Controlling LED strips with chipKIT

A few weeks ago, we found ourselves in the Digilent Makerspace tinkering with some fantastic LED strips, the WS2811 / WS2812. If you haven’t played with these yet, you really ought to. I grew up loving colored lights. Some kids threw the baseball, while I made amusing shapes on a Lite-Brite and begged to put Christmas lights in my window in mid-September. That being said, you can see how giving a weirdo like me a strip of individually-controlled LEDs, each supporting 24-bit color, would be like giving matches to a madman.

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A New Intern’s Experience Getting Started with chipKIT and Learn.Digilentinc!

Howdy! I’m the latest addition to the Digilent family, and I’m happy to make your acquaintance! As the newest member, my first task was to act as a guinea pig to test out our new Learn.Digilentinc webpage. After all, I was new to chipKIT, but I’m no fresh-faced newb (well… not much of a newb), I know my way around a microcontroller and this is hardly my first time blinking an LED, but I’m not a hardcore programmer or electrical engineer either, which was exactly what the Learn.Digilentinc website was created for. So I was asked to go through Digilent’s Learn site to familiarize myself with their hardware, and provide a little outside perspective on the tutorials. The following is a review of my experience with our Learn site, tutorials, and what sort of difficulties folks new to microcontrollers might have while learning the ropes on our hardware.

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Electric Dune Buggy

I’m an intern at Digilent working on converting a dune buggy to electric power. Once the buggy is complete, the operator will have the options to use either remote control or autonomous operation and will exemplify the functionality of Digilent products. The overall goal is to create something fun yet safe that will encourage innovators to go out and build something awesome.

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zUNO Clip for chipKIT

As the chipKIT ecosystem and user base continue to expand, there’s a growing need for more flexible ways to mount these boards. After all, the standard form factor hole-pattern leaves much to be desired when it comes to mounting your host board into your project. Which is why we created the zUNOTM Clip for chipKIT, Arduino, and Arduino form-factor boards.

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Periodically Called Functions Made Easy With the Timers Library

Hey, everyone! Are you getting your week started right by using our awesome MPIDE for your programming needs? Are you just getting started with MPIDE? One of the first major functions used when starting out in MPIDE is the delay() function, as it makes it easy to see an LED blink on and off. However, once things get more complicated and multiple operations become necessary (e.g., configuring multiple digits on a 7-segment to display well as processing the data to display). The Timers library provides a way to easily define functions that should be called periodically. For example, function foo() should be called every 10 milliseconds.

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