Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

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Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby tmp101 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:57 am

Is Flowcode any good for Beginners ?

I want to do some temperature measurements , and could not find anything to get started !?
not even an ready to use Eblock ?
in the Programm , could not find a simple component, like temp sensor ?!

temp sensors, come in resistors, 1-wire, I2C , tmp35 ,...etc
could not find sample code / setup ?!
also it looks like, you can't do 1-wire or I2C with the free or home version.

thought , at least for the basic stuff, it be plug and play ?!!

any examples, any books with with temp sensor ?

later on, would also need PWM .

appreciate a kickstart .

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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby JohnCrow » Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:03 am

Hi
Have a look at some of my temperature flowcharts
These ranges from simple to quite complex

Flowcode is good for anyone from beginners to expert.
You will get great support on these forums.

http://www.matrixmultimedia.com/mmforums/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=8780&hilit=temp
http://www.matrixmultimedia.com/mmforums/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=10713&hilit=+temp
http://www.matrixmultimedia.com/mmforums/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=8357&hilit=+temp
http://www.matrixmultimedia.com/mmforums/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=10576&hilit=+temp

I2C and 1-wire bus is not in the home version but ADC is.
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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby DavidA » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:04 am

Hello,

We have tried to make Flowcode easy to use for beginners. We have a free course available from here:

http://www.matrixmultimedia.com/courses/itm/index.php

Plus many examples available here:

http://www.matrixmultimedia.com/lc_index.php?p=18

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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby petesmart » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:05 pm

Hi,

For what it's worth, I have been using flow code since 2010 with great success. It's fantastic for rapid prototyping...

My background is assembler, COBOL, visual basic and some of the more obscure older languages....I my experience it's very fast to create concept projects thru to evolution of final products, without the need to know or understand the more commmon and sometimes very complex "C" coding techniques. Having said that you can include C snippets or routines into your creation.. I did not bother in getting serious with C as my career took me off the dev tools and into management...so now i short cut the process and I just grab the pieces of what I need from either the forums, examples or code snippets from other websites including google.

In terms of simplicity, I started my young son aged 8 on the weekend on flow code... Admittedly it was on very simple stuff, however young Ben was writing flow charts in about an hour....Turing LEDs on and off, progressing to text messages to his mum on the LCD eblock.... :wink:

E-blocks are a great way to start your fun.... The most useful board in my arsenal is the breadboard with the two D connectors. This allows you to build you circuits quickly and interface them into the micro... Temp sensors , gyro break out boards etc can be put together rapidly... I suggest that you start with the free version, use an analogue to digital converter (ADC) and a very inexpensive three terminal temp sensor that changes the output voltage in proportion to temperature...John suggested a device in an earlier post..tmp35..just google the part no., plenty of info here. Use the e-block breadboard to create your circuit EB-016..

After I played with the free version and got hooked.....I purchased a bundle which had a programmer, plus a number of boards to get you started, LED, LCD, switch and a 16F877A micro. You can find this on the MM website..EB647ST5.. Suggest you start with the lower cost option, ie the home pack licence, if you want to take it further then you can pay the difference and upgrade to the professional licence.


A final note.... The forum is great for help, however the biggest kick out of the product is the knowledge discovery process... You may feel a little intimidated at first, however after you watch the How to video's, playing with the examples your learning rate will develop exponentially, flowcode has been designed with education in mind...the other positive about the product is the Matrix team.. They are always helpful and quick to respond, something in my experience you don't get with similar or more sophisticated higher end Developement tools, I have used a few in my time..fundamentally it's a great learning tool, that can be utilised in creating reasonably sophisticated Developement products...

I am more than happy to help you get started as other prominent community members on the site have already given you some examples.... Troll the MM website, cruise the forum and let the fun begin!


All the best

Pete
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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby tmp101 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:15 am

thanks for the reply !

