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new: RoboPIC 18F4550 Pinguino compatible development board for robotics
24-02-2016, 11:40 PM, (This post was last modified: 19-05-2016, 06:18 PM by mikronauts.)
#1
new: RoboPIC 18F4550 Pinguino compatible development board for robotics
Hi guys,

I finally finished testing my new PIC18F450 development board, so I can announce it now :-)

RoboPIC 18F4550 STEM USB Robot Controller and Development Board

[Image: web_robopic_intro_0004-400x265.jpg]

More photos & full specifications on my product page at

http://www.mikronauts.com/robot-controll...c-18f4550/

The board is Pinguino compatible, and I pre-load the PIC18F4550 with a bootloader.

Originally, I designed the board for development with MPLABX and SDCC with Pickit3, but later I decided to add an LED on RA4 and pre-load the bootloader so it is Pinguino compatible out of the box.

There is a 20MHz crystal under the PIC18F4550, and I just received some PIC18F45K50's which should also work on the board.

Sorry, no PCB files as this is a commercial board.

Feel free to ask questions here, via PM's, on my forum, or via email.
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29-02-2016, 06:27 PM,
#2
RE: new: RoboPIC 18F4550 pin compatible development board for robotics
I've placed kits on sale at Tindie for those who are uncomfortable ordering directly from Mikronauts.com

https://www.tindie.com/products/mikronau...board-kit/
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01-03-2016, 07:53 AM,
#3
RE: new: RoboPIC 18F4550 pin compatible development board for robotics
I wish you great success!

But the price is a bit steep when 2ea fully loaded PIC32 is only $27
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Olimex-2-Pack-PI...SwGotWhmba
----------------
Thanks,
j
wzumwalt
 (\__/)
 (='.'=)
 (")_(")
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02-03-2016, 07:52 PM, (This post was last modified: 02-03-2016, 08:11 PM by mikronauts.)
#4
RE: new: RoboPIC 18F4550 pin compatible development board for robotics
Thank you for your kind wishes!

Regarding the price differential:

The products are very different, for different purposes, with very different costs to manufacture, thus are not really comparable.

- The Olimex modules are great for breadboarding, but you need extra large prototyping board and headers, and spend a lot of time wiring if you want to use it for robotics & 3 pin sensors (but you do get a better mcu)

- RoboPic has a large prototyping area, and a ton of headers for robotics & 3 pin sensors, you can't plug it into a breadboard, RoboPic is great for teaching students how to solder

If you had a motherboard for the Olimex modules that provided all the same headers, servo connectors and large prototyping area they would be more comparable - but the prices would be more similar as well.

A closer comparison would be the PIC18F45K50 board in the Pinguino shop at approx. $17.57USD at current exchange rates.

(RoboPIC should work fine with a PIC18F45K50, I just received some I ordered for testing. I had PIC18F4550's in stock)

My target market, education and robotics, requires all the extra headers and prototyping space, which means a lot of extra headers and components and much larger PCB.

I think you would find that the price would be very similar if you add a quality prototyping board, all the additional headers... not to mention the time to add all of the above.

I also have to leave some margin for re-sellers, and assorted fees (Ebay sales take ~12%+, Tindie about 6%, resellers and distributors want >20%) - and I don't do this as a hobby, but full time (for products + consulting)

Basically, it boils down to choose the tool you need for what you want to do.

- if you need a small module to plug into a breadboard, RoboPIC is not for you
- if you need a robot controller with prototyping space, already wired for 3 pin servo & sensor headers, RoboPIC is for you
- if you need the absolute lowest cost, get a supported PIC chip, pre-loaded with a boot loader

As an aside, I do offer educational discounts to schools when buying 20+ units, and anyone at 5+ units for direct orders (discounts related to volume)

I'd like to note that Olimex is a much larger company, and deals in much larger volume, thus:

1) buying components is far more expensive in low quantities, I suspect I pay more for one PIC18F4550 then they do for two PIC32's
2) Olimex has far more buying power on all the components (thus gets lower prices)
3) RoboPic's much larger ENIG/ROHS PCB is far larger, and costs a LOT more than the small DIP module's pcb
4) Olimex has far lower labor rates

Best Regards,

Bill
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03-03-2016, 03:06 AM, (This post was last modified: 03-03-2016, 03:16 AM by jwzumwalt.)
#5
RE: new: RoboPIC 18F4550 pin compatible development board for robotics
(02-03-2016, 07:52 PM)mikronauts Wrote: Thank you for your kind wishes!

