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Smart Kits Build Smart People There may be – smart gif

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There may be another kit released before the Mongoose is complete (I’m testing a boost converter for powering the PIC with a 4.8V NiMH solution avoiding the 9V solution). I’m also working on a better menu system to replace the links on the left.

The next kit Mongoose Motor Controller may be a little slow in appearing as I’ve got some contract work I’ve got to do. But this means a Contest for January… Seemed the kit jumped the queue over Cricket and Ladybug. Mongoose started out as a simple 16F88 prototyping board and evolved into a 18F2525 & L293D motor controller with an optional mobile chassis. A simple precut, punched and anodized chassis will be available.

NEW! Click on the image to the left to see and rotate the current Mongoose 3D model. You’ll have to allow the install of the Hypercosm viewer plugin but it’s a great way to view Sketchup 3D models on your browser.

The project/kit on the right – INCHWORM – is the first in a new line of projects that, after you build it, you won’t store it in your closet.  You see, the inchworm is a Microchip ICD2-compatible PIC programmer and debugger.

If you want to get into using microcontrollers one of the first things you’re going to need is a way to program the chip. That’s when you’ll need a programmer. There are many to choose from and most can be found by simply searching the internet. You’ll find PIC programmers from the simple and popular JDM type to the costly and sophisticated production types. Cost can vary from a few dollars to thousands for a full featured ICE (In Circuit Emulator). Of course I’d rather you use an Inchworm ICD2, you get a MPLAB compatible programmer and a debugger for less than the cost of most programmers. And MPLAB can update the Inchworms firmware so it supports the latest PICs automatically.

*if you’re wondering about the drawings, they are done in Sketchup, fully 3D and I do indeed draw them. 

Smart Kits Build Smart People

Mongoose 2  

 On the left is an early version of the new Mongoose’s gear train the Tamiya Double Gearbox. The Double gearbox is wider than the Twin gearbox and has a front opening that with a little filing will provide plenty of room for an Infrared sensor pair. The blue gears are Infrared transparent and with a little paint from a black Sharpie paint marker work great as a rotation sensor.  As an added bonus you get six blue gears so you can practice your painting skills. Mongoose only requires four blue gears.
PS the Painting works best if duplicated on both sides of the gear. You’ll need a strong light to see through the gear while painting it.

 Mongoose 1 never went past the prototyping stage, I was never quite happy with the reflective sensors or the Hall effects sensors; magnets were not easy to mount and at 2mm x 2mm were very easy to lose. Also the top mounted controller used up space I’d rather keep available to the experimenter.

Check out the Mongoose Kit page for more illustrations.

Our most popular kit the Inchworm…

Inchworm is getting a slight makeover, stay tuned this March for updates and photos.

The project/kit on the right – INCHWORM – was the first in a new line of projects that, after you build it, you won’t store it in your closet.  You see, the inchworm is a Microchip ICD2-compatible PIC programmer and debugger.

If you want to get into using microcontrollers one of the first things you’re going to need is a way to program the chip. That’s when you’ll need a programmer. There are many to choose from and most can be found by simply searching the internet. You’ll find PIC programmers from the simple and popular JDM type to the costly and sophisticated production types. Cost can vary from a few dollars to thousands for a full featured ICE (In Circuit Emulator). Of course I’d rather you use an Inchworm ICD2, you get a MPLAB compatible programmer and a debugger for less than the cost of most programmers. And MPLAB can update the Inchworms firmware so it supports the latest PICs automatically.

*if you’re wondering about the drawings, they are done in Sketchup, fully 3D and I do indeed draw them.

The first Inchworm+ kits are now available, the original Inchworm has sold out. The new Inchworm+ has a few improvements but can be built using exactly the same parts as the original.

The two switches on the top of the PCB are probably the most noticeable update, the left one functions as a variable VPP selector for some dsPICs and 18F PICs work best with a VPP less than 13V (it simply switches a small diode as a voltage drop, and recently I found a 2V zener that works like a charm).

Another addition the right switch allows you to disconnect Inchworm+s power from the target and yet another feature is the addition of a small 200ma P-FET to allow MPLAB to control target power which is great for unprogramming those stubborn PICs with internal MCLR & INTOSC enabled. (MPLAB warns you not too; but it seems to work anyway)

The Inchworm+ assembly manual is now online in the Downloads/Links section.

To keep the costs the same Inchworm+ can be built using the same parts as the original or can be upgraded to the plus version for only a few dollars more. The switches are optional (jumpers can be installed to keep costs down) and the BS250 P-FET is also optional (gives MPLAB control of target VDD (+5)). Inchworm+ was also designed to be expandable (a 40pin header mounts under the 16F877 take a look at the April updates for a sneak peak at UNICORN… (USB) & Inchworm+)

Our most popular kit the Inchworm says farewell…

The original Inchworm PCBs have run out, but have been replaced by the new Inchworm+

The project/kit on the right – INCHWORM – was the first in a new line of projects that, after you build it, you won’t store it in your closet.  You see, the inchworm is a Microchip ICD2-compatible PIC programmer and debugger.

If you want to get into using microcontrollers one of the first things you’re going to need is a way to program the chip. That’s when you’ll need a programmer. There are many to choose from and most can be found by simply searching the internet. You’ll find PIC programmers from the simple and popular JDM type to the costly and sophisticated production types. Cost can vary from a few dollars to thousands for a full featured ICE (In Circuit Emulator). Of course I’d rather you use an Inchworm ICD2, you get a MPLAB compatible programmer and a debugger for less than the cost of most programmers. And MPLAB can update the Inchworms firmware so it supports the latest PICs automatically.

*if you’re wondering about the drawings, they are done in Sketchup, fully 3D and I do indeed draw them.