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HiTechnic SuperPro board

Discussion specific to the intelligent brick, sensors, motors, and more.

HiTechnic SuperPro board

Postby afanofosc » 28 Oct 2011, 14:34

HiTechnic (http://www.hitechnic.com/) has a new device listed on their Products page.

http://www.hitechnic.com/cgi-bin/commer ... ey=SPR2010

The SuperPro board is a very nice device if you want to experiment with building your own electronic devices that can be used with the NXT. It has four separate 10 bit analog inputs, two configurable analog outputs with seven separate modes of operation and a frequency rate of between 1hz and 8khz. The seven modes are DC voltage, Sine, Square, Positive Saw, Negative Saw, Triangle, and PWM voltage. You also have eight digital IO bits that you can configure for either reading or writing. There are six digital strobe outputs with a pre-configured read and write strobe pin and 4 pins that can be high or low. The board has three different power ouput levels: 3.3v, 5v, and 9v. It also has 12k of user RAM and 56k of user programmable flash.

You can interact with the SuperPro using I2C from your NXT. All the analog and digital inputs and outputs are fully accessible to a program running on the NXT.

The nicest thing about the new SuperPro board from HiTechnic is that you can write programs that actually run on the board just like you write programs that run on the NXT. You can connect to the board using Bricx Command Center via a USB cable using the FTDI virtual COM port drivers (http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm). Once you are connected to the board within BricxCC you can write programs for the board using the new SuperPro C programming language (SPC) that is built into the NBC compiler and the BricxCC IDE. Since the underlying SuperPro firmware supports indirect memory access, SPC supports true pointers and reference types, though I expect those of you who dive in right away may find some bugs along the way. At the moment (i.e., as of the 2011-10-24 test release at http://bricxcc.sourceforge.net/test_releases/) arrays are not yet working due to some recent compiler changes that I made. I am working to correct that limitation in time for the upcoming official release of BricxCC 3.3.8.10 and NBC 1.2.1.r5 this weekend.

If you check out the newly updated NBC compiler website at http://bricxcc.sourceforge.net/nbc/ you will see references to the new SuperPro C programming language along with the first round of online help files for SPC.

I will be adding/updating the BricxCC tools to provide additional support for interacting with the SuperPro board over the coming weeks. A terminal window that would allow you to send characters to a running program via the serial port or read data sent from the board to the PC will be one of the first additions to the BricxCC suite of tools. I am also working toward possibly supporting the SuperPro board within a customized version of the BricxCC watch window.

In addition to the SuperPro C programming language, the NBC compiler and BricxCC also support a low level assembly language called SuperPro Assembler which you can use to program the SuperPro if you prefer bare metal programming over that higher-level user-friendly nonsense.

This is a very cool new device from HiTechnic. Check it out!

If you have any questions about SPC and BricxCC it would be best to discuss them in the Software forum rather than the Hardware forum.

John Hansen
Multi-platform LEGO MINDSTORMS programming
http://bricxcc.sourceforge.net/
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Re: HiTechnic SuperPro board

Postby tcwan » 02 Nov 2011, 00:29

Any details on the manufacturer/model of the Microcontroller used for the board? The HiTechnic page does not provide that information AFAIK.
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Re: HiTechnic SuperPro board

Postby afanofosc » 02 Nov 2011, 16:09

As far as I know this is not intended to be secret (there is no large blob covering the chip and it has not been sanded off).

If my eyes can read right it says Microchip PIC24FJ128GA106.

http://www.microchip.com/wwwproducts/De ... e=en532133

http://ww1.microchip.com/downloads/en/D ... 39905e.pdf

John Hansen
Multi-platform LEGO MINDSTORMS programming
http://bricxcc.sourceforge.net/
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Re: HiTechnic SuperPro board

Postby tcwan » 03 Nov 2011, 03:58

afanofosc wrote:As far as I know this is not intended to be secret (there is no large blob covering the chip and it has not been sanded off).

If my eyes can read right it says Microchip PIC24FJ128GA106.


John Hansen


Ah, thanks.
I guess this means that they implemented their own NBC VM.
Interesting but unfortunately not something that would be easy to hack due to different instruction set etc.
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Re: HiTechnic SuperPro board

Postby afanofosc » 03 Nov 2011, 17:17

The VM running on the PIC is one that HiTechnic wrote. It is not anything like the NXT firmware's VM. I don't know how easy it would be to hack with alternate firmwares, etc...

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http://bricxcc.sourceforge.net/
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