IRCF360 can be interfaced to almost any micro-controller or robot controller– Examples are:
Basic Stamp from Parallax
PICAXE from Revolution Education
With Integrated Motor Controllers
....or many other robot micro-controllers.
The robot controller needs to be able to handle asynchronous serial communications on a spare I/O pin or UART port.
The IRCF360TM requires a 5v regulated power supply, which normally can be provided directly from the robot controller. The IRCF360TM has no reversed connection protection, so it is important to pay attention to the polarity of the power supply; otherwise the IRCF360TM microcontroller may be destroyed!
To prevent connecting the connector the wrong way, you could place a peg in one of the unused pins or perhaps use the 4 fixing holes to orientate and anchor the IRCF360TM the correct way around.
Ensure to check that the power supply on the robot controller is the correct voltage and can supply the necessary current. It is particularly important that you measure the voltages and currents from the robot controller so connection will not destroy your robot controller or the IRCF360TM ! Connect at your own risk!
The IRCF360TM delivers asynchronous serial data with a 'RS-232' format. Although the voltage is outside the RS-232 standard, it is suitable for interfacing to most robot controllers. The main benefits with this design is that it can be connected directly to most micro-controller's UART port or software configured port without any external RS232 levelling translator.
A 3-pin header connector is required to connect the IR Control Freak module to the micro-controller. The connection should take place from underneath the PCB to avoid disturbing the proximity sensing areas.
The connection could either be via a ribbon cable:
or via a female pin header connect on the robot PCB:
Ribbon Cable Connection
When making your own cables it is good practice putting a short piece of heat-shrink sleeving around each cable end and connector, or using a glue gun to stick the cables together. This will help prevent the cables breaking at the solder joint.
Pin1 Pin2 Pin3 Pin4 Pin5 Pin6 Pin7 Pin8
RX No used for normal operation 5v Supply from the robot controller Ground power supply from the robot controller No used for normal operation No used for normal operation Ground
Needs to be connected to the ground of the robot controller.
Serial port Transmit -> connected to RX on Robot Controller Serial port Receive -> connected to TX on Robot Controller
If direct connection to the PC is required and you don't own a PICKIT2 (see section below) then it is recommended to purchase an external MAX232 RS232 levelling translator such as the Acroname BrainStem which is also available from ROBOTmaker store.
These are also available as USB versions and can be used for programming certain micro-controllers such as Arduino and Megabitty that have a boot loader pre-installed or available to be programmed into them via the PICKIT2TM Microchip (See below)
A RS232 levelling translator will normally take care that the voltages will not distroy the IRC360, but it is customer's responsibility to check and that the voltages and currents from the PC will not destroy your robot controller, IRCF360 or your PC! Connect at your own risk!
NOTE: The PICkit2 has it's own terminal program built in, so you can read and write to the serial port of the IRCF360. So if you have one of these then the MAX232 is not required (see section on PICkit2 below for more details).
If you are not interested in PIC programming, then skip this section.
For the more advanced PIC programmers, who would like an even bigger challenge of writing their own sensor programs, then IRCF360 is pin-for-pin compatible with the PICkit2TM ( Microchip) programmer, which is available from many distributors such as Farnell - at very reasonable prices (note that there are many clones on the market which are often much more expensive than buying the original from Farnell or other reputable distributor).
You can also buy one of these bundled with a 16F887 development board 'PICkit2TM Debug Express' which is really good value if you want to start learning to programming.
We mention the PICkit2TM a lot, rather than the PICkit3TM, as we have found this to be better designed and more robust in terms of reliability and functionality compared to the PICkit3 for the devices we used (the PICkit3 will program the new devices too though). One other cool features of the PICkit2TM is that it comes with it's own terminal program so you can display serial communication on the PC screen, without the need of a MAX232 interface and also has a logic analyser functionality. These features are unfortunately not yet available on the newer PICkit3TM (but check Microchip website for latest updates)
It's easy to start programming your own PICTM (microchip) using one of the many compilers on the market these days. Here are some examples:
Visual Basic programming style
C programming style