I will start with the TMP35, and then get some microchip temperature sensors.

what Flowcode version do I need ?
TMP35 + pwm ?
I2C temp sensor + PWM ?
1-wire Temp sensor + pwm ?
IRD, Infrared ?

basically it's going to be for a LED driver, to temperature throttle .

got the pic 3 programmer, and going for the penguino, microchip usb board
and a UEXT LCD , other stuff ? recommendation welcome !
guess I could get the ECIO board ? any LCD / OLED recommend ?

is the book any good , PIC Projects for Non-Programmers by John Iovine ?
thanks, Rob

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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby Enamul » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:43 am

Hi,
Although FC v4 has the facility that you are looking for but I will suggest you to go for V5..As it is new and MM people and forum member concentrate highly on this version..
tmp101 wrote:what Flowcode version do I need ?
TMP35 + pwm ?
I2C temp sensor + PWM ?
1-wire Temp sensor + pwm ?
IRD, Infrared ?


Thanks,
Enamul
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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby petesmart » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:50 pm

Hi Rob,

glad to see that you are going to take the plunge.

I agree with Enamul, the best option is to start with V5

what Flowcode version do I need ?
TMP35 + pwm ?
I2C temp sensor + PWM ?
1-wire Temp sensor + pwm ?
IRD, Infrared ?


as for the feature level, possibly you will require the pro version – perhaps DavidA from the MM team can advise here

check out this link http://www.matrixmultimedia.com/resources/files/datasheets/Flowcode5Booklet-2.pdf as it contains quite good information on the MM product suite product suite, including version information.

got the pic 3 programmer, and going for the penguino, microchip usb board
and a UEXT LCD , other stuff ? recommendation welcome !
guess I could get the ECIO board ? any LCD / OLED recommend ?



I'm not familiar with your programmer, however I have used the EB – 006 http://www.matrixmultimedia.com/product.php?Prod=EB006&PHPSESSID= and the ECIO board

As for displays depending on your level of experience, I would recommend that you start with the E-block range for both LCD and the OLED the display http://www.matrixmultimedia.com/eblockscircuitboards.php . If you are learning, the benefit is that all of these boards are well documented with code examples of the MM website with plenty of support on the forum – simply removes the hardware variable when you are learning software techniques.

ECIO is a good option I have used both the pic version and the ARM - with reliable success. These modules are great as you can plug into a standard 40 pin IC socket, directly into a project.

is the book any good , PIC Projects for Non-Programmers by John Iovine ?


There are 2 books recommended in the MM product sheet, the one by John Iovine, the other by Bert Van Dam. I have both of these in my library and they are useful in describing projects and techniques around flow code. Depending on your level I did find the John Iovine nearer the entry-level with the Bert Van Dam book much more useful. The other book I found very helpful was the "mastering I2C", check out the Elektor website http://www.Elektor.com I do a lot of work with I2C now, and it was a very useful refresher with great practical examples.

Finally, if you have not done so already, may I suggest that you re - read the thread of this Post again from the very top as there is very good information and links contained within the posts that will help you with your project. The links from John Crow's post were very good and were specific to what you are trying to achieve.

Hope this is helpful, good luck

All the best,

Pete
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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby tmp101 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:56 pm

what I meant to ask, Free, home, pro version ?!

can I use the Free version, with a 1-wire Temp Sensor ??

thanks, Rob
Enamul wrote:Hi,
Although FC v4 has the facility that you are looking for but I will suggest you to go for V5..As it is new and MM people and forum member concentrate highly on this version..
tmp101 wrote:what Flowcode version do I need ?
TMP35 + pwm ?
I2C temp sensor + PWM ?
1-wire Temp sensor + pwm ?
IRD, Infrared ?


Thanks,
Enamul

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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby Enamul » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:59 pm

Hi,
Please go for professional as it will not be code limited and with update facility and full-support..
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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby DavidA » Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:56 pm

Hi,

The pro version has everything and there is a reason it is more expensive, however if you are worried about taking the plunge with the price, you can buy a Student/Home version and upgrade it later on for simply the difference in price, no additional cost is added going from

Home -> Professional

and buying Pro on its own.

