— Update: Digilent got back to me and they are sending out a replacement board. Very quick and positive response. Way to go Digilent! —
I was planning on reviewing and the new chipKIT Max32 board and comparing performance to the Arduino Mega 2560, so I downloaded the modified Arduino environment and downloaded the blink demo to the board. Everything seemed to be OK, but there was no blinking light. This is pretty much the simplest program on the Arduino and all it does is toggle digital pin 13 high and low with a two second period. Most Arduino boards have a LED on pin 13.
|The chipKIT LED driver for pin 13. They don’t load down the I/O pin. Nice.|
|Q2! Where are you?|
What a bummer. Q2 is missing! I sent a note off to Digilent’s tech support and got a response in just a few minutes. I’m hoping that this is a one-off mistake and that they aren’t saddled with hundreds of bad boards. Did somebody forget to load a reel? I wonder who is making the boards for Digilent.
Anyhow, how about some benchmark action?
Let’s look at the time required to invert a 5×5 single-precision floating point matrix. The time for an Arduino Mega 2560 is 3.2 ms while the chipKIT only takes 260 us. That’s a speed up factor of 12.3. Not too shabby.
My intention for the chipKIT board is to upgrade Tobor’s brain for next year’s Sparkfun AVC with minimal effort. I can drop a Tobor shield onto the chipKIT, keep all of the Tobor code unmodified, and add a ton of processing headroom. That’s the theory, at least. Not all of the Arduino libraries are working on the chipKIT. Currently, (I think) I2C, interrupts, and servo need work.