable connected to our computer as a source of power. But what if we wanted to use our chipKIT project somewhere else besides next to the computer? Can we use any source of power? Let’s find out.

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Accessories
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WS2812 LEDs are particularly popular in microcontroller projects. It make a lot of sense. Your first project with a microcontroller is “Blink LED”, so it only makes sense to blink LEDs in a more interesting way!

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Products
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We here at Digilent Inc. are proud to be a leading hardware provider for educators, students, professionals, hobbyists, and hackers alike. We have developed numerous devices to help with every stage of developing projects, from learning the basics to prototyping to finished projects. If you can think of it, we have the hardware to help you build it. So it should come as no surprise that we have a few options to choose from should you decide you want a parts kit to go along with your new Electronics Explorer Board or chipKIT Max32. So, which kit is right for you? Well I’m here to help make that decision a little easier. I will be discussing three kits that we offer: the chipKIT Starter Kit, the Analog Parts Kit, and the TI myParts kit.

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How-to
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There are motors everywhere in the world around us– in cars, printers, computers, washing machines, electric razors, you name it. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people (myself included up until very recently) that wouldn’t know what to do if they were handed a motor and told to run it. So I decided that I want to change that. Let’s learn to run a stepper motor!

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Events
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Digilent recently attended Frontiers in Education (FIE) conference in Madrid. More than 450 professors and students from universities worldwide met to share ideas about developments in computer science, engineering, and STEM education.

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Workshop
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Digilent is proud to announce that together with our Chilean distribution partner, Ingeniería MCI Ltda (Olimex), we will be hosting two workshops, “Hands-on digital design using Xilinx Vivado” and “Using Digilent Analog Discovery to analyze the engineering design” from November 12-13 in Santiago. This digital design workshop will provide professors, makers, and students with an introduction to digital design tool flow in Xilinx All Programmable devices using Xilinx Vivado Design Suite. For the Digilent Analog Discovery workshop, attendees can learn how to use the portable tool to analyze their own designs (e.g., analog and digital circuits) and eventually create innovative projects.

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Digilent Makerspace
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If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you’ve probably seen something about us setting up our very own MakerSpace here at Digilent. We’ve come a long way from a few cluttered cubicles to getting our MakerSpace up and running. We have just about everything you can think of to make any project imaginable: a 3D printer, a soldering station, breadboards, buttons, copious amounts of LEDs, and more! I thought up a just-for-fun project and wanted to test drive the MakerSpace to see what I could build.

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Local
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A couple of weeks ago, Davis wrote about LabVIEW, LabVIEW Hacker, and his experiences with both. We’re excited to announce that we’ll be hosting a half-day session with Sam Kristoff, founder of LabVIEW Hacker on November 5 from 2-6 p.m. PST. No prior experience is necessary, and software will be provided. There will be chipKIT hardware on loan, and we’ll learn the basics of LabVIEW.

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