But like Enamul says, pro will give you everything you need :)

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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby tmp101 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:40 pm

in the search for the holy grail to get started ,...

FYI, notes, shout ,...

still could not find any offical documentation, on using temp sensors with flowcode,
NTC, I2C, 1-Wire,... tmp102, lm75, DS1820,...
yes I will get it going with the forum,.... still think , this needs to be addressed .
mikroe, has better documentation and sample code !

reading the fine-print,.... no support for the PIC32, not enven the pro version !!?
had bought the pinguino board, in haste, has a pic32 on it what is not supported !

would think, Flowcode, should support, most started boards,... including pinguino ,...

back to temp sensor,
for the finall implementation, will be using a pic,

question :
attiny85 and build-in temp sensor
anybody used that one ? with flowcode ?
I mean that one actually comes with a temp build-in, be great to find some documentations,
sample setup, video tutorial,... etc.

meanwhile, be getting an ECIO-28 board, temp sensors, every flavor, and LCD's, par, ser, I2C,
the ECIO-28 should work with the free version,...
the free version, should actually work with all pics,.... so you don't run into, that your board/pic is only in the pro version supported,..
It's a mess, of figuring out , what works, and what not.
on the same token, downloaded installed, could not find any of the E-Blocks eather ? go figure.
also got Johns, book, microchip for non-programmers, looks good,
but nothing about temp sensor,.... on the ipad, it was over 3283 pages,....

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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby JohnCrow » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:11 pm

Hi

The LM35 sensor has 3 pins
5V, ground , and output
The output is 10mV / °C. so its just a case of reading the output using the ADC input of the pic then a simple calculation will give the temperature.
This is shown in one of my example projects.
The LM355 uses a similar protocol except it is calibrated in Kelvin rather than celcius, so you need to add 273.15 to the output.
Personally I would start with the LM35.
They are inexpensive and come in 2 different styles (The 3pin regulator type package or a small transistor type package).

The DS18s20 uses 1 wire bus, this is a bit more complex to work with, but the 1-wire bus component has specific macros for reading this device.
There are example of this on the forums.

I2C While this is not difficult to use, its maybe not a protocol for a beginner to flowcode/micros till you get a bit more experience.
My Real time clock projects use this if you want an example.
This is the protocol for using the LM75 temp sensor

These are all explained fairly well in the manufacturers data sheets.

PIC32
No this device type is currenty not supported.

Not familier with the ATtiny85 with a built in temp sensor, have to look into that could be interesting.
My guess would be it will read it by I2C or 1wire, but thats juts a guess and proberbly totally wrong. :)
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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby tmp101 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:09 pm

thanks John !

forum is great !
Do think, those things, Matrix needs to address!!!!

note
for the Atmel ATTINY85, has a built-in Temp sensor,
gets addressed through ADC.

minimum for my project
1 temp sensor
1 momentary switch
1 PWM output

later on, multiple everything,...
probably have parts and board ready to brew, in 2 weeks.

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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby JohnCrow » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:16 pm

for the Atmel ATTINY85, has a built-in Temp sensor,
gets addressed through ADC


Thanks.
I'll have to look that one up sometime.
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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby tmp101 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:05 am

any recommendations , for a LCD to work with the free version of flow code ?

for shops microcontrollershop or sparkfun / mouser / in usa preferred .

my initial shopping list included
<pre/>
PIC18F26J59 Prototype Board, 8x LEDs, USB, ICSP, UEXT
PIC18F14K50 USB-to-RS232 Module, UEXT, ICSP
Microchip PIC18F2455 DIP module, USB-programmable
PIC ICSP Adapter, 1.25mm 6-pin SIP to 2.54mm Flying Leads
2x5 (10-pin) 0.1" pitch IDC Connector Flat Ribbon Cable, 15cm
2x5 Female IDC Connector (2 pack)
LCD Add-on Module, I2C via UEXT, 9 digits × 14 segments
Quad 7-Segment Red LED Display (with Colon), TTL or SPI Control
LM35DZ Analog Temperature Sensor, TO-92-3 Package
DS18S20+ Digital Temperature Sensor, TO-92 Package
Arduino Compatible ATmega328 Board with added features
</pre>

initial goal, to use 1x temp sensor, 2x momentary switched, a pic, and free/ home flow code,
to create a dimmer , creating pwm, and automatic dim with temperature.
once that is working, I'll expand it, with the pro version, and start using I2C .

