Just recently we shipped the last remaining ProtoDev 18s. Looking back at this generation of devevelopment board, it really feels like something from another time. For one many of our original kits were self assembly – which at the time was quite exciting for many a customer. The thought of having to splay components on a desk and the one by one solder them in – who has time for that now?
The more recent ProtoDev kits were delivered fully SMD assembled; with DIP IC holders, however the trend for shields is well established and supplying a kit with a small project area seems to have lost its appeal. The small project are was big enough to solder in a small degree of additional circuitry, however to some extent that small add on was equivalent to a shield. So, now enter our new offering the DEVCC V40 platform.
I do fear that customers will see this as another base with shields offering, but I hope my approach to producing the base and shields will be fresh and practical.
The short term plan is to release a DEVCC PCB for each package type; 18, 20, 28 and 40 pin. The 18 pin variant is out shortly with the 40 pin PIC18F45K22 populating the 40 pin pcb in TQFP package.
Personally, I like the PIC18F45K22. If you were a PIC16F877 > PIC16F887 users, then the PIC18F45K22 slots into the same development segment with no fuss. From a coding perspective, existing code can be adapted to run on the PIC18F45K22 with minor changes. The device was chosen because of the resources to support a boot loader so you don’t need a PICKIT programmer and so save a few dollars / rands / pounds / euro etc.
If you have become Arduino centric in your thinking and design approach, keep in mind that Microchip literally offers a device suited to every application and free tools as well, including compiler software for free. So as much as sketch is kewl and something quick and easy to learn and use, the same offering is available with just as much support. Microchips devices as offer bidirectional compatibility. So moving to a larger or smaller pin count is easy and architecturally PIC centric.
If you are an existing Protodev customer, we will support you and discount your DEVCC V upgrade. More on the shields to follow.