Microcontrollers and accessories

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Many AIRLab projects use microcontrollers. There are many producers of microcontrollers, but for legacy reasons we usually tended to use the PIC line of products by Microchip, and we then switched to ST microcontrollers. From 2015 we are using the boards developed by the POLIMI spinoff Nova Labs.



Nova Core are a set of ARM-based modular elements that can be assembled to make up the electronics of a robot.

You may ask your advisor to obtain them.

A manual is available here.

ARM processors

Four Olimex USB JTAG programmers are available in AirLAB:

PIC by Microchip

Here you can find a good introduction to the design of circuits based on PIC microcontrollers.

In AIRLab/Lambrate you can find three Microchip ICD2 "debuggers" (Microchip product number DV164007).

Microchip ICD2

All these devices should stay in the Lab! If removed, the person taking them have to write that he/she is taking it away on the table at the end of this section.

These are devices which let you write, read and run the code running on a PIC. To do that, the PIC can be accessed in two ways:

  • if you were thoughtful enough, you designed your PCB including a port to connect to the pins of the PIC used for programming: in this case, the PIC can be left on the PCB and it is sufficient to hook up the ICD2 to the board with a suitable cable;
  • if you were not so thoughtful (or if the PCB comes from someone else who wasn't), each time you need to communicate with the PIC you have to extract it from its socket and put it into an auxiliary board (Microchip product number AC162049) connected to the ICD2, then to put it back into the socket when you are finished.
Microchip AC162049 auxiliary board

Of course you have to POWER DOWN THE CIRCUIT when taking out the PIC or putting it back!


If you want to remove these devices from the lab, please book in advance by adding an entry to the table. Please keep the table lines ordered by time (nearest bookings first); add new entries like this:

Item Day Time Person
STM32220G-EVAL September 2012 - April 2013 full days Andrea Zoppi

Use abbreviations, if you like. Please remove old entries.

- - - - - - -

Microchip ICD2-01 -> Tommaso Colombo (01/10/2010) | contact: Tommaso Colombo
ST REva Evaluation Board STM32 -> Martino Migliavacca (9/4/8)
Olimex USB JTAG programmer -> Matteo Rossi (November 2009)