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  • DIY Hawk

        When you need, or prefer, more control over the "add on" electronics required by your project, the DIY hawk provides an excellent solution. It provides a full USB interface to the PC complete with software and DLL function library and brings out the 30 available input/output pins of the PIC microcontroller to solder pads ready for your connections.
        For many applications you would simply connect your external "apparatus" directly to the solder pads with wires. For others, there is a very flexible way to connect the DIY Hawk to prototyping board (stripboard) ready for your own circuitry or interface electronics. The solder pads have been arranged in three single rows of 36 with each pad being capable of being soldered from above or below. This allows a standard 36 way "header strip" to be soldered to the board on the underside of the DIY Hawk. A standard stripboard can then be soldered directly to this header giving a versatile prototyping area for your own electronics (photo right). If you need a less permanent arrangement, allowing you to change your stripboard, then a simple 36 way socket can be used allowing the board to be easily connected and separated as required (photo left). (Note: The 36 way header and stripboard shown are not supplied with this board but are readily available from many sources including our own control shop accessories section)

        It is also very easy to use the DIY Hawk with standard (non soldering) Prototyping Board (Breadboard). You simply fit a 36way pin strip to the DIY Hawk and use individual connecting leads to link to the proto board. This allows rapid prototyping of experimental circuits without the need to constantly re-solder components.  (see the accessories section in our shop for protoboards etc.  )

       The input/output arrangement on the solder pads (or header) provides for 13 digital inputs, 13 digital outputs and 4 analogue inputs with 10bit resolution(1024 levels). There are also five GND (0v) and one +5v power connection pads to make up the 36. This mixture will accommodate a very wide range of designs for automation and control.  Details of the connection pinout can be viewed by clicking on the icon on the right (opens in new window)

        The "ready to run" application software provided within the "Hawkeye" application will allow you to test your initial designs using manual control of all of the inputs and outputs.

        Once you have your basic hardware up and running you will then be looking to use the DLL (Dynamic Link Library) which provides a range of functions to be called directly from your own software. These functions provide full control over all inputs and outputs and can be used with the vast majority of programming languages, including Visual Basic, C, C++, C# and many others. The only requirement is that the programming language is capable of calling functions contained in an external DLL. This is almost always the case. The DLL gives the programmer simple to use functions like ..

    Sys_Initialise( )

    Diy_SetOutputs(BoardNumber, Outputs)

    Diy_GetInputs(BoardNumber, Inputs)

    Diy_GetAnalogueInputs(BoardNumber, Inputs)

    Also: Rather than having to address the tricky USB comms protocols. Multiple hawk boards of any type on the same PC are automatically accommodated and made available by a simple board number allocation when using the DLL facilities.

    Ultimate Flexibility
        For the ultimate in flexibility, the PIC Microcontroller on the board is housed in a ZIF (zero insertion force) socket. This would allow it to be easily changed for your own PIC chip programmed with your own firmware. Although this is really for the more experienced programmers, it is not as difficult as you would think. The PIC is a standard 18F4550 microcontroller manufactured by Microchip and commonly available from most good electronic stockists around the world. Development software and chip programmers can be found on Microchip's website together with extensive documentation and application examples. Please note that we do not directly support such developments and will not field any questions about this area of development. We feel that the Microchip support documentation in this area is more than adequate. The actual names of the pins (port bits) used on the 18F4550 PIC chip which will be relevant to those wishing to do their own PIC programming, are shown in the pinout chart shown above. However, for those planning on the simpler approach using our DLL and software, they can be ignored.

    More information on the hardware and example programming in Visual Basic and C++ is available within the manual, which may be downloaded below. .

    (Note: This is not a "kit of parts" , it is fully assembled and tested)

    Compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 10
        To download a copy of the user manual for this board, right click on the link on the right and choose "save target as". This will allow you to download a PDF copy of the manual

        You will need Adobe Reader installed on your PC to read this document. Adobe reader is available for free download from Adobe using the link to the right..

    The simplest and cheapest way to add USB functionality to your designs
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