MikroElektronika (MIKROE), the inventor of the 16-pin mikroBUS standard said it has launched its 1,000th Click board, EtherCAT Click, which enables EtherCAT functionality to be cost-effectively delivered on various processors over the SPI interface.
The mikroBUS standard for sockets on a development board was developed by the company’s CEO, Nebojsa Matic, ten years ago, and is used on all the compact Click boards developed by MIKROE. Matic realized that all development boards are substantially similar – they all integrate a microcontroller, power supply, tact switches, LEDs, pins. The features that differentiate one development board from another are the peripherals – the UART, displays, RTC, relay, ADC, and EPROM. Click boards enable design engineers to change peripherals easily, cutting months off development time.
MIKROE now releases a new Click board nearly every day and many leading microcontroller companies including Microchip, NXP, Infineon, Dialog Semiconductor, STMicroelectronics, Analog Devices, Renesas and Toshiba, plus distributors such as Future Electronics and Avnet now include the mikroBUS socket on their development boards.
Microchip was one of the early large chip company adopters of the mikroBUS standard in 2016. According to Matic, “Microchip 8-bit division VP, Steve Drehobl, recognized the mikroBUS standard and things took off from there. Since then, all Microchip development boards contain one or more mikroBUS sockets. There are 70+ Microchip development boards with a mikroBUS socket at the moment, and the number is growing. A total number of development boards with mikroBUS socket from various vendors is well over 400, and new ones are being introduced daily.”
Matic also said, “Engineers must learn to value their time. They should be focused on increasing the quality of the whole project rather than just seeing a small piece of it. Why spend two months in development when you could pay under $50 for a ready-made solution which will enable you to develop your code and prove the concept?”
The mikroBUS socket comprises a pair of 1×8 female headers with a proprietary pin configuration and silkscreen markings. The pinout (always laid out in the same order) consists of three groups of communications pins (SPI, UART and I2C), six additional pins (PWM, interrupt, analog input, reset and chip select), and two power groups (+3.3V and 5V).
The 1,000th board, EtherCAT Click, features the LAN9252, a 2-port EtherCAT device controller with dual integrated Ethernet PHYs from Microchip Technology. Each PHY contains a full-duplex 100BASE-TX transceiver and supports 100Mbps operation. It communicates with an MCU via a synchronous SPI/SQI interface and can operate in digital I/O mode, allowing signals to be controlled or monitored by the EtherCAT Master. This Click board is suitable for industrial control, process/factory automation, hydraulic and pneumatic valve systems, power, and many other applications.