Tahoe Vista, Calif.—Putting lots of performance in a small pluggable 600-mil DIP package, the $69 ARMexpress DIP24 microcontroller is available from Coridium Corp.
low-cost product is intended to help you rapidly create one-of-a-kind
and/or small-volume applications, ranging from time-to-market
prototypes to production and factory-floor systems. I'm sure it would
also be useful in the lab, and most certainly for engineering
educational or hobby applications, too.
As the name implies, ARMexpress brings the power of an ARM (Advanced RISC Machines) processor to your PC, leveraging USB
(Universal Serial Bus) connectivity. You interact with the controller
through a simple software communication package, and the USB interface
accepts direct commands. Or, you can create a program file using any
text editor such as Notepad.
Back To BASIC
Some things change and some things remain the same (remember when BASIC was all the rage?), and some things are just plain innovative. Marrying a 60-MHz ARM7
processor with an ARM BASIC compiler, the ARMexpress DIP24 module
retains the ease of BASIC programming—but does it at speed. It can
execute a whopping 10 million lines of BASIC code while handling one
million I/O operations/s. You can use up to 16 TTL-compatible I/O pins.
In use, the system's on-board BASIC compiler generates code that runs
up to 30 times faster than interpreted BASIC. In fact, that's on a par
with compiled languages such as C. On-board memory stores approximately 3,000 lines of code and 10,000 variables.
The ARMexpress DIP24 includes 128-kbytes of flash (40-kbytes available for user code) and 64-kbytes of SRAM for the user variables. You also get 4-kbytes of space in flash that's writeable.
The module also includes built-in support for I2C, SPI, ASYNC, PWM, and 1-Wire
communication schemes and protocols. ARMexpress also features digital
I/Os that can be controlled individually, or as a group using INS and OUTS BASIC instructions.
The device is also pin-compatible with other of Coridium's DIP24 modules. The company's premiere product is its BASIC-8 industrial controller. It offers eight digital I/Os, eight high-current outputs, and a Web interface.
In the ARMexpress and BASIC-8, any BASIC variable that's declared WEB is visible on a Values
page. It can therefore be read or modified using your browser. This is
useful for parameters that you want to be able to change remotely.
Moreover, variables declared as WEB READONLY can only be read,
but not written to, through your browser. That's useful for data you
want to monitor remotely but don't want a user to be able to modify.
Coridium supports its wares with an additional tool called BASICnode.
It's a project board that includes a prototyping area that lets you
configure circuitry for motors, relays, sensors, switches, LEDs, etc.
The package includes a power supply, a cross-over Ethernet cable, and a CD with manual and a BASIC tutorial.
Finally, the ARMexpress includes its own regulated power supply, so the
plug-in can run from 7-V to 12-V DC sources. It has on-board 3.3-V and
Click here to download a brief datasheet (in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format).
Europe continues to lag in chip sales Sales of semiconductors in Europe are
continuing to underperform other regions, according to World
Semiconductor Trade Statistics from the U.S. Semiconductor Industry
New Europe’s quiet fabs are flourishing High wages, taxes and stringent labor
laws in Europe are part of the reason for diminished wafer fab
investment, which has been a concern for the European Semiconductor
Industry Association in Brussels. But perhaps central and eastern
Europe, sometimes called New Europe, offers a partial solution.
Tribute to Tesla He is one of history's great
inventors, engineers and scientists. Today, we'd call Nikola Tesla an
innovator. And not just for his pioneering work on power-distribution
systems and alternating current. Tesla is remembered for inspiring
generations of engineers.