Microcontroller Education Board
The perfect education development board to teach students all about Microcontrollers and Embedded Systems.
- 64MHz Microchip PIC18F45K40 Microcontroller
- Integrated 7-18 Volt regulated power supply
- LDR light sensor
- −55°C to 150°C temperature sensor
- 10K potentiometer
- 4x push buttons
- 4x toggle switches
- 16×2 illuminated alphanumeric LCD display
- 16x programmable LEDs
- All IO pins accessible by spring loaded easy connectors
- Buzzer (with power switch)
- 4x servo motor connectors with dedicated power connector
- Dual H-bridge motor driver
- USB and RS232 serial communications
- Arduino style headers
- PicKit programming header
- Reset button
The microcontroller education board utilised the Microchip PIC18F45K40 Microcontroller and can be easily programmed with a Pickit 3 or Pickit 4 and the free MPLAB X IDE software in several languages including Assembler, C and C++.
The microcontroller on board is the Microchip PIC18F45K40 8-bit advanced microcontroller. Data sheet
- 32 KB Flash Program Memory
- Internal 64 MHz Oscillator
- 2 KB Data SRAM Memory
- 256 Bytes of EEPROM
- 35 x 10-bit ADC Channels
- 1 x 5-bit DAC
- 2 x Comparators
- 2 x I2C/SPI
- 2 x EUSART
- 2 x standalone 10-bit PWM modules
The board integrated DC power supply can accept DC voltages from 7-18 Volts through a standard 2.1mm DC Power Jack. There are regulators for 5 and 3.3 Volt power rails, both with status LEDs to help identify if the rails are shorted or overloaded. The main power in rail contains a status LED and removable power link along with the 5 Volt rail the be able to isolate power or attach an ammeter in series to measure the circuit flowing through the system.
The board has three sensors built in ready for experimenting with interfacing your project with the outside world. All of the sensors are connected to the analogue inputs on the microcontroller and can be isolated from the circuit through the enable switches which are all labelled to help identification. All of the sensors are also labelled to show where they are connected and they each have a test pad to be able to locally test the output of the sensor.
On-board there is a 1Mohm Light Dependant Resistor which allows you to detect light levels for adaptive systems.
The LM35 temperature sensor can measure temperatures between -55°C to 150°C.
The 10Kohm Potentiometer allows a simple analogue control input for your application. You could you it as a volume control or to control the speed of a motor.
The board features a 16×2 alphanumeric backlight display which is fantastic as a universal output for virtually anything you can think of. Like for example displaying @MachineShopUK to show your audience how they can access fantastic Facebook and Instagram pages 😉
The Microcontroller Education Board has two methods of motor control. There is a built-in dual H-bridge with a connector for a 28BYJ-48 stepper motor. This allows you to develop your skills and understanding of how stepper motors work and how they should be driven. There are also four connectors for servo motors with a dedicated power input to be able to use a wide range of servo motors with the board.
There are two banks of programmable LEDs connected to the microcontroller. They are arranged in a VU meter style with 6 green and 2 red LEDs per bank. Perfect as a simple output from your sensors or displaying a binary output. Each bank of LEDs can also be isolated from the microcontroller using the enable switches in case you want to use the pins on the microcontroller for other connections, without the distraction of the LEDs.
The PIC18F45K40 supports several communications protocols like UART, I2C and SPI. To make it easier to learn about communications, we have converted the UART communications port to RS232 and USB. This makes it super easy to connect the board to a computer to send and receive messages and to connect other pieces of equipment to the board to enable advanced control. Why not buy two Microcontroller Education Boards and connect them together for board-to-board RS232 communications! There are also test pads for the UART transmit and receive signals so you can capture the waveforms of the UART on your oscilloscope.
Buttons and Switches
There are 4 buttons with 10Kohm pullup resistors configured in a d-pad arrangement which you could for example use to control a menu you’ve made on the display or control the position of the servo motors. There are also 4 switches with 10Kohm pullup resistors ready for your imagination to utilise and take your application to the next level.
Input and Output Ports
All of the IO pins on the microcontroller are broken out on to spring loaded easy to connect sockets to make it super simple to shove a wire on to the board and ensure there is a good strong connection. Bank C and Bank D both utilise a buffer to allow a higher current output.
This has deliberately been left to last, the super annoying buzzer. This chirpy little fellow can be programmed to fire out some nice annoying tones. The demo code that comes pre-programmed on the board allows you to use the buttons to create your own tunes. It can be used to alert the user as an alarm or create a simple soundtrack to a game you’ve got playing on the LCD display. Or better still, just set the output pin high and annoy everyone in the room :). Luckily, it also has a disable switch, you’re welcome.