The new version of the UBW32 now uses the PIC32MX795 IC. Based on the work of Brian Schmalz, the UBW32 is a small development board for the new PIC32MX795 32-bit CPU from Microchip. The UBW32 is breadboard friendly and includes all of the external circuitry needed to get the PIC32 up and running. Power can be provided over USB or from an external source. It has 3 push buttons (Reset, and 2 user-defined buttons) and 5 LEDs (Power, USB, and 3 user defined LEDs). All of the 78(!) of the PIC32’s I/O pins are broken out. The board comes pre-loaded with a USB bootloader and special UBW firmware that accepts simple serial commands to control the various I/O functions.
If you have used a UBW or Arduino before and are frustrated by the lack of CPU power, lack of memory, lack of I/O pins, or lack of sophisticated software, the UBW32 is just what you are looking for! While only slightly more expensive than the 8-bit UBW, the UBW32 has significantly more I/O and CPU horsepower.
The UBW32 is also a very good stand-alone development platform for the USB PIC32 chip. It contains a simple to use USB bootloader so that you can write your own code and download it to the board without any additional programmer, tools, or software. If you need low-level debugging, you can also attach an ICD2/ICD3 or other PIC debugger.
The PIC32 chip is capable of doing USB OTG, USB Mass Store, USB Virtual Com Port and USB Host roles. There is a footprint on the bottom of the board for a USB connector that will allow you to plug any USB device into the UBW32. There is a jumper that allows you to power the VBUS 5V USB wire if you program your UBW32 to be a USB Host.
Note: This product is a collaboration with Brian Schmalz. A portion of each sales goes back to them for product support and continued development.
There was a customer that provided additional information about updating the firmware on the board. Besides the documentation provided from Schmalz [ http://www.schmalzhaus.com/UBW32/doc/UBW32BootloaderDocumentation.html ], try looking below for more details on updating the USB 32-Bit Whacker:
To update FW from the shipped version 1.4 to version 1.6.5:
0.) Make sure you can access the device using a terminal like PUTTY. Type “V” to get the current version of the FW.
1.) Download the .hex file from Schmalz’s UBW32 under the section labeled Documentation [ http://www.schmalzhaus.com/UBW32/ ]. The latest is v1.6.5 [ http://www.schmalzhaus.com/UBW32/FW/UBW32_v1_6_5.X/dist/MX795/production/br_1.6.5_D32.X.production.hex ].
2.) Download the loader [ http://www.schmalzhaus.com/Tools/HIDBootloaderWindows_v2.9j.zip ] and extract it to any folder.
3.) Follow the steps here to upload the new FW. When instructed to start the loader, open HIDBootloader.exe from STEP 2 => [ http://hades.mech.northwestern.edu/index.php/Directions_to_Load_Files_to_PIC32 ].
This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.
Skill Level: Rookie - The number of pins increases, and you will have to determine polarity of components and some of the components might be a bit trickier or close together. You might need solder wick or flux.
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If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.
Skill Level: Competent - The toolchain for programming is a bit more complex and will examples may not be explicitly provided for you. You will be required to have a fundamental knowledge of programming and be required to provide your own code. You may need to modify existing libraries or code to work with your specific hardware. Sensor and hardware interfaces will be SPI or I2C.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Noob - You don't need to reference a datasheet, but you will need to know basic power requirements.
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Great board, when used with MMBasic it does all I required. If you ever want to upgrade it a micro sd card slot would complete the perfect board. You could remove the power connector and place it next to the USB connector. For most people a surface mount SD card socket is difficult to fit and any worthwhile project needs an SD card.
The UBW32 remains at the center of my MIDI Encoder/Decoder for Allen Organs (and others). I program in C using the extensive Microchip libraries along with the free IDE and compiler. My application scans up to three organ keyboards and the pedal board. It handles up to 64 pistons and 96 SAMS (magnetically switched stops), encodes up to eight analog potentiometer inputs, switches a sparcfun power relay, controls a four output Allen organ power supply, drives a 2x16 LCD display, and provides six status outputs for LEDs.
The UBW32 has been reliable and a pleasure to work with. Additional information can be found at www.kinkennon.com. My site is presently under construction but will include a project schematic and programming files soon. There is a PCB shared at OSH Park.
I have used the 32-bit whacker for a number of projects. My first was a antenna used for satellite communication, the second and third was a CNC router. The Bit Wacker was used, mostly, to control the stepper motors. All the pins of the PIC32 are brought out to the peripheral of the board making it easy to connect these to an external circuit. There are on board leds that can be programmed along with the small switches which I found useful for status.
Schematic of the board is available and easy to read, and there is starter software to use the USB, although very dated, but a good starting point. Bottom line is if you are planning to program a PIC32 and need an easy way to get started, this is a good board to use.