ChipKIT, I’m converted

ChipKIT MAX32 running a uLCD-32PT
ChipKIT MAX32 running a uLCD-32PT

Ok, I’m officially a convert to the ChipKIT development platform as far as quick prototyping goes.

Having used Arduino and don’t get me wrong, I will continue to use Arduino in various forms but the features of the PIC32 in the ChipKIT boards is just amazing. More room for programs, more I/O’s is just the tip of the iceberg.

I discovered ChipKIT after having used the PIC18 series microcontrollers from Microchip Technology for a small amount of time. While Arduino was easier to implement peripherals such as LCD’s and sensors on I am loving the extra features provided by a 32bit microcontroller with the ChipKIT.

My first ChipKIT came courtesy of Digi-Key Corporation through their digiwish competition on Twitter and Facebook. I wishes for a Microchip ChipKIT MAX32 and I was lucky enough to get one.

Upon plugging it in, running the MPIDE application (which is a recompiled Arduino IDE that supports more than just Arduino Boards) I was initially a little overwhelmed that some of the sensor libraries I had for Arduino didn’t work in MPIDE, however I soon found workarounds and even new libraries for the devices. For the most part everything worked just like it did in Arduino.

A slight problem with the Hardware Serial library in MPIDE meant I had to modify it to get the Serial1, Serial2 and Serial3 of the ChipKIT MAX32 working properly with the uLCD-32PT 3.2″ screen but so far, it’s been the only issue I’ve run into.

My next task, aside from stocking up on ChipKIT boards, is to port a few Arduino projects over to ChipKIT.

If you’re a fan of Arduino, you really should check out ChipKIT (, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how similar the two are, although sometimes a library may need a little more work you get the power and functionality of the PIC32 chip.

If your looking at getting into Arduino, I recommend you consider the ChipKIT as an alternative. Or even get one of each and see which you personally prefer.

For me though, ChipKIT is the way to go, as it also gives me the flexibility of using MPIDE and programming it like an Arduino, or using the PICKIT3 to program PIC32 microcontrollers on ChipKIT boards with development in MPLAB X.

ChipKIT boards will make quick and easy demo boards for PIC32 in MPLAB X, so this might just be a good way in to learning PIC32 programming with MPLAB X.



About kimberly 190 Articles

I’m an Electronics Service Technician by day. By night I’m an Application Developer, Embedded Software Developer, Mountain Biking chic. Currently starting to put together some home automation projects which I’ll be posting progress on the site.

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