ProtoPlatform for PICAXE microcontrollers is set of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) designed for educationalists, students, and home hobbyists to prototype simple and complex programmable microcontroller circuits. The range of boards have been designed around the new 08M2, 14M2, and 20M2 PICAXE range that were released by RevEd in 2011, however, they will work with any 08,14, or 20 pin PICAXE or GENIE chip. The flexibility offered by the ProtoPlatform allows users to choose different PICAXE and GENIE chips using the same download circuit without having to purchase specific PCBs, which is both cost saving and convenient.
Using this system students can test either the individual boards by modifying the provided sample code or writing brand new code to complete a different function knowing that the components worked with the sample code, or, stack a range of boards together to prototype a more complex system. Once they have the proofed the concept of the system they can use the schematic diagrams and layouts from each of the boards and design there very own PCB with multiple sub systems on a single board.
The key features of the ProtoPlatform include:
- Visible tracks that line up directly with female headers so users can simply use the PICAXE microcontroller data sheet to work out what IO pin to use in a circuit.
- Swapable PLATFORMS allows simple circuits to be tested one PLATFORM at a time. This idea will allow students to “recycle” the motherboard each school year as their microcontroller projects become more complex.
- Stackable PLATFORMS allow users to construct complex circuits to be prototpyed by stacking multiple PLATFORMS on top of each other using the stackable female pins.
- Solder-less prototyping using the ProtoPLATFORM and mini breadboard can be copied directly onto a ProtoPLATFORM PCB without a breadboard and soldering in place for a permanent prototype solution.
- User assignable pads allow the user to choose the IO pin to connect to the microcontroller so that all PLATFORMS are all compatible with each other. Dependent on the number of IO pins required for the project, a smaller PICAXE chip such as the 08M2 can be used.
- Open Source information allows user to view schematic diagrams so that they can design new circuits using CAD software and integrate a group of circuits from different PLATFORMS onto one PCB.
To purchase either the PLATFORMS as either bare PCBs or as kits please visit the PLATFORMS page. If you would like to use components that you already have in your parts bin but need some of the less common, harder to find parts then visit the hardware page to purchase bulk or single components.
For support documentation and tutorials videos please visit the videos page and sub pages. To keep up to date with this project visit the blog page or sign up as a user so that you receive emails when new blogs are posted.
The ProtoPlatform was designed by South Australian Design and Technology Teacher, Joel Phillips, and will continue to grow as more schools choose to make use of this range of PCBs to prototype their ideas.