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First Light for the Desert Lizard

The LEDs on my Desert Lizard board lighted up this morning! Thanks huge to Keith Packard for his extensive help in getting the board built and hooked up to the programmer. Thanks also to Jenner Hanni for collaboration and advice. Maybe the details are also interesting… You can see the two green LEDs (one of which is supposed to be red LOL) glowing brightly in the picture. The small board is mine: the larger board is an EFM8BB1 Starter Kit being used as a programmer for the microcontroller on the lizard. In the picture the board is hooked to a 3V bench supply: it seems to draw about 20mA. Almost all of that is the LEDs even though the chip is in a spin loop: the chip draws less than 1mA with the LEDs off. I also tried the board with a CR2032, and the LEDs seem to be the same brightness as expected.

I am currently using the kind-of-terrible "Simplicity Studio" software provided with the Starter Kit to write the software. It is Eclipse-based, and thus a nightmare to navigate. It does have a cute code generator for configuring the chip, though, which has turned out to be helpful. Since Simplicity has the external programming stuff built into it, I will probably be stuck with that part for a while, so I'll continue to just develop there. The software is pretty generic C which I could eventually compile with SDCC rather than Simplicity's proprietary Keil compiler if I cared.

The EFM8BB1 seems like a pretty nice 8-bit chip other than being 8051. The peripherals and configurability are pretty great. At 56¢ quantity one it's a hard to argue with, I think.

Time to write the rest of the software. Fob

EDIT: That evening, I got the speaker to emit a tone as well. It was about a 390Hz A, and was correctly called by one of my students with perfect pitch before I could get my guitar tuner out. Now just need to get the capacitive touch to work and all the functionality will be qualified!

EDIT: Evie (and Katrina) have taken on the board for now. Hooray! Also, it has moved on GitHub: URL is updated above. The first rudimentary firmware is also up on GitHub. The two repos together are now the Desert Lizard GitHub Organization.

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