A few years ago, Technological Arts launched the NanoCore12 family. Priced lower than the BASIC Stamp and its clones (that's right-- starting at only US$33), it's the lowest-priced full-featured DIP MCU module on the market-- and certainly the best value. Instead of an 8-bit PIC or Atmega chip, it is based on the powerful 16-bit Freescale 9S12 microcontroller.
NanoCore12 currently comes in three versions:
- the 24-pin drop-in Stamp-replacement (NC12C32)
- the 32-pin Stamp-superset (NC12DXC32) (8 extra pins overhang the end of the standard 24-pin Stamp socket)
- and the 40-pin ultimate Stamp-stomper (NC12MAXC32/128), with on-board CAN transceiver
Besides on-board RS232 transceiver, voltage regulator, crystal and PLL support circuitry, all NanoCore12 modules sport a 9S12C32 MCU, loaded with 32K (or more) Flash, 2K (or more) RAM, and a rich assortment of advanced on-chip hardware peripherals. Not only is it blazingly fast (24MHz bus) and powerful, but it is a breeze to multi-task for such demanding apps as robotics and real-time control. With such a small price tag, you'll find all sorts of amazing uses for these little gems. Oh, and did we mention it will work down to 3 Volts? For all the details, visit www.NanoCore12.com.
But now, there's more!
Having such a great piece of hardware is only half the equation. Bundling it with the brand new nqBASIC programming language brings all of that power out where you can easily put it to work in your applications! "What is nqBASIC?", you ask. Well, it's "not quite BASIC", a custom-designed state-of-the-art object-based programming language that borrows some of the best features of C, Pascal, and BASIC, throws in a real-time kernel, and wraps it in a "VisualBASIC"-like Integrated Development Environment. And it's so easy-to-use! That's because it has lots of built-in hardware and software objects. No more spending hours delving into the bit definitions of myriad MCU registers just to interface to a keypad or LCD. Instead, use a pre-defined object and just pass the parameters. For example, interfacing a character LCD is easy. Just "DIM" the object with a list of the port pins you want to assign to it. The compiler takes care of everything else for you. Same with ports. You can define a virtual port as any combination of pins. Then your code can operate on that virtual port with all the regular instructions, without having to deal with the various physical port addresses, direction registers, etc.
nqBASIC in the News!Junior High student, Arash Marzi, won a silver medal in the 2007 Canada-Wide Science Fair, as well as a University of Western Ontario scholarship. He used nqBASIC and the NanoCore12DXSSMI to create an autonomous vehicle, based on an R/C car. He was one of a several students in the US and Canada who got in on the early development phase of nqBASIC.
Downlaod nqBASIC today!
A free beta version of nqBASIC is now available for immediate download for NanoCore12 users! Go to the downloads page for instructions.