Review of Element14 / Microchip PIC18F26J50 EVK Flowcode Development Kit

Table of contents

RoadTest: Element14 / Microchip PIC18F26J50 EVK Flowcode Development Kit

Author: JoaoSeverino

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Independent Products

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?: Arduino Family of Microcontrollers

What were the biggest problems encountered?: No support for other operating systems other than Windows

Detailed Review:

Overall opinion

I believe this development kit is a great one for those who want to start in the world of microcontrollers and electronics in general, because it makes the hard part of writing the code to program the microcontroller easier for beginners.

It makes writing the code easier and allows to do more elaborate projects in shorter time, for the ones that already know how to program it's a bit more trouble because of additional configuration necessary to program the board, but it still makes the life easier to the programmer because it has the ability to test changes to the project without having to upload it to the board thanks to the preview inside the development environment.

 

Comparison

In order to review this board and software I compared the board to an arduino microcontroller such as an arduino uno or an arduino duemilanove and the software with the Arduino IDE and this were the main advantages and disadvantages.

 

Advantages

  • has 3 built in sensors (potentiometer, temp sensor, pressure sensor)
  • built in 8 led array
  • easy programming environment
  • easy preview of the results in the develop environment

 

Disadvantages

  • 3.3v microcontroller instead of 5v which makes it hard to interface with 5v peripherals although it is possible
  • the microcontroller IO pins aren't broken out to a header in the board which forces to use an external board or try to use the small holes on the board and solder some headers to it
  • no mounting holes to assemble it to a project
  • no support to other operating systems other then Windows

 

Conclusion

I believe it's a great board a a great piece of software but I would like to see some some updates on both parts such as the up mentioned IO pins broken out into headers and some more options on the software.

Overall it's reasonably well priced, has a lot of support material and a great addition to any electronics enthusiast.

Anonymous
  • This review is only in the beginning as I am still test some stuff and I wanted to put something on the review so others could have an idea of the products.

     

    Has for your questions I believe that the board can have outside power but not advisable because for what I've read so far most of power pins are output, but if used with a properly regulated 3V3 power supply it can be used without any problems.


    As for the advantages and disadvantages of the Flowcode compared with the Arduino IDE I've mention already a few advantages such as the ability to preview the result without having to upload the project and the drag and drop programming.

    The main disadvantage of the Flowcode are the lack of compatibility with other operating systems other than Windows.


    These are only a few but be sure I'll update in a few days with more informations and a more complete review.

  • Nice start to the review but what about the Flowcode development software? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Flowcode as compared with the Arduino IDE?

     

    How is the board powered? Does it use USB only or can it recieve and outside power source like the Arduino can?