RoadTest: EasyPIC Fusion v7
Evaluation Type: Evaluation Boards
Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True
What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: PIC 32 Starter kit with expansion boards, Microchip Explorer 16, ChipKIT max32
What were the biggest problems encountered?: Some of the Demos needed to be recompiled for TFT display It would be helpful if the package contains plastic pen for touch screen, Ethernet cable and any one of the temperature sensors ds1820 or lm35 as demos are there for these sensors.
It was a pleasant surprise to me to get selected for this RoadTest. All my gratitude goes to Element14 and MikroElektronika for giving me this opportunity. I was really excited when I got this development board on my hand, but it was beyond my expectation to receive a full functional registered version of the compiler MicroC Pro for PIC32. Amazing………
I don’t know why MikroElektronika has branded this board as “FUSION”, but I think it is a perfect one.
As the name says, “FUSION”…. that means combining two or more particles to form a newer one, Easy PIC Fusion v7 provides a single platform where 65 microcontrollers of three different architectures can be implemented. It features Microchip’s PIC24, dsPIC33 and PIC 32 family microcontrollers with an integrated design to plug them in a single MCU socket.
Moreover a bundle of peripherals are integrated in a single board to give an easy, fast and effective solution of microcontroller based system development.
UnPacking is an ART
I have to admit that MikroElektronika has an extraordinary creative team for packaging their products. The whole idea of designing the package like a book with a tray inside [contains the development board and documentation] which can slide in and out seems unique to me. Also the fashionable look of the outer cover attracts the user.
The whole book like box is very suitable to store the device safely in a bookshelf after working with it.
Package includes -
EasyPIC Fusion v7 [packed in anti-static bag]
DVD with essential softwares and demos
User manual for the board
User guide for ICD and MikroProg Suit
USB dongle license for MikroC Pro for PIC32
My name is Fusion
So here comes the board…..
Just looking at the development board, my first thought is that it is a well-organized design with a lot of internal modules and connectivity can be visually identified with ease. It’s really amazing how they provide so many functions and still not making it clumsy!!!
Flexibility: EasyPIC Fusion v7 certainly provides advanced prototyping. But I think MikroElektronika tried their best to cover this product not only for the experts but also a beginner, who can have easy access to the internal modules. Each of them has isolated space and individually marked with informative silkscreen.
Compatibility: MikroE has a pretty good history of designing chained development boards and they tried to maintain it for Fusion too. I have experience of working with EasyPIC6 and can say that they tried to keep the basic structure and layout pretty much compatible with its previous versions. So, it won’t create much confusion to its users I hope.
One stop solution: This board can provide a one stop solution for prototyping as all the modules needed for programming, debugging, simulation and good collection of peripheries are included in the same board. Moreover it features MikroBUS for easy plug-n-play connectivity for additional supporting modules designed by MikroElektronika.
Combined Architechture: EasyPIC Fusion v7 supports about 65 microcontrollers from Microchip with three different architectures à PIC24, PIC32 and dsPIC33.
266 x 220 mm and 450 gm weight
“FUSION” has a long list to get Fused Up.
PIC32MX7 MCU card:
I/O pins: 85
A/D channels: 16, resolution: 10 bits, sampling rate: 1Msps
Timers: 5, resolution: 16 bits, 1 RTCC
Input capture: 5
USB: device and host/OTG, Compliance: 2.0, Speed: full speed, Channel: 1
DMA Channels: 8
Ethernet: 10/100 Ethernet MAC with MII/RMII Interfaces
CAN: CAN2.0b modules with 1024 buffers
Easy PIC Fusion v7 accompanies with a nicely designed MCU card which has Male headers connected with all the pins of the MCU. The board itself has the properly aligned Female sockets and the on-board silkscreen makes it easy to connect the card with the board with correct orientation. Though this card is an effective solution for plugging the MCU into the board, but it seems to be really tight and needs to apply good enough force to disconnect or pulled it up from the board.
The card contains onboard components like –
Easy PIC Fusion v7 also supports other MCU cards from MikroElektronika like-
Operating Voltage: 3.3v
Current consumption without modules: ~143mA
EasyPIC Fusion v7 has two options of power supply –
Fusion v7 can be powered directly from the USB port. As the board needs 3.3v to operate they are using MC33269DT3.3 low drop out linear regulator. USB limits the current at 500mA.
For external Power up Fusion v7 uses switching power supply by ST1S10. It has internal soft start and dynamic short circuit protection. Input voltage range is 9-15v DC and 7-12v AC. The output current can be up to 1500mA.
According to the datasheet of ST1S10, input voltage could be up to 18V DC and the output current can be up to 3A. At 143mA efficiency would be 85% which increases up to 90% if the current rises more than 300mA.
The board has two connectors for external input power –
The mode of power supply can be selected using an onboard jumper. Output power provided by both linear regulator and switching supply is pretty much clear, but output voltage seems little bit lower than 3.3v.
Fusion v7 contains MikroElektronika’s mikroProg USB programmer to download the compiled hex files into controller. It supports more than 570 microcontrollers from Michrochip along with PIC 10/12/16/18/24, dsPIC30/33 and PIC32 families.
In previous version of pic development boards like EasyPIC6 MikroElektronika used to leave the mikroProg components exposed to users. But in Fusion v7 it is sealed with metal case and totally isolated. They say it’s for ensuring protection indeed!
USB drivers and mikroPRog Suite for PIC software is included in the DVD with the compiler.
mikroProg Suite has a user friendly GUI and can be launched by a single click in the Compiler. Full set of configuration bits are included which automatically synchronizes with the compiler and also shows basic MCU information at bottom right part. It can also measure the programing voltage [Vpp] and Vcc on board.
MikroElektronika has provided a nicely printed user guide for installing the driver and software inside the package.
The images at right side are of mikroProg on EasyPIC6 & Fusion v7 resepectivley from left to right.
mikroProg features an on board mikro ICD for debugging codes on hardware level. This in circuit debugging feature goes pretty well with the IDE as the debugging performs within he same window. MikoC Pro for PIC32 just changes it’s layout a little bit with debugging parameters at the right side of the window. However the formation can be changed according to users demand.
mikroICD has general features like jumping into the interrupts and breakpoints. Breakpoints can be implemented into both the hardware and software level, whereas hardware breakpoints are limited depending on the microcontroller chip. There is another option of switching between assembly and C language display – Disassembly mode. I have not tried debugging with assembly view much but hope that it can be beneficial in some cases.
However EasyPIC Fusion v7 has an optional external ICD RJ12 connector which is compatible with Microchip’s ICD2 and ICD3. This gives Fusion v7 an improved flexibility of programming with external ICD2 and ICD3 programmers.
[to be continued...]
I had to take a break due to my exams. I'll be posting rest of the review soon.
On the next part I'll try to cover some of the demo examples those are attached in the DVD. My focus will be on mostly ADC, PWM, USB, microSD and TFT.
As the mikroC Pro for PIC32 compiler has DSP libraries, i am interested in that part too.