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Hardware offer for the Raspberry Pi

When looking for sensors, actuators etc, that are easy to use, one can spot that a Raspberry can host a Pi click shield - extension board for Raspberry Pi® with mikroBUS™ host socket.

This hosts a mikroBus connector that can hold many board types, from vendor and others. There boards appear to provide many functions in an easy-to-use interface that sounds reasonably open.

Manufacturer mentions closed development environment

Yet all code examples I've seen for the many click boards on that site mention proprietary development environment with all bad external signs (like upper-case "PRO" in the name). Their search engine returns nothing relevant for Linux or Python (and does not even appear to support making a link to their search result -- this is not a hackers' company).

I won't buy such hardware that would need proprietary software to develop for.
But is it really needed ?

Very little info on the web

I'd be happy with Python or C libraries or samples that illustrate how easy their are to use actually.

But https://raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/ returns no result on "click board", which makes one wonder if they are actually popular, or even used on the Raspberry. Even Google finds very little data.

Only, the example program for the Pi click shield is a python programs using RPi.GPIO.

How to develop for Mikroe's click boards with free software only ?

Several hypotheses may explain those facts:

  • No one actually uses a Click Board on a Raspberry with Python or a Free Software tool chain ?
  • People have to figure from datasheets our how to control that from Python, C or whatever, but that's so easy no one discusses it (or the people using that are so smart they never need help) ?
  • What else ?

My guess is, there's no real obstacle but much of the supposed ease of use is negated by the fact that all their samples aren't directly usable in open environments, making them not as a good choice as expected.

Perhaps once one has worked through an example, reading their MikroC code translates easily enough into python or normal C that we can compile and run on the Pi ?

Questions

Does anyone use that hardware ? With what development toolchain ? Can anyone confirm/disprove hypotheses above ?

Thank you.

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Perhaps this blog post about using a temperature board from python helps: http://www.andrewhazelden.com/blog/2014/08/interfacing-a-mikroelektronika-sht1x-click-board-with-a-raspberry-pi/

So at least one person uses a Click Board on a Raspberry with Python. Looking at the source code, it seems not impossible to figure out the interface.

  • Hey! Welcome to the RPi.SE community and thank you for your answer! It is always appreciated :-) However, we try to build a perennial knowledge base and we do not recommend to just paste a link to another site as the website may be down at any time. Could you please explain briefly the solution? Thank you very much! :-) – Morgan Courbet Oct 7 '14 at 13:41
  • The link is already dead. That said, mikroe.com/blog/… mentions it and provides still valid links to download python scripts. – Stéphane Gourichon May 30 '18 at 18:02
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If you take a look at mikroBus specification, you can see that there is 1 digital input, 1 digital output, 1 analog input, 1 analog output, RX/TX, I2C, and full SPI (with CS). This means that all boards contain electronics which exploits one or more of these pins/buses. You will have to take a look at each click board schematics to determine how to use that hardware. Sometimes it will be simple pin usage, but sometimes it will need analisys of SPI or I2C protocol details from datasheet of a chip found on click board. Bad news is that on Pi you can not use mikroE examples since they use drivers from their own compilers which do not have any source publicly available, but good news is that you can find on the net many examples for communicating with click board microchips for some microcontroller, or even beter for Linux itself. Linux might even incorporate some drivers in it's kernel, and some might exist but not included by default so kernel recompilation will be needed. All these things are not specific to using mikroElektronika click boards on Pi. They are general for interfacing any hardware to Linux.

If you are looking for an out of box solution, this might not be the path for you. Otherwise, there are many things you need to master. Welcome to embedded world ;-)

  • Well, that's not what I hoped for, but I guess that's informative anyway. Thank you. :-/ – Stéphane Gourichon Oct 8 '14 at 20:42

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