Well, I thought I'd start an Electronics section on my little blog, for those of you interested in electronics as a hobby, or just wish to read a little about embedded devices, such as the PIC Microcontroller, to gain a little insight as to how they work. So, with the need to start somewhere, let's start off by taking a look at the Junebug -- a USB PIC programmer and debugger (ICD - In Circuit Debugger), from BlueRoomElectronics.com.
Click the image for a full size view
Let's check out some of the features of the Junebug;
PICKit 2 Compatible Programmer / Debugger & UART tool
1. USB-B connector, provides power and communication for the Junebug, Tutor & target projects
2. Programmer status Power, Target Power & Busy
3. PIC18F2550 preprogrammed with .hex
4. 18F2550 ICP, expansion & PK2 compatible
5. Tutor mode switch see page 6 for details
6. ICD programming / debugging connector (2x5 type)
Yes, the Junebug is a PICKit 2 Compatible Programmer / ICD and fully supported by the Microchip software. This means that you can use the Junebug anywhere the PICKit 2 is supported, such as MPLAB, MPLAB C18 and the PICKit 2 software.
Not only can you program a wide range of PIC products, you can also use the Junebug as an ICD (In Circuit Debugger). For those of you, like me, that can't afford a hardware simulator, the Junebug is perfect!
that can be programmed/debugged with the Junebug
OK, so you can program, and debug your target boards/PICs, what project or board should you build first? Well, why don't you have another look at the Junebug -- it's much more than just "a programmer" -- it's also a complete development board suited for so many projects and applications, well, let's just say it will keep you entertained for many, many hours, without building a single PCB.
Let's check out a few of the features from the TUTOR side of the Junebug;
PIC18F1320 Tutor / Trainer
7. USER I/O connector U5V,RA1,RA2,RA3,RA4,RB1(TX),RB2(RX),GND
8. 38KHz Infrared detector / demodulator enable with DIP switch IR IN
9. Reset or RA5
10. CON4 A3,A4,GND socket designed for iButton® / 1-wire®, and various small parts
11. VR1 & VR2 variable resistors on RA1 & RA3 (DIP switch selectable)
12. Six multiplexed LEDs
13. Pushbuttons on RB0, RB2 & RB5
14. PIC18F1320 for user programs and software development
15. CON5 designed for buzzers, servo motors, PWM and general I/O
Yeah, I'd say that's enough to keep you busy! Start with the LED's -- learn how to light them up -- flash them in patterns, back and forth -- be inventive and experiment. Once the flashing of LED's is understood, add in A/D conversion with the variable resistors (VR1/VR2) and make the patterns change with the pushbuttons.
Still a little too basic for you? How about an IR send/receive device (such as a TV remote)? What about PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) for servos/stepper motors -- want to build a robot? You could add an iButton reader to it and design your own lock. Or maybe use the serial port for communications within a home automation project. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
OK, so that's about it for this post -- I hope that I have possibly encouraged you to join the world of embedded devices, get yourself a Junebug and start experimenting! A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
I'll update this post as I add some code here so that you can play with the Junebug Tutor. If you want to check out the Junebug in more detail, or any of Bill's other porducts, shoot over to www.blueroomelectronics.com.