The Olimex PIC32-Pinguino micro Review

PIC32-PINGUINO
The Olimex PIC32-Pnguino with it's large DIP form factor

Specs:

  • Manufactured by Olimex
  • Price ~$25 USD
  • Pic32MX440F256H 32 bit Microchip MCU
  • 256K of Flash, 32K of RAM
  • Built in microSD slot
  • Operating at 80 Mhz
  • USB On-the-go
  • Geared for Pinguino IDE

First Thoughts:

I haven’t used this product very extensively yet so some shortcomings are awesome points may be missed. I have played with it for a couple of days though and read through most of the libraries and documentation. This product is from Olimex in Bulgaria and to be honest, I’m a bit of a fan of Olimex. Olimex has built some interesting devices such as the DuinoMite and you can really tell that these guys really like what they do. They spend the time and effort to make the boards as good as possible.

Anyways, some thoughts about this board. It’s a pretty neat little board for both prototyping and perhaps even fitting it in to a product. It has a small form factor and would happily fit into a larger board for use in a larger product. The built in microSD port and the USB otg interface allows for some neat things to be made. The pinguino IDE isn’t too bad either. The libraries are reasonably complete and the device works quite reliably with the software as I encountered no bugs or glitches and programs worked as expected.

Pros:

  • Small form factor
  • .1 dip pinout which is good for breadboarding
  • Good price for a 32 bit device like this
  • Well built
  • UEXT port for other Olimex peripherals is a nice choice
  • Fast!

Cons:

  • Uses small ICSP port which you must buy from Olimex. I know it’s done for size and not simply to sell a cable but it’s still a bit of a drag.
  • DIP width is too wide to fit on a single breadboard, you’ll need to use two breadboards and straddle it over them.
  • UEXT connector is taller than everything else on the board. Not a huge issue but most people won’t use the UEXT connector and the header could interfere inside an enclosure.
  • like with most 32 bit processors, the pins are not 5V. some of the pins may be 5V tolerant but this simply comes with the territory.

Final Thoughts:

I like the stuff that Olimex builds. They give a shit about what they make and it shows. This type of device is pretty good for almost anyone with a reasonable amount of skill wishing to prototype anything you would normally do with an Arduino. For the price, you can’t beat these guys. In order to get ahold of one you can go through Mouser or look at the Ebay distributor (olimexery). Olimex themselves seems to sell it but they don’t seem to have a slick store setup to do purchasing.

8 thoughts on “The Olimex PIC32-Pinguino micro Review”

  1. The documentation on the Pinguino is very poor. It has an SD slot but no one knows how to use it….the ide is very amateursh and the group seems to have about 5 people following it. Unless you are a master in assembly this is not a good board. The duinomite on the other hand is a dream (also from Olimex).

  2. From what I can tell the Pinguino community is quite a bit larger than the commenter above makes it out to be. It’s IDE (at least for the PIC32 boards) is a front-end for the standard gnu toolchain for MIPS processors: gcc, the gnu assembler and linker. And of course it adds in the stuff you need to hook into the bootloader and has the libraries to use the hardware.

    As for myself, I got a pinguino rather than an arduino or maple board because I happen to love MIPS assembler, at least compared to x86, IBM mainframe or 6502 (68000 is nice, but not in use much anymore).

    I’ll probably end up getting some UEXT modules to use, as they are generally cheaper than comparable arduino shields with the same functionality (and the pinguino has drivers for most of the devices via both interfaces). I’m already drawing up my birthday list of add-ons for my pinguino and my Parallax Propeller; this year at least I won’t be “impossible to shop for” as my wife puts it. 🙂

  3. I was very excited at first. After some tryies am very disapointed.

    Hardware is good. I like it very much.
    Documentation is very poor. Some functions in library are not described at all.
    IDE and libraries? downloaded libs are not possible compile. many bugs and error. What a hell?
    for newer version I installed SVN client and python. ver 1004. libs are still shity.

    Blinking leds work fine, but loggin temperature to SD impossible.

  4. I use it with Microchips Mplab, it is fully compatible as it uses PIC32MX chip.
    I use pickit 3 ICSP to program it.
    In Mplab I use XC32 compiler so I do not have to know assembler, everything is in C
    I have the SD card, PWM, interrupts, timers, SPI, I2C and UART working.
    I use this little board to control my quad-copter.
    Very nice small factor and good quality.
    Just get the data sheet and mplab from Microchip and everything is working, you also get more control over the micro.

  5. Arduino like IDE is good to learn but as you progress you want more control over the hardware so you have to move on to something like Mplab or Atmel studio, reading data sheet of your micro controller chip helps as well.

  6. Hi Greg,

    Are you willing to share your function program for the pinguino micro?

    Dennis

  7. Hi, Greg…

    Could you share with me, please, one initial program in C for configuring and make a led blinking in the Olimex Pinguino Micro with the Pic32MX440 from MPLAB X?

    I really aprecciate that you could do this for me…

    Thanks in advance…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Security Code: