In December 2005, eLabtronics won the Secrets of Australian IT Innovation competition for CoreChart, an industry strength user friendly Graphical Assembler that has enabled users to start programming PIC microcontrollers within hours. Now eLabtronics has integrated the documentation, hardware and software design of PIC applications into a patented software technology called ezCircuit Designer (ezCD).
As soon as the user selects a circuit, ezCircuit Designer displays all the possible pin connections on the chip and suggested pins are highlighted. Thus a node based block diagram is formed that represents the functional circuit sections attached to the microcontroller. Double clicking on a block will zoom into the circuit down at the component level. Descriptive and design information is attached to each circuit section.
The Programmer circuit group allows in-circuit programming connectors to be added to the design. Users can also add their own circuits that can be re-used and distributed to other users by means of a graphical wizard.
Currently the software supports 7 PIC microcontrollers that can be selected from a table that has the full product selection data displayed. Complete data sheets are available for each chip and ezCircuit Designer can suggest a chip based on the circuit blocks currently in the design. A graphical oscillator setting wizard allows easy clock settings for each chip.
ezCircuit Designer has three major outputs: the documents, the hardware schematics and the program for the microcontroller.
Formatted documentation structures are given to help with specification, management and design documentation. Pin settings, parts lists and test procedures are automatically generated and updated. An overall project summary shows all the project files currently contained in the project folder.
The final hardware diagrams can be exported to Proteus Lite schematics in a single step or graphic files of the circuit can be generated. Printing is flexible with tick options to print each section.
Each of the circuits comes with software drivers that are formatted into test microcontroller programs for the user. Hence a single click export to Assembler or CoreChart Graphical Assembler generates a step-by-step test sequence that formats all the necessary connections and variables for the programmer to concentrate on the algorithm needed for the product.
Three working example projects are provided to help the user become familiar with the system. The Help Section includes a description of all the available functions as well as the example projects.
Feedback during beta testing has been positive:
Electronics Industry Education Initiative has been impressed with ezCircuit Designer and feedback shows that people see this as enabling their start in electronics with added confidence. It also supports the work of the more serious and informed designers.
eLabtronics was nominated No.1 in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Rising Star Awards and a Gold Master consultant to Microchip Technology Inc.(USA).