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Friday, September 12, 2008

A Credit Card sized Computer and a Matchbook-Sized PIC Powerhouse

A new look in Olimex boards yields two remarkable dev platforms

Olimex PIC-LCD3310: Photo by Olimex, Ltd.

Olimex Ltd., a Bulgarian electronic design and PCB fabrication company, has just raised the bar on powerful microcontroller development platforms, to the joy of DIYers around the world. Two new PCBs, cryptically named LPC-2478STK and PIC-LCD3310, are ready to rock your next embedded project.

Sporting a tastefully restrained stainless steel bezel and a sandwiched LCD, these two boards pack enough punch into their compact size that dazzling, feature-rich, commercial-grade projects are now within the reach of every builder, experimenter, and dreamer. Just imagine the types of projects you could design with these onboard features:

Olimex LPC2478-STK PCB: Photo by Olimex, Ltd.


  • ARM7 LPC2478 microcontroller
  • 3.5-inch color TFT LCD with backlight and touchscreen
  • MP3 VS1002D decoder
  • accelerometer
  • 64 MB SDRAM
  • USB
  • PS2 keyboard connector
  • Ethernet
  • RS-232
  • SD/MMC card
  • 2 buttons
  • 1 trimpot
  • Audio in
  • Audio out
  • 5.3 x 4.0 inches; OK, so it's sized more like a credit card on steroids
Olimex PIC-LCD3310 PCB: Photo by Olimex, Ltd.


  • Microchip PIC18F67J50 microcontroller
  • Nokia 3310 LCD
  • LEDs
  • Joystick with left, right, up, down and center action
  • USB
  • SD/MMC card
  • accelerometer
  • battery or USB powered
  • 2.56 x 2.56 inches

Oh, and did I mention that the LPC-2478STK is preloaded with U-Boot and bundled with a uClinux CD. You will need a dedicated Linux PC for compiling your uClinux apps. Now isn't that a great excuse to wish for a new Linux-powered netbook PC, like the ASUS Eee PC, Dell Inspiron Mini 9, Lenovo IdeaPad S10, or MSI Wind for Christmas?

Speaking for myself, while I have been somewhat negligent on delving into microchip PIC-based PopSci projects in the past, developing with the PIC-LCD3310 could result in some future PIC projects. Likewise, not since I converted a ZipIt into a Linux Busy Box (by following these instructions) have I been so inspired to tackle an embedded Linux project. Stay tuned.

Now I know what you're probably thinking, “Sure, these platforms have some great features, but at what cost?” Well, that's the best part: the LPC-2478STK costs $203.95 (interesting exchange rate; why not just make it $204 or $200?) and the PIC-LCD3310 costs $50.95. Both boards are available now and can be purchased from SparkFun Electronics.

Happy development!