the atmel has a building temp sensor, want to try it , to have alternatives.
then I'll look at other temp sensors, from microchip,maxim,ti, etc, and NTC's .

other notes:
I'am not a programmer, otherwise, mikroe compiler looks good.
with a nice website, plenty of samples, and good documentation.
so far I've spend many hours, to figure out which pic or avr would work with the free flow code.
while the mikroe compiler does not have any limitation, then code size .
would wish, that flowcode home version, would be fully functional, with just a code size limit .
also the free version, needs to support of the shelf stuff, trying to figure out, what would maybe work,
is not I consider evaluate / free version.
and for the pro version, it means, what ? 300 bucks for the pic, and 300 buck for the arm,
that's 600 bucks, just to play / get started ,...
and there are a couple of neat little buggers, with a pic24 and pic32, ...
that would mean another 300 bucks,....
getting a little cranky... ! could not find a PDF Manual ?

in a couple of days, I should have some stuff, to start.
---> Do think Flowcode, has some great potential !
It just does not look, the horse is getting out of the start gate, with so many stumbling blocks and toll/pay stops.
noticed, apple is selling those little buggers for couple of bucks a piece, by the millions ....
used to use photoshop,.... they wanted an arm and a leg, 800 bucks plus,.....
then came apples aperture,... 200 bucks,.... now you could get a new version for under 80 ...
could be selling flowcode , like hotcakes, just a though or kick in the pants.
I'll probably get all flavors pic, avr,arm,etc, except the dspic,... no pic32 ?!

back to subject, temp sensors, any favorites ?
anything I could get from mouser.
analog, ntc, 1-wire, I2C, at least 2 different part numbers each for testing
any recommendations ? thanks , Rob

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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby petesmart » Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:27 am

Hi Rob,

I am making the assumption from your posts that you are just starting out.. If my assumption is incorrect, please let me know.

BTW.. I don't have any commercial association with MM, so your getting pure unbiased raw opinion

Just a quick point on the cost...Depending on your employment situation, I have claimed the flowcode products on my income tax, as it's a learning/educational tool, especially as it teaches you the fundamentals of programming. As I have mentioned before the Matrix products are education focussed...

Also check out the cross grade offers on the MM website.. They make the other chip types much more affordable..

Now, if I may a strong word of advice. I understand that your just starting out on the micro adventure. To avoid a total ballistic mental meltdown, go with known hardware... It will be challenge enough for you to get your head around the software programming aspects of your task without having to figure out the nuances of hardware connection, timing and general integration...trust me, I am speaking from many years of experience in embedded electronics.Once you gain confidence with the software aspects, then get adventurous with 3rd party hardware.

I have introduced two of my friends to flowcode and used the basic hardware, ie LCD, switch block, LED block and a programmer for generic PIC (EB-006). This got them going with known hardware and predictable outcomes...I understand that this comes at a cost, but it's worth the time and accelerated learning curve.. Check out the bundles on the MM site, it makes the get in a little more affordable.

Again if your starting out stick with the simple stuff first, ie the 3 terminal LM35 and ADC....The chip I would use is a simple 16F88... It's basic, reliable and comes with the EB006 programmer.

Have you tied to create a flow chart on the free version using an ADC and LCD under simulation?... Try this first... The temp sensor can be simulated via the potentiometer that is associated with the ADC component...

Let me know how you go... Happy to provide feedback once you have posted the flowcode project file.

Good luck...

All the best

Pete
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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby tmp101 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:51 pm

Thanks for the recommendations !

