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vendredi 9 janvier 2015

A quick review of the Micromite MK II

After a little more than six months, Geoff Graham have released the version of the Micromite that I have talked about in my previous post, by the new Micromite MK II. This new version add many new features "such as the ability to insert compiled C or assembler subroutines into a BASIC program", cool! But one of the more interesting news is that this MK II version is supposed to run nearly 50% faster than the original MK I. Let's go and see...

First, we have to program a new PIC32MX170F256 chip of Microchip Technology. With 256K of flash and 64K of RAM, it offer now 80KB of non volatile flash memory for the program and 52KB of RAM for the variables : very confortable.

As usual, for the programming we need a little piece of hardware and the right software. A contactless breadboard is sufficient to do the job and, in my case, the Pickit3 programmer. We also have to respect the different connections like that is described in the document provided by Geoff Graham :

I uses the 28 DIP package.
In my case,  here is what it looks like :


The new version (V4.6) of the Micromite Mk II Firmware is available here.
The most simplest way to program a PIC32 with the Pickit3 is to use the MPLAB® Integrated Programming Environment (IPE) available here. This software is very friendly and do the job without risks :

The PIC32 is programmed!
Ok. Now let us try the first connection :

Easy!
And the best for the end of this little review, a quick test of performances!
To do this test, I wrote this 'terrific' program :

A = 0;
DO WHILE A < 100000
A = A + 1
LOOP

Edited with the MK II integrated editor.

It is what I used before with the MK I version to test the performance compared to my Tandy PC-2. The previous results was 23 secondes for the Micromite MK I and... 3 000 secondes for my PC-2!

And now, the same test gives us 11 secondes compared to the 23 secondes previously obtained with the MK I version. Very good, but this test is not 'really' representative of the reality because I just used a very common ressources of this Basic. Others complex instructions may be not as efficient like this. But as said Geoff Graham, the "40% faster" of the previous version must be obtained without doubt.

Conclusion : Micromite II is an even more powerfull system than the MK I version : fantastic!!!

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