It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to just sit and play with tech, but I’ve had some Microchip PIC32MX microcontrollers sitting around doing nothing and I thought it was time to give them a run.One of the good things about these chips is that they come in breadboard-friendly SPDIP package, which makes them super-easy to work with.

Another plus is the on-board oscillator is clocked at a decent 8MHz, which is enough to get the basics done. This means that you only really need a couple of capacitors for the power lines, and you’ve got yourself a prototyping platform.

This is the first controller I’ve used with PPS (Peripheral Pin Select), which allows you to route the chip features to different physical pins. Most features are limited to certain pins, so there’s some need to plan ahead, and it means that certains combinations of features aren’t possible (but none that I’ve needed yet)

The biggest change I’ve been enjoying is the MPLab X IDE, and how well the Harmony libraries integrate with it. A graphical pin configuration tool makes PPS easy to set up, and there’s a great clock configuration tool that takes all the hassle out of managing the configuration bits for all the PLLs and dividers.

There’s also a whole bunch of software libraries included, to make interfacing with some external hardware easier – a definite timesaver.

All things considered, I’m really looking forward to giving these chips a bit of a run, and maybe get back to doing hardware work again. 🙂