Review: Digilent Cerebot MX4 cK

Digilent Cerebot 32MX4 cK review on TheMakersWorkbench

 

Last spring Digilent released the chipKIT line of development boards which were the first PIC32 based Arduino compatible development boards. It was no surprise that they were a huge success among the DIY / Maker community. Building off of thes success of the first chipKIT boards; the Uno32 and Max32, Digilent revamped their Cerebot line of PIC32 microcontroller trainer boards. The Cerebot MX3 cK, Cerebot MX4 cK, and Cerebot MX7 cK boards have officially replaced the Cerebot 32MX4 and Cerebot 32MX7 boards. Today we are going to take a quick look at the Cerebot MX4 cK and upload a few sketches from both Digilents Arduino based MPIDE and Microchip's MPLAB X.

 

Introduction

The Cerebot MX4cK is a microcontroller development board based on the Microchip PIC32MX460F512L, a member of the 32-bit PIC32 microcontroller family. It is compatible with Digilent’s line of Pmod™ peripheral modules, and is suitable for use with the Microchip MPLAB® IDE tools. The Cerebot MX4cK is also compatible for use with the chipKIT™ MPIDE development environment. ChipKIT and MPIDE is a PIC32 based system compatible with many existing Arduino™ code examples, reference materials and other resources.

The Cerebot MX4cK is designed to be easy to use and suitable for use by anyone from beginners to advanced users for experimenting with electronics and embedded control systems. A built in programming/debugging circuit compatible with the Microchip MPLAB® IDE is provided on the board, so no additional hardware is required for use with MPLAB. The kit contains everything needed to start developing embedded applications using either the MPLAB® IDE or the MPIDE.

Digilent Cerebot 32MX4 cK reviewed on TheMakersWorkbench. ChipKIT Arduino Compatible with MPIDE

The Cerebot MX4cK provides 74 I/O pins that support a number of peripheral functions, such as USB controller, UART, SPI and I2C™ ports as well as five pulse width modulated outputs and five external interrupt inputs. Fifteen of the I/O pins can be used as analog inputs in addition to their use as digital inputs and outputs..

The Cerebot MX4cK can be powered via USB, or an external power supply that may be either an AC-DC power adapter, or batteries.

 

Packaging and Contents

Digilent Cerebot 32MX4 cK Packaging Review. Unboxing.

It's no secrete that I am a huge fan of nice packaging, and even more so, packaging that is reuseable in some form. Digilent has impressed me from day one with the way they package their Cerebot boards. The Cerebot MX4 cK and MX7 cK both come packaged in a large foam lined plastic case. The case is wrapped in a viberant lable that is filled with useful information pertaining to the board contained inside. The case is the same size as a DVD or PC game case and will fit perfectly on that shelf next to your workstation or take up very little room on the workbench.

Digilent Cerebot 32MX4 cK Review / Unboxing. ChipKIT PIC32 Arduino Compatible MPIDE

The inside of the case is lined with a static resistive foam that is precision cut to protect the development board. There is also a little storage space for the USB programming cable as well. In the past Digilent has included a DVD with the software needed to program the Cerebot boards, but with the integration of MPIDE and its frequent build releases Digilent has forgone the dvd and require you to now download MPIDE or MPLAB. Both of which come with all the drivers needed to get the board communicating with your computer.

 

Features and Specifications

IC:
Microchip® PIC32 32-bit MIPS processor (PIC32MX460F512L)
Connector(s):
9 x 12-pin Pmod™ headers
8 x hobby R/C servo connectors
2 x I2C ports
1 x SPI port
1 x USB Debug port for prog./debug with MPLAB
1 x USB Serial port for use with MPIDE for prog./comm. OR with MPLAB for simple communication
1 x USB 2.0 On-The-Go (OTG)/Device port
1 x USB 2.0 Host port
Programming:
Program using MPIDE or MPLAB® IDE

To download MPIDE, please visit:
https://github.com/chipKIT32/chipKIT32-MAX/downloads

  • Microchip® PIC32 32-bit MIPS processor (PIC32MX460F512L)
    • 512KB internal program flash memory
    • 32KB internal SRAM memory
    • USB 2.0 compliant full-speed On-The-Go (OTG) controller with dedicated DMA channel
    • Two serial peripheral interfaces (SPI)
    • Two UART serial interfaces
    • Two I2C serial interfaces
    • Five 16-bit timer/counters
    • Five timer capture inputs
    • Five compare/PWM outputs
    • Sixteen 10-bit analog inputs
    • Two analog comparators
  • Designed for use with the chipKIT™ MPIDE development environment, a PIC32-based system compatible with many existing Arduino™ code examples, reference materials and other resources.
  • Provides the Arduino™ community with access to a 32-bit PIC microprocessor as well as our library of Pmod™ peripheral modules.
  • Can also be programmed with the MPLAB® IDE

 

Unfortunately before we could finish our review of the MX4 cK our workshop was lost to a devastating fire. Digilent has agreed to send us replacement units and once we receive them and our new camera gear arrives, we will continue with part 2 of the review including some HD video! 

 

Be sure to check back for part 2 of this review where we will cover:

  • Pmod Integration
  • Programming with MPIDE
  • Programming with MPLAB X
  • Video conclusion and our personal thoughts on the Cerebot MX4 cK

 

 

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