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eriksan

Hardware for a game project

Question

Hi, I'm new to this and am considering buying these items

chipKIT Max32
pmod OLEDrgb
pmod JSTK2

My question is, how do I connect the pmod devices to the Max32? Do I need the following?

Digilent Arduino PMOD shield

I'm also considering getting a MPLAB Snap, would I need some sort of cable for that, like they mention in the video?

 

Also, if I'd like to use https://www.microchip.com/wwwproducts/en/PIC32MZ2048EFM144#additional-features what hardware do I need? Breadboard and cables?

Edited by eriksan

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Hi @eriksan,

The Pmod Shield will not integrate with the Max32 as the Max32 has a different pin layout, so I would not recommend that.

In terms of connecting the Pmods to the Max32 you will need a set of wires to connect the Pmods to Max32. If you are using the libraries for the Pmod OLEDrgb and the Pmod JSTK2 from their respective Resource Centers, then the main thing regarding getting these Pmods set up would be too have the two Pmods share a SPI bus, which the Max32 has one dedicated port on pins 50 to 53. Multiple SPI modules can share the MOSI, MISO, and SCK lines, though they will need to have separate SS lines.

I haven't heard of the MPLAB Snap, but I do know that the Max32 does not have an 8-pin connector available, but does have the 6-pin ICSP connector. Based on that and the datasheet for the Microchip Snap, http://ww1.microchip.com/downloads/en/DeviceDoc/50002787B.pdf, that indicates you do need an extra cable, I would instead recommend using a chipKIT PGM or a picKIT 3 which already includes the needed cables and readily connect to the Max32 and enables debugging of the Max32.

As for the last question about the board, I would highly recommend finding a board that already has that chip integrated since creating such a board is not a trivial task. If you do want to use a PIC32MZ chip though, Digilent does have the Wi-FIRE board which uses a PIC32MZ2048 chip.

Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Thanks,
JColvin

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@JColvin Thanks for the input, I'm still digesting it and will be referring back to it as I go along.

Suppose I for the moment go with Wi-FIRE,  Pmod OLEDrgb, Pmod JSTK2 and Pmod BTN. What cables do I need to connect them?

A question regarding programming. Do any of MPIDE or MP Lab X IDE allow for low-level programming, (not Arduino style) in C, C++ or ASM. For example, would it be possible to manipulate memory mapped registers in C++ or C?

In Wi-FIRE's description there is a link to ChipKIT PGM, so I assume it's an option for the Wi-FIRE to be used with the more fully featured/advanced Microchip MPLAB® X IDE. Is the PICkit 3 an option for the Wi-FIRE? I'm not 100% certain what those advanced features are and what a debugger brings and am wondering if the purchase of a debugger may possibly be postponed, or whether I would miss having it.

Does the Wi-FIRE have enough RAM if I one day want to use a Pmod MTDS for realtime 3D with double buffering? 

Edited by eriksan

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Hi @eriksan,

The cables I usually use to connect those types of products together are a combination of MTE Cables (link1 and link2 for examples Digilent provided ones) and pin headers (link), but any cable set that has a 100 mil pitch will work. The Wi-FIRE is pin compatible with the Pmod Shield you mentioned earlier, so that is an option as well if you didn't want to worry about having a bunch of wires, though the Pmod Shield will require some wires to support both SPI Pmods (the Pmod OLEDrgb and the Pmod JSTK2) simultaneously.

Both MPIDE (now depreciated), the Arduino IDE, and MPLAB X all allow for low level programming so that you can manipulate registers directly; the Arduino IDE just has a large number of macros implemented to manipulate the pins for ease of use for end users, though you could do it yourself.

A debugger such as the chipKIT PGM or the PICkit3 will let you debug and step through your code and check the state of registers, running on the system board through MPLAB X, which the Arduino IDE does not support as far as I am aware. This can be helpful if you need some of those minute details at every point, though I personally use "poor mans" version of debugging and print out information that I want to know to a serial terminal during run time. I believe if you want to use MPLAB X, you will need a debugger to program the board.

With regards to the RAM question and using double buffering on the Pmod MTDS, I would recommend taking a look at this thread that you posted before: https://forum.digilentinc.com/topic/18252-starting-with-graphics. The main takeaway from there is that the firmware present on the PIC32MZ present on the MTDS does not support double buffering, though if you have pre-prepared material of what you want to display, the Wi-FIRE has 512 KB of RAM so if you have a plan of the how the images will be displayed, I believe you might have enough room to put some data on there that can then be adjusted as needed, though I have not taken a deep look into this.

Thanks,
JColvin

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