The ECIO family of USB-programmable microcontrollers provides an incredibly simple way of adopting microcontroller technology into your projects. The device behaves just like a normal microcontroller — but when you plug in a USB cable and press the reset button, you can send a new program to the device. There is no need for an expensive external programmer.
The ECIO40P16 is built around the Microchip dsPIC33EP256MU806 microcontroller. There also are the ECIO-40P which is built on the PIC18F4455, and the ECIO-28P which is built on the PIC18F2455.
The ECIO microcontrollers come pre-programmed with a bootloader that allows you to send a new program to the microcontroller via USB. ECIO is compatible with hex code from any appropriate compiler. It is directly compatible with Flowcode, a graphical programming language which greatly simplifies the code-generation process, but can also be used with any C compiler.
ECIO is ideal in situations where direct programming from USB is required: for projects, or where systems will need reprogramming in the field.
Programming the ECIO
In Flowcode The great advantage of Flowcode for dsPIC is that it allows those with little experience to create complex electronic systems in minutes. Flowcode achieves this in three steps: first, users drag and drop flowchart symbols onto the screen, and fill in the dialog boxes when prompted. Then users can simulate the program within Flowcode and view the results on the Simulation panel. Finally, Flowcode compiles the flowchart into code that is downloaded to the dsPIC microcontroller which executes the program.
In C or Assembly The ECIO range of products can also be programmed in C or assembly. A hex download program is available as part of the free version of Flowcode.
With a prototype board ECIO is really useful when used in conjunction with a prototype board: the 0.6-inch DIP ECIO unit simply plugs into the matrix of holes, and the surrounding components are wired in using single-strand wire. The ECIO can be used with an external power supply or the system can draw power through the USB cable itself.
With E-blocks If you have larger projects, or you want to connect more advanced systems together, then you can use the E-blocks adapter panel. This allows you to connect a large range of boards from simple LEDs and switches to CAN sub-systems, Bluetooth, TCP/IP, etc. This is ideal for prototyping larger and more complex systems.
With your own hardware If you are developing your own hardware, you can use the ECIO board as a component. Adding ECIO to your system allows you to develop a product that can be reprogrammed in the field.
Use with LabView, Visual Basic and other packages ECIO can be integrated easily with third-party PC-based control packages like LabView and Visual Basic. This is enabled by a DLL and a suite of sample programs that can be downloaded to the ECIO to provide a fully controllable slave device from PC-based applications.
The ECIO device can be used with any software that generates hex code for the dsPIC device. So if you have a compiler or assembler that is compatible with the dsPIC33EP256MU806 device, then you have all you need to get started. Just be sure not to overwrite the location held by the bootloader (this can usually be achieved with a simple command to the linker tool).
dsPIC33EP256 USB-programmable Module Features
- Base chip: dsPIC33EP256MU806, 16-bit, dsPIC33 core
- Oscillator: 8 MHz external; 70 MHz internal
- I/O lines: 34
- A/D: 20x 12-bit
- A/D sample rate: 1.1 Msps
- Program memory: 256 kBytes
- RAM: 28 kBytes
- EEPROM: 0 (internal ROM overwrite)
- Power: 5V — USB or external
- PWM channels: 16
- Timers: 9x 16-bit
- Interfaces: 4x UART, 2x MI2C, 4x SPI, 2x CAN, USB2.0
- Package: 40-pin DIP, 0.6" compatible
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