Microchip’s AC164164 – Google Cloud IoT with Microchip

MicroCrystal RV-8803 – A Really Accurate RTC June 17, 2019- RTC chips traditionally were the domain of Maxim and NXP. Switzerland-based MicroCrystal recently made quite a buzz with its RV-8803, which offers simple integration, an I2C interface and extreme accuracy. Let us start out by looking at a system overview. Figure one shows how this I2C RTC is made up internally – interested observers note … Continue reading MicroCrystal RV-8803 – A Really Accurate RTC
Analog Devices’ LTM2887 – If a Digital Bus Needs Galvanic Isolation June 15, 2019- In theory, digital buses are intended to connect things to one another. Sadly, one sometimes wants but a logical connection – in many cases, galvanic isolation helps out. Should you ever feel like isolating very fast buses, definitely give the LTM2887 a chance. From a technical point of view, Linear Technologies attempt at entering the … Continue reading Analog Devices’ LTM2887 – If a Digital Bus Needs Galvanic Isolation
AVAGO APDS-9008 or APDS-9005-020 – Keeping an Eye on Ambient Light June 14, 2019- Recent times saw quite a bit of interest for part numbers such as the APDS-9008 or APDS-9005-020 – they are a very interesting type of ambient light sensor. One of the oldest questions in regards to light sensors involves their spectral sensitivity. If a part is to output but one voltage level, the conversion between … Continue reading AVAGO APDS-9008 or APDS-9005-020 – Keeping an Eye on Ambient Light
STMicroelectronics’ LIS2DH12 – Low Power Motion Sensing June 12, 2019- Apple’s iPhone introduced gyroscopic sensors to a wider range – before that, accelerometers were not commonly found in consumer hardware. STM sells excellent parts which, however, get little media attention – time to take a look at the LIS2DH12. Integrating the part into your circuit as an MPU6500 alternative or MPU9500 alternative is not difficult. … Continue reading STMicroelectronics’ LIS2DH12 – Low Power Motion Sensing
Panasonic AMG8833 – FLIR for cheap June 7, 2019- FLIR made infrared thermal sensors cool – sadly, their parts are all but cheap (and suffer from export control problems). Panasonic’s Grid-EYE family is a low-resolution alternative which comes at significantly lower cost. From a technical point of view, Panasonic’s image sensor could not be simpler. We are looking at an 8×8 sensor with an … Continue reading Panasonic AMG8833 – FLIR for cheap
DipTronics DTS-62R-V – Small Switch, Very Big (and Very Cheap) June 5, 2019- When yours truly was but a lowly cadet, various US manufacturers produced (pricey but quite reliable) switches. Chinese vendors recently started to catch up – seeing the DTS-62R-V top our customer interest list shows that the run stage of the crawl-walk-run cycle is reached. DipTronics has been around the Asian switch market for ages, exhibiting … Continue reading DipTronics DTS-62R-V – Small Switch, Very Big (and Very Cheap)

While Microchip definitely is known for its PIC microcontrollers, the company also produces various sensors and even a WiFi module. These components are now advertised as a cloud-ready package for the Internet of things.

From a technical point of view, the AC164164 combines a PIC microcontroller, a WiFi module and sensors. Figure one provides an overview of the top of the evaluation board. The PCB also has a mikroBUS socket – it can be used to plug in the various sensor modules developed by MikroElektronika.

Microchip’s evaluation board uses a high-end PIC24 MCU

While Microchip advertised Amazon AWS for the AVR-based evaluation board, the AC164164 is configured to connect to Googles cloud services by default. Connect the module to your PC, and open the demo application to set up a WiFi connection – the preinstalled demo system will then proceed to streaming data to a Microchip-registered web site hosted on Google Cloud.

Actual software development is done using Microchip’s MPLAB development environment – old timers should not fret, as the AC164164’s main processor is supported by a pretty decent free compiler for the C programming language.

Hardware initialization usually is not done by hand. An AC164164 code generator is available as part of MCC – simply add the various peripherals you are interested in, and let Microchip’s IDE take care of generating the drivers for you.

Microchip is known for allowing its evaluation kits to be used as plug-in modules. The AC164164 is no exception in this regard – thanks to its low price of less than 30USD, small-series sensor applications might be better served by simply deploying the evaluation kit instead of an Arduino or another microcontroller.