Regarding the price differential:

The products are very different...
...
Best Regards,

Bill

I agree on all accounts, my comment was just to let you know what you are up against. I and several others have looked at the economics and it just doesn't work out. There was a gentlemen that produced a really great PIC 32bit board but could not sell it for less than $55, there was quite a bit of interest but he never sold a single board. It was really neat, he brought all the I/O pins out of a MX750 and that was appealing to me.

As soon as you hit the $35 dollar range, you are competing with the new V3 Raspberry Pi (20x faster) and a full blown Linux OS. And of course, they have the Zero which is 10x faster than a PIC for $5 - sound, video, keyboard, USB, Linux OS too! It's almost like anybody with enough brains to program a PIC go to the RPI, and if they have less brains they buy the Arduino...

Several of us would like our hobby to pay for itself but I have yet to see anyone do it Sad
Good Luck!
----------------
Thanks,
j
wzumwalt
 (\__/)
 (='.'=)
 (")_(")
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03-03-2016, 04:11 AM,
#6
RE: new: RoboPIC 18F4550 pin compatible development board for robotics
Thank you, I agree the economics are not easy.

I am not trying to compete with the Raspberry Pi 3 with RoboPIC ... I already make quite a few products for the Raspberry Pi, most of which can be used on any similar SBC.

The Raspberry PI 3's I ordered should arrive by Monday Smile

See http://www.mikronauts.com/raspberry-pi/ for

RoboPi – the most powerful Robot controller for the Raspberry Pi
Pi Droid Alpha – the best educational Robot Controller for the Raspberry Pi
Pi Rtc Dio I/O Expander with 32 digital I/O, Real Time Clock and prototyping area
Pi Jumper & Pi Jumper Plus – the ultimate breakout boards with 5V and 3V3 I2C
EZasPi easy to use advanced bussed prototyping board
EZasPi (B) easy to use advanced bussed prototyping board, mounts under rev.2 Model A/B
SchoolBoard ][ educational solderless experimenters board
EZasPie Proto 300 prototyping board
EZasPie Proto 600 prototyping board

You can also find my reviews of a lot of SBC's at http://www.mikronauts.com/all-single-boa...r-reviews/ (Raspberry, Banana, Odroid, MIPS etc)

RoboPIC 18F4550 is my first attempt to see if there is a market for educational robotics boards based on PIC USB microcontrollers.

I appreciate your good wishes!
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04-03-2016, 01:09 AM,
#7
RE: new: RoboPIC 18F4550 pin compatible development board for robotics
Wow! That's impressive.
----------------
Thanks,
j
wzumwalt
 (\__/)
 (='.'=)
 (")_(")
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04-03-2016, 08:01 PM,
#8
RE: new: RoboPIC 18F4550 pin compatible development board for robotics
Thank you.
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26-04-2016, 04:44 AM,
#9
RE: new: RoboPIC 18F4550 pin compatible development board for robotics
I just uploaded my "RoboPIC 18F4550 Build Manual" to its product page at

http://www.mikronauts.com/robot-controll...c-18f4550/

so if any of you are curious as to how easy it is to assemble you can take a look Smile
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02-08-2016, 01:07 AM,
#10
RE: new: RoboPIC 18F4550 Pinguino compatible development board for robotics
That resonator under the PIC made me uncomfortable. Are you sure that the ground plane is designed correctly? I've been taught to keep ground plane large and let it flood stuff around. I'm pretty sure that's not possible when having C1, C2, C3 and Q1 under the PIC socket.

Is this a two-layer or single layer board?
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