Interfacing computers to physics experiments
This page is for the new ExpEYES (ExpEYES Junior)
For the old ExpEYES click here
Microhope Introduction

Microhope is a micro-controller based on the ATmega32 chip. It is a wonderful instrument for hobbyists, electronics enthusiasts, engineering students as well for serious laboratory instrumentation. The hardware details are available in the User's Manual.

External link
HOPPER Software

To use Microhope with a Windows PC you need:

  1. WinAVR which allows you to compile C source code targeted for the microcontroller. This is freely available. Try Google search if the link no longer works. Contact me if you face any installation difficulties.
  2. A driver allowing USB connection from PC to Microhope. For the first version of Microhope use the FT232 driver and for the new version (released December 2013) use the MCP2200 driver. If the link does not work, go to www.microchip.com and type MCP2200 Windows in the Search Microchip box. The MCP2200 driver is the same as that for ExpEYES Junior.
  3. An integrated environment, HOPPER, allowing you to edit C-source and Assembler files. The C-source files can be compiled and the Assembler files can Upload to Microhope. The compile process creates a hex file and the Uplaod process transfers it to Microhope. After Upload, the program automatically starts executing in the microcontroller. There are several C-source examples and Assembler-code examples included with HOPPER.
  4. The Microhope User's Manual, microhope.pdf. After installing HOPPER please keep a copy of microhope.pdf in C:\Microhope.

Get HOPPER
HOPPER Installation

Double click the executable file HopperInstall(version) inside the downloaded zip file and answer Yes to the Windows alert.

Select Next and similary in the next screens

Get HOPPER
Using HOPPER

During installation a folder C:\Microhope is created which has sample C-source files (*.c) and Assebler (*.S) files. After installation you should download the Microhope Users Manual, microhope.pdf and copy it to C:\Microhope. When HOPPER is started it looks in C:\Microhope by default. You could also work in another folder of your own choice.

The editor is similar to Notepad. After loading or editing a file in the editor you can Compile (for *.c files) or Assemble it (for *.S and *.s files). This will create a hex file (executable to be uploaded to Microhope) and an object dump file (*.lst). The object dump file is useful for diagnostic purposes and can be viewed in the editor.

To view the PDF manual copied to C:\Microhope, click User's Manual.

After compilation/assembly the hex file can be uploaded to Microhope. For this purpose, you should now connect Microhope to the USB port of your PC with the help of the USB cable provided. Currently, Microhope makes use of the MCP2200 driver. If the driver is installed, Microhope will be detected. Be aware that in Windows, the detection of a USB device takes a long time - possibly 1 minute or more. On clicking Detect-MH you should get the confirmation message: Found MCP Microhope on COMxx where xx is the COM port to which the device is mapped.

Even after that, it is typical that your first upload will fail as shown below:

However subsequent uploads should work. When a hex file is successfully uploaded, Microhope executes it.

Get HOPPER
Compiling HOPPER

HOPPER is a simple Notepad like editor with the extra functionality to Compile, Assemble and Upload using WinAVR. Writing a program like this is a nice excercise to learn programming in the Windows environment. Developing the code as a Windows Forms application is left to you as an excercise. To learn about the Windows programming environment and how to compile Win32-API code using the MinGW/Msys or VC++ compilers you should first read our Programming section.

When you download HOPPER you also obtain a copy of the source code. As with all software at this web site, HOPPER is open source. You are free to change the source and build the code again. You could make changes to add new functionality, to customize the program according to your tastes, or simply to learn programming. The source code files: hopper.c, hopper.h are to be found in C:\Microhope\HopperSource. The Makefile is also located here. If working with MinGW/Msys, the first thing to do is to copy hopper.c, hopper.h and Makefile to a new working folder lets say: C:\msys\1.0\home\UserName\MHope. The command make executed from the Msys terminal builds the program. To make changes to the program, edit the files hopper.c, hopper.h and type make again.

Win32 Tutotial
Microhope

Download the HOPPER code on this page and interface me easily to Windows computers

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