I'am getting also the ECIO-28 board !

did look at the E-Blocks, but could not find it in flowcode !?

and for the EB-005 LCD, it does not say if it works with free/home version !?
Most LCD's use a serial interface SPI or I2C , and that only works with the pro version ,....

the ECIO-28 could be plugged in on a expander board, to use E-Blocks.
just not sure ; if it was in the menu as a pull-down, would have already ordered it.
but the LCD in flowcode, look generic .

thanks, Rob

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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby JohnCrow » Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:17 pm

Hi Rob

The LCD (EB005) works with ALL versions of flowcode.

The ECIO28 & ECIO 40 will work with the free version. The base board is a worth while addon.
This allows you the same 9-pin D ports as you would get using the EB006 and a normal pic, and a socket to plug the 12V psu into. The baseboard has a regulator onboard.
The baseboard itself does not appear in flowcode, just the ECIO, the usb lead connects direct to the ECIO itself

Note dont try programming the ECIO via the ICSP header on the base board, as this can cause the boot-loader to be over written. It can be used but you need to ensure the program is relocated in the correct place.

This details what the free version is capable of

http://www.matrixmultimedia.com/mmforums/viewtopic.php?f=49&t=10473
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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby tmp101 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:57 pm

thanks !

I'll order the baseboard for the ECIO
- EB-005 LCD
- the momentary switch board
- flowcode home version, so I could use the pic18f14k50, later/final
- potentiometer


any recommendations for a third party LED, seven segment, 2/4 digit , that can work with ECIO-28 ?
or small LCD ?
in my housing I have room for that. not enough room for the eb-005.
thanks, Rob

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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby JohnCrow » Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:23 pm

As long as the LCD uses the hitachi controller (or compatible) as described in the data sheet, and has the same row/column as a setting in flowcode it should work.You may be able to locate a small display that fits your needs. They are easier to use and draw less current than the LED type.

If you want a 7segment display, you need to use common anode type .The usage is again well described in the e block data sheet.
I have used a 4way 7segment display that used I2C (or serial) but this is not compatible with the free/home version :(
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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby tmp101 » Sat Aug 04, 2012 4:44 am

update ...

got the ECIO-28 in, and the other stuff,..
first , had to find a USB cable, note -> the others use a mini, not full size,...
tried the example , could not get it to work, syntax error,...
next day, radio-shack, get an led an resistor,...
loaded the LED example, .... did not work,...
took me a while, since I coated the pins wrong .

finally got an LED to blink, with the test program.

tomorrow, I'll tackle the ADC temp sensor.
other notes:
tried the PIC-P26J50 board, but that does not program over the usb !?
loaded the home version,
note: had to uninstall the free version, and reinstall,

setup: running in vmware on a mac

also , going to try to connect an 7-segment LED display
noticed, I could place a I2C master, but no connection, FYI
have to figure out , how to load a hex over usb, on the PIC-P26J50, or use the pic-3 to program it.
cheers, Rob

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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby tmp101 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:05 pm

PWM output pin on ECIO-28 ?

tried the ADC / PWM example,
can't find, what pin it would use to output the pwm signal ?
how does that work ?

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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby Enamul » Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:10 pm

Hi,
PWM output pin on ECIO-28 ?
PWM outputs in ECIO-28 are 16(RC1..CCP2) and 17(RC2...CCP1) of chip.
tried the ADC / PWM example, can't find, what pin it would use to output the pwm signal ?
how does that work ?
You should be able to sort out now..if still not please let us know..
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Re: Flowcode for Beginners ?! any good ?

Postby tmp101 » Wed Aug 08, 2012 3:42 am

thanks !

currently looking at the PWM examples, with ADC .
need to get a POT , and a momentary switch, couple resistors.
looked at the pdf for the pic18f26j50, but could not find , where the PWM1 / 2 would be ?
on the PWM example, would want to add an LCD, as to display the ADC state, -> temp sensor.

looks like I need an oscilloscope, to look at things, or would a logic analizer be sufficient ?
cheers, Rob